How Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) Can Help You Heal

Struggling with addiction? AM Behavioral Health offers medication-assisted treatment (MAT) and personalized care for lasting recovery.

Table of Contents

What is Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)?

Many people struggling with addiction feel overwhelmed by the desire to use substances, making recovery seem out of reach. Fortunately, there are effective treatment options available, like medication-assisted treatment (MAT).
Medication-assisted treatment is a comprehensive approach that combines FDA-approved medications with counseling and behavioral therapies. These medications help manage withdrawal symptoms and cravings. This allows people to focus on the essential work of healing and rebuilding their lives.1

AM Behavioral Health: Our Commitment to Providing Evidence-Based Treatment

At AM Behavioral Health, we understand that addiction is a complex disease, and we are committed to providing our clients with the most effective treatment options available. Because of this, we firmly believe in the power of medication-assisted treatment.

Our treatment approach is rooted in scientific evidence, and we make sure to stay up to date on the latest advancements in addiction treatment to ensure our clients receive the highest quality of care.

Understanding Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

MAT works by addressing the underlying physiological changes in the brain caused by addiction. Medications used in MAT interact with the same receptors in the brain as addictive substances, but in a controlled manner.
This helps to:2
  • Reduce withdrawal symptoms: As people stop using drugs, they experience unpleasant physical and emotional symptoms. MAT medications can significantly lessen these withdrawal symptoms, making the initial stages of recovery more manageable.
  • Decrease cravings: Addiction hijacks the brain’s reward system, leading to intense cravings. MAT medications help normalize brain function and reduce the intensity of cravings, allowing people to focus on other aspects of treatment.
  • Block the effects of opioids: Certain MAT medications can block the effects of opioids taken illegally, making them less effective and deterring relapse.
These combined effects create a more stable environment for people to take part in counseling and behavioral therapies, which are crucial for long-term recovery.
Studies have shown that MAT, when combined with therapy, is significantly more effective in reducing substance use and promoting long-term recovery than behavioral therapies alone.2

Types of Medications Used in Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

There are three main types of medications used in MAT for opioid use disorder.3
These medications include:4


Methadone is a long-acting medication that reduces cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Methadone is often dispensed at a specialized clinic and requires close monitoring by a healthcare professional.


Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist. It’s available in various forms, including:
  • Tablets
  • Films
  • Injections
It partially activates the same receptors as opioids, reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms, but with a lower risk of overdose compared to full opioid agonists. Buprenorphine can be prescribed by specially certified physicians and dispensed at pharmacies.


This medication works differently from methadone and buprenorphine. It blocks the effects of opioids, preventing them from producing a high. Naltrexone is often used for people who have already achieved abstinence from opioids and want to prevent relapse.

The Comprehensive Approach of Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) Programs

MAT is not a standalone treatment. It’s most effective when integrated with a comprehensive treatment program that includes:
  • Individual and group counseling: Therapy helps people address the underlying causes of their addiction, develop coping mechanisms, and learn relapse prevention strategies.
  • Behavioral therapies: Therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help people identify and change negative thoughts and behaviors associated with addiction.
  • Vocational training and support: Addiction can disrupt employment. Programs can help people develop job skills and find employment to rebuild their lives.
  • Recreational therapy: Recreational activities can provide enjoyment, reduce stress, and promote healthy social interaction.
AM Behavioral Health incorporates all these elements into our MAT program, providing a holistic approach to healing and recovery.

Benefits of Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

MAT offers a range of significant advantages for people struggling with addiction. These benefits include:

Reduced Withdrawal Symptoms and Cravings

One of the most significant barriers to entering and staying in treatment is the discomfort of withdrawal symptoms and intense cravings.
MAT medications effectively address these challenges by:
  • Lessening withdrawal intensity: Withdrawal symptoms can be physically and emotionally taxing, often leading people to abandon treatment prematurely. MAT medications significantly reduce the severity of these symptoms, making the initial stages of recovery more manageable.
  • Curbing cravings: Addiction disrupts the brain’s reward system, leading to intense cravings that can trigger relapse. MAT medications help normalize brain function and reduce the intensity of cravings, allowing people to focus on other aspects of treatment.

