March 29, 2023 Addiction

MAT: Medication-Assisted Treatment for Addiction

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is an addiction treatment approach that combines medications with counseling and therapies to address substance use disorders (SUDs).

MAT is primarily used for treating opioid and alcohol addiction. But it may also be effective for treating other types of drug addictions.

The medications used in MAT are FDA-approved and are designed to help people with SUDs manage cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

While medication is an essential part of MAT, it is often combined with behavioral therapies, such as CBT and DBT, to address the root causes that may lead to addiction.

MAT aims to address every aspect of addiction, such as physical, mental, and social, by reducing the risk of relapse and overdose, improving stay rates in treatment, and improving the overall quality of life for those with SUDs.

Key Takeaways

Substance use disorder is a chronic disease that affects millions of people in the United States. Here is what this article is all about:

If you are struggling with substance abuse, know that help is available at Indiana Center For Recovery. Contact us today at (844) 650-0064!

Medications Used in MAT for Addiction

MAT involves the use of medications for addiction treatment. MAT is highly recommended by organizations such as the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

The most common medications used in MAT include the following:


Methadone is used for treating addiction to heroin and other opioids. This medicine reduces withdrawal symptoms and cravings, allowing those struggling with addiction to focus on their recovery.

Methadone is taken once a day and has a slow onset of action, which helps to prevent euphoria. This medicine is dispensed at specialized clinics that are licensed to provide this medication.


Buprenorphine is used for treating addiction to heroin and other opioids. This medicine reduces withdrawal symptoms and cravings and has a lower risk of abuse and overdose than other opioids.

Buprenorphine is dispensed by doctors who have completed specialized training and obtained a waiver from DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration).


Naltrexone prevents relapse in individuals who have already detoxed from opioids. This medicine works by blocking the effects of opioid addiction and reducing cravings that can lead to relapse.

Naltrexone is available in a pill form and a long-acting injectable form. The injectable form is administered once a month by a treatment provider.


Acamprosate is used to treat alcohol dependence by reducing withdrawal symptoms and the desire to drink.

This medicine works by balancing the chemical levels in the brain that are disrupted by alcohol use. Acamprosate is taken as a pill and is usually prescribed for at least 12 weeks.

However, it is vital to keep in mind that the use of medications in MAT should always be accompanied by therapies to address the root causes that contribute to addiction.

Benefits of Medication-Assisted Treatment for Addiction

MAT is a form of substance use disorder treatment involving using FDA-approved medication combined with therapies and support services to help people overcome addiction.

MAT can be an effective way to lessen cravings, manage withdrawal symptoms, and prevent relapse. Here are some of the benefits of MAT in addiction treatment:

Reduction of Withdrawal Symptoms

MAT can help to manage the uncomfortable and potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms that can occur when someone stops using alcohol or drugs. This can make the detoxification process safer and more comfortable.

Reduction of Cravings

MAT helps to reduce the physical and mental cravings that are a standard part of addiction recovery. This can make it easier for people to resist the craving to use alcohol or drugs.

Improvement of Quality of Life

MAT can help to improve the overall quality of life for those in recovery. MAT helps people reduce their addiction’s physical and mental symptoms and allows them to focus on rebuilding their lives.

Lower Risk of Overdose

MAT can help to lessen the risk of overdose by reducing the severity of drug cravings and making it easier for people to resist the cravings to use alcohol or drugs.

Higher Attendance Rate in Treatment

Studies have shown that those who receive MAT have a higher chance of staying in treatment and completing their program successfully.

Medication-Assisted Treatment and Behavioral Therapy

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) and behavioral therapy are two types of treatments commonly used for treating SUDs.

MAT involves using medications to help people manage withdrawal symptoms and cravings associated with their addiction. These medications can help people reduce their drug use and improve their overall quality of life.

On the other hand, behavioral therapy is a type of talk therapy that focuses on helping people change their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors related to substance use. Some of the most common types of behavioral therapies include CBT, MI, and CM.

