Medically Assisted Alcohol Rehab Explained

Written by Chloe Nicosia

Medically Assisted Alcohol Rehab – How It Can Help You

For many people, simply going to rehab once is not enough to stop an addiction. In fact, a study found on the Journal of the American Medical Association associated the risk of relapse in substance abuse with chronic diseases such as diabetes. In the study, they found that between 40 and 60 percent of people going through their first year of recovery suffer a relapse. In these cases, medically assisted alcohol rehab becomes a better choice for the individual, and any alcoholic who is struggling to quit.

In this article, we will explain what is meant by medically assisted alcohol rehab and look at the medication for addiction treatment that is most commonly used.

Medically Assisted Alcohol Rehab Explained

Medicated-assisted treatment, or MAT, is considered to be a program that uses FDA-approved drugs to treat a person’s addiction. The use of the medication must go alongside behavioral therapies and counseling to achieve its success.

Medical detox programs are the first area in rehab that you’ll see the use of the medications. In medical detox programs, drugs are used to reduce the symptoms of alcohol use disorder withdrawal by correcting many of the imbalances that the heavy alcohol use caused. Withdrawal from alcohol can be dangerous and a medically-assisted approach is always advised for safety.

Medication for Addiction Treatment

Not every rehab is a SAMHSA-certified OTP since the medications used can be abused and strict control is needed to keep and administer them. The FDA-approved medications that are commonly used in medically assisted alcohol rehab include the following:

  • Disulfiram – This drug is used after the initial detox period and is usually given to help a person remain abstinent. It comes as a once-a-day tablet. When a person tries to drink while using this medication, they will experience a near instant hangover, helping to prevent relapse.
  • Naltrexone – This is another medication used in the treatment of alcohol use disorder. It blocks any of the euphoric and relaxing feelings that people get when they drink, making it an ideal drug to help to prevent relapse and maintain the person’s motivation to continue with their treatment.
  • Acamprosate – Once a person has stopped drinking, acamprosate is a medication that can also help to prevent relapse. It can only be given at around day five of detox and comes in a tablet form that is to be taken three times a day. After about eight days, the medication reaches its maximum effectiveness.

While these medications can help a person stay away from alcohol and stay on course with their recovery, none of them are a cure for alcohol use disorder. They are just designed to help with the process of recovery alongside research-based behavioral therapy.

Further Therapy

In order to reach a truly abstinent state, especially over the long term, a person must get into a rehab program that tackles their behavioral therapy needs. The addict must learn new ways of responding and dealing with situations in their life that have caused substance abuse in the past. These can be situations such as dealing with work stress, a loss of a loved one or relationship problems.

Once the person is done with treatment, they are ready to deal with the issues that come in their life. But since addiction is a life-long condition, there are support groups that a person can attend to assist them in maintaining their abstinence for years to come.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, get help right away. Make a phone call that will connect you to a professional drug treatment center. The call you make may save your life or the life of someone you love. Call us today at 1.800.429.7690.

Sources:

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/193144

https://www.samhsa.gov/medication-assisted-treatment/treatment#medications-used-in-mat