Millions of people in the United States struggle with an addiction, or substance use disorder, every year. In the past, substance use disorder treatment has been limited by barriers like stigma, insurance, and availability of services, so accessing treatment and learning how to manage the disease can be challenging. These barriers prevent people from taking a critical step toward recovery and reducing the risk of overdose and instead leads to continued growth of the problem. Stemming from a lack of education, it is not uncommon for people to view addiction as a moral failing and believe that one could easily “stop” or “get over” their disease whenever they want to, which furthers the overall stigma around the topic. Like other chronic diseases, scientific research and studies of the brain, have made treatment more accessible and accepted leading people who struggle with opioid use disorder to the path of recovery.

Developed 50 years ago, Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) has become the gold standard in medical practices for opioid use disorders (OUD). Using a combination of FDA-approved medications such as naltrexone, buprenorphine, and methadone, counseling, and behavioral therapy, MAT has shown significant positive results in the lives of individuals with OUD. All these factors play an important role in the treatment process by ensuring the patient has the best environment possible for recovery. It can be said that the longer people stay in treatment with medication, the better their overall health and functioning becomes.

Studies have linked MAT to a decrease in cravings and symptoms of withdrawal, a reduced chance of overdose, and an increase in one’s focus by resuming their normal functioning, which allows them to regain control of their brain. Through MAT, the functioning of a patient is changed. If we can change that with medication or counseling, we can educate more people about how to access treatment for themselves or loved ones, inform them of the options available that can lead to recovery and override the current stigma attached to this effective form of treatment.

Year after year, MAT has become increasingly recommended by leading healthcare organizations, public policy experts, and community stakeholders across the country as a key tool in helping to fight our nation’s opioid epidemic, achieve long-term recovery and help people live healthier, more productive lives.

To learn more about MAT and how it can help those struggling with opioid dependence, contact us today! We can help you get the treatment you or a family member needs to overcome addiction.