Improved Treatment Retention and Outcomes

By mitigating withdrawal symptoms and cravings, MAT helps people stay engaged in treatment for longer periods. This extended participation allows for deeper healing and a better chance of achieving long-term recovery.
Studies have shown that people in MAT programs are more likely to:
  • Abstain from substance use: Compared to treatment without medication, MAT participants have higher abstinence rates.
  • Complete treatment programs: MAT increases the likelihood of people successfully completing their treatment program.
  • Reduce risky behaviors: MAT can help decrease behaviors associated with addiction, such as sharing needles or engaging in criminal activity to obtain drugs.

Potential for Long-Term Recovery and Improved Quality of Life

When combined with comprehensive therapy and support services, Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) empowers people to achieve long-term recovery. This translates to a significant improvement in quality of life.
Here’s how:
  • Increased health and well-being: By managing addiction, MAT can lead to better physical and mental health.
  • Improved relationships: Addiction can strain relationships with family and friends. Recovery through MAT allows people to rebuild healthy connections.
  • Greater stability: MAT can help people regain control of their lives, allowing them to pursue education, employment, and other goals.
  • Reduced risk of overdose: Certain MAT medications can block the effects of opioids, significantly reducing the risk of fatal overdose.
At AM Behavioral Health, we believe that MAT is a powerful tool for those seeking freedom from addiction. By offering MAT as part of our comprehensive treatment program, we aim to empower our clients to achieve lasting recovery and live fulfilling lives.

Integrating Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) into Addiction Treatment Programs

MAT is most effective when seamlessly integrated into a comprehensive addiction treatment program. Here at AM Behavioral Health, we achieve this integration through several key principles:

Individualized Assessment and Treatment Planning

We understand that addiction affects everyone differently. Our team conducts a thorough assessment to determine the most appropriate medication and tailor the treatment plan to each client’s specific needs.
This assessment considers factors such as:
  • Type of substance use disorder
  • Severity of addiction
  • Medical history
  • Mental health conditions
  • Individual preferences
Based on this assessment, we develop a personalized treatment plan that incorporates medication, behavioral therapies, and other support services.

Coordination of Medical and Behavioral Health Services with Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Successful MAT programs require close collaboration between medical professionals and behavioral health specialists.
At AM Behavioral Health, this includes:
  • Physicians: Our team includes qualified physicians who can prescribe MAT medications and monitor their effectiveness and potential side effects.
  • Therapists: We have a team of experienced therapists who provide individual and group counseling to address the underlying causes of addiction and develop coping mechanisms.
  • Support staff: Our dedicated staff provides ongoing support and encouragement throughout the recovery process. This may include case managers who help clients navigate logistical challenges and connect with community resources.
This coordinated approach ensures that all aspects of a client’s well-being are addressed, creating a supportive environment for healing and growth.

Collaborative Approach

Effective MAT programs require a collaborative effort from all involved. At AM Behavioral Health, this includes:
  • Open communication: We encourage open communication between clients, medical professionals, therapists, and support staff. This allows for ongoing monitoring, adjustments to treatment plans as needed, and a sense of shared responsibility for recovery.
  • Client-centered care: We place the client at the center of their treatment journey. We respect their choices and involve them in decision-making throughout the process.
  • Family involvement: When appropriate, we encourage family involvement in the treatment process. This can provide essential support for the client and help families learn how to best support their loved one in recovery.
By fostering a collaborative and client-centered environment, AM Behavioral Health creates a foundation for successful MAT integration within our comprehensive treatment program.

