July 13, 2024

MAT for Heroin Addiction – Questions to Ask That Can Help You Understand the Treatment Program Better

Mat Heroin

Education can help people make vital medical decisions more quickly and save lives. Finding the best rehabilitation program is comparable to comparing surgeons and hospitals if you need to have surgery.

Some programs, such as those focusing on alcohol or drug detox, address that part of the recovery process. Some might offer quick services, whereas others might focus on long-term care. Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) for heroin and other opioid addiction programs incorporate counseling and behavioral therapy in addition to medication.

Because there are so many things to consider, finding the greatest fit among the different programs offered might be difficult. Making an informed decision can be aided by knowing the right questions to ask.

This article looks at MAT for heroin addiction and provides vital questions that you need to ask when choosing the right treatment program for opioid addictions.

What is Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)?

When people repeatedly use substances such as alcohol or drugs, the brain develops a dependence on that substance. This results in a withdrawal reaction when the substance leaves the body. Generally, the longer someone uses drugs or consumes alcohol, the more difficult withdrawal will be. This is due to the fact that using drugs or alcohol replaces the chemicals the brain needs, which gradually causes it to stop producing those chemicals. Sadly, stopping drug and alcohol use can result in uncomfortable or painful withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal is difficult to endure, frequently resulting in relapse or drug usage.

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) aims to help the brain gradually recover while reducing withdrawal symptoms. Doctors typically prescribe methadone, Suboxone, and other drugs to treat opiate withdrawal because they help patients slowly wean themselves off opiates. MAT for heroin addiction can improve survival rates and lower relapse rates.

How does addiction affect the brain?

To appreciate the value of drugs in treating opioid addiction, it helps to understand how opioids influence the brain. Opioids, including oxycodone, heroin, fentanyl, Percocet, and Vicodin, bind to brain receptors, sparking neurotransmitters and transmitting signals that block pain, reduce breathing, and encourage a calm state.

When opioids are overused, dopamine, the “feel-good” neurotransmitter that informs the brain about rewards, is flooded into the brain, causing euphoria. Our brains are programmed to repeat actions that bring us pleasure or rewards. The brain recalls that behavior and stores it as something that should be repeated when the opioids’ effects overstimulate the reward system.

When drug abuse develops into addiction, a person continues to use these substances despite suffering unfavorable effects.

How does MAT work in treating addiction?

To treat opioid or alcohol addiction, MAT (medication-assisted treatment) employs prescription drugs like Suboxone or Naltrexone. The FDA has approved, and the U.S. Surgeon General supports using MAT in treating heroin and other opioid addiction.

Suboxone binds to the same brain cells as opioids since it contains a weak opioid. It also has a substance to counteract the effects that opioids typically have, minimizing cravings and lessening withdrawal symptoms. Buprenorphine, a crucial component of Suboxone, an essential medicine used in MAT, activates the brain’s addiction centers, while naloxone, its “antagonist,” acts as an opioid blocker.

Is MAT effective for opioid addictions?

MAT is commonly used in conjunction with counseling for addiction or rehab. However, MAT can be effective on its own. Numerous studies have demonstrated MAT’s effectiveness in treating opioid use disorder with or without traditional counseling.

While methadone is incredibly beneficial for many individuals, buprenorphine and naltrexone are practical and do not require daily dosing at a clinic. The likelihood of effective treatment and recovery increases by collaborating with a coordinated care team of family, friends, counselors, and professionals.

Are the medications used in MAT safe?

The FDA has approved the drugs used in MAT for heroin addiction. Additionally, the American Medical Association has worked to increase the accessibility and acceptance of MAT.

What are some compelling reasons to opt for MAT?

1 – MAT reduces the risk of relapse and overdose

It is known that MAT can aid in preventing relapse. MAT reduces drug cravings and aids in patient stabilization, allowing them to concentrate on therapy and other lifestyle modifications to assist their ongoing recovery.

Within a year, up to 90% of individuals in a study who weren’t taking MAT reverted to drug usage. More than 60% of individuals who returned to therapy following a relapse expressed a desire to utilize MAT during their subsequent attempt at abstinence. MAT administered within the first twelve months of sobriety minimizes the likelihood of relapse and lowers medical expenses.

2 – MAT is a relatively affordable treatment choice

The Medicaid program in every state is designed to make medications for addiction treatment (MAT) accessible and affordable (though sometimes state Medicaid only covers some forms of MAT and not others).

The government has developed a free online tool to provide Mental Health and Addiction Insurance Help, and private insurance often also covers MAT.

3 – Keeps your treatment ongoing

The longer you work with your therapy team, the more you’ll learn about achieving and maintaining sobriety. MAT can increase motivation to keep your appointments.

4 – Pregnant patients can undergo MAT safely

Compared to untreated opioid use disorder, treatment with buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) during pregnancy had better effects on the mother and the fetus.

Premature birth, spontaneous abortion, congenital abnormalities, and long-term health and developmental issues are all risks for babies whose mothers take opioids.

Most experts firmly believe that using MAT while pregnant is safer for moms than leaving opioid use disorder untreated.


Medication-assisted treatment is thought to be the best method of treating opioid use disorder (OUD). Most medical professionals and researchers concur that MAT for heroin and other opioids is superior to other strategies for stopping opioid usage. You should consider medication-assisted treatment if you have been struggling with addiction and are looking for a way to heal. Cooperative Recovery offers assistance in substance abuse treatment and specializes in Medication Addiction Treatment for heroin and other opioid addiction treatment.

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