Medication-assisted treatment, commonly abbreviated MAT, is an important tool that has helped countless people achieve sobriety. When you’re first thinking about seeking treatment for alcohol addiction, you’re bound to have a lot of questions— and you deserve answers.

In this article we’ll address the following questions:

  • What is MAT?
  • What medications are used in MAT for alcohol addiction?
  • Why does MAT help?
  • How can MAT help my recovery?

Read on to learn how this treatment can help in your alcohol recovery.

What is medication-assisted treatment?

Medication-assisted treatment is the practice of using medications to help manage the pain of withdrawal symptoms and promote recovery. The medications used to do so are U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved and strictly regulated. They are only administered in licensed facilities. 

These medications are first used to ease withdrawal symptoms, but over time a person will taper off the drug with the ultimate goal of living substance-free. 

MAT also implies that while you’re participating in the program that you’ll have access to medical supervision. The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can be severe, even lethal. Some common symptoms include:

  • Anxiety;
  • Tremors;
  • Muscle soreness;
  • Irritability;
  • Insomnia;
  • Fatigue;
  • Changes in appetite;
  • Sweating; 
  • Shaking;
  • Flu-like symptoms;
  • Fever;
  • Nausea;
  • Vomiting;
  • Delirium tremens (hallucinations, seizures and more).

The medical assistance you’ll receive through MAT will also ensure that these and other symptoms are alleviated or minimized.

What medications are used to help with alcohol detox?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the following drugs for the purpose of medication-assisted treatment:

  • Naltrexone: ReVia and Depade;
  • Naltrexone for extended-release injectable suspension: Vivitrol;
  • Acamprosate Calcium: Campral;
  • Disulfiram: Antabuse.

When you get involved with treatment, your team of providers will collaborate with you to determine which medication will offer the best benefits. Factors that will contribute to the decision will include your history of alcohol use and relapse, any allergies you have, your metabolism and whether you are taking other medications simultaneously.

Why does medication-assisted treatment help?

Medication-assisted treatment works by blocking the receptors in the brain that make drinking pleasurable, without causing the drastic negative mental and physical effects of alcohol. MAT can help to prevent relapse because a person will not be able to experience the enjoyable effects of drinking. Some substances also help ease withdrawal symptoms, like insomnia, anxiety and so on.

While some addictive substances are difficult to obtain, alcohol is easily and readily available. Moreover, alcohol is often present at social events, making it nearly impossible to avoid when you’re trying to continue with your normal life.

MAT can help you build up a habit of saying no and resisting cravings. It makes it more reasonable to break an addiction because the medications essential form a wall between you and the dangerous lure of binge drinking.

How can MAT improve my recovery?

There are numerous proven benefits to participating in a medication-assisted treatment program. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration, MAT improves rates of recovery, increases the detox survival rate, improves retention in treatment, decreases criminal activity, improves employment opportunities for participants, and improves birth outcomes for women who participate while pregnant.

When you partake in a MAT program, you’ll be impacted less by the pain of withdrawal. This means that you’ll be able to delve into treatment and put your focus on what matters.

MAT can give you peace of mind while you’re in a period of transition, too. Sometimes having the reassurance of a team of professionals around you can give you a huge boost towards recovery. MAT can also allow you the mental clarity to evaluate your decisions and examine the root of an addiction.

When you participate in medication-assisted treatment you’ll also be benefiting from psychotherapy. As part of a comprehensive treatment plan, this opportunity to have individual or group therapy will be an outlet for the emotional experiences of withdrawal. 

As your brain chemistry is shifting while your body expels toxins, having the resources and support of a MAT program will be of more help than you could guess.

Where can I turn?

If you’ve struggled with alcohol addiction and decided to seek sobriety, check out Silvermist Recovery. At Silvermist Recovery you can get medication-assisted therapy that is catered to your unique needs. Medical and mental health professionals will be by your side during every step of detox, and help you get connected to critical continuing services. Call 724-268-4858 now to start your journey.