Medication-Assisted Treatment

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) Part of Whole Person Care

Adult | Industry News | Prevention | Recovery | Women | Resources

Thousands of rehab and recovery centers across the country offer medication-assisted treatment (MAT), which often consists of little more than writing and fulfilling precriptions. In stark contrast, the MAT Therapy that MFI offers is part of whole-person care. Like a warm blanket enveloping alcohol and drug addicts at their time of need, our personalized plans include many scientific-based tools in combination, to help clients persevere during and after treatment.

About MAT Therapy

Medication-Assisted Treatment is used to treat alcohol and opioids such as heroin and prescription painkillers. MAT medications help normalize brain chemistry, block the euphoric effects of alcohol and opioids, and relieve psychological cravings. They also help restore bodily functions that may have been compromised while the client abused drugs. Opiates encompass everything from prescription painkillers to illicit drugs like heroin -- and according to many researchers, represent the fastest growing addiction class in the United States.

The Debate
The debate about whether addiction is a bona fide medical disorder versus a moral or mental failing raged for decades. Fortunately, science now proves that addiction is a disease that physically alters brain and body chemistry. In fact, opioid addiction runs a reasonably predictable course, similar to other diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and asthma.

Undermining Legitimate Efforts
The medical community now largely agrees that addiction can be treated effectively with pharmaceutical-grade medications when therapies include comprehensive services. Similar to patients with other chronic disorders, opioid addicts respond best to treatment that combines pharmacological and behavioral interventions. For example, counseling, treatment for co-occuring disorders, medical services, vocational rehabilitation and case management services should be used in concert. Unfortunately, however, many rehab facilities (motivated by profit rather than client outcomes), rely solely on medication. This undermines not only their clients' chances for success but the integrity of the rehab community at large.

"Sometimes, people come to us because they just want medication. But we don't offer that by itself at MFI. If they insist, we have to refer them to another facility," says Director of Medical Services and B.R.N. Kimberly Arnett.

For the past 12 years at MFI, Kim has worked with doctors in Primary Care to administer MAT to qualified clients. 

"The doctor makes the ultimate decision about which type of medication a client may need," she says, adding, "Across the board, we won't prescribe anything unless they agree to participate in our whole-person approach."

The reason is simple. While medication aids in healing brain chemistry, by itself, meds don't break addiction. This belief was proven in informal research done at MFI. Over the past 20 years, clients who participated in MAT during detox and then left without the benefit of ongoing, comprehensive recovery treatment, tended to relapse within seven days of leaving the facility. 

"I think the reason medication doesn't work by itself is because addicts tend to have behavioral issues which led to their alcohol or drug use in the first place," Kim says. "Often, while they are using, they don't take care of themselves. So, they suffer from issues physically, emotionally, environmentally, professionally and legally. At MFI, we help them address all of the areas of their lives." 

MFI Recovery Center staff rely on several medications to support MAT treatment:

  • Suboxone/Subutex (Buprenorphine)
  • Campral
  • Naltrexone (oral)
  • Naltrexone (injectable), aka as Vivitrol

"These meds are only used for alcohol and opiate addictions," Kim explains. "While MFI does not offer Methadone as a treatment, we discuss medication pros and cons with each client. If someone thinks Methadone is right for them, we refer them to a place that treats people with that medication." 

For the clients' best interest, MFI staff enforce specific policies relative to the use of medication in treatment. For example, users cannot be homeless, since this circumstance makes medication management difficult, if not impossible. What's more, MAT clients are required to participate in counseling. As a result, many enjoy long-term success. In fact, over the years, thousands have emerged from the depths of despair to find a "new normal." Many reunite with estranged family members, regain custody of their children and/or overcome legal problems, and land stable jobs.

"This job is so rewarding," Kim says. "It's incredible to see a person enter the program in despair and emerge as an entirely new, healthy person."

About MFI Recovery
In addition to the Matrix Model, we rely on proven modalities to provide whole family care. Our programs are gender and age specific to ensure we meet individual needs. We furnish a comfortable and warm, home-like environment with structured, evidence-based methods of behavior modification and cognitive behavioral therapies. Our family systems approach treats the whole family to re-establish trust and mutual respect where it may have been damaged by substance abuse. For someone who is struggling with substance abuse, recovering alone is almost impossible. Our program helps individuals rebuild the close connections that are essential to successful recovery. To find out more, call today (866) 218-4697. Or, for non-admission related information, contact us at (951) 683-6596. 

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