As an alternative to traditional abstinence-based treatment, we offer medication-assisted treatment for substance abuse at Chapel Hill Detox. Our team of professionals is skilled and experienced in providing care for those seeking a MAT program. For some individuals, medication is essential while overcoming opioid addiction.

Medication-assisted treatment is not only helpful during detox, but it’s often the safest option available for those with severe opioid addiction. Many medications are helpful in a MAT program, such as methadone, naltrexone, and buprenorphine.

What is Medication-Assisted Treatment?

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) uses FDA-approved medication combined with therapy and counseling to treat people with substance use disorders. These medications assist in easing symptoms of withdrawal. Medication-assisted treatment for substance abuse is designed to curb drug cravings in participants, helping them detox and ultimately recover from alcohol or opioid addiction.

Each person has a unique journey to recovery. Particular methods work for some and not for others. Chapel Hill Detox offers MAT to those who may achieve recovery with the help of medication.  

How Does it Work?

Opioid abuse leads to an overwhelmingly strong addiction. Even though there is a stigma behind using medication to cease drug use, MAT is ethical. Since opioid abuse leads to such a powerful addiction, treatment is more intensive. Medication-Assisted Treatment for substance abuse

Substances like opioids have severe withdrawal symptoms. To lessen the severity of the withdrawal symptoms, MAT programs offer certain FDA-approved medications. These medications are prescribed and administered by our licensed professions at Chapel Hill Detox. MAT is not often necessary for long periods. We only use MAT until the patient no longer needs medication. 

Using medication to manage the effects of opioid withdrawal helps many patients focus on their recovery. 

Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Addiction

Addiction is a common disease, but it affects each person differently. MAT is a proven method in combating the disease of addiction. Research shows that medication-assisted treatment for substance abuse helps reduce opioid abuse compared to non-medicated approaches.

The medications used in MAT impact the opioid receptors in the brain. They lessen cravings that occur after extended opioid use while helping patients with the emotional, mental, and physical symptoms during withdrawal. Some withdrawal symptoms that medication assisted treatment helps alleviate are:

  • Anxiety
  • Sweating
  • Irritability
  • Chills
  • Cramps
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Vomiting
  • Joint Pain
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea

In medication-assisted treatment, medical professions provide support and education to their patients. MAT guides patients through their medical detox, which is typically an uncomfortable process. Though it is not easy, detox sets the foundation for a successful recovery. 

Types of Medication Used in Medication-Assisted Treatment

At Chapel Hill, we only use FDA-approved medications to treat our patients. As mentioned before, these state-of-the-art medications are prescribed and administered by industry professions who are addiction experts. These are the most widely used medications in MAT:


Methadone is probably the most well-known substance used in opioid addiction treatment. It is a full agonist, which means it produces the desired effect by combining receptors in the nervous system and brain. This process minimizes the uncomfortable symptoms of withdrawal while blocking the euphoric effects of opioids.

Methadone requires a calculated administration in medication-assisted treatment. When methadone is appropriately administered, the patient should feel normal, having no substance cravings. The medication is typically administered once a day which helps the patient avoid any lethargic effects. 

Methadone can be extremely dangerous if misused. Therefore, licensed professionals build-up to a necessary dosage specific to each patient.   

Possible side effects of methadone include:

  • Constipation
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Impaired balance
  • Dizziness
  • Forgetfulness
  • Sleepiness 
  • Confusion or impaired cognition 


Naltrexone is another medication that helps patients cope with opioid withdrawal symptoms. Similar to methadone, naltrexone blocks out euphoric effects while cutting down urges that many people struggling with addiction face in treatment. 

Possible side effects of naltrexone include:medication assisted treatment for substance abuse

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle weakness
  • Headaches


Unlike methadone, suboxone (buprenorphine) is a partial agonist. Which means it does not fully bind to opiate receptors in the body. Buprenorphine provides the same benefits as methadone and naltrexone – it decreases cravings and alleviates withdrawal symptoms. 

If an individual attempts to abuse opioids while taking buprenorphine, they will experience unpleasant results. This is because buprenorphine is often combined with naloxone, which counteracts the effects that opioids tend to have. 

