When a person struggles with alcohol dependency, they can also experience withdrawal symptoms and cravings when they try to stop drinking. This craving for alcohol is one reason a large majority of people quit drinking but fail to be successful the first time. Cravings are strong and compel people to keep drinking in spite of consequences. Learn more about how medication may be used to support people who struggle with alcohol cravings.
Only three medications are currently approved by the FDA for treatment of alcoholism. One of these medications may be used by people who need them and can receive care by a physician who oversees their use:
- Naltrexone: known as Revia and Vivitrol, this is injected into the body and works to block the brain from feeling a ‘high’ when drinking. By blocking the pleasure part of drinking, this disconnects the reward feedback loop in the brain. Campral is the only medication in the United States that claims to reduce alcohol craving. It reduces physical distress and emotional discomfort some people experience when drinking.
- The side effects of using these drugs are mild and well tolerated and are usually prescribed for up to 12 months following alcohol abstinence
- Antabuse works by causing a severe adverse reaction when someone consumes alcohol. This reinforces aversion to alcohol due to the results from drinking.
- Topiramate is not yet FDA-approved for alcohol addiction treatment. It is an antiepileptic medication that is being investigated for use. Physicians may prescribe it off-label for alcohol dependence.
Medication is not the only, or best, way to treat alcohol cravings. In combination with 12-step programs or therapeutic support, medication can be life-saving for some people. There is the possibility of not using these medications for symptoms but it depends on the individual. Being part of a community of people and doing the work of recovery means stepping outside of yourself and personal boundaries. It does not mean you cannot take medication to reduce cravings. With a combination of medication and support groups, there are better outcomes that can be achieved for people who really want to heal from addiction to alcohol. Also, with therapeutic support, a person can get to the root causes of their addiction and start to heal old wounds which may reveal a new way of looking ahead to the future in recovery. There is no one way to go about recovery. The key is finding what works for your situation and sticking with a good recovery plan.
Oceanfront will help you kick addiction to the curb with our premier beachfront community in Laguna Beach. We are founded on the principle of providing the best in care and services at affordable prices. We are located in beautiful Laguna Beach. Call us to find out how we can help you navigate addiction recovery: 877-279-1777