5 Signs Medication-Assisted Treatment is Right for You

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Addiction is a chronic and progressive disease that negatively impacts every area of your life. Substance abuse can cause health issues, worsen mental health symptoms, and even cause financial strains. Unfortunately, millions of people in the United States struggle with a substance use disorder.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 48.7 million people dealt with addiction in 2022.

If you are thinking about attending addiction treatment, it might be beneficial to consider medication-assisted treatment (MAT). This type of substance abuse treatment combines FDA-approved medications with traditional services like evidence-based counseling and behavior therapy. Before you choose MAT, you’ll want to make sure you’re a good candidate for this type of program.

Medication-assisted treatment is currently designed to treat opioid addiction and alcoholism. If you struggle with cravings and withdrawal symptoms or have a history of relapses, MAT could provide the assistance you need to achieve long-term recovery.

5 Signs that Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) is a Good Fit

Medication-assisted treatment is a program that combines medications with therapy and relapse prevention planning. You will be given medication like Suboxone or methadone to lessen your withdrawal symptoms and prevent cravings, allowing you to focus on other aspects of addiction recovery.

That being said, MAT might not be right for everyone. It does involve staying on a medication long-term that helps to prevent relapse. Thankfully, there are ways to tell if a MAT program is right for you.

The following 5 signs will make it easy to tell who is a good candidate for medication-assisted treatment:

1. You Struggle With Opioid or Alcohol Addiction

If you have an opioid use disorder (OUD) or alcoholism, MAT could be the right program for you. These treatment facilities offer FDA-approved medications that can lessen withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings associated with alcohol or opioid addiction.

For OUD, the following medications might be prescribed during MAT:

  • Suboxone – a partial opioid agonist that contains both buprenorphine and naloxone, preventing you from getting high on opioids while reducing withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
  • Methadone – a long-acting opioid agonist that prevents withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
  • Clonidine – reduces opioid withdrawal symptoms by affecting the alpha-adrenergic receptors.
  • Lucemyra – a non-opioid alternative that reduces opioid withdrawal symptoms by reducing the release of norepinephrine

If you struggle with alcohol use disorder, you might be given one of the following medications:

  • Naltrexone – binds to receptors in the brain to alleviate cravings and block the euphoric effects of alcohol.
  • Acamprosate – reduces cravings for alcohol by balancing certain neurotransmitters in the brain
  • Disulfiram – helps reduce alcohol cravings by making your reaction to alcohol unpleasant

2. You are Experiencing Withdrawal Symptoms

Medication-assisted treatment is designed to make early recovery more comfortable, preventing you from returning to substance abuse. If you are dealing with withdrawal symptoms, many of the medications offered during MAT programs can alleviate them. Instead of having to white-knuckle it through detox, you will be able to adjust to sobriety comfortably and safely

Using medications to treat your withdrawal symptoms will prevent any complications from arising. Additionally, you will have more energy to focus on other areas of recovery, like individual therapy and group counseling.

3. Cravings are Hard to Cope With

Drug addiction causes your brain and body to believe it needs a substance to function. When you stop using opioids or alcohol, your system will think it’s missing something it needs. Because of this, you might experience strong urges and cravings to abuse your substance of choice.

Unfortunately, these cravings can be incredibly difficult to cope with. Sometimes, they cause people to experience a relapse. Instead of risking your sobriety, you could use MAT medications to prevent cravings from occurring.

4. You Have Relapsed in the Past

Addiction is a chronic disease, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that the addiction relapse rate is between 40 to 60%.

If you have experienced a relapse in the past, it’s important to remain vigilant in your recovery. MAT works by reducing your chances of relapse by kicking cravings and preventing withdrawal symptoms. You will have a much easier time paying attention during therapy when you do not have to worry about

5. Abstinence-Based Programs Have Not Been Effective

Most addiction treatment centers promote abstinence as the only valid form of recovery. While total sobriety works for many people, it might not be right for you. Medication-assisted treatment can be used long-term if you need to remain on a substance like Suboxone or methadone to prevent yourself from returning to your old habits.

There is nothing wrong with using medication to maintain your sobriety. As long as you are also attending therapy and support groups for addiction, you can use medication to prevent cravings and keep you safe from potential relapses.

Get Connected to a Top-Rated MAT Program Today

If you or a loved one suffers from opioid or alcohol addiction, it’s time to seek professional help. Medication-assisted treatment programs can make the process of becoming sober much easier. By lessening withdrawal symptoms and curbing cravings, MAT makes it easier to focus on treating the root causes of your addiction.

Contact New Jersey Interventions today to get connected with a MAT program near you.

Medically Reviewed: April 26, 2024

Dr Ashley

Medical Reviewer

Chief Editor


All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Dr Ashley Murray obtained her MBBCh Cum Laude in 2016. She currently practices in the public domain in South Africa. She has an interest in medical writing and has a keen interest in evidence-based medicine.

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

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