MAT stands for Medication-Assisted Treatment. It is a comprehensive approach used for addiction treatment, especially opioid use disorders. MAT combines the use of FDA-approved medications (such as methadone, buprenorphine, or naltrexone) in conjunction with counseling and behavioral therapies.
The goal of MAT is to provide a holistic, individually tailored approach to treatment that not only addresses the withdrawal symptoms and cravings associated with opioid addiction, but also helps to rehabilitate the individual socially and mentally. MAT has been shown to improve patient survival, increase retention in treatment, decrease illicit opiate use and other criminal activity among people with substance use disorders, and improve patients’ ability to gain and maintain employment.
It’s important to note that while MAT helps treat substance use disorders, it’s not a cure. It’s a long-term treatment approach, much like treatments for other chronic diseases like diabetes or heart disease. Each patient’s treatment plan is individualized and may be adjusted over time according to the patient’s progress.
(MAT) has several key benefits for individuals struggling with substance use disorders, particularly opioid addiction:
- Reduced Cravings: MAT utilizes medications to help reduce cravings for opioids or other substances, which can aid significantly in recovery.
- Decreased Withdrawal Symptoms: The medications used in MAT can help manage withdrawal symptoms, making the detoxification process more comfortable and less likely to result in relapse.
- Improved Survival Rates: MAT has been shown to decrease overdose death rates among individuals with substance use disorders.
- Enhanced Quality of Life: By combining medications with counseling and behavioral therapies, MAT addresses the whole person and can lead to improved family relationships, job stability, and overall wellbeing.
- Lower Risk of Infectious Disease Transmission: MAT has been associated with a decrease in risky behaviors, such as needle sharing, thus reducing the spread of infectious diseases like HIV and hepatitis.
- Increased Treatment Retention: Patients receiving MAT are more likely to remain in treatment compared to individuals who do not receive such medications.
- Reduced Criminal Activity: MAT can help reduce criminal activity associated with drug use by stabilizing the individual and reducing the compulsion to use illicit substances.
Remember, MAT is not a one-size-fits-all solution and should be tailored to the individual’s needs. It’s most effective when part of an integrated approach that includes counseling and psychological support.
At a Glance
Dr. Sylvia Udokoro Nwakanma
- Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
- Double Board Certified in Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP-BC) and Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP-C)
- SAMSHA Certified Addictions Nurse Practitioner
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