Needless to say, you’ll have lots of questions when entering into a treatment program.
Here are the most common questions we get asked. And if you have a question that isn’t on here, give us a call or send a message – we’re happy to answer any questions you have of your own.
What is ‘MAT’?
MAT is the shorthand for “Medication Assisted Treatment.” The term MAT refers to the type of clinical setting where a combination of medication and behavioral therapies are used to assist patients with substance use disorders. In our practice, we utilize Suboxone, Zubsolv (buprenorphine/naloxone) and Vivitrol injections (extended release naltrexone) along with individual chemical dependency counseling, group sessions, Twelve Step meetings (AA/NA) and other educational efforts.
What is Suboxone?
Suboxone is a sublingual (under the tongue) medication taken every morning that contains a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine is a semi-synthetic opioid, and naloxone blocks the effects of opioid medication, including cravings and feelings of well-being that can often to opioid abuse.
Suboxone is used to treat addiction to opiates (painkillers) and heroin. It helps to keep a patient out of withdrawal while curbing cravings and is most successful when used in a MAT setting with counseling and various behavioral modification efforts are in place.
*Using Suboxone without any other therapeutic efforts typically is not effective. It will keep you out of withdrawal, however, if the supply suddenly stops, the user will likely relapse due to not receiving the appropriate counseling.
What is Vivitrol?
Vivitrol is extended release naltrexone that is injected into the muscle and blocks the effects of opioid medication, including pain relief and euphoric feelings that opioids produce that lasts for 28 days.
Vivitrol injections are used to prevent relapse in people who became dependent on opioid medicine or alcohol. Naltrexone can help keep you from feeling a “need” to use the opioid- patients often report that they just have no desire to use.
In order to receive your first Vivitrol injection, you must be free of all opiates- typically 7-10 days, possibly longer if you have used any methadone.
Vivitrol is best utilized in a MAT setting with counseling and various behavioral modification efforts are in place.
Won’t I just become addicted to Suboxone or Vivitrol, too?
No. It’s important to understand the difference between an ‘addiction’ and ‘dependence’. While buprenorphine will maintain some of the preexisting physical dependence, that is easily managed medically and eventually resolved with a slow taper off of the buprenorphine when the patient is ready. Physical dependence, unlike an addiction, is not a dangerous medical condition that requires treatment. Addiction is damaging and life-threatening, while physical dependence is an inconvenience, and is normal physiology for anyone taking large doses of opioids for an extended period of time. When a patient switches from an addictive opioid to successful buprenorphine treatment, the addictive behavior often stops. As for Vivitrol, there is no physical dependence and has no euphoric effects.
Suboxone has a low abuse rate due to:
- Suboxone has what’s called a ‘ceiling’ effect- meaning that beyond a certain dose, increases in dose do not cause a greater opioid effect. It is said that 16 milligrams of buprenorphine are enough to cover 98% of your opioid receptors.
- If a patient were to try to use Suboxone to get high (by crushing a tab to snort or turning the tab/film into liquid to inject), the patient would almost immediately go into precipitated withdrawal, due to the naloxone component.
What kinds of counseling do I have to do?
Individual chemical dependency counseling is a necessary part of your treatment, and just as important as the medication itself. Getting the proper counseling helps you identify what areas need strengthening, such as sober support, family relationships, social/vocational skills, and resource referrals to name a few. You’ll work on relapse prevention while strengthening those said areas above.
Group counseling provides an opportunity to share experiences, learn perspectives, and experiment with new behaviors in a safe and supportive environment. NDARS holds two group meetings a month; some patients may be required to attend, and some may not be required however welcomed if they so chose.
As always, 12 Step meetings are a great resource used in conjunction with individual counseling. AA program participants follow a set of recovery steps to achieve and maintain abstinence from their addiction. Many people use a sponsor to help them through the process. Some patients, depending on their circumstances, may be required to attend a certain number of meetings per week as part of the MAT program.
I’m unsure if treatment is right for me. What should I do?
Our physicians offer free, no-obligation consultations for our MAT programs. During this time, the doctor will ask a little bit about your substance abuse history and current situations, provide you with informational/educational pamphlets, and answer any specific questions you have about the process. He will then make a recommendation for the best type of treatment for you at NDARS- at that point, you may take time to think about it and schedule at a later date, or continue on with your first appointment at that very time.
How do I get to your facility?
We are conveniently located on the bottom floor of the Henry Place building in Vandalia, OH, about .1 miles south on Dixie at the National Road intersection, about a mile from Interstates 70 and 75.