The Difference Between Medical Detox and MAT

The Difference Between Medical Detox and MAT

Do you know the difference between medical detox and medication-assisted treatment (MAT)? With so many terms used in the treatment space, it is no wonder many people get confused as to what various treatments entail. Medical detox and MAT are two such treatments that are often confused with each other. Laguna Shores Recovery Center offers both for those that may need a higher level of care during detoxification.

What Is Medical Detox?

If you or a loved one experience acute intoxication and severe withdrawal symptoms, regular detox is probably not intensive enough to get you back on the right track. This is when medical detox procedures are needed. It is part of an early intervention phase. Health professionals will, first of all, conduct an assessment of your condition by doing a blood test to check the type and level of substance use. There will also be a comprehensive screening for other potential conditions. Your medical and personal history will be included in this evaluation. Once the evaluation is completed, a team of treatment specialists will design an initial treatment plan. 

The purpose of medical detox is to help a person achieve and remain in a substance-free state. This is also known as stabilization. If necessary, prescription medications will be given to help manage the withdrawal symptoms. At each step, you will be informed about what to expect and what you will be given. Lastly, medical detox also strives to cultivate readiness beyond just the initial intervention. The detox process is immediately followed by introducing a much broader treatment plan. 

What Is Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)?

MAT is often considered a holistic approach to achieving sobriety in the early intervention stage. Health professionals use FDA-approved medications to treat severe addictions like opioid dependence and alcoholism. These medications are used because potent substances may cause the body and brain chemistry to lose balance. Regular detoxification alone cannot restore this balance without having a person go through severe pain and discomfort. 

MAT is often used in opiate treatment. It provides a safe, controlled, and gradualist environment for people to transition from opioid dependence to stabilization. MAT medications are given in the proper dosage, which gradually decreases as the treatment goes on. These FDA-approved medications do not produce adverse or addictive effects. In treating heavy alcoholism, MAT also works better. 

Do Medical Detox and MAT Cure Substance Addiction?

Many people hold the misconception about medical detox and MAT in particular. Since the medications these programs prescribe do not directly cure people of addiction, then they must be ineffective. Or some people may claim that MAT is simply replacing one addiction with another. People who hold these misinformed views have the assumption that addiction can be fixed immediately. But in reality, there is no silver bullet because substance addiction is a chronic brain disease

Like other chronic diseases such as diabetes or cardiovascular dysfunctions, substance addiction needs a long-term treatment plan. Medical detox and MAT are just parts of the early intervention phase. Their primary goal is to clear highly potent substances from the body and the brain. Another goal of medical detox and MAT is to prepare the way for long-term treatment to restore the entire person to a natural state of functioning. This requires additional therapies and holistic treatment. 

What Types of Common Medications Are Used in Medical Detox and MAT?

Both medical detox and MAT rely on some medications. That is one similarity between these two treatment methods. Take medications that treat opioid dependence for example. Because detoxing a person from opioid addiction may lead to severe withdrawal symptoms including muscle cramps, diarrhea, and anxiety, some medications are often prescribed to alleviate these symptoms. The most common medications are buprenorphine, naloxone, and suboxone. 

Medications treating severe alcoholism are used to manage symptoms such as nausea, stomach pain, heart palpitations, high blood pressure, seizures, and sometimes hallucinations. People facing these potential withdrawal symptoms are prescribed medications such as benzodiazepine, disulfiram, acamprosate, and naltrexone. Many of these medications block the feelings of intoxication after people overuse alcohol.

When to Seek Treatment?

When it comes to opioid addiction and heavy alcoholism, it is always better to seek early intervention before an overdose or life-threatening intoxication happens. Many people assume that because they have not hit “rock bottom” on the path of substance use, they do not need such intensive treatment. But that is a widely-held misconception. “Rock bottom” may look different to different people. You can never assume how many potent substances your body can tolerate. 

Like other chronic diseases, substance addiction can become a slippery slope. Without early intervention, conditions may worsen or deteriorate. Early intervention will give you a chance to get professional support from a team of experts. They can assess your overall health and personal history before making recommendations. Laguna Shores Recovery Center is always here to assist you.

When you or a loved one is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, the first step in recovery is a detox. Many people know about this common procedure. But when highly potent substances such as opioids are involved, there needs to be a higher level of detox care. Laguna Shores Recovery Center offers both medical detox and medication-assisted treatment (MAT). They make withdrawal manageable and start you towards a successful recovery. If you are looking to work with a team of health professionals you can trust, visit Laguna Shores Recovery Center. Our compassionate staff has all been through recovery themselves. We know the challenges. Our full-service line is designed just for you or your loved ones. Call (866) 774-1532.