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Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) for Alcohol Use Disorder

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for alcohol use disorder combines medications, addiction counseling, and therapy to offer a comprehensive approach toward your recovery. It can provide you with freedom from alcohol dependence, focusing on helping you feel stable and make healthy lifestyle changes. MAT empowers you to take steps towards reclaiming your life from alcohol addiction for good.

Understanding Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)

Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) is a medical condition where a person can’t control or stop drinking alcohol, even when it causes problems in their life. This disorder includes what was previously called alcohol abuse, dependence, addiction, and alcoholism. AUD is diagnosed using criteria from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5).
AUD can be mild, moderate, or severe, based on how many symptoms you may have. Mild means having two or three symptoms, while severe means having six or more. Common symptoms of alcoholism include increased tolerance to alcohol, addiction withdrawal symptoms, unsuccessful efforts to cut down on drinking, and continuing to drink despite its negative impact on your life.

What is MAT for Alcohol Use Disorder?

Medication-assisted treatment for alcohol is a comprehensive approach that combines medication with addiction counseling to treat alcohol use disorder effectively. This treatment works by balancing your brain chemistry, reducing or stopping withdrawal symptoms, and controlling cravings, which collectively can help you stay sober and regain control of your life.

Medications Used to Treat Alcohol Addiction

Medication-assisted treatment for alcohol use disorder includes a variety of FDA-approved medications, each with unique benefits tailored to your individual recovery needs and lifestyle.

Acamprosate works in the brain’s glutamatergic system, specifically targeting N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors. Chronic alcohol use disrupts the balance of these receptors, causing overexcitement. Acamprosate for alcohol addiction helps fix this imbalance by adjusting how glutamate, a key chemical messenger, works. This adjustment helps reduce alcohol cravings.

Acamprosate is particularly helpful if you are seeking to maintain sobriety over the long term after quitting drinking.
Naltrexone functions as an opioid receptor antagonist, however, it also blocks the opioid receptors in the brain that are linked to the euphoria experienced when binge drinking. By blocking these receptors, naltrexone reduces the pleasurable effects associated with drinking and diminishes cravings.

Naltrexone can be effective in both reducing the frequency and quantity of alcohol consumption and in preventing relapse. It is available in oral form as well as in an extended-release injectable formulation (branded as Vivitrol), which is administered once a month.
Disulfiram prevents the enzyme aldehyde dehydrogenase from breaking down alcohol in the body. When you drink alcohol, a harmful substance called acetaldehyde will build up instead of being broken down. This buildup causes uncomfortable symptoms like feeling sick, throwing up, having a headache, and getting flushed or red in the face.

These effects create a deterrent to drinking by creating a strong negative association with alcohol consumption. It can be particularly effective for individuals highly motivated to maintain sobriety.

Benefits of MAT for Alcohol Dependence

MAT is a structured approach to alcohol treatment combining the power of addiction counseling and medication for successful recovery. One of the primary benefits of MAT is its ability to reduce cravings, leading to lower relapse rates. This is particularly helpful after the alcohol detox process. 

Additionally, MAT for alcohol use disorder ensures the root cause of alcoholism is addressed through therapy. This is important to long-term recovery as medication alone isn’t always enough, particularly when faced with triggers.

It’s important to note that MAT should not be used during the alcohol detox process. Quitting alcohol cold turkey is dangerous due to the potential for seizures. If you have been struggling with alcohol use for a long time, you must seek professional support to reduce the likelihood of fatal consequences.

Is Online MAT for Alcohol Addiction Effective?

Online MAT for alcohol addiction has proven to be an effective and convenient option for many individuals seeking treatment. These online MAT programs provide accessible, personalized care right from your home. The ease and flexibility of online MAT can improve how long you stay in treatment and how engaged you are, leading to better outcomes in managing alcohol addiction. As of 2022, only 2% of individuals with an alcohol use disorder were utilizing MAT. Online MAT can significantly increase this number and connect even more individuals with lifesaving alcohol treatments.

Person attends a virtual therapy appointment

Online Medication-Assisted Treatment for Alcohol at Eleanor Health

Ready to embark on your journey towards sobriety? Experience the convenience and effectiveness of online medication-assisted treatment for alcohol addiction at Eleanor Health. Our comprehensive program combines personalized addiction medication management with virtual therapy and peer support, empowering you to take control of your recovery from home. Don’t let distance or barriers stand in the way of your healing. Contact us today to start your online MAT program with Eleanor Health and begin your path to a healthier, alcohol-free life.

We’re here to help

We know reaching out can be hard. Call today to speak with one of our recovery specialists. We will listen, learn, and offer support – without judgment. We welcome every person in need of support. Call us today at (866) 465-0590 to learn more about our addiction treatment services. We believe in you and your ability to overcome addiction.