Addressing Concerns and Misconceptions About Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) is a highly effective tool for addiction recovery. However, some myths and misconceptions persist.
Here at AM Behavioral Health, we believe in open communication and addressing these concerns directly:

Dispelling Myths About Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) and Efficacy

Below are some common misconceptions about medication-assisted treatment:

Dispelling Myths About Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) and Efficacy

MAT medications are actually not addictive in the same way as illicit drugs. They are carefully monitored by physicians and work differently in the brain, reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms. This allows people to focus on recovery.

“Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) Is Only Effective for Certain Types of Addiction”

In actuality, MAT is most commonly used for opioid use disorder, but it can also be beneficial in treating other addictions, such as alcohol dependence.

“People on Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) can't Achieve Long-Term Recovery”

In reality, when combined with behavioral therapies, MAT significantly increases the chances of long-term recovery compared to treatment without medication.5

Discussing Concerns About Dependency and Addiction to Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) Medications

It is true that some MAT medications, like methadone, can cause physical dependence. But, dependence is different from addiction.

Dependence vs. Addiction in Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Dependence simply means the body adjusts to the presence of the medication and may experience withdrawal symptoms if it is stopped abruptly. This is why it’s crucial to taper off medication under the supervision of a healthcare professional.
Addiction, on the other hand, involves a compulsive need to use a substance despite negative consequences. MAT medications are used to manage cravings and withdrawal symptoms, not to get high. Furthermore, some MAT medications, like buprenorphine, have a “ceiling effect,” meaning there is a limited euphoric effect, making them less addictive than illicit drugs.6
At AM Behavioral Health, we stay up-to-date on the latest research regarding MAT and are committed to providing evidence-based treatment options for our clients. Our team is here to address your questions and concerns and help you determine if MAT is the right option for you.
Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Holistic Approach to Recovery with Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

MAT is a powerful tool, but it’s just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to achieving long-term recovery. At AM Behavioral Health, we believe in a holistic approach that integrates MAT with other essential elements to support lasting change.

Counseling and Behavioral Therapies

Medication management is crucial, but it doesn’t address the underlying causes of addiction or equip people with the skills they need to stay sober. This is where counseling and behavioral therapies come in.
Our program incorporates various therapies, such as:
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): CBT helps people identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors that contribute to addiction.
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT): DBT equips people with skills for managing emotions, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness, and mindfulness.
  • Motivational interviewing (MI): MI helps people explore their ambivalence about change and build motivation for recovery.
  • Group Therapy: Group therapy provides a safe space for people to connect with others who understand their struggles, share experiences, and offer support.

Benefits of Therapy

Through these therapies, clients can learn to:
  • Identify triggers and develop coping mechanisms to avoid relapse
  • Build self-esteem and resilience
  • Improve communication and relationship skills
  • Develop a healthy lifestyle

Lifestyle Modifications and Support Networks

Addiction often disrupts a person’s entire life. A holistic approach addresses these disruptions and promotes healthy lifestyle changes.
Here’s how:
  • Nutritional support: We offer nutritional counseling to help people develop healthy eating habits that support physical and mental well-being.
  • Recreational therapy: Recreational activities provide enjoyment, reduce stress, and promote healthy social interaction.
  • Vocational training and support: Addiction can disrupt employment. We can help clients develop job skills and find employment to rebuild their lives.
  • Support networks: Recovery is a journey, and strong support networks are essential for long-term success. We encourage involving family and friends in the recovery process and may connect clients with relevant support groups.

Experience Compassionate and Evidence-Based Care at AM Behavioral Health

Addiction recovery is a journey. At AM Behavioral Health, we believe the path to healing is paved with compassion. We are a dedicated group focused on building strong relationships with our clients, creating a supportive environment that fosters trust and respect.
We understand there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, which is why we offer a continuum of care, personalized treatment plans, and flexible payment options to ensure accessibility.

Contact Us Today

If you’re interested in learning more about medication-assisted treatment (MAT), schedule an appointment by calling our intake department or visiting us during walk-in hours. Our friendly Admissions Coordinators will listen to your concerns and guide you through the process.
Take the first step toward recovery today.