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A Pill to Stop Drinking: How Do Anti-Alcohol Drugs Work

Lisa Taylor
Lisa TaylorAddiction Counsellor

You want to stop drinking. You want to live healthier. The problem is that every time you give up alcohol, you go through terrible withdrawal and you feel dreadful all the time. Sometimes it is almost impossible to ignore the nagging craving for a drink; that’s why you just cannot stop. But there’s hope, and today medical professionals can help you get through detox and recovery with modern medicines that address symptoms of withdrawal and prevents you from craving so much. There are even pills that help you to drink less when you are in a position where you feel you may lose control over your drinking.

Of course, alcoholism treatment encourages total abstinence from alcohol instead of just cutting down. This is why there is medication to curb the craving, and your treatment includes therapy and counselling to address the underlying issues that have caused you to start drinking in the first place.

What Are the Medications Available?

Before you decide to stop drinking, you need to consult a medical professional about what you can expect the effects of going without alcohol will be. Depending on the severity of your alcohol dependence, you may need to go into hospital or a treatment centre for a short period of time so that your progress and reaction to the medication can be monitored and controlled.

  1. Benzodiazepines, a type of anti-anxiety medication, is often prescribed to help you with any symptoms of anxiety as well as the lack of sleep. They will help you during detox and will then be tapered off and eventually stopped as you progress with your recovery.
  2. Disulfiram is prescribed once you have completed detox and your recovery has started. It interferes with the metabolism of the alcohol, which leads to vomiting, nausea, confusion, and breathing difficulties if any alcohol is consumed.
  3. Acamprosate is prescribed to specifically help with the craving for alcohol. It works by using synthetic GABA analogue, which prevents the chemical messengers in the brain from becoming over-excited by the withdrawal of alcohol that could lead to cravings.
  4. Naltrexone blocks the opioid receptors in the body and therefore the effect that the alcohol might have had on you. It is used to reduce cravings and to help you stay abstinent from alcohol.
  5. Nalmefene also blocks the opioid receptors in the body and therefore also reduces the craving for alcohol. This is often used to help reduce drinking.

What Do I Do If I Have a Problem with Alcohol?

The first thing that you need to do is admit and acknowledge there is a problem and that you need help. You must also be willing and ready to give up drinking alcohol altogether. Once the decision to stop drinking has been made, give Alcohol Rescue a call. We have a confidential helpline that is staffed 24/7 with skilled and experienced counsellors who are experts in working with alcohol dependence. We will help and guide you through the detox and recovery process.

Source:

http://www.webmd.boots.com/mental-health/alcohol-abuse/alcohol-abuse-treatment

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