Psilocybin Shows Promise For Treating Alcohol Addiction New Study Finds
Taking one recreational drug as treatment for over-dependence on another is hardly intuitive, but a new study found that psilocybin, the psychedelic compound in magic mushrooms, could be a promising treatment for alcohol use disorder.
The research, published Wednesday in the JAMA Psychiatry and conducted by scientists at New York University, found that those given psilocybin-assisted therapy reduced heavy drinking by 83%, compared with a 51% reduction among those who received antihistamine placebo. Heavy drinking was defined as days with four or more drinks for women, or five or more drinks for men.
Eight months after the first psilocybin dose, close to half of those who had psilocybin stopped drinking altogether, twice as many as the 24% in the placebo group. The trial was double-blinded and relatively large for a psychedelics study, with 93 participants.
Todays study is a major breakthrough, said Charles Marmar, chair of psychiatry at NYU Langone Health. Treating alcohol misuse is incredibly difficult, and the few existing medications have limited effectiveness long-term, he added.
New Treatment For Alcoholism Has Proven Beneficial
The area of research, based on pharmaceutical intervention for addiction, has made significant advancements in the past. This science is responsible for having formerly developed what was once considered a new treatment for alcoholism. Known as medication-assisted therapy , the program uses synthetic chemicals to manipulate the effects of certain drugs.
For example, a medication called Antabuse was developed to induce nausea and vomiting when alcohol was ingested. Then another, Naltrexone, leaves the alcoholic devoid of the euphoric buzz upon consumption. Interfering with the cycle of addiction is a general idea, along with sustainability, when developing a new treatment for alcoholism. So although these drugs work beautifully for the purposes that they were designed to target, they have their drawbacks.
Searching For New Medicines To Treat Alcohol Addiction
Only a few drugs are licensed to treat alcoholism and, although reasonably effective, they are not suitable for everyone. Increased understanding of the underlying neuroscience of alcohol addiction is revealing a wealth of new possible drug targets, and a number of trials are under way.
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Alcohol addiction is a devastating disease. In the UK, an estimated 9% of men and 4% of women show signs of alcohol dependence, which costs the NHS £3.5bn per year. The disease is similarly pervasive in the United States, where alcohol use disorder is estimated to affect 13.9% of adults at a societal cost of more than US$249bn a year.
As well as changes in mood and behaviour, long-term alcohol abuse can lead to hypertension and heart disease, a variety of liver problems, pancreatitis and the development of several cancers.
Four treatments are specifically licensed for alcohol addiction in the UK disulfiram, naltrexone, acamprosate and nalmefene which, apart from nalmefene, are also licensed in the United States.
We need more medicines for these patients If you only have three to choose from, you are missing an opportunity to treat people who might respond to another medicine
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Medications For The Treatment Of Aud
An Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality review that included 135 studies of pharmacologic treatment of AUD in outpatient settings found moderate evidence to support the use of naltrexone and acamprosate, and insufficient evidence to support the use of disulfiram. The review also concluded that the evidence was lacking for most other medications, including those for off-label use and those undergoing trials. However, there is some evidence for topiramate and valproic acid .12
Herbal Treatment For Alcoholism: Kudzu Herb
Of all the herbs, kudzu has perhaps the greatest potential as an herbal treatment for alcoholism. The use of kudzu originated in ancient China. Since being used, it has been shown that individuals who drink kudzu drink less alcohol when compared to those who didnt.
Kudzu has also been known to help alleviate some of the symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal such as
- thirst and muscle stiffness.
When taking kudzu, it is encouraged to take the recommended amount as taking too much can lead to adverse side effects.
Dr. Scott Lukas is perhaps the leading researcher of Kudzu. One of his studies, the results of which were published in May 2005, found that individuals who took Kudzu and then consumed alcohol drank less than those who did not.
Research has shown that individuals see a 30-60% decrease in the amount of alcohol they drink when they take kudzu compared to when they do not take it.
His belief is that kudzu slows the breaking down of alcohol in the blood stream. This increases the blood alcohol level and makes the drinker feel drunker than he would if he had not taken kudzu. This makes him less inclined to drink more as they are able to reach the desired state of intoxication sooner.
Dr. Wing Ming Keung of Harvard is also currently working on kudzu, attempting to find the compound within the herb that has the anti-craving effect. Such a compound could then be used to create the anti-craving medicine of the future.
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New Treatment For Alcoholism
Despite alcohol addiction ransacking the lives of countless individuals, it doesnt seem to be going anywhere, anytime soon. Because of this, and the damage that alcohol does to the brain and body, research revolves around finding a cure. Fortunately, a potentially new treatment for alcoholism may have been working within our brains all along.
Recent studies show that oxytocin, a naturally occurring brain chemical, may provide insight into curbing chronic alcohol abuse. A new drug for alcoholism would revolutionize treatment by further aiding rehab efforts to promote long-term sobriety.
