Medication-Assisted Treatment For Substance Use

Treating substance abuse disorders often includes medication to help reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

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At Bedrock Recovery Center, Medication-Assisted Treatment combines prescribed medications with behavioral treatments to help people recover from substance use disorders.

If you or someone you love is experiencing an alcohol or drug addiction, you may be interested in learning more about MAT as an effective treatment strategy.

What Is Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)?

Medication-assisted treatment is an evidence-based approach used to treat substance use disorders.

MAT involves the use of medications such as methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone in conjunction with behavioral therapies to address substance misuse and support people in their recovery.

The medication component of MAT helps people overcome withdrawal symptoms and cravings, while therapy helps address the underlying issues contributing to ongoing substance use.

Together, the use of medication and therapy has been shown to be effective in improving treatment outcomes, reducing the risk of relapse, and supporting people as they maintain sobriety.

Does MAT Actually Work For Addiction Treatment?

Yes, medication-assisted treatment works for addiction treatment.

Clinical studies have demonstrated the positive impact of MAT on treatment outcomes for people struggling with addiction.

According to a 2015 review published in the Harvard Review of Psychiatry, when medications were used alongside therapy, patients had a better chance of reducing or eliminating substance use.

Additionally, MAT with agonist medication is associated with a mortality reduction of approximately 50 percent, according to four separate studies done between 2014 and 2017.

The effectiveness of MAT can vary depending on the type of substance use disorder a person is experiencing and the specific medications used. Overall, however, MAT has many proven benefits.

Some of the main benefits of MAT include:

  • reduced cravings for substances
  • prevention of withdrawal symptoms
  • increased treatment retention
  • improved social functioning
  • decreased risk of relapse

MAT is most effective when integrated into a comprehensive treatment plan that includes counseling, behavioral therapies, and support services.

The combination of medications with psychosocial interventions addresses both the physiological and psychological aspects of addiction.

What Medications Are Used For MAT At Bedrock?

At Bedrock Recovery Center, we use a number of different medications to help our clients achieve recovery.

Antabuse (Disulfiram)

Antabuse, or disulfiram, is a medication used in the treatment of alcohol use disorders (AUD). It works by causing unpleasant reactions when alcohol is consumed, acting as a deterrent to drinking.

Campral (Acomprosate)

Campral, also known as acamprosate, is a medication used in the treatment of alcohol use disorder (AUD).

Campral works by stabilizing the brain’s neurotransmitter systems that are disrupted by chronic alcohol exposure, reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

Vivitrol (Naltrexone)

Naltrexone, often prescribed in the extended-release form known as Vivitrol, is a medication used in the treatment of alcohol and opioid use disorders.

Remeron (Mirtazapine)

Remeron, also known as mirtazapine, is an antidepressant medication used to treat major depressive disorder.

In specific cases, Remeron may be used off-label to reduce the negative symptoms associated with withdrawal.

Suboxone (Buprenorphine/Naloxone)

Suboxone is a medication used in the treatment of opioid use disorders and is made up of two active ingredients: buprenorphine and naloxone.

Suboxone reduces cravings and withdrawal symptoms while discouraging misuse by blocking the effects of opioids if Suboxone is injected.

Subutex (Buprenorphine)

Subutex, containing the active ingredient buprenorphine, is a medication used in the treatment of opioid use disorder.

As a partial opioid agonist, buprenorphine creates a mild opioid effect, which makes it easier for people to transition to sobriety.

Topamax (Topiramate)

Topamax, or topiramate, is a medication used for various medical conditions, including epilepsy, migraines, and in some cases, as an off-label treatment for alcohol use disorders.

While further research is required, Topamax may also be useful for treating stimulant addictions to drugs like cocaine.

What Role Does MAT Play In Substance Use Treatment At Bedrock?

Our healthcare providers conduct an assessment to determine the most suitable substance use disorder treatment plan for each of our clients.

Medication-assisted treatment might be included as part of a detox plan, or as part of ongoing inpatient treatment.

