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Medication-Assisted Treatment

At CNV Detox, we offer many types of treatment for substance abuse disorders. One of these is medication-assisted treatment. This method is only used if it’s necessary for a patient’s health.

What is Medication-Assisted Treatment, and When is it Used?

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) uses different medications to help patients during the recovery process. Cravings are very common among most individuals, and the medication prescribed in MAT helps with a patient’s discomfort. These also allow our doctors to decrease the side effects of the abused substances. For instance, if we have a severely addicted individual, certain medications can lower the potential of overdose.

MAT is often used in the beginning stages of recovery, especially during the detox process. Medication can also be administered at any point in treatment if the patient is struggling with their recovery. Our physicians at CNV try to avoid MAT but will recommend it if they deem it necessary.

How Does it Help?

MAT helps patients who are struggling to combat their cravings. Because some patients have abused a substance for a long time, it can be extremely difficult to stop. There are also certain substances that have painful withdrawal symptoms and are highly addictive, such as meth and heroin. For drugs like these, medication is sometimes necessary to get patients to a comfortable state. Once the medication does its job, doctors can take patients off so they can recover organically.

What Types of Medication Are Used in MAT?

Here at CNV Detox, we have the ability to prescribe many different types of medication for MAT. Some work better than others for certain types of substances. Some of the different types of medication we administer can include:


Buprenorphine is an opioid antagonist. Individuals who are addicted to opioids can take this type of medication to reduce their cravings. It is also the first medication of its kind to be prescribed in doctor’s offices.

However, buprenorphine is known to be a potentially addictive substance. When using this medication, patients take the risk of becoming addicted to it as well. Potential side effects of this treatment include:

  • Fevers
  • Muscle aches
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Difficulty sleeping


Like buprenorphine, naltrexone is an opioid antagonist. This medication helps patients disassociate opioids with the positive feelings they have under the influence. It prevents the euphoric sensation from happening in the first place and reduces cravings altogether. It can be taken in pill form or injected into a vein through a syringe.

Naltrexone has not been known to be an addictive medication used in medication-assisted treatment. It can, however, decrease an individual’s tolerance to opioids. If patients start using again after taking naltrexone, they’re at risk for a potential overdose to happen. Some other side effects of naltrexone include:

  • Heightened blood pressure
  • Fatigue
  • Nervousness
  • Stomach pain
  • Mood changes or depression development


Methadone is another opioid antagonist that reduces cravings. It reacts to the body similarly to opioids but has milder effects. It is used mostly to treat patients who are addicted to heroin and painkillers. One dose of methadone has been proven to prevent cravings for almost 48 hours.

Methadone is strictly administered because it is known to have similar side effects to opioids. It can be highly addictive if not monitored closely. Some of the side effects patients using Methadone in MAT treatment may include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Little to no sex drive
  • Changes in sleeping patterns
  • Prolonged headaches
  • Dry mouth


Acamprosate is the most commonly used substance to treat alcohol dependency. During a prolonged alcohol addiction, the brain gets used to having it constantly present. Because alcoholism can lead to changes to the neurological system, acamprosate is used to balance this. It helps lessen the effects of alcohol detox and prevents relapse.

Acamprosate is normally prescribed after alcohol detox is complete. It is typically administered for up to a year after alcohol addiction treatment ends. Like most other MAT medication, it comes with potential side effects. Some of these can include:

  • Fainting
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Dizziness
  • Development of depression
  • Difficulty concentrating

Is Medication-Assisted Treatment Right for Me?

Medication-assisted treatment is not always the right fit for every patient. It is important to consider all viable options before turning to MAT. In most cases, our staff normally uses it as a last resort.

MAT Protocol

Before entering into our program at CNV Detox, you will go through an extensive evaluation process. This will determine the severity of your addiction, what treatments are necessary, and how long you should expect to stay. If our staff believes you will need MAT, we will determine what dosage of medication you should receive. Our licensed physicians will monitor this medication and only prescribe it if deemed necessary.

Should I Consider Medication-Assisted Treatment?

There are many instances when MAT is not necessary to complete substance abuse treatment. Our staff at CNV Detox normally does not recommend MAT for those with mild addictions. We also don’t recommend it to those struggling with other coexisting health disorders.

MAT is used for our patients who have developed severe addictions. For those who cannot manage their pain or cravings on their own, we will administer medication. Our staff understands that sometimes medication is necessary. However, we will usually try multiple other resources and routes before turning to MAT.

Alternative Types of Treatment

Although MAT is a reliable treatment, we try to focus on other types that don’t require medication. There are endless combinations and possibilities to try before administering MAT. These can range from one-on-one sessions to recreational therapies. Some of these can include:

Individual Therapy

Individual therapy focuses on each patient’s needs during their recovery. By exploring a patient’s thoughts and feelings, our therapists develop close bonds with each one. During these sessions, our therapists use it as a way to get to the root of why addiction has happened.

Patients open up in ways they probably haven’t done before. They will also work on problem-solving skills, as well as coping techniques. These one-on-one sessions will give the patient the freedom to speak out without feeling judged.

Family Therapy

Family therapy is a great way to treat addiction because it involves every party. Addictive factors can be genetic, so it’s important to sit each member down and recognize them. These sessions also allow each person to relate to each other.

This will allow the addict to teach their loved ones what they can do to help. It will also give family members a chance to explain how their loved one’s addiction has affected their relationship. All parties can mend ties they may not be able to otherwise.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Because addiction is normally a coping mechanism used to avoid past trauma and hardship, it is hard to overcome these habits. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is used to reteach patients how to think about difficult situations they are faced with. CBT involves problem-solving techniques and allows patients to develop new ways of thinking. When CBT is used, it gives patients a different route to look for besides falling back into addiction.

Holistic Treatment

It is often believed that to heal physically, you have to heal mentally as well. Holistic treatments are used to mesh spiritual and physical health together. Different holistic treatments include acupuncture, meditation, yoga, and nutritional therapy.

Most holistic types of therapy are said to release stress and reduce anxiety. Both of these are two common influences of addiction. If you can help reduce these two factors, you have a much lower chance of relapsing.

Recreational Therapy

Recreational therapy is an amazing way to divert an addicted individual’s attention away from their addiction. By using art, exercise, and team-building activities, patients will develop bonds and interests on which to focus.

We offer many different types of recreational therapy. Our staff conducts art therapies, which include activities like painting and sculpting. We also offer wilderness therapy that allows our patients to become one with nature. We have found that giving them outlets for new hobbies and interests aids immensely in their recovery.

How CNV Detox Can Help

At CNV Detox, we are successful because we focus on each individual’s needs. We have found that customizing each treatment plan increases our success rate. If necessary, we will place our patients in medication-assisted treatment. We want to try to avoid it as much as possible though, so they can experience other forms of therapy. We do understand that sometimes it is the only way to help them recover fully.

Addiction disorders can take over a person’s life, and this is why we want to help. We want each of our patients to succeed and recover from their disorder. Do not hesitate to contact us by calling or messaging today. We are able to answer questions at any time of the day.


Take the Next Step

The path to recovery is only one step away. Begin your treatment at CNV Detox in Los Angeles, California as soon as the same day. For your convenience, we work 24/7. Our team is ready to help as soon as you reach out.