MAT is one of the most effective forms of treatment for individuals with alcohol use disorder. More than 21 million Americans are addicted to alcohol, making it one of the most abused mind-altering substances in the country. Of course, millions of more people incorporate alcohol into their lives in a responsible way, such as at special events like weddings or parties. But what separates those who are addicted to alcohol and those who use it responsibly comes down to nothing more than the disease factor.
What Is Alcohol Use Disorder?
Addiction is clinically proven to be a disease, meaning that it changes the actual structure of the brain in unfavorable ways. Individuals who abuse alcohol to the extent that they become addicted to it find it nearly impossible to have just one alcoholic beverage. The impact of addiction causes individuals to continually crave more and more alcohol, even if there is a serious risk associated with it. Unfortunately, many people lose their lives to alcohol addiction as a result, while many others suffer significant damages physically, mentally, and emotionally. Allowing an addiction to alcohol to continue is a surefire way to gain firsthand knowledge of just how destructive this disease can be, which is why it is extremely imperative to seek professional addiction treatment for it.
What is MAT for Alcohol Use Disorder?
MAT, which is the abbreviation for medication-assisted treatment, is a type of treatment that has been around for decades. It is most commonly associated with opioid use disorder, as common medications like methadone and buprenorphine are prescribed to reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings. But despite garnering the majority of attention for its efficacy in treating opioid use disorders, medication-assisted treatment is also highly effective in treating alcohol use disorders.
An individual who is participating in MAT for alcohol use disorder can expect to have a treatment plan developed for them that involves a combination of therapy and medication. This combination has proven to be highly effective in reducing cravings, long-term withdrawal symptoms, and relapse rates in those recovering from alcohol use disorder. The therapies that the vast majority of those who are participating in MAT for alcohol use disorder can benefit from usually include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Individual psychotherapy
- Group counseling
- Behavioral therapies (i.e. cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavioral therapy)
- Family therapy
- Motivational interviewing
- Contingency management
- Experiential therapy
A large emphasis is placed on ensuring that those who are receiving MAT for alcohol use disorder are not only being treated with medications. Without engaging in therapy, the medications most frequently used to help treat this disorder are not as effective as they can be.
Medications that are used in MAT for alcohol use disorder include the following:
- Naltrexone – Naltrexone, the main ingredient in the opioid use disorder medication Vivitrol, can also be used to help treat alcohol use disorder. In pill form, it helps to reduce cravings and blocks sensations of being drunk if an individual drinks again.
- Disulfiram – Taking disulfiram helps to prevent the act of drinking again, as drinking while on this medication will produce unpleasant effects similar to those of withdrawal symptoms.
- Acamprosate – Acamprosate not only helps to reduce cravings for alcohol, but is also effective in helping to minimize withdrawal symptoms.
If you are seeking treatment, MAT for alcohol use disorder can provide you with therapies and medications designed to meet your specific recovery needs.
Why You Need MAT for Alcohol Use Disorder
Not everyone who is experiencing alcohol use disorder requires a care plan that involves MAT. However, countless individuals benefit from it. MAT for alcohol use disorder can be beneficial for anyone, but it is usually provided to those who:
- Are physically dependent on alcohol
- Have made many attempts to get sober but have been unsuccessful
- Have one or more co-occurring mental health disorders
Unlike MAT for opioid use disorder, most individuals who are seeking MAT treatment for alcohol use disorder are not provided medications in the beginning stages of their treatment. That is because individuals must be fully detoxed from alcohol before taking these medications, or else withdrawal symptoms can re-develop.
MAT for alcohol use disorder can be extremely beneficial in your overall recovery because of the following reasons:
- MAT helps to reduce cravings, helping to reduce risk of relapse and allowing for you to remain focused on your goals
- You can have long-term withdrawal symptoms (such as anxiety or depression) effectively treated with MAT for alcohol use disorder
- You are allowing your body to slowly reset itself after spending time being dependent on alcohol
- You can move farther along in your recovery from a therapeutic standpoint, strengthening your situation and allowing for you to slowly taper off of medications when the appropriate time comes
The best way to determine if MAT for alcohol use disorder is right for you is by reaching out to a healthcare professional, such as a therapist, addiction specialist, or doctor.
Alcohol Addiction Treatment Center in California
If you or someone you love is struggling with an alcohol use disorder, medication-assisted treatment might be the right option for care. To learn more about this program, reach out to our team at Pacific Sands Recovery right now. We can help you get started on a new, brighter tomorrow.