Alcohol is a legal and widely available addictive substance. But, WHO declares that no amount of alcohol is safe to consume. Did you know  NIAAA reports there was a 25% increase in alcohol-related deaths in the year 2020? Not only this, alcohol accounted for 1 in 6 drug overdose-related deaths. 

While moderate drinkers can abstain from alcohol at home without medical intervention, alcohol addiction and abuse treatment require professional medical help. Medication-assisted treatment is one of the most recommended treatments for AUD. It utilizes FDA-approved medications to stabilize brain chemistry, breaking the cycle of alcohol cravings and withdrawal and allowing you to focus on healing.

 

Outcomes Of MAT For Alcohol Abuse

The ultimate goal and outcome of a MAT program is lasting recovery. This treatment approach aims to produce the following results:

  1. Improved patient retention in the treatment
  2. Improved survival rates
  3. Decreased alcohol and illicit substance use.
  4. Improve birth outcomes for expecting mothers.
  5. Provides holistic care to improve quality of life 

Which Medications Are Approved To Help With Alcohol Withdrawal?

The following medications are FDA-approved for the treatment of alcohol addiction:

Drugs Use Method Of Delivery
Naltrexone  Blocks the brain receptors in the brain associated with alcohol cravings. Oral or extended-release injection
Acamprosate Used as part of a maintenance program to reduce alcohol cravings  Daily oral medication or once-a-month extended-release injection.
Disulfiram Produces unpleasant symptoms such as vomiting when a person consumes alcohol Oral or injectable

 

Other than this, the doctors may also prescribe the following medications:

  1. Anti-seizure medications: These may be prescribed if you are at risk of developing severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
  2. Antidepressants: These may be prescribed to treat the psychological symptoms associated with withdrawal.
  3. Medications to improve sleep: You may be prescribed sedatives if you experience insomnia.

 

Be Aware Of Interactions Of Alcohol With Prescription Medications 

Make sure to learn about the interactions of alcohol with drugs and prescription medications. Drinking or mixing alcohol with opioids or other substances increases the risk of overdose and death. Here are a few examples of medications you should not mix with alcohol.

Name of Drug Class of Drugs Dangerous effects 
Xanax Sedative, depressant  Both Xanax and alcohol are depressants. Mixing results in oversedation, drowsiness, loss of consciousness, and death.
Benzodiazepines Central nervous system depressant  Increased sedation, respiratory distress, death in case of overdose 
LSD, Ecstasy, MDMA  Hallucinogens  Increase the risk of seizures, alcohol poisoning, and panic attacks 
Meth, Adderall, and Cocaine Stimulants Impaired judgment, blackouts, insomnia, and cognitive impairment 
Hydrocodone Opioid Low blood pressure, fainting, impaired judgment 
Tramadol Opioid The risk of overdose slows brain function and increases drowsiness and confusion.
Suboxone Opioid Digestive issues such as nausea and vomiting. Blurred vision, fainting, and impaired judgment
Sleep medications such as Melatonin  Sedative  Increased drowsiness and respiratory depression 

What If I Am Abusing Alcohol And On Mental Health Medication? 

A question arises: if alcohol has a dangerous interaction with mental disorder medications, then what to do if someone is abusing alcohol and also on mental disorder medications? You may be recommended a dual diagnosis program if you are suffering from polysubstance abuse or have any mental health implications along with alcohol addiction. 

During dual diagnosis, mental health disorders will be treated simultaneously, along with any psychological withdrawal symptoms. For example, if you are suffering from alcohol addiction along with anxiety, you may be recommended Naltrexone through a medical detox, along with behavioral therapy and counseling. Behavioral approaches are beneficial for the treatment of mental health issues and substance abuse. 

Some behavioral therapies you might be recommended include:

  1. Cognitive behavioral therapy
  2. Dialectical behavioral therapy
  3. Individual therapy
  4. Group therapy 
  5. Family therapy

Success Rate Of MAT For AUD 

If you are skeptical about the use of medications, please take a look at recent research supporting the positive outcomes of using MAT:

  1. 90% of patients on medication-assisted treatment maintain sobriety after 2 years mark.
  2. A longitudinal analysis of 5700 participants with AUD revealed that patients on MAT medications were less likely to acquire mental health implications. Furthermore, no serious complications and fewer emergency department visits were associated with medical detox patients.
  3. SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, NIAAA (National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) have funded various research and concluded that MAT medications offer more benefits than at-home or non-pharmacological approaches to alcohol abuse treatment.

Are You The Right Candidate For MAT?

