Like most diseases, addiction can also be treated with medications. Though these medications are not a cure, they can increase the chances of recovery for those struggling with a severe addiction. Our medication-assisted treatment (MAT) program in Louisville helps clients manage the intense cravings and dangerous withdrawal symptoms from alcohol, benzodiazepine and opioid use disorders.
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) combines medications with behavioral therapy as a type of comprehensive addiction treatment. In other words, medications are only part of our MAT program. Clients won’t just take a pill and be “cured” of their addiction. They will also need to attend traditional forms of therapy during our MAT program.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved medications for alcohol and opioid dependence. Providers prescribe these medications specifically to treat alcohol and opioid use disorders. Currently, other medications are being tested for addiction to other drugs, like cocaine and methamphetamine. However, at this time, the FDA has yet to approve MAT medications for substances other than alcohol and opioids.
These medications reduce cravings and minimize the severity of withdrawal symptoms. Unlike most other drugs, withdrawal symptoms from opioid and alcohol use disorder can be life-threatening. A person going through opioid withdrawal is at a high risk of overdosing if they relapse. During alcohol withdrawal, a client could have severe symptoms known as delirium tremens. These symptoms include things like mental confusion, which can cause the person to take risks or put themselves in harm’s way.
MAT medications also help a person focus on their treatment during early recovery. People dealing with withdrawal and cravings often struggle to engage in their treatment program. They might be distracted by intense cravings or feel physically distressed. MAT medications can take the edge off of these symptoms so that a person can focus on their recovery.
Not all treatment centers offer the same types of medications for MAT. At Louisville Addiction Center, we provide two medications that work best for our outpatient program. Some medications, like methadone for opioid addiction, require clients to attend a daily clinic to receive their dosage. However, we know that this commitment doesn’t work for everyone. Therefore, we offer two injectable medications that clients only need to take once a month.
Vivitrol treats both alcohol and opioid use disorders. The active ingredient in Vivitrol is a medication called naltrexone. Naltrexone blocks the opioid receptors in the brain. Therefore, a person will not experience the effects of opioid drugs, like heroin, oxycodone, or fentanyl if they do relapse. Naltrexone also diminishes cravings and urges to use opioids and alcohol.
While alcohol is not an opioid, the opioid receptors play a role in the euphoric effects that a person feels when they drink. Thus, medications with naltrexone, such as Vivitrol, also work for alcohol use disorders.
Sublocade is used only for opioid use disorders. Buprenorphine is the active medication in a Sublocade injection. Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist. Unlike naltrexone, buprenorphine actually activates opioid receptors. However, buprenorphine activates these receptors to a lesser extent than an opioid drug.
This partial activation doesn’t get a person “high” like heroin or fentanyl. But, by activating the receptors, the person doesn’t get the intense cravings that they might get without the medication.
Injectable medications like Sublocade and Vivitrol are most effective for the first few weeks after the injection. The effects do wear off throughout the month, however. That is why it is crucial for clients to stick to their monthly injection schedule. Otherwise, they could be at a high risk of relapse and overdose if they miss a dose.
Because these medications only help with specific symptoms like cravings and withdrawal, clients must continue to attend other types of treatment. Combining both behavioral therapy and medications is critical for success at our MAT program in Louisville, Kentucky.
MAT works by reducing the risk of relapse and overdose for those in the early stages of recovery. This type of treatment also works by combining other types of therapy along with medications. Addiction to opioids and alcohol causes several symptoms and not all of them can be helped with medications. These symptoms include behavioral issues, mental health conditions (bipolar disorder, PTSD) and problems with relationships.
The medications help a person engage in their recovery program. Withdrawal symptoms from alcohol and opioid use disorders can be intense for most people. In addition, these symptoms can last for weeks or months after detox. For some people, lingering withdrawal symptoms could continue for a year or more.
The severity of withdrawal symptoms can be a barrier to treatment for many people. They might avoid recovery altogether because they don’t want to experience the discomfort of these symptoms. In addition, they could fear the potentially life-threatening symptoms of withdrawal, especially for those who have used alcohol or opioids for years.
Therefore, MAT offers hope to those with a severe addiction. Since we use injectable medications, we also allow for more flexibility for people to participate in MAT programs. That way, people with school, family, or work obligations do not need to spend time at a daily clinic for their dose. They can continue to fulfill their other responsibilities without much disruption.
Our MAT program in Louisville offers several benefits, including the following:
These benefits are all part of our comprehensive treatment at the Louisville Addiction Center. Not only will clients receive medications for severe dependence, but they will also receive well-rounded care for a number of problems caused by addiction.
Our MAT program helps those with severe addictions to alcohol, benzodiazepines (Xanax) or opioids. Addictions to these substances can cause severe cravings and withdrawal symptoms for those in early recovery. Louisville Addiction Center offers a comprehensive MAT program that includes group or individual therapy, holistic approaches, and varying levels of care.
Contact us today to free yourself from addiction.
Addiction and co-occurring disorders don’t have to control your life. Louisville Addiction Center is waiting with open arms to give you the tools necessary for lasting change. Reach out to us today to learn more.