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Medication-Assisted Treatment For Opioid Use Disorder

MAT is a method of treating substance use disorder. It’s effective for individuals with drug use challenges such as opioid use disorder.

What is MAT?

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) is a standard method of treating substance use disorder within and outside the United States. It’s effective for individuals experiencing specific drug use challenges, such as opioid use disorder, and it usually follows in combination with behavioral therapies.

Opioid Use Disorder

Opioid Use Disorder is a condition that affects the brain due to the uncontrolled intake of opioids.1 Individuals experiencing the condition find it difficult to discontinue the drug’s intake, regardless of the harm it causes. For some, opioid abuse may begin with experimental intake before becoming more frequent. While for others, it starts with receiving prescription pain medications.

A Further Look at MAT for Opioid Abuse

Compared to many other medications, opioids have a significantly high tendency to be habit-forming. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 92,000 Americans lost their lives due to drug overdose in 2020.2 Note that the overdose cases include opioids, marking an approximate 30 percent increase from 2019.

Reports show a 22-fold increase in the overall death rates involving synthetic opioids. In the United States, visits to the emergency department also rose by 30 percent from mid-2016 to September 2017. Later in October 2017 (a month after), the opioid crisis became a nationwide Health Emergency in the United States.

What Causes Opioid Use Disorder?

What causes the opioid disorder is typically due to the physical dependence people develop in a short time of intake. Researchers discovered that intake of opioids for over a few days increases the tendency of substance use disorder. Some of the significant risk factors of opioid addiction include a history of depression, anxiety, and stress.

Opioid Use Disorder Symptoms and Dangers

There are apparent opioid use disorder symptoms that individuals may observe. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, here are some signs associated with opioid addiction for proper diagnosis:3


  • Continued intake leads to social and interpersonal consequences
  • Decreased social or recreational activities
  • Difficulty fulfilling professional duties at school or work
  • The individual is unable to reduce the amount used
  • Tolerance
  • Using despite it being physically dangerous settings
  • Experiencing withdrawal
  • Excessive time to obtain opioids or recover from taking them
  • More taken than intended
  • The individual has cravings
  • Continued use despite worsening physical or psychological health

Dangers of Opioid Use Disorder

At lower dosages, intake of opioids is typically adequate for treating pain by making individuals feel sleepy. However, with constant intake leading to opioid addiction, individuals may experience slower breathing and heart rate. OUD can lead to an overdose without early medical attention, which is life-threatening. Due to the risks of opioid abuse, doctors typically recommend that individuals follow prescription instructions carefully.

Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder

Medication-assisted treatment is an effective treatment option for individuals experiencing OUD.4 This treatment approach involves using opioid use disorder medication, behavioral therapies, and counseling. It focuses on providing a “whole-patient” approach to treating the condition in individuals. MAT for opioid use disorder is specifically tailored to meet everyone’s needs for recovery.

An estimated 2 million individuals were experiencing opioid use disorder in 2018, including prescription pain meds with heroin and opiates. Medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder proves to be a significantly effective treatment option for these individuals.

Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder at San Diego Detox

San Diego Detox helps provide an individual treatment approach to individuals experiencing OUD.

MAT Program

At San Diego Detox, the goal for the MAT program is full recovery. We also focus on helping individuals live lives filled with significant self-direction. Our medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder increases the ability to return to normal living. Note that MAT can also reduce the chances of individuals contracting hepatitis C or HIV.5

Opioid Use Disorder Therapies

These OUD therapies may occur one-on-one with the individual or include a group or family. The therapy method typically depends on the individual’s needs.

A therapy for opioid use disorder is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). It focuses on recognizing negative thinking patterns causing OUD and changing such patterns. With CBT, individuals can handle overwhelming challenges more positively.


San Diego Detox offers aftercare programs for individuals recovering from OUD. Our aftercare plan helps individuals anticipate potential future challenges relating to OUD and come up with viable solutions. Loved ones and family members can show support during this period by celebrating successes and encouraging healthy living.

If you or your loved one is experiencing opioid use disorder symptoms, please consider reaching out for support. Contact us today at San Diego Detox.

MAT Medications for Opioid Use Disorder Treatment

Here are some of the significant opioid use disorder medications:

  • Methadone: The intake of Methadone for opioid use disorder is adequate and approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The substance is also helpful for pain management as an opioid use disorder treatment option.
  • Buprenorphine: Apart from common opioid use disorder therapies, Buprenorphine is common for the effective treatment of OUD. It also helps treat acute and chronic pain. Doctors may administer sublingually, buccally, or intravenously.
  • Naltrexone: Opioid use disorder specialists typically administer naltrexone for opioid use disorder by watching the individual take the drug. Individuals can take it with food or antacids.

MAT Medications for Opioid Overdose Prevention


In most cases, counseling is also applicable for OUD treatment. It improves the individual’s motivation for recovery. Counseling also helps individuals learn the necessary skills for discontinuation of opioid intake.

Behavioral Therapies

The use of behavioral therapies helps engage individuals in OUD treatment. This technique is important for the effective treatment of opioid use disorder symptoms in specific individuals. It helps their life skills and develops coping mechanisms to prevent relapse.