MAT is not for everyone. It is recommended as a part of a comprehensive care plan if you meet the following criteria:

  1. Do not have any medical contradictions with MAT medications
  2. The patient is suffering from moderate to severe levels of addiction according to DSM-V criteria.
  3. Has abstained from alcohol and is not experiencing withdrawal.
  4. Unable to cut back on drinking without the help of medicines.
  5. There is a risk of developing severe withdrawal symptoms.

Understanding Life-Threatening Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Now the question arises: is MAT necessary? Yes, sudden alcohol abstinence is associated with life-threatening withdrawals. Medical intervention is necessary for a safe detox. Alcohol is a depressant. It slows the messages between your body and the brain. Over time, your body gets used to having alcohol for normal function. When you suddenly withdraw, the brain remains in an alert or hyperactive state, resulting in withdrawal symptoms. 

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms (AWS) can range from mild to serious. Some serious withdrawal symptoms include:

Delirium Tremens 

Delirium Tremens, or DTs, is a serious manifestation of alcohol withdrawal. It can last up to 4 days. It is characterized by:

  • Rapid heart rate¬†
  • Agitation
  • High blood pressure
  • Fever¬†
  • Tremors

Deaths have been reported in almost 5% of patients who experienced DTs. 

Seizures

Seizures can occur within 1-2 days of alcohol abstinence. It is characterized by uncontrolled shaking of the body. Sometimes, delayed seizures can occur after 1-2 weeks of abstinence. This is why it is important to withdraw under medical supervision. 

Status Epilepticus 

Status Epilepticus is a serious medical emergency. It is marked by continuous seizures lasting more than half an hour‚ÄĒor back-to-back seizures without full recovery of consciousness between them.¬†

Hallucinations

Hallucinations usually occur 24 hours after the last drink. Hallucinations negatively impact your mental health and blur the line between reality and imagination. It may lead to unwanted accidents such as injury or accidental death. Research shows that  DT is 15% fatal in cases without treatment and only 1% fatal in those who receive treatment. This is why you should withdraw from alcohol under medical supervision.

Looking For Alcohol Detox Near You? ChoicePoint Is Offering All Levels Of Care For Lasting Sobriety

ChoicePoint is a leading addiction treatment center equipped with the latest strategies to combat substance abuse and make recovery life-long. One of the major goals of ChoicePoint is to provide accessible healthcare. We offer all ASAM levels of care to help you choose the best one suited for your needs. These include:

  1. Outpatient Treatment
  2. Intensive Outpatient Treatment
  3. Partial Hospitalization Program (HIOP/PHP)
  4. Inpatient Treatment
  5. Aftercare and Relapse Prevention Program 

We take pride in the following features that set us apart: 

Top-of-the-field Doctors and Staff 

DEA-certified staff can assist you in your journey to sustainable recovery.

Insurance Covered Treatment

All our treatments are covered by government and commercial insurance plans. If you need clarification, please verify your insurance online.

Custom Relapse Prevention Plans 

Individualized plans according to your unique needs.

Online Prescription Program

We offer online MAT prescriptions for alcohol, opioids, prescription, and illicit drug addiction. To know more, please call us at 844.445.2565.

Virtual and In-person Therapy 

Psychotherapy is a great way to help you cope with addiction triggers. We offer the following solution-based therapies to help with mental and physical healing.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Does MAT Stand For In Alcohol Addiction Treatment?

MAT stands for medication-assisted treatment. It involves treating alcohol addiction through FDA-approved medications along with behavioral therapy and counseling.

What Medication Is Used For Mat?

For alcohol addiction treatment, the following medications are prescribed through MAT:

  1. Disulfiram
  2. Acamprosate 
  3. Naltrexone

What Is The Difference Between MAT and MOUD?

MAT, or medication-assisted treatment, is a generalized term used to describe the use of medications as a part of a comprehensive treatment plan to cure alcohol and drug addiction. In contrast, MOUD medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder is a specific term used to treat opioid addiction through FDA-approved medications.

What Is The Main Cause of Alcohol Addiction?

Some causes of alcohol addiction include:

  1. Peer pressure
  2. Traumatic event 
  3. Underlying mental health problems 
  4. Genetic factors
  5. Family history of alcohol abuse 

Does Insurance cover Online Prescriptions?

Yes, most insurance companies now cover the cost of online prescriptions. If you need further clarification, you can verify your insurance online.

Medical Disclaimer:

ChoicePoint aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use disorder and mental health issues. Our team of licensed medical professionals research, edit and review the content before publishing. However, this information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. For medical advice please consult your physicians or ChoicePoint's qualified staff.