Understanding MAT Treatment For Opioid: A Path to Recovery

Understanding MAT Treatment For Opioid: A Path to Recovery

Opioid addiction is a serious public health issue, as it affects millions of individuals and families all around the world. Opiates consist of heroin, prescription pain pills such as Oxycontin, Percocet, Tramadol and Oxycodone, and synthetic drugs such as fentanyl. Recovery from opiate addiction requires a comprehensive addiction treatment approach including medication-assisted treatment, or MAT, and evidence-based therapeutic approaches. Historically, there has been resistance to MAT, as it was seen as drug-for-drug substitution. However, research studies over the past several years have provided conclusive evidence about the effectiveness of MAT in saving lives and helping people enter recovery.

What are Opioids?

Opioids are a class of substances which include prescription painkillers like oxycodone, oxycontin and hydrocodone, and street drugs like heroin and fentanyl. All these drugs attach to opioid receptors in the brain, leading to pain relief and feelings of intense euphoria. While fentanyl is a synthetic drug made from chemicals, all other opiates are derived from opium. Opioids are highly addictive, and prolonged use lead to physical and psychological dependence. Withdrawal symptoms are severe and may include muscle aches, chills, anxiety, nausea, vomiting, and insomnia.

Over the past 2 decades an “opioid crisis” has been brewing and has reached “national emergency” levels. Now state governments and the Fed are investing huge sums of money in prevention efforts. This crisis has led to devastating consequences, including tens of thousands of drug overdose deaths, broken families, and economic burdens on society. Opioid addiction does not discriminate, and affects people from all walks of life.

The introduction of new classes of medication called buprenorphine and naltrexone to address opiate cravings and opiate withdrawal symptoms is a game changer in addressing this crisis.  Utilizing these classes of medications in conjunction with counseling and therapy has proven to be effective in helping people recover from an addiction to opiates, or people suffering from Opioid Use Disorder (OUD).

Overcoming Opioid Use with Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) is a highly effective approach for individuals struggling with Opioid Use Disorder, or OUD. MAT involves combining the use of FDA-approved medications such as buprenorphine or naltrexone coupled with counseling and therapeutic techniques such as motivational interviewing, DBT and CBT.

There are 3 common FDA-approved medications used in MAT for opioid addiction treatment: Methadone, Buprenorphine, and Naltrexone.

Types of MAT

  • Methadone 

Methadone Maintenance Treatment (MMT) is a common long-term treatment for opioid addiction, particularly heroin addiction. Although initially approved for pain relief in 1947, Methadone was integrated years later in MAT treatment to treat adults with OUD through medication and therapy.

  • Buprenorphine

The FDA approved the use of Buprenorphine, also known as Zubsolv, Suboxone or Subutex, in 2002 for treating Opioid use disorders. It was previously used as a pain reliever and works by binding with Opioid receptors in the brain to reduce pain, prevent withdrawal symptoms, and lower cravings for opiate substance and prescription painkillers.

  • Naltrexone

Naltrexone helps people with opioid or alcohol addiction resist cravings and avoid relapse. It is the generic name of the brand name medication, Vivitrol. It not only helps prevent substance abuse or alcohol use disorder by reducing cravings but is also effective in blocking the effects of opioids. Naltrexone treatment must be supported with making changes in lifestyle, and seeking counseling support.

The Benefits of Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

  • Reduction in Cravings and Withdrawal Symptoms:

MAT medications target the same opioid receptors which opioids like heroin or prescription painkillers target in the brain. Medication treatments such as methadone and buprenorphine help reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms, which are crucial drivers of relapse.

  • Stabilization of Brain Chemistry:

Opioid misuse disrupts the brain’s chemical balance. MAT medications help restore this balance, allowing individuals to regain mental clarity and emotional stability. Stabilization enables patients to focus on their recovery journey and engage effectively in counseling and therapy.

  • Reduction in Illicit Drug Use:

MAT has been associated with a significant reduction in illicit opioid use. Individuals on MAT are less likely to engage in risky behaviors associated with seeking and using opioids. Lower illicit drug use contributes to a reduced risk of overdose and its associated consequences.

  • Improved Treatment Retention:

MAT has been shown to increase retention rates in addiction treatment programs. Longer treatment engagement is generally linked to better outcomes. MAT programs often provide a structured environment with regular check-ins and support, which can help individuals stay committed to their recovery.

  • Lower Risk of Overdose:

MAT, especially when used consistently and as prescribed, substantially reduces the risk of opioid overdose. Naltrexone, for instance, blocks the effects of opioids and can be a lifesaving intervention, particularly for individuals at high risk of relapse.

