Alcohol addiction, also called alcohol use disorder, occurs when a person consumes alcohol in large quantities frequently, to the point that the body develops a tolerance to its effects. Tolerance means that a person will require increasing amounts of a substance in order to feel the same effects.
This escalating tolerance, and the negative effects that happen when a body accustomed to alcohol doesn’t have it, lead to a dependence. Alcohol addiction is common, affecting nearly 15 million people in the United States according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
The effects of alcohol addiction on individuals, families and society as a whole are astronomical. In this article, we’ll focus on how alcohol use disorder affects individual people, and how medication assisted treatment for alcohol addiction can make recovery possible.
How does alcohol addiction affect me?
There are countless negative ways that alcohol addiction could affect your life. Though the social and emotional perks of drinking may be enjoyable temporarily, it’s unlikely that they’re worth these problems. Issues related to alcohol addiction can include the following challenges:
- Relationships issues;
- Financial issues;
- Legal issues (DUI);
- Stress, anxiety and depression;
- Risks to safety;
- Increased risk of suicide.
Alcohol addiction can wreak havoc on your lifestyle, but it also has some disastrous consequences for the health of your body. The following are all common repercussions of heavy drinking:
- Neurological issues — The brain’s essential functions are inhibited not only when a person is drinking, but long afterwards. Excessive drinking can impact cognition, decision making, memory, learning and other critical systems.
- Weakened immune system — The body’s ability to fight off disease and maintain strong organ functionality is weakened by alcohol addiction. Someone who struggles with alcohol use disorder is more likely to be ill more often.
- Heart issues — Drinking can also lead to some serious heart conditions like high blood pressure, heart failure or stroke. Drinking can also cause irregular heart beats, called arrhythmias.
- Hypoglycemia — Alcohol addiction can result in low blood sugar, which can be dangerous especially to those struggling with diabetes.
- Digestive system issues — It doesn’t take an expert to know that drinking too much can make you feel nauseous. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Alcohol addiction can result in gastritis, pancreatitis and ulcers in the stomach and intestines.
This list is by no means exhaustive. These and other issues, caused or worsened by alcohol addiction, can yield serious consequences for your health and longevity. Fortunately, medication assisted treatment can help you get out of a rut and into a life you enjoy.
What is MAT?
Medication assisted treatment, or MAT, is the practice of using medication in the treatment of alcohol use disorders. There are three medications approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration administered by licensed professionals through supervised programs.
These medications reduce withdrawal symptoms in the first days of recovery and can be slowly tapered off. Generally, individuals who participate in MAT for alcohol addiction are also partaking in therapy, lifestyle services (like job training and financial classes) and group support as part of a holistic program.
How can MAT help me overcome addiction?
These medications reduce symptoms of withdrawal so individuals are able to focus on the mental work of recovery. Not only will the terrible side effects of withdrawal be minimized; the negative impact of alcohol addiction (like neurological issues, weakened immune system and so on) can begin to subside.
Moreover, when you participate in a MAT program, you’ll have the mental and emotional capacity to start embarking on other changes in your life:
- Repairing relationships will be easier when you’re not a slave to alcohol;
- You’ll find you’re finally in control of your money;
- You’ll have more job stability;
- The amount of stress you’re up against will decrease significantly;
- You won’t have to worry about harming yourself or someone else;
- You’ll have a brighter future when legal issues are behind you;
- You’ll find new meaning in life.
Starting medication assisted treatment for alcohol addiction helps reverse the negative effects of heavy drinking. MAT can provide the boost you need when you’re stuck in a spiral.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, MAT for alcohol addiction helps to reduce rates of relapse, increase treatment retention, increases the rate of survival for alcohol detox, decreases criminal activity for participants and increases employment rates for participants.
How can I get started with MAT?
Starting an MAT program begins with a phone call, when you begin to make recovery your own. Personalized treatment and a holistic approach can help change the way you pursue freedom and give you the best odds for long-lasting sobriety. Take your first steps toward recovery through MAT today, or call (724) 268-4858 to start your journey over the phone.