Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is the use of specific FDA-approved pharmaceuticals to reduce drug and alcohol cravings. Due to the highly addictive and problematic nature of alcohol and/or opiate use problems, MAT rehab is becoming an increasingly popular rehab option for people with these issues. While many addiction treatment facilities claim to offer MAT therapy, some of the drugs used can be habit-forming. As such, different facilities may differ greatly in their philosophy and approach to utilizing these drugs. 

Furthermore, whether MAT rehab is a viable option also depends on the individual. It’s important that the medication helps to remove the existing dependency without forming a new one.

In 2018, an estimated 2 million people were suffering from an opioid use disorder, and 2.1 million Americans are currently undergoing this kind of treatment. Between 2017 and 2018, MAT was correlated with a 4.1% reduction in drug overdose deaths in the United States.  

Sunlight Recovery’s residential detox treatment is designed to optimize your chances of long-term recovery success. We want every patient who comes through this program to be safe, comfortable and medically monitored 24 hours a day. Our dedication to your safety and comfort is what shapes our approach to MAT therapy. We always have your best interests at heart.

In the next section, you’ll learn more about Sunlight Recovery’s MAT treatment. We’ll discuss what MAT is, the different types of MATs we use, the criteria we use when prescribing Suboxone and how we assist patients with long-term Suboxone maintenance needs that fall outside the scope of our treatment program.

What Is Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)?

When trying to answer “What is MAT treatment?” there are a few things to consider. MAT was initially meant as a short-term medicinal intervention used during early recovery. It was intended to be minimally used as part of a complete treatment plan that included intense behavioral treatments addressing the deeply spiritual, emotional and psychological origins of the presenting addiction.

We value the exploration of these aspects and how they deal with the root cause of addiction, rather than simply focusing on physical symptoms. Sunlight Recovery’s MAT program aims to equip you with a strong foundation of coping strategies that continue to help you long after you leave us.

Our “do no harm” approach to MAT administration when medically treating a severe substance addiction like heroin influences our method of care. We want to be careful not to simply replace one addiction with another. As often happens, replacing heroin with the opioid medication Suboxone is a suboptimal solution, and we tread carefully when dealing with issues like this.

Goals of the Sunlight Recovery MAT Program

The Sunlight Recovery MAT program aims to detox and stabilize. This means that first, we focus on removing the physical addiction with as little discomfort as possible. At this stage, we may administer medication to reduce the pain associated with withdrawal symptoms. Next, we aim to stabilize your recovery. We do everything within our knowledge to reduce or eliminate the potential of a future relapse. 

Patients with severe heroin and other opiate addictions may require long-term Suboxone maintenance. We try to ensure that they’re medically and clinically ready to be transferred to one of our medical partners for this stage of treatment.

Types of MATs Used at Sunlight Recovery

At Sunlight Recovery, the MAT medications that we use are Suboxone and Vivitrol. We use these to treat alcohol and opiate use disorders:

  • Vivitrol. This is an opioid antagonist, which means it inhibits many of the same opioid receptors alcohol and opiate medications do, preventing dopamine release and lowering cravings and drug-seeking behaviors. Vivitrol also has a sedative effect, which may reduce the need and desire to use alcohol or opioids for sedation. Our team only administers this after determining that you’re a good match for it. It’s typically used after detox, during the stabilization stage of treatment.
  • Suboxone. This is a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone that comes in the form of sublingual tablets or sheets and dissolves beneath the tongue. Due to its chemical makeup, this opioid antagonist has a low likelihood of being misused. It’s now considered a leading MAT rehab treatment for opioid detox. 

At Sunlight Recovery, we administer Suboxone in two phases:

  1. During the induction phase of detox MAT, we use it to relieve withdrawal discomfort.
  2. We also use it during the stabilization phase of rehab MAT to assist with possible lingering withdrawal symptoms. During this phase, we slowly reduce the dosage until it’s no longer medically required or the patient is clinically stable enough to be transferred to our partners for long-term maintenance treatment.

Why Short-Term Suboxone for Detox and Stabilization?

Suboxone for detox and stabilization is beneficial for helping our patients achieve a safe, pleasant and complete withdrawal. Patients are also deeply engaged in an intense inpatient program of group and individual therapy while tapering off Suboxone.  These help them identify and address addiction triggers and behavioral patterns that need to change.

We designed our addiction programs to be abstinence-based. We aim to ensure patients have a chance to process their behavioral challenges in a secure, drug-free setting. For this reason, we believe minimal short-term Suboxone use is best suited for detox and stabilization. 

How We Help Patients Who Need Suboxone Maintenance

Certain patients with severe addictions may require long-term Suboxone maintenance. In cases like this, we can transfer them to the care of one of our reputable medical partners, which will be in charge of their long-term pharmaceutical management. This procedure entails gradually weaning the patient down to a maintenance dosage of Suboxone and ensuring their emotional and physical stability before releasing them.

Is Medication-Assisted Treatment Right for You?

It’s important to understand that MAT is not suitable for everyone. If you have a serious addiction and/or have relapsed several times, MAT might be the right option for you. If you’ve attempted various abstinence-based treatment programs without success, your next step might be to consider an MAT program.

If you’ve overdosed and your life is in jeopardy due to recurrent relapses, MAT may help you. Sunlight Recovery provides MAT treatment as an option when other routes of recovery haven’t been successful.

Are you having trouble with quitting drugs and feel you may benefit from our rehab MAT program? Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Contact us today by calling us at (888) 402-3647. Our compassionate team of counselors is standing by to take your call 24/7.