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Medication Assisted Treatment

Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT), as described by SAMHSA (The Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration), is the use of medications in combination with counseling and behavioral modification therapies, to provide a “whole-patient” approach to the treatment of substance use disorders. SAMHSA Research shows this combination of medication and behavioral therapy is most successful when treating substance use disorders, from opiods to alcohol.

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Medication Assisted Treatment. Ongoing support is critical at Pittsburgh's Premiere drug rehab JADE Wellness

Opiods are drugs that slow down the actions of the body while also affecting the brain to cause pleasant feelings done by attaching to the receptors in the brain with a perfect fit. The more opiods ingested the more of the effect.

Most commonly, buprenorphine is used today to treat opiate addiction, which touches approximately 9% of the total population sometime in their life. However other medications, such as Methadone and Naltrexone are still used as well.

Bupenorphine acts like an opiod but is different too. It attaches itself to the brain receptors, as the opiod once did, now with an imperfect fit. On account of the buprenorphine, the receptors are occupied without all of the harmful, dangerous, addicting opiod affects. In Layman’s terms, the receptor is merely “tricked” into thinking it is being satisfied. The person taking the bupenorphine now feels normal, not high. In conjunction with the lack of feeling the pain associated with withdrawal, the body stops craving the opiod and the brain is able to focus on behavioral modifications in the form of counseling.

There are various medications and treatments are available to those suffering from alcohol dependence as well. Vivitrol is just one of these offerings and works much in the same way as buprenorphine does for opiod dependence. Minor differences range from the way Vivitrol is prescribed (as a once monthly injection) to how it scientifically effects the brain.

Made up of Naltrexone, Vivitrol works by providing continuous levels of its active ingredients to block activity in the brains limbic system (the reward system thought to play a central role in alcohol dependence). Injected into fat tissue once a month, in liquid form, Vivitrol dissolves slowly throughout the month providing continuous coverage, releasing medicine every day. Furthermore, Pharmacological Adherence is enhanced as one no longer has to think about remembering to take their daily pills.

Overall, Medication Assisted Treatment is driven upon individualized care, which may have much to do with its’ success. No one combination of medication or therapy is best for no one person. Thus, a model such as JADE’s where the individual comes first and the treatment of counseling and support is created to meet the client’s needs is ideal in a MAT environment.

*Please call JADE 412-380-0100 if you are interested in learning more about Medication Assisted Treatment and always consult your doctor before taking any medications.