Beginning a MAT (Medication-Assisted Therapy) course of treatment requires the assistance and constant supervision of a physician (or psychiatrist) who specializes in addiction treatment. Alternatively, a treatment center that uses MAT is an option for the implementation of this type of therapy. Not only must a physician supervise MAT, but also the medications require a prescription.
Beginning with a physician or therapist consultation, the client should expect an exploratory conversation that will either end in referral or suitability assessment. This assessment is designed to determine whether or not the client is a good candidate for MAT. The client will receive a complete physical before being educated about what medication-assisted therapy is and what to expect during the term of treatment. A “consent–to-treatment” form will officially begin the MAT process.
Once it has been determined that you are a good fit for MAT, the physician will prescribe the medication that he or she believes will be most effective for your treatment. There is no cookie-cutter case here. Each client is treated individually, and the medication is prescribed, based upon what each case requires. (See our article on which medications work best.)
During the MAT process, the client should avoid the use of any other opioid medications.
From the point of the initial implementation of MAT, the supervising physician will monitor the three phases of the complete process.
The induction phase is where the actual dosage of the medication is determined and adjusted. Depending upon the client’s history of substance abuse and the particular opiate or opioid that they were abusing, several adjustments to the dosage may be necessary.
The stabilization phase is where the minimum dose to avoid withdrawal symptoms is established. Depending upon how the client presents, this can be adjusted.
The withdrawal phase involves slowly tapering the dosage to eventual complete cessation. Depending upon the individual case, this phase can take from 1 month to more than a year.
Medication-Assisted Therapy treatment isn’t for everyone. However, under the careful supervision of a physician or psychiatrist, it may be life-saving for the client. We have locations to serve Colorado: