Often, the most difficult part of starting treatment for drug or alcohol addiction is dealing with withdrawals. Many people desperately want to begin a new life in recovery, but the discomfort of these physical and psychological symptoms keeps them using. For this reason, the team at Gateway Foundation Joliet partners with local providers to offer Medication-Assisted Treatment as a treatment option.
What is Medication-Assisted Treatment?
Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) is when clinicians offer FDA-approved medications to treat substance use disorder. Administration of these medications occurs alongside other treatment methods like cognitive behavioral therapy and family counseling.
The medications used in MAT serve to support a person’s recovery, not cure their addiction. As such, clinicians never offer them on their own. These medications serve to either lessen withdrawal symptoms or reduce drug cravings.
Is MAT Just Replacing One Drug With Another?
A common misconception about Medication-Assisted Treatment is that it isn’t helping the problem of addiction, but using a new drug to take the place of the old one. On the contrary, these medications help clients focus on their recovery instead of suffering through withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
Some medications are better for short-term use to get through the withdrawal management period, while others can be used long-term well into recovery. Regardless, physicians monitor clients closely to ensure the correct dosage and length of treatment. These medications aren’t for getting high. They help relieve uncomfortable symptoms to foster recovery.
When Can Medications Help?
Medication-Assisted Treatment isn’t ideal for every situation. In fact, each medication receives approval from the FDA to treat certain types of substance use disorder. For example, buprenorphine can only help with opioid addiction. Naltrexone, on the other hand, can treat both alcohol and opioid addiction.
Benefits of MAT
Alongside lessening symptoms of withdrawal and drug cravings, this treatment method also typically eliminates the need for hospitalization during withdrawal management. MAT drugs work to stabilize clients, preventing complications of withdrawal like dehydration and seizures. This keeps clients safer, and also allows them to start working toward recovery sooner.
Studies also show that the use of these medications significantly reduces a client’s risk of relapse. The reduced cravings make it much easier for clients to step away from their substance of choice and focus on self-improvement and ultimately, sobriety.
MAT also comes with close observation from medical professionals. Addiction can take a significant toll on the body, and its effects are not always immediately obvious. With medical supervision, however, doctors can spot and address any health issues that may arise.
Medication-Assisted Treatment at Gateway Foundation Joliet
Gateway Foundation Joliet is an outpatient addiction treatment center in the southwest Chicago suburbs. Our goal is to provide comprehensive addiction treatment that works with clients’ schedules. In addition to working with local healthcare providers to offer MAT, we offer a variety of addiction treatment programs, including:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
- Family Therapy
- Group Therapy
- Mindfulness-Based Sobriety
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy