Methods We Utilize
Medication Assisted Treatment

What is medication assisted treatment? Also known as MAT, medication assisted treatment is the use of certain prescription medications to help individuals who are struggling with a moderate or severe substance abuse disorder. Certain medications are beneficial during different stages of the recovery process. For example, medications like buprenorphine and naltrexone can help alleviate the more severe symptoms associated with opioid withdrawal and help fight cravings. Certain antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications can help alleviate psychological symptoms associated with post-acute withdrawal. And medications such as vivitrol and antabuse can help prevent relapse.

When is Medication Assisted Treatment necessary?

Medication assisted treatment can be beneficial in many different scenarios. Medication is frequently used to ease the pain of withdrawal symptoms during a medical detox. Continued medication to fight cravings following detox might be necessary if you have repetitively relapsed after short periods of sobriety because of intense and overwhelming drug or alcohol cravings. It is important to understand that MAT should never serve as a standalone treatment option. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration confirms that MAT is only effective as a treatment for addiction when combined with intensive behavioral therapy. All medications that are utilized as part of a comprehensive treatment program have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration and are considered safe to use when taken exactly as instructed by a medical professional. At Pine Tree Recovery Center we utilize certain safe and evidence-based medications whenever doing so is beneficial to a client’s comprehensive recovery plan.

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How Effective is MAT?

The effectiveness of MAT depends heavily on the person. For some individuals, MAT proves to be an essential part of the early recovery process. For others, MAT might not be necessary if a variety of other treatment modalities are being utilized. Every individual is unique. This is why at Pine Tree Recovery Center we offer thorough addiction assessments upon admission to our program. If MAT is deemed unnecessary we focus on providing clients with a range of other effective treatment methods which could include individual, group and family therapy, holistic healing, 12-Step education and various other recovery tools.

MAT is Not a Replacement for Treatment

In 2017, Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price commented, “If we’re just substituting one opioid for another, we’re not moving the dial much.” In response to these comments, Brendan Saloner, an addiction researcher and assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, stated that he was “gobsmacked” at Price’s lack of scientific backing and accuracy. The Department of Health and Human Services, for which Price works, includes a link to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s medication assisted treatment information page. This page reads, “A common misconception associated with [medication-assisted treatment] is that it substitutes one drug for another. Instead, these medications relieve the withdrawal symptoms and psychological cravings that cause chemical imbalances in the body.”

At Pine Tree Recovery Center we sincerely believe MAT can be very beneficial, but only as a supplement to a thorough recovery program based on evidence-based clinical therapies.

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The MAT Methods We Utilize

At Pine Tree Recovery Center we utilize certain heavily-researched and FDA-approved medications to help alleviate the more severe symptoms of drug and alcohol withdrawal, to curb cravings and to prevent relapse.

Medication Assisted Treatment

Medications We Utilize:

  • For Opioids – There are three drugs currently approved for the FDA for the treatment of symptoms associated with opioid withdrawal: naltrexone, buprenorphine and methadone. At Pine Tree Recovery Center we might utilize a combination of buprenorphine and naltrexone if a case of opioid dependence is particularly severe. Some brand names of this medication combination are Suboxone, Bunavail, Cassipa and Zubsolv. All of these medications serve similar functions. They work to alleviate the more severe withdrawal symptoms while reducing the drug cravings that often lead to relapse. We do not utilize methadone.
  • For Alcohol – In the case of severe alcohol dependence, benzodiazepines might be used to prevent seizures and other serious symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. Because benzodiazepines have the potential to be habit-forming themselves, they are always administered by a medical professional and the client is tapered off the medication as soon as the withdrawal process has come to a close and physical stabilization has been achieved.
  • Antidepressant medications – Certain chemical substances lead to the development of persistent psychological issues. Because many drugs interrupt the brain’s chemistry, many drug and alcohol users experience symptoms of depression when they get sober abruptly. Antidepressants can be a useful part of an overall treatment program that focuses heavily on therapeutic intervention. In most cases a person does not need to take this medication for an extended period of time (though in some cases this may be necessary, especially if permanent damage has been done to the brain or there are underlying mental health disorders).
  • Anti-anxiety medications – Similarly, repetitive substance abuse can lead to the development of anxiety and panic disorder. Anxiety is a common symptom of acute and post-acute withdrawal. Anti-anxiety medications are often a beneficial part of MAT and can help a person concentrate more on their therapeutic program of recovery.
  • Sleep Aids – In some cases a client might experience bouts of insomnia and other major sleep disruptions. If this is the case a sleep aid might be prescribed. Sleep aids are always administered by a medical professional.
  • Over-the-Counter (OTC) Medications – We use several OTC medications to treat the less severe and more manageable symptoms of withdrawal. We might administer ibuprofen or acetaminophen if a client is experiencing general feelings of physical discomfort or a low-grade fever. In the case of mild or moderate withdrawal symptoms, OTC medications are often sufficient when combined with rest, relaxation and nourishing meals provided by our on-site chef.

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    Pine Tree Recovery Center is part of Guardian Recovery Network, a leader in substance use disorder treatment with two decades of experience providing a full continuum of care for clients and their families throughout the recovery process. The Pine Tree Recovery Center experience was created by top addiction treatment professionals using extensive feedback from clients to create a truly unique and highly effective program. We serve as the northeast region’s leading substance use disorder, detoxification and intensive outpatient treatment center. Our highly trained staff utilizes detoxification protocols designed to comfortably and safely eliminate physical dependence on substances and works to effectively help clients take the first step in their recovery. We often utilize MAT to help alleviate the more severe symptoms of withdrawal, curb cravings and prevent relapse. To learn more or to begin your own personal journey of addiction recovery, contact us today.