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Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Medication management includes creating a comprehensive list of medications, their side effects, and guiding proper usage.

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Medication-Assisted Treatment Explained
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What Is Medication-Assisted Treatment?

Medication-Assisted Treatment is a medical practice that helps young adults remain substance free when entering treatment and throughout their recovery.

MAT involves the use of prescription drugs designed to help in:

  • Withdrawal process
  • Maintaining sobriety
  • Preventing relapse in recovery

Clients that struggle with alcoholism or opioid use disorder are primarily the recipients of Medication-Assisted Treatment. MAT works best when coupled with treatment programs like those offered at Sandstone Care, where a focus is put on co-occurring mental disorders in addition to drug or opioid addiction.

Who might be a good fit for medication-assisted treatment (MAT)?

Throughout the recovery journey, individuals experience cravings and other withdrawal symptoms that can often lead to relapse. Sandstone Care utilizes MAT to ease the recovery transition and support each client’s specific needs. Our program combines medication, therapy, and other treatments.

To begin the process, clients go through a clinical assessment to determine if MAT is the right choice as part of their long-term recovery.

Medications are prescribed specific to the client’s dependency, and use is highly monitored by medical professionals.

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History of overdose, intentional or unintentional
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History of medical complications (infections like septic joints, endocarditis, hepatitis)
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History of multiple relapses
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Single history of severe/life threatening relapse
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Significant cravings
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Drug recall euphoria/obsessive thinking
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History of high risk behaviors in relapse
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Unstable living environment
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Continued exposure to use after discharge
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Inadequate aftercare plan
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Sandstone Care provides age specific care for those who struggle with substance use, mental health, and co-occurring disorders. We have treatment centers throughout the United States.

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What is the Goal of MAT?

At Sandstone Care, the goal of Medication-Assisted Treatment is to couple psychiatric care with a highly structured medication regimen to support healing from the inside out. Medications used in MAT work to control addiction within the limbic system, while other aspects of therapy support the rest of the body and mind.

While the medication prescribed through MAT can solve physical problems for a client during rehabilitation and recovery, it cannot always solve the behavioral and mental issues found at the root of addiction. It is important to remember that MAT does not work alone – clients receiving MAT should commit to all aspects of treatment in order to overcome addiction.

Therapy is key to building a new set of coping skills to help combat addiction physically and mentally. That is why Sandstone Care offers Medication-Assisted Treatment to clients at any of our program locations and treatment levels.

Medication-Assisted Detox (MAD) vs. Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Many treatment centers claim to offer Medication-Assisted Treatment to clients, but only provide medication assisted detox or take a one size fits all approach to prescribing MAT.

Sandstone Care offers both Medication-Assisted Treatment and Medication-Assisted Detox to clients in need.

Known well in the medical community, MAT is a long-term maintenance therapy, coupled with intensive psychiatric treatment. While MAT is only utilized for clients with opioid or alcohol use disorder, a level of Medication-Assisted Detox is given to everyone with a dependence that enters treatment. Without the medication prescribed in MAD, opioid users that stop taking them can go through painful, flu-like withdrawal symptoms. Medication-Assisted Treatment, on the other hand, is utilized throughout the continuum of care at Sandstone Care, supporting a client’s journey to recovery. See the section below called “Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) at Sandstone Care” to learn how each level of care administers and monitors MAT.

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Medication Assisted Treatment For Alcohol Use Disorder

According to the CDC, alcohol use disorder is defined by periods of binge and heavy drinking along with physical dependence on alcohol, cravings, drinking more to achieve the desired effect, and experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you do not consume alcohol.

  • Drastic changes in academic performance
  • Loss of interest in previously-enjoyed activities
  • Decreased personal hygiene
  • Sudden, inexplicable need for money
  • Alcohol use in spite of consequences
  • Smell of alcohol on breath or clothes
  • Flushed, reddened skin
  • Slurred or garbled speech
  • Coordination problems
  • Changes in sleep pattern
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Mood swings
  • Use of alcohol to numb extreme emotions

Sandstone Care prescribes two FDA-approved drugs to treat alcohol use disorder:

  • Naltrexone (Vivitrol and Revia are common brands)
  • Acamprosate (Campral is a common brand)

These treatments have been demonstrated to be safe and effective in combination with counseling and psychosocial support.

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What us Naltrexone (Vivitrol)?

Medication Assisted Treatment For Opioid Addiction

What is Suboxone (Buprenorphine)?

