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What is Medication-Assisted Treatment for Drug Addiction?

Learn more about what medication-assisted treatment is, its effectiveness, and where to get this treatment here.

What is Medication-Assisted Treatment?

Medication-assisted treatment, also known as MAT or MAT therapy, is a form of substance use disorder treatment. It combines medication with counseling or therapy. Its design allows it to treat drug addiction through a whole-patient approach. This means that MAT targets both symptoms and their causes.

Medication-Assisted Treatment

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The Effects of Addiction

Addiction can be challenging to navigate. While it can lead to an increase in certain heart health problems, it also comes with a variety of other symptoms and effects.1
Some of the effects of addiction include:
  • Nausea and abdominal pain
  • Problems with memory or attention
  • Changes in behavior
  • Poor immune system
  • Liver damage
  • Difficulty sleeping

The Recovery Process

The recovery process for addiction can vary for each person. However, there is a certain timeline that is typically followed by everyone. The individual must begin with a consultation about their substance use history, design a treatment plan, and begin to undergo it.
The typical recovery process addresses the root cause of symptoms by targeting addiction itself. However, this isn’t the only way recovery may be designed.

How Medication-Assisted Treatment Plays into Recovery

When you’re learning about addiction and recovery, it’s important to know that one of the main parts of recovery is detoxification. During substance use, your body and brain can become accustomed to that substance. The body then gets used to the chemical changes in the brain.

Once substance use ends, it can lead to withdrawal as the body begins to detox. During this time, the body removes any lingering traces of the substance. As a result, the brain and body return to their natural chemistry.

Medication-Assisted Treatment and Withdrawal

Withdrawal can be uncomfortable, and it can introduce a different challenge to recovery. This is why medication-assisted treatment can be beneficial. Recovery itself is aimed at treating substance use disorder. Medication-assisted treatment, however, targets both the symptoms of addiction as well as the symptoms of withdrawal.

Does Medication-Assisted Treatment Really Work?

Because addiction and recovery are such an individualized process, it can be difficult to judge success. Many people find benefits in MAT therapy, even if relapse may occur. Medication-assisted treatment has been proven to be effective as a clinical treatment.2

It allows for treatment to be tailored to the patient’s individual needs, increasing the overall efficiency of their recovery plan. Studies have also shown that medication-assisted treatment increases the retention rate for therapy.3

Types of MAT Medications

Medication-assisted treatment is typically made up of three different types of medicines. These vary in their chemical makeup and effects which makes them beneficial for different aspects of treatment.


Methadone is one type of medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat a specific type of substance use disorder: opioid use disorder (OUD). It’s what is known as a synthetic opioid agonist. It functions in a way similar to other opioids, but it doesn’t have as high of an addictive quality. This allows the patient to taper and eventually cease substance use altogether.


In contrast, buprenorphine is an opioid partial agonist. This means that, like methadone, it binds to the same receptors in the brain that other opioids due. However, because buprenorphine is only partially an opioid agonist, it takes up receptors to block the euphoric effects of addictive opioids without causing those same effects. 


Naltrexone is the third most common type of medication in MAT therapy. One of the most unique parts of naltrexone is that it’s not just a beneficial medication for drug addiction or opioid use disorder: it can also aid in recovery from alcohol use disorder.

What Does MAT Therapy Work For?

As mentioned above, medication-assisted treatment can be beneficial for many types of substance use disorders and their detox periods. Some of these include:
  • Alcohol detox
  • Stimulant detox
  • Opioid detox

MAT Effectiveness

Medication-assisted treatment is a highly effective form of treatment with many different benefits. Not only does it reduce the overall discomfort associated with detoxification and withdrawal during substance use disorder recovery, but it also provides many other points of effectiveness.4

Some of the benefits of MAT include:

  • Improved patient survival
  • Increased retention in treatment
  • Decreased illicit opiate use and other criminal activity among people with substance use disorders
  • Increased patient ability to gain and maintain employment
MAT Therapy

Medication-Assisted Treatment at Ripple Ranch Recovery

Navigating substance use disorders and addiction, detoxification, withdrawal, and recovery can be challenging, especially if you’re unsure of the best place to start. However, at Ripple Ranch Recovery Center, you won’t need to undergo this process alone.

Our certified team of healthcare professionals is prepared to help you no matter where you are in your recovery journey, whether you’ve taken your first step into treatment or are still unsure of where to begin. Our treatment approach is simple: unique individuals require unique, personalized recovery plans. As a result, we offer several different programs and services to help tailor your recovery to your needs. 

Our Detoxification Programs

Detoxification is the first step in recovery. However, because of withdrawal and its side effects, it can also be dangerous to undergo alone. Here at Ripple Ranch Recovery, we offer several options for detoxification, including medication-assisted treatment. This helps to reduce discomfort and risks during this important transition period. It also works to help increase success rates.

Our Rehabilitation Programs

After detoxification and withdrawal, there are still many stages to recovery. At Ripple Ranch Recovery, our goal is to guide you along your recovery journey, even after detox. We offer both inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation programs along with a variety of services to fit your needs. 

You don’t need to undergo recovery alone. To learn more about medication-assisted treatment, contact us today at 830-494-4717 or through our website.