Skip to content

Starting MAT in Medical Detox: What to Expect

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear medication-assisted treatment (MAT)? I’d be willing to wager that methadone and suboxone are what popped up. This is a fair initial thought to have since MAT was created using methadone to treat heroin addicts. MAT as an approach to treating substance abuse has come a long since the 60’s when it started. Today it is a fundamental part of medical detox programs and as part of aftercare. In this blog, we will explore what to expect when starting MAT in medical detox and how it can be a pivotal component on the path to sobriety.

Decoding Medical Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Before we dive into what you should expect from a medical detox that employs MAT, it’s a good idea for you to understand what MAT even is. Medication-assisted treatment is the use of doctor prescribed medications alongside behavioral therapies and counseling. This approach addresses the underlying causes of addiction while managing the withdrawal symptoms and cravings that go along with drug cessation. This allows those folks attempting to quit using, a greater chance of long-term recovery. 

The Decision to Start MAT

Nowadays most medical detox programs, by definition, employ MAT. While it’s totally up to you on whether or not you initiate medication-assisted treatment, it is a good idea to speak with a healthcare professional before making your decision. As with all medications, there are potential risks and associated benefits. Alcohol and opioid use disorder are both conditions which may require MAT in a medical detox program due to the life-threatening effects of abrupt detox and the withdrawal symptoms which follow. 

What to Expect During Medical Detox

Medical detoxification is the initial phase of addiction treatment, focusing on safely managing withdrawal symptoms. When incorporating MAT into this process, individuals can expect a carefully monitored and supportive environment. Healthcare professionals will assess the specific needs of each patient, adjusting medication doses as necessary to ensure a comfortable and effective detoxification process.

Medications Used in MAT

The medications used in MAT vary depending on the substances of abuse. For someone with opioid use disorder medications like suboxone are commonly used. For alcohol use disorder, diazepam or chlordiazepoxide may be used to control withdrawal symptoms. During the administration and use of these medications, healthcare professionals closely monitor your response to the medications and adjust dosage accordingly.

In the aftercare portion of treatment, drugs such as naltrexone, vivitrol, disulfiram, and acamprosate may be used as a preventative. These medications work by reducing cravings and blocking the euphoric effects of substances. Both of these aspects are used with counseling to reduce the risk of relapse and encourage long-term sobriety. 

The Role of Counseling & Support

Medications are the backbone of MAT but it is the counseling and support which bring everything together. Behavioral therapy, in conjunction with symptom management, lays the foundation for long-term recovery by preventing relapse, exploring the root causes and conditions of substance abuse and providing time to heal and develop healthy coping mechanisms.  

Acknowledging the need for medical detox is a big step towards getting better. MAT can be a helpful aid in this journey. When you understand the components of MAT and how it fits into a medical detox program, you’re empowered to make more informed decisions for yourself. 

If you or someone you love is looking for a medical detox program, call Holland Pathways today.