Ironically, with all of the marketing and suggestive selling, alcohol continues to top the charts as the most used substance. Not only is it widely abused, but comes with an unusually high potential for addiction. Scientific studies based on using oxytocin as a new treatment for alcoholism may be just what the doctor ordered. In truth, it couldnt come soon enough.
Working Toward Breakthroughs In Addiction Research
Finding the most effective and innovative new treatments for alcoholism is an ongoing challenge. Countless studies are performed regularly, hoping to gain complete insight as to how addiction impacts the addict. From therapists to rehab counselors, with doctors and nurses, the collective legion seeking to eradicate substance dependency is relentless. Most importantly, at the front of the line, are alcoholics themselves, desperate for a breakthrough new drug for alcoholism.
What Suggests Oxytocin Has Potential To Become A New Treatment For Alcoholism
Oxytocin stands out specifically, because of the functions it regulates. It responds to physical sensations such as touch, particularly, intimate and welcomed touch. Oxytocin is often referred to as the love hormone because of the bonding sensation and induction of satisfaction it induces. Notably, oxytocin is notoriously responsible for the chemical rush in response to intercourse, in both men and women.
The neurotransmitter oxytocin is responsible for:
- Feelings of intimacy
- Parental/Maternal bond
- Feelings of empathy
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Drugs That Work For Alcohol Addiction Treatment
Going cold turkey without the right medication can lead to life-threatening withdrawal reactions. Here’s what you need to know for safe and successful alcohol addiction treatment.
It may sound counterintuitive since alcohol is a drug, but medication is an essential part of alcohol addiction treatment.
The right drug can help you overcome the desire for alcohol and help body and mind cope with the physical effects of withdrawal, which could otherwise be life-threatening.
Not all primary care doctors are familiar with medications to treat alcohol addiction. Here are the options to talk about with your doctor for withdrawal and long-term sobriety.
What Is Medication Assisted Treatment
MAT stands for Medication-Assisted Treatment. This refers to using psychiatric medications alongside therapy for the symbiotic effects that they can yield on someone with a mental health disorder.
Its important to remember that addiction is a mental health disorder, and like any other mental health disorder, it is not a moral failing or weakness. Its a health condition that, like any other health condition requires compassion, care, and professional treatment. Medication-assisted treatment is one of the many avenues that your healthcare professional may take to help you recover.
In fact, medication-assisted treatment is considered the very best treatment available for substance abuse conditions. Its important to note the word assisted. Medications are never prescribed alone when treating substance addictions in alcohol rehab in MA. They are always used in cooperation with behavioral therapies for a holistic approach.
Medication prescribed by a psychiatrist can simply give an individual the extra bit of help that they need for their recovery.
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Targeting Noradrenaline To Treat Alcoholism
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The neurotransmitter noradrenaline is one of the most abundant in the brain it has a wide range of effects on attention, wakefulness, stress, blood pressure and heart rate. Now, Scripps Research scientists have shownin animal models and human brain tissuehow the noradrenaline goes awry with alcohol dependence and addiction. Their findings, published in the journal Biological Psychiatry, suggest that blocking some brain cells from sensing noradrenaline could help treat alcohol use disorder.
It is important to understand the numerous brain mechanisms that contribute to alcohol use disorder in order to develop new treatments, says , the Schimmel Family Chair of Molecular Medicine and a professor of neuroscience at Scripps Research. Our results point toward drugs already approved by the FDA that might be repurposed for this disorder.
The Role Of Drug Therapy
Alcohol abuse or alcohol dependency, known in medical terms as alcohol use disorder , is what happens when a person probably due to both genetic and environmental factors is no longer capable of controlling the use of alcohol. What causes the addiction is often difficult to determine, although family history is widely thought to play a role in at least half of all cases.
For years, drug treatment of alcohol addiction got short shrift from physicians and addiction specialists in favor of behavioral intervention services, counseling and social support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous , which were widely considered to be more effective. But starting with the introduction of naltrexone in 1994, the number of drugs for treating alcohol abuse began to expand. Todays medicines are more effective and often make it easier for drinkers to remain sober and comply with a treatment regimen.
The newer drugs are not a cure for alcohol abuse, and so far, its not clear how long they remain effective. For many people, the drugs are most effective for reducing the intense craving that typically comes with alcohol addiction. More often than not, the drugs are prescribed only in conjunction with counseling and support services in people who are currently abstinent. The premise is that alcohol abuse is a condition that typically involves both physical and psychological components, which means that treating it effectively usually hinges on lifestyle changes.
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Medication Assisted Treatment Benefits And The Longterm
The most obvious medication assisted treatment benefits are in the early stages of treatment. Being able to handle withdrawal symptoms with less discomfort is imperative to setting you up for success.
However, there are even more benefits to MAT use. MAT greatly reduces the risk of relapse as it curbs your cravings. It can support a long-term recovery plan that feels manageable to you.
