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.
Can Alcohol Addiction Cause Night Sweats
As a depressant, alcohol slows down activity in your nervous system. Heavy drinking can even lower your body temperature and lead to hypothermia, especially if you are outside and exposed to the elements. However, alcohol withdrawal will cause the opposite effects, including an elevated body temperature. Someone with an alcohol use disorder may start to go into withdrawal symptoms during the night, which can cause night sweats.
What Is An Alcohol Use Disorder
An alcohol use disorder is drinking that causes distress and harm. It is a medical condition in which you:
- Drink alcohol compulsively
- Can’t control how much you drink
- Feel anxious, irritable, and/or stressed when you are not drinking
An AUD can range from mild to severe, depending on the symptoms. Severe AUD is sometimes called alcoholism or alcohol dependence.
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Alcohol Treatment With Weak Evidence Of Effectiveness
Of the 48 approaches ranked, the evidence is weakest for:
48. Educational tapes, lectures and films, upon which much time is spent in some rehabs 47. General Alcoholism Counseling 43. Videotape Self-Confrontation or watching oneself behaving badly while intoxicated 42-39.These four included three medications and Milieu Therapy 38. Alcoholics Anonymous 37. Twelve-Step Facilitation Therapy, a one-on-one teaching and support of the 12-Steps.
Of course, even these treatments will be helpful to some. However, it would appear most sensible, if seeking treatment for oneself or a loved one, to start with a treatment that had a better record of success. Further, common sense would suggest that if one approach does not work, it is not necessarily the individuals fault. If an alcohol treatment does not help much, try something else!
Symptoms Of Alcohol Use Disorder
It can be difficult to identify the signs of a growing problem early on with alcohol abuse that is blossoming into alcohol addiction because they are not always obvious. If you are not paying close attention to the changes in someone elses or even your own behavior, you may not start to realize there is a problem until the signs of alcohol addiction have begun to interfere with life in a way that is impossible to ignore.
One means of early self-diagnosis involves four simple questions known as the CAGE Questionnaire. These questions can be used by a doctor on a patient as well and are as follows:
While this is a very simplistic means of diagnosis, giving a yes answer to at least two of the questions is a sign of a growing dependence on alcohol.
As obtaining and drinking alcohol becomes the highest priority in someones life and the driving force behind nearly all of their major decisions, there are many behavioral signs of a growing addiction, including:
- Domestic arguments and violence
- Broken capillaries on the nose and face
- A very sudden increase in age spots and wrinkles
- Yellowed skin and eyes from liver damage
- Injuries that were sustained while intoxicated
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Can Alcohol Addiction Cause Mental Illness
Alcoholism and mental health issues often occur at the same time. Around half of the people who experience a substance use disorder will have mental health issues at some point in their lives. Mental health issues can often lead to substance use problems through self-medication and poor coping responses to uncomfortable psychological symptoms. Alcoholism may also lead to the development of mental health problems like depression. In many cases, alcoholism can worsen or trigger mental health issues.
Can Alcohol Addiction Cause High Blood Pressure
Alcohol use disorders are often associated with hypertension. Chronic alcoholism can lead to several long-term health effects, many of which involve the heart. Alcohol can also raise your blood pressure temporarily with a single drink. Increased blood pressure can last up to two hours after one drink. Chronic alcohol use can lead to permanently high blood pressure until you address the problem. Hypertension may not cause any symptoms until it contributes to other cardiovascular problems. Hypertension with chronic alcoholism can increase your risk of a heart attack or stroke.
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Can Drug Addiction Be Treated
Yes, but its not simple. Because addiction is a chronic disease, people cant simply stop using drugs for a few days and be cured. Most patients need long-term or repeated care to stop using completely and recover their lives.
Addiction treatment must help the person do the following:
- stop using drugs
- be productive in the family, at work, and in society
The Use Of Baclofen As A Treatment For Alcohol Use Disorder: A Clinical Practice Perspective
Alcohol use disorder is a brain disorder associated with high rates of mortality and morbidity worldwide. Baclofen, a selective gamma-aminobutyric acid-B receptor agonist, has emerged as a promising drug for AUD. The use of this drug remains controversial, in part due to uncertainty regarding dosing and efficacy, alongside concerns about safety. To date there have been 15 randomized controlled trials investigating the use of baclofen in AUD three using doses over 100 mg/day. Two additional RCTs have been completed but have not yet been published. Most trials used fixed dosing of 3080 mg/day. The other approach involved titration until the desired clinical effect was achieved, or unwanted effects emerged. The maintenance dose varies widely from 30 to more than 300 mg/day. Baclofen may be particularly advantageous in those with liver disease, due to its limited hepatic metabolism and safe profile in this population. Patients should be informed that the use of baclofen for AUD is as an off-label prescription, that no optimal fixed dose has been established, and that existing clinical evidence on efficacy is inconsistent. Baclofen therapy requires careful medical monitoring due to safety considerations, particularly at higher doses and in those with comorbid physical and/or psychiatric conditions. Baclofen is mostly used in some European countries and Australia, and in particular, for patients who have not benefitted from the currently used and approved medications for AUD.
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Risks Of Using Prescription Medications To Treat Addiction
Prescription medications can be a beneficial treatment for addiction. But they also carry risks. Some of the dangers include: 1
- Physical dependence: The use of some prescription medications can result in physical dependence, especially when a person takes more than the prescribed dose. Methadone and Suboxone users may experience withdrawal symptoms when the drugs are abruptly discontinued.
