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Medication Assisted Therapy (MAT)

Myths & Facts


Medication treatment substitutes one addiction for another


When used as prescribed, addiction medications stabilize brain chemistry and reduce cravings, thereby preventing illicit use of opioids without causing a "high".


Addiction medications are a "crutch" that prevent true recovery


Medication treatment is an important part of recovery. By stabilizing brain chemistry, relieving withdrawal, and stemming cravings, individuals are able to work on other aspects of recovery.


Medication treatment should not be used long-term


There is no one size fits all duration for treament. That is a decision that should be made by an individual in treatment along with their clinician.

Using Medications in Treatment

Most treatment plans will include medication.  The type of medication chosen depends on a number of factors, including the patient’s different situations and the treatment setting.  Medications are used along with counseling and group therapy to provide a “whole-person” approach to recovery.

  • Every patient is different, and the right medication is found when the person feels normal, has little to no side effects, does not feel withdrawal, and has cravings under control.

  • When used correctly, and when the treatment plan is being followed, these medications can be taken safely for years

  • Any plans to stop taking a medication, change dosage, or switch medications should always be discussed with the clinician – this should be a shared decision, with all benefits and risks discussed and understood between both parties.

  • Patients will continue to see the clinician and participate in counseling and support groups based on the agreed upon treatment plan.

  • Relapse may occur as part of this chronic disease.  If a patient relapses while using medication, the clinician will revise the treatment plan and treatment goals as needed.


Want More Information About Opioid Addiction Treatment?

Click the link to view the Decisions in Recovery: Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder handbook from the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration

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