Skip to content

Who Needs Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)?

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) is an indispensable resource in the ever-evolving landscape of modern substance use disorder treatment. Integrating medications alongside behavioral therapies, MAT provides a comprehensive approach to effective recovery. Yet, understanding the type of situations which benefit from MAT is crucial as it may not be appropriate for everyone. 


Medication-Assisted Use Cases


Opioid Use Disorder: Opioids have fueled a growing epidemic. With fentanyl continuing to ravage the country, the problem is only getting worse. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2021, over 75% of all drug overdose deaths were attributed to opioids. MAT utilizing medications such as methadone, buprenorphine, or naltrexone has shown substantial efficacy in managing cravings and withdrawal symptoms, paving the way for recovery. Working as a relapse preventative, MAT has the ability to save countless lives. 

Alcohol Use Disorder: Alcohol dependency remains a pervasive global issue. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that in the United States, approximately 29 million people struggled with alcohol abuse in 2021. MAT, incorporating medications like disulfiram, acamprosate, or naltrexone, has demonstrated effectiveness in reducing cravings or inducing adverse effects upon alcohol consumption.

Complexities of Polydrug Use: MAT interventions are pivotal for those grappling with multiple substance dependencies. Tailored MAT approaches utilizing different medications for varied substances have shown promise in addressing the intricacies of addiction. Concurrent polydrug use vastly increases the likelihood of overdose, health complications, and psychiatric illness. Preventing further use and stabilizing polydrug users on MAT is the first step towards recovery. 

Relapse Prevention: The cyclic nature of SUDs often involves relapse. Drug cravings can be a massive trigger leading to relapse. According to JAMA Psychiatry, a study was conducted that found “a significant association between drug cues and craving and subsequent drug use and relapse.” MAT serves as a preventive measure, decreasing the likelihood of relapse, minimizing drug cravings, and sustaining recovery efforts.

Supporting Maternal Health: For pregnant individuals contending with SUDs, MAT plays a critical role in safeguarding both maternal and fetal health. Controlled medication usage can mitigate withdrawal risks, enhancing prenatal care and outcomes.

Addressing Dual Diagnosis: MAT proves invaluable for individuals managing co-occurring mental health conditions and SUDs. Its concurrent addressing of both conditions fosters holistic healing and improved treatment outcomes.

Chronic SUD Cases: In chronic substance use cases, MAT becomes an indispensable component, providing stability and long-term support. Long-term engagement with MAT has shown increased retention in treatment and improved social functioning for individuals with SUDs.


Whose Not Appropriate for MAT


Despite the promising outcomes, misconceptions and stigma often hinder MAT's acceptance and utilization. While MAT is a valuable resource, it is not for everyone. Medication-assisted treatment, especially Suboxone and Methadone, may not be appropriate unless an individual has severe opioid use dependency. Not everyone who struggles with substance use disorder needs medication-assisted treatment and it should not be used as a blanket treatment.

MAT's versatility positions it as a potent tool against SUDs, offering a beacon of hope and a viable pathway to recovery for people grappling with substance dependencies. Understanding the pivotal role MAT plays in addiction treatment can bridge gaps in care, offering a lifeline to those navigating the complex landscape of substance use disorders.


If you believe you could benefit from medication-assisted treatment or are ready to get help for a substance use disorder, call Holland Pathways today.