Therefore, it’s important to note that treatment programs for SUD should include a combination of MAT, behavioral therapy, and other support services, such as support groups.

Dual Diagnosis

MAT and behavioral therapy are evidence-based approaches to treating people with dual diagnosis, which refers to the condition where a person is experiencing both mental and substance use disorder.

Medications used in MAT can help manage withdrawal symptoms, reduce cravings, and maintain recovery. On the other hand, behavioral therapy can help address the underlying psychological and emotional factors contributing to their addiction and improve their coping skills.

Both MAT and behavioral therapy can be effective in treating the dual diagnosis. Research has shown that combining these approaches can lead to better outcomes than using either approach alone.

Mental Health

MAT is often used in combination with behavioral therapies to treat mental health conditions. Behavioral therapies focus on changing negative behaviors, thoughts, and emotions to improve overall mental health.

The most common therapies for treating mental health include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and mindfulness-based therapy.

These therapies can help people develop coping skills, improve emotional regulation, and improve their overall quality of life.

However, it is essential for a person to work with their mental health professionals to develop a treatment plan that is tailored to the individual’s needs.

Recovery Support

Recovery support refers to the services and resources that can help those dealing with SUDs get and stay sober. This can include peer support groups, therapy, housing, employment assistance, and access to medical and mental health services.

Therefore, a comprehensive approach to recovery support that includes both medication and other support services can help people with SUDs achieve and maintain long-term recovery.

Medication Management and Adherence

Medication adherence, harm reduction, and relapse prevention are all important components of substance use treatment. Here is a closer look:

Medication Adherence

Medication adherence is a crucial element of SUD treatment. Adherence to medication regimens involves taking medications as prescribed, at the correct dosage, and on the appropriate schedule.

Here are some tips for medication adherence to SUD treatment:

Harm Reduction

Harm reduction is a set of strategies aimed at reducing the negative consequences of substance use, both for people and society as a whole.

Harm reduction strategies seek to reduce the harm caused by drug use, regardless of whether or not the individual continues to use drugs.

Here are some harm reduction strategies for SUD:

Relapse Prevention

Relapse prevention is an important part of SUD treatment. Relapse prevention strategies aim to help people identify and manage triggers and cravings, develop coping skills, and maintain their recovery.

Here are some strategies for relapse prevention in SUD:

Future Directions for MAT for Addiction

MAT has been shown to effectively reduce substance use, reduce the risk of overdose, and promote long-term recovery.

There are many potential future directions for MAT for addiction, including:

Fighting Stigma Against MAT

MAT is an evidence-based approach to treating SUDs. However, despite the proven effectiveness of MAT, there is still a lot of stigma surrounding it.

Here are some ways to fight the stigma against MAT:

MAT Advocacy and Policy Updates

Advocacy for MAT has been ongoing, with many organizations and individuals advocating for increased access to and funding for MAT programs. In recent years, there have been several policy updates related to MAT:

These policy updates have helped to increase access to and funding for MAT programs. However, there are many future directions for advocacy and policy related to MAT for SUDs:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What are examples of medication-assisted treatment?

MAT is a treatment approach that uses medications alongside behavioral therapies to treat SUDs. Some examples of commonly used medications in MAT include:

  • Methadone
  • Buprenorphine
  • Naltrexone
  • Disulfiram
  • Acamprosate

All of these medications have been demonstrated to be safe and effective for treating SUDs when used in combination with therapies and social support.

What is the purpose of medication-assisted treatment?

The purpose of MAT is to use medications, in combination with behavioral interventions and support services, to lessen or eliminate the use of drugs and alcohol and improve the chances of a successful recovery.
MAT helps people achieve and maintain a stable recovery from SUDs and to improve their overall quality of life.

What are the major components of medication-assisted treatment?

MAT is a comprehensive approach that is very effective in treating SUDs. The components of MAT typically include:

  • Medications
  • Counseling and behavioral therapies
  • Medical and psychiatric evaluation
  • Ongoing monitoring
  • Support services