For many people, alcohol is a way to unwind after a long day. It’s a way to celebrate with friends and family. It’s even a way to ease the pain of loneliness or depression. But for some people, alcohol can become an addiction, a problem that affects their physical health and mental well-being.
When treating this addiction, many options are available: from traditional methods like therapy and support groups to more experimental approaches like naltrexone implants. But what is the best option?
In this blog post, we’ll explore medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for alcohol use disorder vs. traditional treatment for alcohol use disorder. We’ll also cover why seeking treatment is necessary and how to find help.
Alcohol use disorder is a severe condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Fortunately, there are various traditional treatments available that can help individuals overcome their addiction to alcohol. Here is an overview of some of the most commonly used conventional treatments for alcohol use disorder:
This therapy focuses on identifying and changing unhealthy behaviors related to alcohol use. Behavioral therapies typically involve working with a therapist to develop coping strategies and problem-solving skills. Examples of behavioral treatments include contingency management, community reinforcement, and family therapy.
These programs are based on the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and involve attending meetings where individuals share their experiences and provide support for one another. The program’s approach is based on the belief that addiction is a disease that requires lifelong abstinence from alcohol.
This therapy helps individuals identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors related to alcohol use. The goal is to develop healthier coping strategies and to learn how to manage triggers that may lead to relapse.
This type of therapy is designed to help individuals find the motivation to change their behavior. The therapist works with the individual to identify their goals and values and develop a plan for achieving them.
These traditional treatments for alcohol use disorder have been proven effective in helping individuals overcome their addiction to alcohol. Working with a qualified therapist or addiction specialist is essential to determine which treatment approach is best for you. With the proper support and treatment, recovery from alcohol use disorder is possible.
Some limitations regarding traditional treatments for various physical and mental health conditions should be acknowledged. While these treatments may work for some patients, they only work for some. Here are some of the main limitations of traditional treatment:
Many traditional treatments for addiction, depression, and anxiety have relatively low success rates. This means that even if patients go through the prescribed treatment, there is a good chance they will not experience significant improvement in their symptoms. This can discourage patients and may lead them to seek alternative treatments.
Even if a patient does experience improvement while undergoing traditional treatment, there is often a high risk of relapse. This means their symptoms may return or worsen after the treatment. This can be frustrating for patients and may make them feel like the treatment was not worth the effort.
Traditional treatments may not provide sufficient relief for patients with severe or chronic conditions. This can be due to various factors, including the severity of the condition, the patient’s biology, and the limitations of the treatment itself. Patients may need to seek more intensive or specialized treatments to find relief in these cases.
It is essential to recognize that traditional treatments have limitations and may not be effective for everyone. Patients should be encouraged to explore alternative treatments and work with their healthcare providers to find the best treatment plan.
If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol use disorder, medication-assisted treatment may be a helpful option to consider. Medication-assisted treatment for alcohol use involves using FDA-approved medications, therapy, and other support services to overcome addiction.
The medications used in medication-assisted treatment for alcohol use include acamprosate, disulfiram, and naltrexone. These medications work by reducing cravings, blocking the pleasurable effects of alcohol, and helping to manage withdrawal symptoms.
Studies have shown that medication-assisted treatment for alcohol use can significantly increase success rates in achieving and maintaining sobriety. Research has found that medication-assisted treatment can increase the likelihood of staying sober by up to 50%.
Additionally, medication-assisted treatment for alcohol use has been shown to reduce relapse rates. By reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms, individuals are less likely to return to alcohol use.
It’s important to note that medication-assisted treatment for alcohol use is not a one-size-fits-all solution. It’s essential to work with a healthcare provider to determine the best course of treatment for your individual needs.
Now let’s compare the two main approaches: traditional treatment, which involves therapy and counseling, and medication-assisted treatment for alcohol use (MAT), which combines medication with counseling and behavioral therapies.
MAT is more effective than traditional treatment in achieving and maintaining abstinence from alcohol. Studies have found that MAT can increase the likelihood of successful recovery by up to 50%. This is because the medication used in MAT can help reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms, making it easier for individuals to stick to their treatment plan.
Both traditional treatment and MAT can have side effects, but MAT is generally considered safe and well-tolerated. The most common side effect of MAT is nausea, which usually disappears after a few days. Traditional treatment can also have side effects, such as anxiety and depression.
MAT can be more expensive than traditional treatment, but it’s important to consider long-term cost savings. MAT can help individuals avoid costly hospitalizations and emergency room visits due to relapses. Additionally, some insurance plans cover MAT, which can help offset the cost.
Traditional treatment is widely available, but MAT may be more difficult to access in some areas. However, resources are available to help individuals find MAT providers in their area. It’s important to note that accessibility may also depend on insurance coverage and the availability of providers.
While both traditional treatment and medication-assisted treatment for alcohol use have their pros and cons, MAT is more effective in achieving and maintaining abstinence from alcohol. Discussing treatment options with a healthcare provider is vital to determine the best approach for individual needs and circumstances.
Medication-assisted treatment for alcohol use is a promising option for individuals struggling with alcohol addiction. With FDA-approved medications, therapy, and other support services, MAT has significantly increased success rates in achieving and maintaining sobriety.
While traditional treatments for alcohol use disorder have limitations, MAT offers a more practical approach to recovery. It’s essential to seek professional help and work with healthcare providers to determine the best treatment plan, which may include MAT.
At Confidant Health, we offer personalized support and guidance for individuals seeking treatment for alcohol use disorder. Our team of experts work closely with clients to develop a customized Alcohol addiction treatment plan that addresses their unique needs and goals for recovery. As research continues to explore the benefits of medication-assisted treatment, we look forward to helping more individuals find the path to lasting recovery.