Millions of people in the United States live with a substance use disorder that requires treatment, but fewer than one in ten will get the help they need to overcome it. Without treatment, drug and alcohol addictions typically get worse over time, leading to devastating consequences for people’s physical, mental, and social health. People may also face life-altering legal and financial trouble as a result of their substance abuse.

Addiction is a complex and deeply rooted condition. Addiction treatment programs must offer comprehensive care and support to address the underlying psychological, behavioral, and physical components of addiction.

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) in Florida provides medical support that can ensure safety and increase the likelihood of long-term success in recovery. This article will explore what MAT programs are, the benefits of medication-assisted treatment for addiction, and where to find a MAT program in Florida.

Reach out to the specialists at First Step Behavioral Health now to learn about our comprehensive MAT programs or to schedule an intake assessment.

medication-assisted treatment

What is Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)?

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is an approach to addiction treatment using medication to relieve the discomfort of drug and alcohol withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings for addictive substances. MAT programs can be utilized to treat many types of substance use disorders, but are most commonly used in the treatment of opioid and alcohol use disorders.

In a typical Florida medication-assisted treatment program, people participate in a combination of treatments that address the complex roots of a person’s substance use. MAT treatment plans may include:

  • Intake evaluation and ongoing assessments
  • Medically-supported detox programs
  • Medications throughout stabilization and treatment
  • Medication management
  • Individual psychotherapy and behavioral counseling
  • Group and family therapy
  • Eduation on relapse prevention and coping skills
  • Aftercare planning

Medication-assisted treatment programs offer practical, emotional, and medical support to keep people safe, comfortable, and committed to recovery. Research shows that participating in an MAT program is more likely to lead to long-term success in recovery.

What Are the Goals of Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)?

The goals of MAT programs are straightforward: to assist people in overcoming substance abuse so that they can live the lifestyle they choose. Within this overarching goal are several other measurable goals, including:

  • Decreasing illicit activity related to opioid and other drug use
  • Decrease the risk of death from substance-abuse related causes
  • Retain people’s commitment to recovery
  • Improve people’s ability to find and maintain employment
  • Decrease the risk of pregnancy and birth complications in pregnant people with a substance use disorder

Medication-assisted treatment provides medications and other evidence-based therapies that help people identify the roots of their substance use and learn valuable skills to avoid relapse. Total recovery is the goal of MAT for every person, regardless of the length or severity of their addiction.

What Medications Are Used in Medication-Assisted Treatment in Florida?

The medications used in a Florida medication-assisted program depend on the type of addiction being treated. No medication used in an MAT program is intended to “cure” a substance use disorder. Instead, these medications are provided to ensure safety and comfort during detoxification and treatment.

In an MAT for alcohol addiction, commonly prescribed medications include:

In an MAT for opioid addiction, medications commonly include:

  • Buprenorphine
  • Methadone
  • Naltrexone

The medications used in an MAT program are typically safe for long-term use. Some people may even use these or other medications for years or a lifetime if necessary.

How Effective is Medication-Assisted Treatment?

Medication-assisted treatment was developed to allow people the best chance at long-term recovery from substance abuse and addiction. But just how effective is it?

Research into the effectiveness of medication-assisted treatment has been very positive. Generally, using MAT has been proven to be effective in helping people to achieve and maintain sobriety long-term. The results have been most favorable in people with opioid use disorders.

Medication-assisted treatment is effective because it addresses multiple aspects of substance abuse and addiction instead of only focusing on the behavioral and psychological roots. Participating in MAT programs prevents discomfort and danger during detoxification, allowing them to have a safer and more comfortable withdrawal period. Staying comfortable in the earliest days of recovery can help people stay committed to the process and aids in overall retention.

People who participate in medication-assisted treatment have been shown to have better outcomes in other areas as well. Participants show a decrease in risky behaviors, including needle-sharing. This can significantly lower people’s risk for HIV, Hepatitis C, and other bloodborne diseases. MAT program participation has also been linked to lower overdose rates for people with an opioid use disorder.

Find Medication-Assisted Treatment in Florida

If you or someone you love needs treatment for opioid abuse, alcohol addiction, or another substance use disorder, you are not alone. Reach out to the specialists at First Step Behavioral Health now to learn about medication-assisted treatment in Florida or to find support at any stage of your recovery.

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