According to The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, opioid use disorder is defined as a problematic pattern of opioid use leading to problems or distress, with at least two of the following occurring within a 12-month period:

  • Taking larger amounts or taking drugs over a longer period than intended.
  • Persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control opioid use.
  • Spending a great deal of time obtaining or using the opioid or recovering from its effects.
  • Craving, or a strong desire or urge to use opioids
  • Problems fulfilling obligations at work, school, or home.
  • Continued opioid use despite experiencing recurring social or interpersonal problems.
  • Giving up or reducing activities because of opioid use.
  • Using opioids in physically hazardous situations.
  • Continued opioid use despite ongoing physical or psychological problem connected to opioids.
  • Tolerance (i.e., need for increased amounts with continued use of the same amount)
  • Experiencing withdrawal or taking opioids (or a related substance) to avoid withdrawal symptoms.

Sandstone Care prescribes two FDA-approved drugs to treat opioid use disorder:

  • Buprenorphine (Suboxone and Subutex are common brands)
  • Naltrexone (Vivitrol and Revia are common brands)

These treatments have been demonstrated to be safe and effective in combination with counseling and psychosocial support. These medications either reduce the cravings or block the ability of the drug to create the “high” in the person’s brain.

What Is A Methadone Clinic?

A methadone clinic dispenses medications and provides support when using MAT for opioid use disorder.

Methadone clinics can be helpful if you struggle to follow your opioid treatment program without high levels of support and supervision. Unlike other addiction medicines, methadone is usually not taken home with you to take on your own.

If you use methadone for MAT, you need to go to a methadone clinic each day to get your daily dose. Since methadone activates the opioid receptors to reduce cravings, there is still a risk of misuse or abuse.

Methadone clinics ensure that you take your medication as prescribed while providing additional support during substance abuse treatment.

While going to a methadone clinic each day might be a hassle, you could benefit from peer support and the check-in with your treatment team. You can build a routine around getting up to attend the clinic before starting the rest of your day.

As you continue with your methadone treatment, you might get a referral for take-home doses. When you have more stability in your recovery and demonstrate that you can manage your addiction, take-home prescriptions can help you get back to a normal life.

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What is methadone?

The Continuum of Care

Care for wherever you are in your journey.

Access a full range of treatments for mental health and substance use disorders. Whether you need a safe sober living community, inpatient care, or outpatient therapy, we have a program to help.

Learn more about levels of care

How Sandstone Care’s Clinical Framework Supports MAT

In order for someone to truly heal from the inside out, they need a good therapist and a clinical staff.

According to Dr. Montague, “To rebuild your life, you will need a supportive cohort of friends and family, along with really good trauma care and coping mechanisms. The clinical healing tools gained from treatment come through hard work and emotional support, which is exactly what Sandstone Care offers to those ready to work hard for recovery.”

The unique clinical framework at Sandstone Care addresses each aspect of life Dr. Montague mentions as keys for recovery.

CLICC Framework

There are five pillars of success for clients within the clinical framework or CLICC

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Commitment to Sustainable Change

To achieve a new sustainable lifestyle, individuals and families must accept that meaningful change is vital to recovery. We believe the development of values and beliefs is the first step in providing the foundation for this change. To find a sustainable change, the individual must work with their family members and our clinical team to develop this set of values.

Life Skills Development

Our teens and twenties are years filled with opportunities to develop, but they are also a time filled with confusion and new challenges. Unfortunately, many people turn to substance use to cope with these new challenges and everyday stress. At Sandstone Care, individuals will learn coping skills and they’ll continue the process of defining who they are so they can tackle life’s challenges with confidence.

Clinicians call this experience identity formation. In academia, this process is called choosing your major. We recognize that when clients see their schoolwork and career choices as expressions of who they are, they flourish. Our goal is to help you flourish.

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Integrity to Values

Individuals can discover and restore the values that their families hold dear while growing a sense of personal responsibility. With a stronger sense of integrity, clients can cultivate their own values, beliefs, and passions that will continue to keep them strong in the face of temptation.

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Connection to Others

Through group therapy, clients can develop healthy and authentic relationships that aren’t based on a desire for substance use. Group therapy is also an opportunity to re-establish relationships with family members and other loved ones. Establishing stable relationships in a safe community can positively reinforce the individual’s commitment to change.

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Community Support System

The ultimate goal of the program is to create a new, sustainable, joyful and meaningful way of life. Sandstone Care has dedicated resources and clinical staff to help our clients identify classes, jobs, sports, and other activities that help individuals connect to vibrant and inspiring communities. These new communities are often the key to a new, healthy lifestyle that supports long-term recovery.

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Let’s take the next steps together

We understand taking the first step is difficult. There is no shame or guilt in asking for help or more information. We are here to support you in any way we can.