  • Holistic Approach to Recovery:

MAT is not a standalone treatment but rather a component of a holistic recovery approach. It is often combined with counseling, therapy, and support groups. Treating addiction involves a comprehensive approach that encompasses both medication and behavioral therapies, which helps address the physical and psychological aspects of addiction and achieve recovery in a sustainable way.

  • Increased Functionality and Quality of Life:

With help of MAT, individuals can regain control over their lives. It can help them become productive members of society, maintain employment, and rebuild relationships. As individuals stabilize on MAT, they can focus on personal growth, education, and overall well-being.


Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) has revolutionized the field of addiction treatment, offering hope and a proven path to recovery for those struggling with OUD. When combined with counseling and support, MAT helps develop a comprehensive approach to address the physical and psychological aspects of addiction to help people regain control of their lives and embark on a journey toward lasting recovery.

Click here to begin your journey to recovery today!

How to Get Help for Ketamine Addiction: Treatment Options and Resources

Impact of Ketamine Abuse:

Ketamine is an anaesthetic, primarily used by veterinarians. A few years back a medication named Spravato, which is essentially ketamine, was approved by the FDA to treat chronic depression that was resistant to other anti-depressants  Similar to PCP, Ketamine is abused by humans for its hallucogenic properties. It is a favorite drug for sexual predators as it helps to incapacitate their potential victims. As per the U.S. Department of Justice, ketamine is primarily abused by teenagers and young adults in the 12-25 age range. This group accounted for 74% of emergency room mentions in 2000. Ketamine is popular in the rave and night club scene because of its low price, short duration of action and induction of powerful dissociative experiences.

Ketamine is available as a liquid or a white-ish powder on the streets. On the streets ketamine has various names: K, special K, cat Valium, Vitamin K, Kit Kat, or Green K. It can be mixed with beverages, smoked along with tobacco or marijuana, snorted or injected intramuscularly. Ketamine is a Schedule III controlled substance like codeine or anabolic steroids, which means that it has less abuse potential than Schedule I substances like heroin or Schedule II substances like cocaine.

When abused by humans, Ketamine causes distorted perception of sight and sound and makes users feel disconnected and out of control. Abusing Ketamine can impair an individual’s senses, judgement and coordination for upto 24 hours, although the drugs hallucinogenic affects last less than 90 minutes. Chronic abuse of ketamine could lead to physical or psychologic dependence on the drug. It can cause lasting issues, such as:

  1. Memory issues
  2. Depression
  3. Delirium
  4. Amnesia
  5. Impaired motor function
  6. High blood pressure
  7. Potentially fatal respiratory problems
  8. Risk of sexual assault

If you become addicted to ketamine or similar drugs, you would be better off seeking professional help in order to avoid or minimize ketamine withdrawal. Ketamine abuse can also cause stomach pain and liver problems.

Stages of Ketamine Addiction:

Addiction to Ketamine Happens in Three Steps:

  1. Binge/Intoxication Stage: At first, it feels good to use ketamine, but after a while, you might want it more than the things that used to make you happy.
  2. Withdrawal/Negative Affect Stage: Now, you need ketamine just to avoid ketamine withdrawal symptoms.
  3. Preoccupation/Anticipation Stage: You start craving ketamine and are pre-occupied with obtaining it, despite negative consequences.

Signs of being addicted to ketamine include not being able to quit using it even when it causes problems. This doesn’t just affect the person using ketamine; it also hurts their relationships with family and friends, causing friction and isolation.

Questions to help you figure out if you might have a problem with ketamine:

  1. Do you get angry or feel guilty when someone talks to you about your drug use?
  2. Have you tried to stop using ketamine or use less of it, but have not been successful?
  3. Do you need more and more ketamine to achieve the same high?
  4. Have you stopped doing things you used to enjoy, like hobbies, sports or spending time with loved ones, because of ketamine?
  5. Have you hurt yourself physical but felt no pain because of ketamine in your system?
  6. Have you stolen ketamine or stolen money to obtain Ketamine?
  7. Do you feel like you’re invincible and don’t need to follow the rules when using ketamine?

Getting help for ketamine addiction and ketamine withdrawal:

If you are worried about being addicted to ketamine, there is help available. Licensed addiction treatment centers such as the Center for Network Therapy, can help you overcome your addiction to ketamine by effectively addressing ketamine withdrawal symptoms while building up sobriety skills. The trained staff at these addiction treatment facilities can provide tailored treatment plans, starting with Ketamine detoxification to address your addiction. Being open and honest about your situation can help you access effective care without delay.

Addiction to ketamine is treatable, but you need to make the first call!


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