Alcohol is a well-known mind-altering drug that is often used in social situations. Ethanol, which is also called ethyl alcohol, is the ingredient in alcoholic drinks that makes you feel drunk. Beer, wine, and liquor are the main types of alcoholic drinks. Alcohol is a legally controlled substance that lowers anxiety and nerves. It can cause a wide range of side effects, from slurred speech to loss of coordination. Not everyone who drinks is an alcoholic, but someone who can’t control how much they drink probably has an alcohol use disorder (AUD). Over 14 million adults in the US have trouble with alcoholism, and when AUD is treated, the chances of serious risks and deaths are lowered. People often seek MAT for alcohol addiction.

What is MAT?

MAT is a type of drug and alcohol rehab that uses both medication and behavioral therapy to help people with substance use disorders. MAT programs can help people with alcohol use disorders have a healthier lifestyle, and they are made to fit the needs of each patient. The goal of MAT is to give each person with a drug use disorder high-quality, individualized care.

A big part of MAT is behavioral therapies like one-on-one and group counseling. Each client will start to figure out and deal with the causes of their addiction while dealing with the initial pain and cravings that come with recovery. MAT tries to address all of the things that could cause a relapse while giving clients the space they need to focus on the personal work of recovery.

MAT for Alcohol Use Disorder

Alcohol use disorder is a hard problem to get rid of. Alcohol can be bought legally and easily at convenience stores, bars, clubs, and liquor stores in the area. In movies and commercials, Americans see people drinking alcohol. This is also a big part of what Americans do every day and how they celebrate. It’s hard to admit and get over alcoholism because alcoholic drinks are easy to get and socially acceptable.

MAT Medications for Alcohol Use Disorder

The FDA has approved a number of medications to treat alcohol use disorders. Medication-assisted treatment medications relieve withdrawal symptoms and emotional cravings that are caused by chemical imbalances in the body. The medicines used in MAT are based on scientific evidence and don’t just switch one drug out for another. Some of the most common medications used in MAT for alcohol use disorder are disulfiram, naltrexone, and acamprosate.

Disulfiram

Disulfiram is one of the best options for people who have finished detoxing and are now in the early stages of recovery. This medicine is taken once a day in the form of a tablet. Disulfiram works as a deterrent because it causes unpleasant side effects when even a small amount of alcohol is consumed. Most of the time, these side effects include:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Chest pains
  • Vomiting
  • Trouble breathing

Most of the time, these unpleasant side effects start within 10 minutes of drinking alcohol and can last for an hour or more. Because of the unpleasant and sometimes dangerous side effects, not every treatment center for alcohol use disorder that uses MAT offers disulfiram.

Naltrexone

Naltrexone blocks the high that comes from drinking too much alcohol. The goal of this particular drug is to help people stop associating alcohol with good feelings and good times. In the end, this interaction makes the person more likely to stay committed to recovery. Naltrexone is given as a pill or as an injection. It works best when combined with behavioral therapy and a full treatment plan for recovery.

Acamprosate

Acamprosate is a drug that works best for people who have already gone through the first phase of alcohol detox and withdrawal symptoms. This medicine is usually given on the fifth day after quitting, and it takes five to eight days after the first dose for it to work at full strength. Acamprosate is given three times a day in the form of tablets. When combined with comprehensive therapy and treatment, it reduces cravings and makes it more likely that a person will stay sober.

What Are the Risks of MAT for Alcohol Use Disorder?

MAT has risks, just like any other treatment. No one can promise you will be completely safe. But the risks of MAT are far less than the risks of continuing to drink. One of the main risks of MAT is that the drugs can have side effects, which include but are not limited to:

  • Nausea, vomiting, and loose stools
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Feeling weak or tired
  • Poor appetite
  • Sleeping too much or too little 
  • Can make you feel dizzy
  • Numbness

The last risk of MAT is that you might still drink. This could happen if the treatment doesn’t work for you. You could also keep drinking even though you’ve been taking medicine and going to therapy. If this happens, don’t let it get you down, you should check in with your treatment team to figure out a better way to get the services you need to reach your goals.

The Success of MAT for Alcohol Use Disorder

Recovery from alcohol use disorder can’t be done with a single method that works for everyone. Some people may find that giving up alcohol completely works best. But this method might not work for everyone, and early on in recovery, you might need more help. Medication-assisted treatment is one of the most helpful types of care that is based on scientific evidence. Research shows that MAT for alcohol use disorder is very effective at reducing withdrawal symptoms, cutting down on cravings, and making it more likely for a person to stay sober.

Are you or a loved one struggling with Alcohol abuse? Have more questions regarding rehab and what we can do to help? Contact us here, or give us a call at (877) 959-5866.