Possible side effects of buprenorphine include:

  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Irritability
  • Trouble staying awake
  • Constipation

Is Medication-Assisted Treatment Right for Me?

Before committing to any treatment, you should understand how it works and other possible options. The decision to start treatment is difficult in itself. Choosing the proper treatment is also not an easy process, but Chapel Hill Detox aims to help clients choose a program that matches their specific needs. When looking into a medication-assisted program for substance abuse, consider all the program’s facets, including how it works and what it offers. Some questions that may help move you toward a decision for treatment are:

  • How you had trouble sustaining sobriety in abstinence-based programs?
  • Have you relapsed during or after treatment?
  • Would craving-reducing medications help you on your journey to recovery?
  • Are you willing or able to take prescription medications for the purpose of detox and treatment?

Other Treatments Combined With MAT

Medication-assisted treatment works well for many suffering from substance abuse issues. Besides utilizing medication, though, Chapel Hill offers several programs that work in conjunction to best help patients. Each program provides different skills and mechanisms that help our clients maintain and sustain sobriety. Addiction is a multifaceted disease and typically cannot be “cured” with one type of treatment. 

Whether MAT is not for you, or you would like to better your chances of recovery by combining MAT with other programs, we offer several proven therapies.  

Individual Therapy

Individual therapy is a significant part of substance abuse treatment. It involves a licensed therapist and a patient in a completely secure and confidential environment. Individual therapy allows patients to discuss their behavior, emotions, and challenges in a one-on-one setting. In recovery, it is essential that individuals understand their addiction and how it alters their lives and others’ lives. 

Therapists work with their patients to expose triggers and trauma that feeds into their addiction. Individual therapy is a great tool that teaches people how to address their behavior in a healthy and meaningful way. 

The combination of medication-assisted treatment for substance abuse and individual therapy keeps patients in a healthy state of mind, pushing them toward recovery. Therapists also utilize cognitive-behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy to create a foundation of good mental health. 

Group Therapy 

Substance AbuseGroup therapy is another pillar of treatment that offers unique benefits in treatment. It generally involves a group of two or more individuals and a trained therapist. Group sessions are therapist-led and allow participants to take turns expressing their struggles, trauma, experiences, and emotions. 

Each form of therapy offers calculated benefits. In group therapy, participants use their developing social skills and coping mechanisms to interact with their peers in a real-world situation. Group therapy effectively offers participants diversity of thought, support and encouragement, and differing perspectives between individuals. 

Individual and group therapy forms are not mutually exclusive. At Chapel Hill Detox, we strive to provide programs that give our clients the best opportunity to make a successful recovery. We offer several programs that function together so clients can maintain the benefits of each therapeutic process. 

Dual Diagnosis 

Many individuals in treatment find that their substance abuse is an effort to cope with other mental health conditions. Mental health disorders that coexist with addiction are commonly called co-occurring disorders or dual diagnoses. 

Many patients that join a medication-assisted treatment program for substance abuse struggle with a severe addiction. Slightly less than half of Americans that struggle with addiction have co-occurring mental health disorders. Chapel Hill Detox offers specific programs that treat each diagnosis simultaneously. Research shows that when co-occurring disorders are treated together, dual diagnosis patients have a better chance of a successful recovery. 

Common mental health issues treated alongside addiction include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety and panic disorders
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Schizophrenia
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Bipolar disorder

Holistic Treatments

Many individuals in MAT programs prefer alternative forms of treatment. Holistic therapy programs offer natural treatments that focus on the body and mind. Holistic treatment focuses on the root causes of conditions like addiction, depression, anxiety, and more. Many report turning to holistic therapies if traditional medicine has not worked for them.

Traditional methods of treatment focus on symptoms and proven medical therapies. Holistic practitioners believe all people can heal and recover. Instead of just treating symptoms, holistic therapy aims to dig at the source of issues. Some popular forms of holistic treatments include:

Contact Chapel Hill Detox Now

Medication-assisted treatment may seem overwhelming since it uses medication to offset other substances. At Chapel Hill, we understand that concern. MAT is an excellent tool that helps many cope with the effects of addiction while in treatment. Our experienced and professional staff makes certain to provide deliberate and necessary care to those who need it. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, please contact us today.