Addiction is a complex disease involving repeated behaviors or substance use that have harmful consequences. Because addiction exerts a powerful influence on the brain, it can be extremely challenging to quit addiction on your own. If you or someone you care about is ready to break from opioid addiction, medication-assisted treatment (MAT) can be an effective option.
Understanding Opioid Addiction
When a person is addicted to something, they become physically and mentally dependent on that particular substance, making them unable to stop taking it without experiencing negative side effects. Because of the physical, psychological and emotional pain of addiction and withdrawal, addiction is a chronic, relapsing disease.
Opioid addiction is one of the most difficult addictions to overcome because of the way it affects your brain. Opioids are a class of drugs that includes heroin, fentanyl and prescription drugs. When an opioid is first used, it binds to receptors in the brain that produce a “high” or euphoric feeling, causing a release of dopamine. Dopamine is the chemical that the brain releases whenever you engage in a pleasurable activity.
While many different drugs cause the brain to release dopamine, opioids are especially difficult to quit. As a person takes more opioids, their brain adjusts to the dopamine surges. This adjustment reduces the number of dopamine receptors in the brain. With fewer dopamine receptors, more opioids are required to produce the same euphoric feeling.
Eventually, opioid users need to take more opioids to avoid becoming sick. When people try to stop taking opioids and other drugs cold turkey, the brain and body enter a state of withdrawal, which can be painful and even debilitating in some cases.
Addiction Recovery With Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)
MAT is the use of medication in combination with behavioral therapies and counseling to treat addiction. This treatment option is proven to be clinically effective in treating substance use disorder (SUD) and opioid use disorder (OUD).
MAT programs for OUD typically use medications such as methadone or buprenorphine to control physical withdrawal and cravings. These medications can also block the euphoric effects of opioids, preventing patients from getting much, if any, of a “high” when they use. In addition, MAT counseling focuses on the emotional and psychological aspects of the disease. During counseling, patients address past issues and trauma that may have contributed to their drug use. They also learn new tools and coping strategies for reintegrating with family, friends and other support systems.
MAT is a long-term treatment strategy with the ultimate goal of recovery. Most people who receive MAT have success staying sober.
Start Your Journey at MedMark Treatment Centers
The dedicated care team at MedMark takes an individualized, comprehensive approach to MAT to combat opioid addiction. We have conveniently located clinics throughout the country to deliver accessible care. Get in touch with us today to discuss our treatment options and learn how our services help patients reclaim their lives.