“Medication Assisted Treatment” (MAT) is a groundbreaking approach for treating alcohol, opiate and other addictions that combines behavioral therapy with FDA-approved medications such as Suboxone or Naltrexone.
Years ago, there was little to offer people suffering from drug or alcohol addiction. Depending on the substance that the person was using, treatment ranged from “tough-it-out” and “just quit” approaches to medications that might alleviate withdrawal symptoms but did nothing to treat the underlying issue.
Today, MAT offers a far more promising approach, one that gives clients an ability to come off drugs and/or alcohol much more comfortably — and in most cases, in a relatively short-term manner — and that also addresses the specific causes of that chemical dependency. Beach House is thus proud to offer MAT in its drug and alcohol treatment programs as yet another evidence-based treatment option that can be tailored to clients’ individual needs in order to maximize the prospects of a successful recovery.
Suboxone, Vivitrol and Other Evidence-Based Medications
As part of an integrated plan of substance abuse care that treats the whole person, MAT during detox can dramatically alleviate the physical symptoms of withdrawal, such as pain, discomfort and cravings. The goal is for clients receiving MAT to be able to participate as comfortably and as quickly as possible in a daily residential treatment program that integrates other helpful, evidence-based interventions, such as group and individual therapies.
Under the careful supervision of an addiction-certified psychiatrist and attending medical team, and depending on a client’s specific needs, Beach House administers only those medications found to be most effective in treating alcohol, opiate and other drug dependencies. These medications include (but are not limited to) the following:
- Suboxone and Subutex (buprenorphine) can effectively help those looking to find freedom from opiates achieve lasting sobriety, according to evidence-based studies. While usually not life-threatening, withdrawal from opiates like heroin and prescription painkiller medications like oxycodone or hydrocodone can be horribly uncomfortable — not to mention, a very real obstacle to getting treatment. Suboxone successfully alleviates these symptoms, including the cravings that can often precipitate relapse (and in some cases fatal overdose).
In a great majority of cases, Suboxone is only a short-term intervention: once the medication has helped clients get through early recovery, it can be gradually tapered and eventually discontinued. In some cases — these are more the exception than the norm — long-term Suboxone may be needed.
- Vivitrol (naltrexone) is known for its effectiveness at decreasing alcohol and opiate cravings. The drug blocks natural opioid receptors in the brain, thereby deactivating the euphoric and sedative effects of drugs like heroin, morphine, codeine and alcohol. Vivitrol is available as a pill and a once-monthly injection.
- Benzodiazepines such as Librium and Ativan are highly effective in reducing the problematic and often dangerous withdrawal effects of alcohol. Without proper monitoring in treatment, alcohol withdrawal can lead to seizures or even death. Benzodiazepines greatly reduce the chances of medical complications from alcohol withdrawal.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment – Medications for Co-Occurring Disorders
As many as half of those who suffer from substance abuse have a “dual diagnosis” in the form of a co-occurring mental illness that can be effectively treated upon diagnosis. Often, an untreated psychiatric condition like depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was the underlying cause of an addiction in the first place. Every client coming through our doors thus benefits from a comprehensive psychiatric assessment at the start of treatment. This detailed clinical and medical work-up helps our multi-disciplinary team of addiction professionals determine whether another underlying psychiatric condition requires treatment.
In cases where a dual diagnosis is present, an addiction-certified psychiatrist and attending medical team may prescribe one or more psychotropic medicines to treat the underlying disorder. In order to ensure that clients receive the medication that is best tailored for their needs as early as possible during treatment, we employ one of the latest breakthroughs in the field of psychiatry — genetic testing. Lab-tested DNA from human saliva, collected in a quick and easy cheek swab, can now tell us which particular drugs will most likely benefit individual clients. The goal is to relieve the symptoms and suffering caused by a dual diagnosis, and as quickly as possible, so that clients can optimize their time in treatment, build greater resilience to relapse, and ultimately find freedom from drugs or alcohol.