Medication-Assisted Treatment in Arizona

by | Oct 19, 2019 | MAT

Medication-Assisted Treatment in Arizona

Medication-Assisted Treatment in Arizona

On the surface, it may seem counterintuitive to use medication to treat individuals suffering from an addiction to opioids or alcohol. However, using FDA-approved medications and evidence-based therapy programs may extend periods of sobriety. This methodology is known as medication-assisted treatment. In Arizona, leading rehabilitation centers have experienced increased recovery success by integrating this approach.

Medication-Assisted Treatment Defined

After the successful completion of detoxification and treatment, the recovery process begins by addressing the persistent urges and cravings of addiction. For individuals struggling to stay clean using behavioral treatments alone, cravings can become so intense they begin to interfere with treatment. When cravings push sufferers beyond a certain point, relapse can occur.

Mercifully, there are several medications with a proven track record of curbing cravings and increasing the likelihood of long-term recovery success. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is a combination of medications and behavioral therapies that teach individuals how to manage triggers at the cognitive level.

Implementing MAT has proven clinical success in extending periods of sobriety as compared to using non-medical treatment methods. With full recovery as the goal of MAT, the approach has assisted patients by:

  • Increasing survival rates
  • Improving birth outcomes
  • Decreasing illicit opioid use
  • Decreasing criminal activity
  • Increasing treatment retention
  • Increasing the ability to gain and maintain employment

Medications Used in Treating Opioid Addiction

There are three FDA-approved medications used to treat opioid addiction. Unfortunately, as of today, no other medications have been found to assist in the recovery of individuals suffering from other drugs like cocaine, marijuana, or methamphetamines.


While most medications require administration by a clinic, buprenorphine is the first drug that may be prescribed by and obtained from a physician’s office. The drug works by attaching to opioid receptors in the same way other opioids do, reducing the cravings felt by the patient. Buprenorphine may is taken as a pill or sublingual tablet placed under the tongue.


When taking methadone, the brain is tricked into thinking it is still receiving the abused drug, so withdrawal doesn’t occur. However, it will not make an individual high. Methadone is a powerful drug and can last up to 36 hours. Clinical administration is required as patients may experience withdrawal symptoms from the drug if therapy were to stop abruptly.


As a non-addictive medicine, naloxone blocks the euphoric effects of other narcotics. The drug works by blocking opioid receptors. However, naloxone may decrease a patient’s tolerance to opioids, potentially increasing relapse risk if not administered under the supervision of medical professionals.

Medication Used in Treating Alcohol Addiction

Withdrawal from alcohol can result in intense anxiety, nausea, headaches, seizures, and hallucinations. In severe cases, alcohol withdrawal could be life-threatening. Individuals suffering from alcohol addiction may find increased recovery success by incorporating medication-assisted treatment. In Arizona, there are three medications commonly used:


Used to prevent relapse and promote abstinence from alcohol, acamprosate balances the brain’s excitatory and inhibitory neuronal activity. In simple terms, the drug lessens the acute withdrawal symptoms that could lead an individual to relapse.


Also known as Antabuse, Disulfiram curbs drinking behavior by eliciting unpleasant effects after someone consumes alcohol. After 10 to 30 minutes of drinking, an individual will experience sweating, vomiting, headache, anxiety, and a whole host of other side effects meant to deter further consumption.


Similar to naloxone, naltrexone blocks the euphoric effects that alcohol imparts onto an individual. The drug can be administered monthly via an injection or daily through oral dosing. Over time, the drug may begin to reduce the urge to consume alcohol.

Seeking Medicine-Assisted Treatment in Arizona

There is no one size fits all approach to treating opioid or alcohol addiction. Patients undergoing medication-assisted treatment are required by federal law to receive counseling along with medication. If you or a loved one decide to undergo treatment, it is important to have a proper intake assessment that will achieve three primary goals:

  1. Correctly diagnose substance abuse disorder.
  2. Evaluate the severity of the addiction.
  3. Assess for the potential of any co-occurring mental or physical health problems.

Only after a professional assessment by medical professionals can it be determined if MAT is a viable treatment option. If you or someone you love is suffering from an addiction, contact your local hospital or call Soul Surgery Rehabilitation today.

Soul Surgery
Soul Surgery Integrative Medicine Addiction Centers works with clients to bring healing and recovery for those suffering with drug and alcohol use, current or past trauma, mental health issues, and other life experiences. Located in Scottsdale, AZ, we provide addiction treatment, drug and alcohol detox, dual diagnosis treatment, mental health treatment, and medication assisted treatment on both an inpatient and outpatient basis.

Contact Arizona’s Addiction Specialists Today

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