How Is Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) Effective for Addiction?

How Is Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) Effective for Addiction?

It may seem counterintuitive to turn to a substance to help you with a substance use problem. However, if you’ve become addicted to alcohol or drugs, you’ve changed your brain chemistry and how your brain works. That’s why it’s so difficult to break an addiction on your own; your brain doesn’t let you.

At Spectrum Pain Clinics in Jackson and Cordova, Tennessee, our team is specially trained to help you break your addiction and take control of your life with medication-assisted treatment (MAT) and therapy. Our holistic approach ensures that you end your dependence on euphoric substances and learn new coping strategies.

Addiction “rewards” your brain

In 2018, an estimated 2 million Americans were addicted to opioids alone. Many people first start taking opioids when they get a prescription from a physician to treat an acute or chronic pain condition.

Unfortunately, long-term use of opioids doesn’t just switch off pain receivers in the brain; it alters the way your brain works. Opiates travel through your bloodstream to your brain, where they trigger the same biochemical process your brain undergoes when it receives a reward, such as having an orgasm or eating something delicious.

The reward is so powerful that your brain craves another. Over time, though, you need more and more of the same substance to achieve the same sense of euphoria. You can become addicted to a number of substances, including, but not limited to: 

Even though marijuana is generally considered a non-addictive drug, approximately 9% of those who use it develop an addiction. 

MAT stabilizes your brain

The drugs in MAT don’t stimulate the reward centers of your brain the same way that opioids and other substances do. Therefore, your brain — and you — don’t become addicted to them. 

The FDA-approved medications used in MAT effectively reduce the chemical cravings that your addiction caused in your brain. MAT also relieves upsetting or painful withdrawal symptoms, helping you break your addiction. Medications approved for MAT include:

Alcohol-use disorders

Opioid dependency

When you choose medication-assisted treatment for your addiction, our addictionologist closely supervises you to ensure you receive the optimal dose and get the support you need as you transition off of the addictive substance. MAT also lowers your risk of relapse.

If you developed the addiction because of a chronic pain condition, we address that need, too. At Spectrum Pain Clinics, we offer a variety of nonaddictive pain treatments, including nerve blocks and decompression. Your doctors work with you to find ways to manage your pain without dependence on or addiction to painkillers.

MAT is more than medication

Although the medications used in MAT are an essential component of breaking your addiction, we combine their use with needed emotional support and counseling so you can transition to a drug-free life. Through our addiction counseling programs, you learn new ways of thinking and of coping.

Often, addiction is caused by the pain of past trauma that you try to alleviate with substances such as alcohol or drugs. Instead of turning to self-medication through substances, we help you identify and manage your feelings so you can more successfully manage the stresses of life.

While MAT isn’t an instant cure, it’s one essential step in breaking your addiction and taking control of your life again. Get the support, guidance, and medication you need to be addiction-free by contacting the Spectrum Pain Clinics location nearest you.

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