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Medication Assisted Treatment

What Is Medication-Assisted Treatment?

WellMind lays the groundwork for lasting change. However, sometimes it takes more than talk therapy to initiate that transformation. Medication-assisted treatment, or MAT, combines pharmacological support with counseling to help individuals struggling with a substance use disorder.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Professionals administer MAT with several goals in mind, including:

  • Improve patients chances of healing

  • Increase treatment retention

  • Prevent illegal opioid use

  • Teach patients how to live productive lives once treatment ends

Medication assisted treatment (MAT) addresses opioid and alcohol use disorders with FDA-approved medications that block substances from causing euphoria and prevent or reduce withdrawal symptoms. 

When used along with counseling and therapy services, MAT can significantly reduce your risk of relapse and improve your chances of long-term recovery. 

Medication-Assisted Treatment?

Am I a candidate for MAT?

If you or someone in your family suffers from an addiction to opioids or alcohol, MAT may help in the process of ending substance use dependency. 

An evaluation by one of the highly trained and experienced professionals at WellMind can determine if your long-term recovery plan should include MAT. 

In general, candidates for MAT need to have an official diagnosis of drug or alcohol addiction, the ability to comply with all prescribing instructions, and relatively stable overall health. 

You might not qualify for MAT if you have:

  • Addiction to substances other than opioids or alcohol

  • Take other medicines that negatively interact with addiction medications

  • Health conditions that addiction medicines could exacerbate

  • Low motivation to end your addiction

The most common FDA-approved medications that the experts at WellMind recommend include:


Buprenorphine has a molecular structure that’s similar to opioids, but the mild effects of buprenorphine don’t cause you to get “high.” It can lessen withdrawal symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, muscle aches, and anxiety. Subutex®, a popular brand containing buprenorphine, works well for patients who can’t tolerate combined buprenorphine-naloxone medications.


Opioids cause a state of euphoria by acting on specific receptors in your brain. Naloxone blocks these opioid receptors, preventing you from getting high if you do use drugs. Naloxone can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose; when combined with buprenorphine, as in the medication Suboxone®, it prevents you from getting high from drugs while your body goes through detox. 


Naltrexone also blocks receptors in your brain, minimizing the effects of both opioids and alcohol. Many recovery plans include long-term use of naltrexone to prevent relapse, such as programs that include monthly Vivitrol® injections.

Other Aspects of MAT

Pharmacological support is only one facet of medication-assisted treatment. Other aspects include:

  • Psychotherapy that helps you pinpoint dysfunctional areas in thought and action patterns

  • Group therapy options that allow for collaboration between peers

  • Active dual diagnosis treatment and medication therapy management to treat the mental health disorder along with the substance abuse problem

When you treat the psychiatric disorders that so many other centers overlook, you get real results. For example, relapse prevention strategy training provides a blueprint for success. Another example is the use of group therapy and peer support to strengthen your resolve to quit using. Positive peer pressure creates strong self-esteem and diminishes self-imposed isolation.