Reviewed by Clare Waismann, RAS / SUDCC
What are the Differences Between Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) and Medically Assisted Detox (MAD)?
As the U.S. continues to struggle with the devastation of this ongoing opioid epidemic, the current demand for effective and comfortable medically-assisted detox grows exponentially. While overdose has reduced the national life expectancy, the deaths of so many young adults have also left thousands of orphans for grandparents to take care of. Substance abuse continues to be a significant public health and safety crisis.
To effectively combat this nationwide drug and alcohol abuse emergency, it is paramount that we provide access to safe and reputable medically-assisted detoxification programs. Society distrusts drug treatment and recovery programs generally stem from less than reputable companies’ misinformation and dishonest business practices. A significant first step in ending the addiction epidemic is unraveling the misconceptions by increasing education regarding safe and effective medical detox options and individualized mental health care.
Understanding available treatment options for overcoming physical dependency and beginning an emotional recovery allows you to make a wise and healthy decision for yourself, your loved ones, and, most importantly, your future. Start with a clear understanding of medically-assisted detox and your treatment options.
Is Suboxone and Methadone Part of a Medically-Assisted Detox?
Many drug treatment programs currently use Suboxone to treat opioid addiction. Suboxone detox is part of the medication-assisted treatment, also known as MAT.
Before choosing a Suboxone detox path, it is essential to understand that this medication is an opioid, categorized as a Schedule III controlled narcotic. This medication is potentially addictive, especially for those with a prior history of drug or alcohol abuse. Because of these risks, Suboxone use should not continue for life. Instead, prescriptions should be given for short-term use only- preferably less than two weeks. Although Suboxone is much safer than heroin or fentanyl, when taken without proper management or supervision by a physician, the misuse of Suboxone can lead to dangerous and potentially life-threatening health complications, including:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Intense depression
- Difficulty sleeping/ insomnia
- Dizziness/ fainting
- Difficulty Grasping a breath.
- Blurred vision
- Lack of coordination
- Slowed heart rate
- Fatal overdose
Close medical supervision by a medical specialist is the best option and necessary for the patient’s well-being and safety.
Methadone is also a MAT drug previously referred to as MMT (Medication Maintenance Treatment). In other words, a synthetic opioid is primarily utilized to treat opioid addiction. Methadone is a substitute drug for heroin, fentanyl, or prescription opioids. Because this narcotic is long-lasting, patients can take it once daily. Methadone detox is mainly for those with severe issues with other illicit drugs.
Although Methadone is part of MAT drugs, for many people, it causes a dramatic decrease in quality of life and increased pain, a condition known as hyperalgesia. Additionally, large or sometimes even moderate dosages of Methadone can cause a drop in blood pressure, shallow breathing, coma, or even death.
Due to the long-term nature of methadone effects, MMT and MAT treatment options are often viewed as ‘trading one addiction for another.’ Furthermore, Methadone also carries a high risk of dependency and overdose when mixed with other substances, misused, or abused.
Suddenly discontinuing or reducing Methadone often leads to severe withdrawal symptoms such as:
- Abdominal pain and cramping
- Extreme anxiety
- Nausea and vomiting
- Excessive sweating
- Increased heart rate
- Severe depression
Getting off Methadone is notoriously tricky and possibly dangerous, especially for those with pre-existing medical conditions. Because of these and other risks, it is essential to follow up with a medical professional to guide you to the best methadone detox program to meet your health needs. Medically assisted detox under sedation has been a blessing for many addicted to opioids, especially those trying to come off Methadone. Rapid detox quickly becomes the detoxification treatment of choice for those suffering from methadone addiction.
Medically Assisted Detox Treatment
When People Search for Drug Detox Near Me, What Are They Seeking?
Medically assisted detox programs provide ongoing medical support to detoxification patients from drugs or alcohol. During the withdrawal phase, individuals receive medical assistance and supportive medications to alleviate discomfort while controlling the body’s physical response. These types of programs provide the safest and most comfortable detox processes. Meanwhile, patients also receive professional emotional support.
Medical detoxification programs that start in a hospital provide a much higher safety level than those that do not. Patients can undergo a comprehensive medical evaluation at a hospital to assess their health condition and choose the safest detox protocol. Furthermore, medical specialists are widely available at hospitals to consult and care for unexpected events during detoxification. Although not all patients need this superior level of care during detoxification, those who don’t have access to it often suffer unnecessary consequences.
Most people seek inpatient medical detox programs because they provide potent medications to alleviate withdrawal symptoms. However, as pleasant as it is to bypass much of the painful withdrawal symptoms, knowing that medical professionals are safeguarding your health is a worthwhile bonus! Additionally, medically assisted detox programs improve your physical health on a grander scale. Labs can show certain nutritional deficiencies at the hospital, which the patient often ignores because opioids can mask the symptoms. Addressing those deficiencies intravenously at a hospital is also a huge benefit that can make recovery much more comfortable.
A Step Above
Medically Assisted Detox programs are not the same as drug rehabs because they are only the best first step or a “step above” any other form of detoxification treatment available. The best drug and alcohol treatment centers provide both medical detox programs and recovery treatment with a seamless transition from one to the next. Having adequate professional medical and mental health support is crucial to achieving full recovery through such a fragile period.
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Importance of Naltrexone or Vivitrol Post Medically- Assisted Treatment
Naltrexone and Suboxone sound alike; for that reason, many patients confuse the effects of these drugs. However, one is an opioid, and one is not. Unlike Suboxone, Naltrexone is not an opioid, making it a non-addictive and non-habit forming medication. Furthermore, Naltrexone blocks the receptor sites, eliminating physical cravings and allowing people to focus on the healing process and emotional facets better.
Naltrexone post medically assisted opioid detox allows for a much better chance of long-term success. Full recovery possibilities are substantially higher when individual psychotherapy follows the detoxification.
How to find the Best Medically Assisted Detoxification?
Before committing to any detox program, do your due diligence and thoroughly research detoxification options. Understand the clear difference between medically assisted detox and medication-assisted treatment. Furthermore, discuss your medical history and recovery goals with your doctor. But more importantly, do not attempt to detox on your own. Alcohol and opioid withdrawal symptoms can be severe and even life-threatening. Beyond the health risks of detoxing cold turkey, the intense pain of withdrawal may lead to a dangerous relapse.
Waismann Method® medically-assisted detox helps you safely overcome the adverse side effects, pain, and discomfort of an opioid drug and alcohol withdrawal. Furthermore, it removes the barriers which often impede you from beginning the recovery process. Effective medical detox allows you to be emotionally present to focus on other essential aspects of transforming your life.
Reviewed by Clare Waismann, Registered Addiction Specialist (RAS), Substance Use Disorder Certified Counselor (SUDCC), founder of Waismann Method® Advanced Treatment for Opiate Dependence.
All topics for the Opiates.com blog are selected and written based on high standards of editorial quality, including cited sources. Clare Waismann, RAS/SUDCC, reviews articles for accuracy, credibility, and relevancy to the audience. Clare Waismann as an authority and expert on opioid dependence, opioid use disorder, substance dependence, detoxification treatments, detox recovery, and other topics covered on Opiates.com. Some articles are additionally reviewed by one of Waismann Method’s specialists or third-party sources, depending on their field of expertise. Please see our Terms of Service for additional information and disclaimers regarding third-party sources and content for informational purposes only.
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