One of the benefits of medicated-assisted treatment for alcoholism is that it can drastically reduce cravings and increase the odds of long-term sobriety.
What are the Symptoms of Alcohol Addiction?
Alcohol addiction, also known as alcohol use disorder (AUD), is characterized by an intense craving for alcohol, the inability to control alcohol consumption, and continued use despite negative consequences. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) lists some of the more common symptoms of alcohol addiction:
- Increased tolerance to alcohol, meaning you need to drink more to feel the same effects
- Withdrawal symptoms such as shaking, sweating, and nausea
- Difficulty controlling the amount of alcohol consumed
- Neglecting responsibilities and activities in favor of alcohol use
- Continued alcohol use despite negative consequences, such as relationship problems or job loss
- Craving for alcohol
- Inability to quit or reduce alcohol use despite the desire to do so
- It’s important to note that not everyone experiencing these symptoms has an addiction. Still, it’s worth seeking professional help if you’re concerned about your drinking habits.
To properly and officially diagnose alcohol addiction or alcohol use disorder, however, requires a clinical healthcare professional. If you or someone you care about is experiencing any of these symptoms, reach out to someone for help.
Who is at Risk for Developing Alcohol Use Disorder?
Anyone can develop alcohol addiction, but certain factors increase the risk. These include a family history of alcohol addiction, starting to drink at a young age, a history of mental health problems, and a history of trauma or abuse. Individuals with high-stress levels or a lack of social support are also at a higher risk of developing alcohol addiction.
Understanding Medicated-Assisted Treatment (MAT)
MAT is an evidence-based treatment that combines medications with counseling and behavioral therapies. The medications for treating alcohol in MAT include naltrexone, acamprosate, and disulfiram, which work by reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Combining medications for treating alcohol with counseling and behavioral therapies can help individuals overcome their addiction and maintain long-term recovery.
The Benefits of MAT for Treating Alcohol Addiction
Medicated-Assisted Treatment (MAT) is a type of treatment that combines medication with behavioral therapies and counseling to help individuals with alcohol addiction. It is an evidence-based approach that is highly effective in treating alcohol use disorder. The NIAAA recommends MAT as a first-line treatment for alcohol use. It can significantly reduce withdrawal symptoms, cravings, and the risk of relapse.
One of the main benefits of MAT is that it can alleviate the physical symptoms of alcohol addiction. Symptoms such as tremors, seizures, and hallucinations, make it difficult for people to stop drinking independently. Medications like naltrexone, acamprosate, and disulfiram can help to reduce the craving for alcohol and make it easier for individuals to stick to their treatment plan.
Another benefit of medications for treating alcohol is that they can help to improve the chances of long-term recovery. By addressing both the physical and psychological aspects of alcohol addiction, medicated assisted treatment can help individuals to develop the skills and strategies needed to maintain their sobriety. This can include family therapies and counseling, which can help improve relationships and provide support during recovery.
MAT also can be used in conjunction with Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or other support groups, which can provide a sense of community and accountability. It is important to note that MAT is not a replacement for AA or other support groups. Still, it can be a helpful addition to the traditional treatment of alcohol use.
What is the Effectiveness of MAT?
Medicated-assisted treatment (MAT) is an effective treatment option for individuals struggling with AUD. Studies have shown that MAT, combined with counseling and behavioral therapies, can significantly improve the chances of successful recovery for those with alcohol use disorder.
MAT works by reducing cravings for alcohol and managing withdrawal symptoms, making it easier for individuals to maintain abstinence from alcohol. It also helps to improve overall physical and mental health, increasing the likelihood of a successful recovery.
MAT is particularly effective for people who have struggled with alcohol addiction for an extended period. It is also beneficial for those who have relapsed multiple times. Its effectiveness for those with co-occurring mental health disorders, such as anxiety or depression, is also vast.
It is important to note that MAT is not a stand-alone treatment. Medication assisted treatment should be used with counseling, behavioral therapies, and support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous. It is essential to work closely with a healthcare professional to monitor the use of medications and ensure that they are being used effectively and safely.
MAT and the Possible Side Effects
Medicated-assisted treatment (MAT) is considered a safe and effective method for treating alcohol addiction. However, like any treatment, it can have potential side effects. Some common side effects of medicated-assisted treatment include nausea, drowsiness, and constipation. These side effects are typically mild and can be managed with medication adjustments and other interventions.
It is important to note that MAT should only be used under the close supervision of a medical professional. A physician or addiction specialist will monitor the patient and make any necessary adjustments to the medication regimen.
When is it Time to Get Help?
If you or someone you love is struggling with alcohol addiction, it is crucial to seek help. The longer addiction goes untreated, the more difficult it becomes to overcome.
At Agape Treatment Center, we understand the challenges of alcohol addiction and are here to help. Our team of experienced and compassionate counselors and medical professionals will work with you to create a personalized treatment plan that acknowledges your unique needs. We offer a range of evidence-based therapies, including medicated-assisted treatment, individual and group counseling, and family therapies.
Don’t let alcohol addiction control your life any longer. Contact Agape Treatment Center today to learn more about our effective treatment options and take the first step toward recovery.
Stephanie Catalano is an accomplished Clinical Director at Agape Behavioral Healthcare. With a Master of Social Work degree, LCSW license, and extensive training in Rapid Resolution Therapy under her belt, she brings a wealth of expertise to her role. Her unique combination of education and experience allows her to provide exceptional care to clients and lead her team with confidence. Stephanie’s joy comes from witnessing the moments when her patients creatively connect the dots and bravely move toward reclaiming their power. Her purpose is to help individuals understand their past so they can create a future full of hope, growth, and success. Stephanie attributes a large portion of her success to the supportive culture and strong sense of community fostered by the Agape team.