Additionally, considerations regarding co-occurring mental health disorders, pregnancy, and other medical conditions play a role as we select the appropriate MAT medication for each client.

MAT is especially effective in the treatment of opioid and alcohol use disorders, and it serves several important functions:

  • reduction of cravings
  • withdrawal symptom management
  • prevention of relapse
  • normalization of brain function
  • improved treatment retention
  • addressing co-occurring conditions
  • harm reduction, such as reducing the risk of hospitalization and overdose

The choice of medication for MAT will depend on the type of substance use disorder being treated, the severity of the addiction, and the person’s response to previous treatments.

Who May Be Prescribed MAT At Bedrock?

At Bedrock, our clinicians prescribe MAT for people with drug use disorders, particularly opioid use disorder and alcohol use disorder.

Potential candidates for MAT include:

The decision to prescribe MAT is made on a case-by-case basis, and we take into account the person’s medical history, specific substance use patterns, and overall health.

Furthermore, we monitor every treatment plan and make adjustments as we go to ensure optimal outcomes.

MAT is typically done in an inpatient setting as opposed to an outpatient setting, and is covered by many primary care insurance plans.

How Long Does MAT Last At Bedrock?

At Bedrock, the duration of MAT is individualized based on factors such as the type of substance use disorder being treated and the person’s response to treatment.

MAT can be implemented for different lengths of time, and decisions about the duration of treatment are made collaboratively between our Bedrock specialists and the individual.

Generally speaking, MAT is intended for short term interventions, and treatment typically lasts over the course of days or weeks as opposed to months or years.

Does MAT Have Side Effects?

At Bedrock, we utilize medications such as Antabuse, Suboxone, and Topamax to address substance use disorders. Some of these medications may come with side effects.

Possible side effects from medications used in MAT include:

  • nausea
  • fatigue or drowsiness
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • changes in appetite or weight
  • insomnia or sleep disturbances

In each case, our skilled clinicians will work with clients to limit side effects and maximize the client’s comfort with their individualized treatment plan.

Are The Medications Used For MAT Addictive?

The medications used in MAT for substance use disorders are designed to address addiction and help people on their recovery journey.

Though all medications come with the potential for abuse, those used at our center are considered safe with a low risk of addiction.

However, it is important to keep in mind that some MAT medications do have a slightly higher risk of abuse, which is why these medications are carefully administered and monitored.


Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist used for opioid addiction. It can lead to physical dependence, but its properties make it less likely to result in addiction when compared to full agonists.

Acamprosate, Disulfiram, Topiramate, and Naltrexone

These medications are used for AUD and do not lead to physical dependence or addiction when taken as prescribed.


Vivitrol is a medication used in the treatment of opioid use disorder (OUD) and alcohol addiction. It does not lead to physical dependence or addiction when used as prescribed.

Does Bedrock Offer Alternatives To MAT?

Yes, our addiction treatment center offers alternatives to MAT.

While medication-assisted treatment is an effective approach for managing substance use disorders, it is not right for everyone.

All of our clients receive behavioral health therapy as part of their addiction treatment programs,, and there are many benefits to be gained from therapy alone.

Our supportive behavioral health therapies include:

Many people are able to achieve long-term sobriety without the help of additional medications. If you would rather not participate in MAT, you can discuss your options with your treatment provider.

Talk To Someone About MAT At Bedrock Today

If you or a loved one is experiencing a substance use disorder and would like to learn more about treatment programs, we can help. Contact Bedrock Recovery Center today.

  1. Cleveland Clinic
  2. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
  3. National Association of Counties (NACO)
  4. Mayo Clinic
  5. Mayo Clinic
  6. National Library of Medicine: Bookshelf
  7. National Library of Medicine: Bookshelf
  8. National Library of Medicine: Bookshelf
  9. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
  10. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Written by Bedrock Recovery Center Editorial Team

Published on: December 7, 2023

© 2024 Bedrock Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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