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Giving up alcohol and staying sober is not always a matter of willpower – especially if the addiction has been there for a long time. In many cases, the withdrawal symptoms can even be dangerous for those going through detox. This is why medication is often used for detox, as it will make the symptoms less unbearable.
What is Alcoholism?
Alcoholism is an addiction that causes people to drink unhealthy amounts of alcohol. It is an inability to abstain from consuming the substance – a desire to drink, even when knowing its consumption may lead to multiple negative effects.
An alcoholic will often place alcohol above everything else, including choosing alcohol over their family and work. They may also develop a physical tolerance to it, in the sense that they will need to drink more alcohol in order to get drunk. Someone who has been dealing with alcoholism for a while may experience withdrawal symptoms long after they stop drinking, mainly because the body can no longer metabolize as fast.
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The Types of Medication For Alcoholism
At the moment, there are three medications that have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating alcoholism. Others are going under testing, but these are the ones that are currently used in rehab centers.
Naltrexone is used in order to reduce cravings and prevent heavy drinking. If you drink while having this medication in your system, you may get drunk, but you won’t get that “reward” your brain gives you when you drink. It’ll be like eating sweets, but without feeling any sweetness.
The medication helps control the drinking trigger, making addicts less tempted to drink. It may not lead to complete abstinence, but it will no longer allow for strong cravings to rear out. It can help cut back on the number of drinks per day or week, mainly because people will no longer feel the same satisfaction from drinking.
Acamprosate makes it easier for people to abstain from drinking alcohol. It helps balance the brain, triggering the GABA and glutamate to work properly. When your brain is in proper balance, you will be less likely to relapse.
The medication can also help with psychical withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety, insomnia, restlessness, or the “feeling blue” mood. These symptoms can last even months after you stopped drinking. The medicine will give the person a better sense of stability, allowing them to steer clear of alcohol for longer.
Disulfiram is a medication that helps with symptom management – or rather, the way alcohol physically affects your body. This treatment helps to block the breakdown of alcohol in your body, stopping it from metabolizing. As a result, this may see symptoms such as nausea or skin flushing if associated with alcohol consumption.
It may seem counterproductive to trigger symptoms – but in truth, this helps to avoid a relapse. When people take Disulfiram and later consume alcohol, they will shortly get hangover-like symptoms. This knowledge will make them less tempted to consume alcohol – knowing that if they do, they will feel sick. Yes, that fear will keep them in check.
Does Medication Help With Alcoholism?
Most of the time, regardless of the severity of the condition, many people suffering from alcoholism are less likely to go through a relapse. These medications can help reduce heavy drinking as well as the severity of the symptoms.
When going through alcohol withdrawal, physical symptoms are some of the main reasons why people start drinking again. They will reach for another drink, just “one drink” to make the symptoms go away – and after that point, they will continue drinking, realizing they feel better.
However, medication can manage those withdrawal symptoms. It can make it so that it no longer seems that unbearable, reducing the heavy drinking while making it easier for them to abstain. Medication used during alcohol treatment can help prevent a relapse.
Why Long-Term Treatment is Necessary for Alcoholics
Even if medication is used to treat alcohol, long-term treatment is also necessary to prevent a relapse. One in three people struggling with alcoholism usually go into relapse, and this usually happens within the first year of sobriety.
Even though the symptoms of withdrawal have been addressed, and the alcohol may be out of their system, the underlying cause and the triggers are still there. Aside from the medication necessary to curb their cravings, addicts will also have to go through behavioral therapy and meetings. This long-term treatment will help them stay more in control over their own actions.
Finding The RIght Treatment
Different people may require different measures of treatment. In many cases, each rehab program will have its own courses of treatment. Here are some questions that you will need to ask yourself beforehand:
- What kind of treatment and medication does the detox program offer?
- Is the medical treatment tailored to the exact needs of the person?
- What is the success rate for this particular course of treatment?
- Are there any risks that a specific person may be exposed to by taking this medicine?
- What will the patient be expected to do throughout the detox process?
- Does the medication help with preventing relapses as well, or just managing symptoms?
Before taking any decision in regard to the medication, it is recommended to talk to the doctor first. They will take your current physical condition in mind, and based on the data, a specialist will choose the safest and most efficient course of treatment.
How Real Deal Can Help
Real Deal can help those struggling with alcoholism recover easier from their addiction. The program includes the most efficient medication types, ensuring fast recovery and lower chances of relapse. The medication along with the other treatment methods will make recovery much smoother.
Alcoholism can affect everyone’s life negatively. The earlier you get help, the easier it will be to put the addiction under control. The right medication can assist addicts in going through the symptoms with more ease. Reach out to us and get help for alcohol addiction!