Youll also feel more physically and emotionally ready to partake in behavioral therapy. Therapy wont work if youre on edge and always thinking of your next fix. Coming into therapy with a clean slate offered by medication can make all the difference in your recovery.
Do I Need Health Insurance To Receive This Service
The referral service is free of charge. If you have no insurance or are underinsured, we will refer you to your state office, which is responsible for state-funded treatment programs. In addition, we can often refer you to facilities that charge on a sliding fee scale or accept Medicare or Medicaid. If you have health insurance, you are encouraged to contact your insurer for a list of participating health care providers and facilities.
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Starting With A Primary Care Doctor
For anyone thinking about treatment, talking to a primary care physician is an important first stephe or she can be a good source for treatment referrals and medications. A primary care physician can also:
Evaluate a patients drinking pattern
Help craft a treatment plan
Evaluate overall health
Assess if medications for alcohol may be appropriate
Individuals are advised to talk to their doctors about the best form of primary treatment.
Alcohol Tobacco And Other Drugs
The misuse and abuse of alcohol, tobacco, illicit drugs, and prescription medications affect the health and well-being of millions of Americans. SAMHSAs 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reports that approximately 19.3 million people aged 18 or older had a substance use disorder in the past year.
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Which Drug Is Best
Addiction specialists are continuing to analyze the data for clues as to why some anti-alcohol medications, such as Vivitrol, work better in certain people. Anecdotally, my experience with it has been that its more effective for people who have a long family history of alcohol issues, said Ken Bachrach at Tarzana Treatment Centers. But then I also find that these people have higher cravings to begin with.
The researchers at the University of North Carolina looked to see how many patients, on average, needed to be treated with a particular medication before a single patient saw some benefit. They found that, in order to prevent a return to any drinking, 12 patients needed to be treated with acamprosate and 20 for oral naltrexone. Naltrexone in pill form also helped reduce the risk of a return to heavy drinking. By contrast, Vivitrol, the injectable form of naltrexone, was associated only with reducing the number of heavy drinking days, and not with abstinence.
Some Doctors Don’t Want To Wait For The Research
Kolodzik said he has the evidence he needs to feel comfortable prescribing semaglutide to some patients in his addiction-medicine practice.
He said that one patient, who was originally drinking about 45 drinks a week, had cut her consumption in half by taking naltrexone on the days she drank. When Kolodzik introduced semaglutide, he said her weekly drinks plunged to three to five.
“The way that patients describe this is, ‘Alcohol used to be the focus of my day, and now I’m just kind of disinterested,'” Kolodzik said.
Still, the drug is not a magic bullet. It’s expensive and not covered by insurance if you don’t fit certain criteria, like having diabetes in the case of Ozempic. It also can have side effects like nausea and diarrhea.
And you can’t just inject it and forget it, Kolodzik said. Just like weight-loss patients need to follow a diet and exercise plan for semaglutide to be most effective, alcohol patients should take the drug as a part of a comprehensive treatment plan that could also include therapy and apps that help track their intake.
But in Kolodzik’s view, the harms of alcohol abuse outweigh the potential harms of off-label semaglutide use.
“Medicine changes very slowly,” Kolodzik said, “but there are people out there like me who think that if you’re doing no harm, there’s no reason not to try this.”
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Boca Recovery Center Treatment Programs
Boca Recovery Center offers several levels of care to address the unique needs of individuals seeking substance abuse treatment, including medical detox, residential treatment, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, and outpatient. Those who transition through levels of care at a treatment facility have an increased chance of preventing relapse or overdoses and maintaining sobriety.
Mcaleer Sought To Lose Weight After An Eye Stroke Threatened To Leave Him Fully Or Partially Blind
Semaglutide, sold under the brand names Wegovy and Ozempic, is an injectable drug that boosts the production of insulin, a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar. While both drugs were originally intended to help manage diabetes, Wegovy was also approved as a weight-loss drug in June 2021.
McAleer discovered the drug after a health scare in late summer 2021. After waking up one morning with partial vision in one eye, he was diagnosed with an “eye stroke.” The condition occurs when there’s not enough blood flow to the tissues around the optic nerve and is often a sign of poor vascular health.
If McAleer didn’t lose weight, his doctor told him, he risked going blind. That was “a wake-up call,” said McAleer, who had yo-yo dieted for a few years but always gained the weight back.
So McAleer talked to a doctor friend who recommended he try Saxenda, a brand of liraglutide, a weight-loss injectable in the same drug class as semaglutide. McAleer bought the drug directly from his friend, and soon after switched to Ozempic, since he could buy it on his frequent visits to Mexico, where it’s cheaper. Since he began taking the drugs, he’s lost over 80 pounds.
“It allowed me to recognize that a lot of these events are fun without a buzz, it just depended who I was with,” he said.
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