How Effective is Medication-Assisted Treatment for Addiction in South Florida?

Addiction treatment in West Palm Beach, FL, comes in different forms depending on the patient’s needs.

If you are looking for a drug and alcohol rehab in West Palm Beach, FL, for substance use disorder, you can pick one based on the substance you are abusing, the level of care you require, or the healthcare options you can afford.

How Effective is Medication-Assisted Treatment for Addiction in South Florida?Medication is one of the most common ways to treat addiction to drugs and alcohol in south Florida, which plays a critical role in recovery when combined with suitable behavioral therapies. Certain medicines can minimize cravings, improve mood, and reduce the severity of the addiction. For instance, lofexidine is an FDA-approved drug that reduces cravings and improves withdrawal symptoms in individuals recovering from substance abuse. 

What is Medication-Assisted Treatment?

Medicated-assisted treatment, or MAT, is an addiction treatment approach that combines the proper medications with counseling and behavioral therapies to offer a “whole-patient” experience. Medications used in this treatment method are approved by MAT programs and the FDA and are clinically designed to meet the patient’s needs. Studies show that medications used with therapies to treat substance use disorders can lead to sustained recovery. MAT can also reduce or prevent opioid, heroin, and prescription drug abuse. The medications prescribed by the healthcare provider work to neutralize the brain chemistry, block any intoxicating effects of the drugs or alcohol, reduce physiological cravings and regulate bodily functions.  

Receptors are micro molecules found in human cells that chemically bind a ligand (drugs or alcohol). This receptor binding to the drug will vary depending on the chemical bounds that can be determined between the receptor and the drug. In cases of opium abuse, medication-assisted treatment typically works in two ways. Clinicians provide people with opiates that activate the same kind of receptors that get absorbed into the bloodstream long-term. This staves off the withdrawal symptoms and breaks the psychological link between consuming a drug and instantly feeling euphoric.

On the other hand, they can also give the patient an opioid antagonist, a non-opioid drug that blocks the same receptors. This means they wouldn’t feel it if a patient had a relapse. However, if someone goes off the medication and relapses, that could have serious consequences. A person’s drug tolerance gradually decreases after long periods of sobriety. 

How effective is Medication-Assisted Treatment for Substance Use Disorder?

In 2018, around 2 million people suffered from opioid use disorder, which includes prescription painkillers with heroin and opiates. MAT has been proven medically effective in drastically reducing the need for inpatient treatment services in opioid users. This approach offers a well-rounded and personalized program of medication and behavioral therapies that target the needs of most substance users. The primary aim of medication-assisted treatment is to provide complete recovery, which includes the ability to live a self-disciplined life. The main benefits of this treatment approach are:

  • Improved patient survival
  • Better treatment retention
  • Decreased use of opiates and other illegal activity among substance abusers
  • Improved the ability of patients to get a job and maintain it
  • Enhanced birth outcomes among pregnant women who also have a substance abuse disorder 

Research also suggests that medications and counseling used in MAT can help lower a patient’s risk of catching hepatitis C or HIV by minimizing their potential for relapse. 

Commonly used medications in MAT

The FDA approves several medications to treat opioid and alcohol addiction in patients. These medicines help alleviate the psychological cravings and withdrawal symptoms that can result in a chemical imbalance in the body. Medications used as part of MAT are research-backed options and are not simply used to substitute one drug for another. How Effective is Medication-Assisted Treatment for Addiction in South Florida?

  • For alcohol addiction, commonly used options include disulfiram, naltrexone, and acamprosate. They are not the final cure for the disorder, but they work very well to reduce the severity of substance abuse.
  • Methadone, naltrexone, and buprenorphine are some medication options for treating opioid use disorders and short-acting opioids like morphine, heroin, codeine, hydrocodone, and oxycodone. These options can be used for many months, years, or even a lifetime. 
  • Naloxone is a medication used to prevent a patient from overdosing on opioids. It does this by reversing the harmful impact of the overdose. Consulting with your physician before using or discontinuing these medications is very important. 


Medication-assisted treatment plans are highly patient-specific and designed with input from the individual, the clinician, and other program members. Combining medications with behavioral counseling is approved by patient advocate groups, behavioral health, and medical groups, such as the National Council for Behavioral Health and the American Society of Addiction Medicine.

MAT is also used to treat the root causes of substance use disorder in patients, especially mental illnesses. Without effectively tackling these underlying issues, relapses become practically inevitable. Psychotherapy, like cognitive behavioral therapy, is a commonly used method for counselors to treat mental health issues like anxiety and depression. CBT is a very effective treatment program as it helps target various forms of addiction, including drugs, alcohol, food, and prescription drugs. It works by identifying unhealthy habits and behavioral patterns, minimizing the effects of stressors, and teaching patients valuable coping skills. 

 Behavioral therapy is also a practical component of MAT which typically includes family, individual, and group therapy sessions that help patients recognize the underlying reason behind substance abuse. Family recovery therapy is another form of behavioral counseling that helps restore broken family bonds and works to create a supportive environment between the patient and their family members. Additionally, behavioral therapy teaches patients critical life skills and habits and offers a new perspective. 

Get Help with Substance Abuse in FL

Olympic Behavioral Center is a substance abuse treatment facility in FL with the primary goal of helping addiction patients recover in a medically supervised, safe, and comfortable environment. As part of the addiction treatment program, you will have the opportunity to work with a healthcare expert who will guide you through every step of the way, assist you in forming healthy habits, monitoring progress, and benefiting from the right after-care tools that will prevent any relapses.


Addiction Treatment in West Palm Beach, FL

Olympic Behavioral Health provides incredible outpatient care for substance use disorder in South Florida.

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