What is Medically Assisted Treatment (MAT)?
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Medically Assisted Treatment, or MAT is the use of medication, in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, to provide a whole-patient approach to the treatment of substance use disorders. SAMHSA research shows that when treating substance-use disorders, a combination of medication and behavioral therapies is most successful. Medication assisted treatment is clinically driven, with a focus on individualizing care on a case by case basis.
Fact: Emergency department visits for prescription drug misuse more than doubled between 2004 and 2011. Meanwhile, prescription drug-related deaths have tripled in the last decade, with nearly 17,000 in the U.S. in 2010, and now outnumber those from heroin and cocaine combined, according to the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
What is The Counseling Center’s philosophy on Medication Assisted Therapy (MAT)?
We firmly believe that counseling and behavioral therapies represent the most effective, long term treatment for addiction. An intensive therapy program of 90 days is key to breaking down the faulty logic of addiction and teaching new life skills and decision making processes to support and maintain a recovery lifestyle.
- Pharmacological interventions are not appropriate for all patients.
Clients often cite physical withdraw symptoms as the main reason for leaving a treatment program against staff advice. Medications, such as Suboxone, have been proven to control the symptoms of withdrawal, as clients gradually step down in dosage to wean off of opioid dependency.
- Medication is not a “cure” for addiction, and there must be a target date for removing the pharmacological treatment component. Medications should be used in the smallest doses and for the shortest duration possible to be effective in keeping someone engaged in treatment. This can vary with the individual, based on the length and severity of past opiate use.
Fact: 6 months is the maximum duration for general outpatients who do not live in a supervised environment. 6 weeks is the maximum duration for patients in a supervised, supportive housing environment. *Exceptions to these limitations can occur when a patient has been prescribed Suboxone by another provider, prior to entering treatment.
Treatment is individualized and the goal is to wean each patient off of MAT programs as soon as medically and therapeutically appropriate. Physicans and counselors work together to determine the appropriate course of treatment for each client.