Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) is one treatment option for individuals in recovery from Substance Abuse Disorder (SUD) that is often used with other treatment and recovery modalities. Another name for MAT that you might hear is Medication for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD). Each person has a personal path to recovery from SUD, and treatment with medication is a medical standard of care. It can help people begin their recovery, regain their lives and place in the community, and improve relationships with family and friends.
There are many different MAT options, such as buprenorphine (Suboxone) and injectable naltrexone (Vivitrol), for individuals in recovery to choose from. The reason that there are so many different MAT options is that different medications serve different purposes. Several medications help to reduce cravings for opioids (including heroin and prescription pain pills) or alcohol and reduce withdrawal symptoms. Because there are so many options, the choice is best made with the prescribing doctor.
MAT is most often prescribed in an outpatient setting at a clinic or doctor’s office but is sometimes prescribed in inpatient and correctional settings. Clinics that prescribe MAT often also provide other medical and support services, including counseling and recovery coaching. All MAT medications require supervision by a licensed professional or program. Treatment on MAT can be short-term or long-term (known as maintenance) depending on the needs and goals of the individual. Some programs offer outpatient detox or short-term MAT services. Some inpatient programs offer MAT that is continued after the patient leaves the treatment program (and becomes outpatient) – this option is sometimes available while an individual is in jail or prison.
Learning about MAT as an option to treat SUD is important, regardless of the choice to seek MAT as an option, as it helps reduce stigma for those who choose MAT as part of their treatment and recovery plan.