doctor who can prescribe methadone wearing coat

Despite the many measures and investments made towards mitigating the harmful effects of the opioid epidemic, overall addiction proves to be something that the nation is struggling with in high numbers. Southeast Addiction has seen first-hand how great the need is for addiction treatment in Nashville TN or neighboring state Georgia. One of the most effective ways of combatting addiction is understanding the comorbid nature of the condition and how MAT (medication assisted treatment) can help.

What is Comorbidity in Addiction Treatment?

Comorbidity refers to the presence of a condition in conjunction with another condition. For example, someone with a substance use disorder has a much higher likelihood of having a mental health condition such as depression or generalized anxiety disorder. The reverse is true as well, if a person is suffering from persistent anxiety they have a higher likelihood to develop a substance use disorder as a response to that.

Conditions where it is unclear nor helpful to know which condition came first are sometimes referred to as multimorbidity in psychology.

Addiction is a Vicious Cycle

For Southeast Addiction, identifying and treating comorbid conditions is essential to providing effective addiction treatment in Nashville or our Georgia location. One of the reasons for this is what is commonly known as a vicious cycle. A vicious cycle is a cycle that perpetuates itself with negative outcomes.

In the case of addiction and comorbid conditions, picture this:

A person is suffering from tremendous amounts of anxiety and/or depression. They reach a point in their life where coping is proving too difficult. Then, they find that drinking alcohol or using opioids provides a reprieve from their disruptive thoughts and their suffering.

Because drugs and alcohol merely “numb” or tamp down on negative thoughts and feelings, they return when the person is sober, and they come back full force. Because the person that was feeling great when they were intoxicated or high, the contrast is even more painful than when they were simply sober and hurting.

It can be too much to bear, and so they use again, and the cycle is created. If a person tries to get sober, the withdrawal symptoms alone can be a significant deterrent to getting sober. This cycle can occur in the reverse, beginning with substance use issues and culminating in mental health conditions or physical dependence.

This is where MAT comes into play.

What is MAT and How Does It Help Treat Addiction?

MAT is Medication Assisted Treatment is a treatment modality that is founded on the idea that in order to treat addiction, one must also assess and determine if providing medication can help the process along.

At Southeast Addiction, this aid comes in the form of 3 FDA approved medications for treating opioid and alcohol addiction.

  • Naltrexone
  • Buprenorphine
  • Methadone

Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist which means that it blocks the effects of opioids such as heroin or morphine. Naltrexone can also be used to mitigate the effects of alcohol. The extended released form of this medication is called Vivitrol; Southeast Addiction provides Vivitrol Maintenance. Naltrexone is used to help prevent the occurrence of relapse and potentially reduce cravings.

Buprenorphine (or Suboxone) is a partial opioid agonist, meaning that it actually can activate opioid receptors in the brain. The effect is significantly weaker than using opiates/opioids but it still does provide a small high, and so there is potential for abuse. The prescription and usage of Buprenorphine is to reduce the severity of dependency on powerful opioids and to blunt cravings with the intention that the patient will inevitably come off of them entirely.

Methadone is an opioid antagonist that is used in the treatment of severe withdrawal symptoms resulting from an opiate addiction. Methadone is a full opioid agonist, so it has a powerful anti-withdrawal effect when used in the context of a structured treatment plan due to it producing effects similar to other opioids.

Vivitrol Maintenance (MAT) Nashville TN

Vivitrol maintenance is one of the most common and useful methods of administering MAT with our structured addiction treatment program in Nashville. Buprenorphine or Methadone are also effective means to help people manage withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings as they shift into recovery.

Contact Southeast Addiction today for addiction treatment in Nashville and Atlanta, as well as their respective metropolitan areas.