When people think about addiction, the first thing they picture is the use of illegal drugs like heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine.
While the abuse of these illicit substances is indeed dangerous and even life threatening, there is another, even larger, abuse problem that often flies under the radar.
That abuse problem involves alcohol, a drug that is just as dangerous as all the others but also totally legal and easily obtainable throughout the country and most of the world.
The effects of alcoholism and alcohol abuse can be just as debilitating, and just as life threatening, as the use of illegal drugs, and that is why it is important for men and women everywhere to take the problem seriously.
If you fear that someone you care about is drinking too much or has already developed an addiction to alcohol, it is important to get professional help as soon as possible. When you call 800-807-0951, you will be connected with one of our expert counselors, a caring professional who can help you understand the problems associated with alcohol abuse and lay out the treatment options.
Those treatment options may include the use of pharmaceutical medications designed to reduce the cravings associated with the drug and help sufferers take back control of their lives. There are a number of drugs used to treat alcohol addiction and abuse, including the ones outlined below.
Many of the medications used to address alcohol addiction are aimed at reducing or eliminating the painful withdrawal symptoms that can be a direct side effect of the detoxification process.
Those medications include benzodiazepine antianxiety medications like diazepam (used to address delirium tremens and other withdrawal symptoms) and seizure medications, used to address severe withdrawal symptoms during alcohol detox.
Other pharmaceutical medications are used to speed recovery and reduce the cravings that alcoholics often experience during their newfound sobriety. These medications are aimed at the recovery process, and they include sisulfram (antabuse), a medication that makes the patient physically ill when they consume alcohol.
Other medications used to treat alcohol abusers include naltrexone, a drug that blocks the pleasurable sensations associated with drinking alcohol, topiramate (topamax), used to treat alcohol abuse and addiction, and acamprosate (campral), a drug designed to reduce the craving for alcohol.
Depending on the nature of the alcohol abuse problem and the length of the addiction, these prescription medications may be administered either on their own or in various combinations. For instance, a patient just entering an alcohol rehab facility may first go through an intensive course of medical detoxification. Without pharmaceutical support and medical assistance, the severity of the withdrawal symptoms could be quite problematic.
The judicious use of antianxiety and antiseizure medications can help the new patient make it through the detox process and clear their body of alcohol. Once that has been accomplished the individual may undergo continuing counseling, including peer support and family therapy. These counseling sessions are aimed at giving alcoholics and alcohol abusers the coping skills they will need to maintain their sobriety going forward.
Again, pharmaceutical medications can make the process easier, enforcing sobriety through a number of different means. The class of medications that causes physical illness when alcohol is consumed can be extremely useful to the recovering alcoholic, easing the cravings and helping the brain develop new pathways that reduce the psychological and physical need for alcohol.
The class of medications that blocks the high associated with alcohol can be just as useful to the recovering alcoholic. The cravings for alcohol can linger for months or even years after the alcoholic takes his or her last drink, and those cravings can easily trigger a relapse. By blocking the high associated with alcohol consumption, these pharmaceutical medications can break the cycle and make long term sobriety easier to maintain.
In addition to the prescription pharmaceuticals listed above, supplementation with vitamins and minerals can often be effective at helping problem drinkers maintain their sobriety. The effects of alcohol on the body can include a reduction in the levels of certain nutrients, including thiamine, or vitamin B1. Supplementation can restore the proper balance of nutrients and help recovering alcoholics regain their physical strength.
If you or someone you care about has been struggling with alcoholism or alcohol abuse, it is important to get them the help they need. The right intervention, including treatment with prescription medications, can turn the tide and help the affected individuals get on with their lives. Just call 800-807-0951 to see how we can help you or a loved one break the grip of alcohol and regain control of your life.