Alcohol addiction is a chronic disease affecting millions worldwide. It is characterized by a compulsive need to drink. This compulsion persists despite its negative consequences on one’s health, relationships, and overall quality of life.
Achieving long-term sobriety in alcohol addiction recovery can be challenging. One approach that has shown promise in helping individuals achieve long-term sobriety is medication-assisted treatment (MAT).
Understanding Medication-Assisted Treatment
MAT is a treatment approach involving medication to help individuals manage their addiction and achieve sobriety. The medications used in MAT for alcohol addiction work by either reducing cravings or blocking the effects of alcohol. This makes alcohol less appealing.
Commonly Used MAT Medications
There are three primary medications used in MAT for alcohol addiction: naltrexone, acamprosate, and disulfiram. Naltrexone works by blocking the brain’s opioid receptors, which reduces the rewarding effects of alcohol. It also reduces the cravings associated with alcohol addiction.
Acamprosate works by restoring the balance of brain chemicals disrupted by alcohol addiction, reducing withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Disulfiram works by producing unpleasant side effects when the individual consumes alcohol, such as nausea, vomiting, and headache. This makes drinking alcohol unappealing and reduces the risk of relapse.
Benefits of Medication-Assisted Treatment for Long-Term Sobriety
MAT has several benefits for individuals seeking long-term sobriety from alcohol addiction. Firstly, it reduces the risk of relapse by helping individuals manage cravings and reducing the rewarding effects of alcohol. This, in turn, increases treatment retention rates and improves relapse prevention.
Studies have shown that people who receive MAT are more likely to stay in treatment. They are also more likely to achieve long-term sobriety than those who receive only behavioral therapy or no treatment. A study published in the Journal of Addiction Medicine found that individuals who received naltrexone had a significantly higher abstinence rate than those who received a placebo.
MAT also helps withdrawal management, which can be challenging and uncomfortable for individuals seeking sobriety.
What Withdrawal Symptoms Does MAT Help With?
Withdrawal symptoms can include tremors, anxiety, depression, and in severe cases, seizures. These symptoms can make it difficult for individuals to maintain sobriety and can even be life-threatening. People are likelier to stick to their treatment plan and achieve long-term sobriety because of the reduced severity of symptoms.
In addition, MAT has been shown to improve the overall quality of life for individuals seeking sobriety. Alcohol addiction can significantly impact physical, mental, and emotional well-being. MAT can improve their overall health and well-being by helping individuals achieve sobriety and manage their addiction. This can include improvements in relationships, employment, and daily functioning.
How to Incorporate Medication-Assisted Treatment into Your Recovery Plan
Suppose you’re considering MAT as part of your recovery plan. In that case, it’s essential to consult with a medical professional who can help determine the appropriate medication for you. This may involve a trial and error, as different medications work better for others.
Therapy and support groups as part of your treatment plan are also essential. MAT works best when combined with other forms of treatment, as it addresses only the physical aspect of addiction. Therapy and support groups can help individuals address the underlying emotional and psychological issues contributing to their addiction.
Finding a Suitable MAT Program
Several types of therapy may be helpful for individuals seeking sobriety. Contacting New York Addiction Resources can help you find a MAT program to fit your needs.