Medication-assisted treatment also provides for the management of:
- Withdrawal symptoms in individuals who have developed physical dependence on a drug (this occurs during the detox process)
- Cravings for certain drugs, such as opioid drugs (e.g., heroin, Vicodin, etc.), alcohol, benzodiazepines, and others
- Other symptoms that often occur during recovery from a substance use disorder, such as insomnia, psychological symptoms (depression, anxiety, etc.), pain, other physical issues like diabetes, etc.
Medication-assisted treatment is not a standalone treatment for individuals to address substance use disorders, but will need to be combined with other forms of therapy in order for the person to engage in a full recovery program. In addition, this treatment is often applied in the detox phase. Going through a medical detox program is only the first stage of treatment; it is not sufficient treatment by itself.
Any type of medication-assisted treatment can only be administered by a qualified physician. In some cases, such as in the administration and prescription of opioid replacement therapies, physicians need to receive special qualifications beyond their medical training.