- Side effects: Prescriptions medications can cause side effects, such as difficulty concentrating, nausea, vomiting, and insomnia. Side effects vary from person to person and will depend on the specific medication being used. The effects are often dose-dependent, but they are also affected by the persons physical and mental health. A thorough consultation with the prescribing physician can help those in recovery know what to expect in terms of associated symptoms.
- Potential for overdose: Some addiction medications put users at of overdose, especially when someone takes higher doses than prescribed. Methadone is one drug that can be fatal at high doses, and its use should always be carefully monitored by a physician. Risk of overdose is also high when drugs are mixed with one another.
What Are Treatments For Drug Addiction
There are many options that have been successful in treating drug addiction, including:
- behavioral counseling
- medical devices and applications used to treat withdrawal symptoms or deliver skills training
- evaluation and treatment for co-occurring mental health issues such as depression and anxiety
- long-term follow-up to prevent relapse
A range of care with a tailored treatment program and follow-up options can be crucial to success. Treatment should include both medical and mental health services as needed. Follow-up care may include community- or family-based recovery support systems.
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How Long Does It Take To Detox From Alcohol At Home
The amount of time it takes to detox from alcohol depends on several factors, including whether youre detoxing at home or with medical supervision. Detoxing at home usually takes longer because you should be cautious to avoid serious complications.
When you are detoxing from alcohol at a rehab center, nurses and doctors monitor vital signs, provide adequate nourishment and treat complications if they occur.
Alcohol can stay in your system for several hours depending on how much you drink. Once it begins to leave your body, early symptoms of withdrawal begin.
Early symptoms of alcohol withdrawal usually start about six hours after the last drink. They intensify for about a day before diminishing. Early symptoms include headache, sweating, tremors, vomiting and difficulty concentrating.
Seizures can occur within the first 24 hours, but seizures occur only in about 25 percent of patients, according to the NIAAA.
Late symptoms begin between two and four days after the last drink, and they usually include changes in heart rate, breathing and blood pressure. Serious symptoms caused by delirium tremens include hallucination and seizure. DTs occur in about 5 percent of patients.
Possible detox timeline for at-home detox with no tapering:
When Is It Time For Treatment
Alcohol-related problemswhich result from drinking too much, too fast, or too oftenare among the most significant public health issues in the United States.
Many people struggle with controlling their drinking at some time in their lives. More than 14 million adults ages 18 and older have alcohol use disorder , and 1 in 10 children live in a home with a parent who has a drinking problem.
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Is Alcohol Use Disorder A Disease
Alcohol use disorder is a medical condition. Its a disease of brain function and requires medical and psychological treatments to control it.
Alcohol use disorder can be mild, moderate or severe. It can develop quickly or over a long period of time. Its also called alcohol dependence, alcohol addiction or alcohol abuse.
Acute Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
Symptoms of acute alcohol withdrawalmay range from mild to physically dangerous, with some relatively mild symptoms arising within 8 hours after the last drink.1
Depending on the magnitude of physical dependence, additional symptoms may continue to arise beyond 24 hours, with some potentially severe effects emerging 2 to 4 days after abstinence.3
Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal may include: 1,3
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Which Behavioral Therapies Can Treat Alcohol Use Disorder
Another name for behavioral therapies for AUD is alcohol counseling. It involves working with a health care professional to identify and help change the behaviors that lead to your heavy drinking.:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps you identify the feelings and situations that can lead to heavy drinking. It teaches you coping skills, including how to manage stress and how to change the thoughts that cause you to want to drink. You may get CBT one-on-one with a therapist or in small groups.
- Motivational enhancement therapy helps you build and strengthen the motivation to change your drinking behavior. It includes about four sessions over a short period of time. The therapy starts with identifying the pros and cons of seeking treatment. Then you and your therapist work on forming a plan for making changes in your drinking. The next sessions focus on building up your confidence and developing the skills you need to be able to stick to the plan.
- includes spouses and other family members. It can help to repair and improve your family relationships. Studies show that strong family support through family therapy may help you to stay away from drinking.
- Brief interventions are short, one-on-one or small-group counseling sessions. It includes one to four sessions. The counselor gives you information about your drinking pattern and potential risks. The counselor works with you to set goals and provide ideas that may help you make a change.
The Importance Of Persistence
Because AUD can be a chronic relapsing disease, persistence is key. It is rare that someone would go to treatment once and then never drink again. More often, people must repeatedly try to quit or cut back, experience recurrences, learn from them, and then keep trying. For many, continued follow up with a treatment provider is critical to overcoming problem drinking.
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How To Choose The Right Medication
The decision regarding the medication to be used should be based on the advice of the person’s doctor who will take into account the person’s experience, their medical history, family history, craving and triggers for drinking. It’s an individual choice sometimes if one medication doesn’t seem to help, an alternative will.
Be realistic in your expectations medication is not magic. Changing behaviour takes time and effort and is unlikely to occur merely as a result of taking a particular tablet. It is essential to involve other supports for change .
Baclofen And Alcohol Use Disorder
Baclofen, a selective gamma-aminobutyric acid-B receptor agonist, has emerged as a promising drug for AUD . It has been marketed since the early 1970s for the treatment of muscle spasticity, secondary to neurological conditions. The wide use of baclofen as a myorelaxant has provided detailed information on its safety and side effects in these patients . From the 1970s, research, largely in animal addiction models, suggested that baclofen may also be effective in the treatment of AUD .
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How Can A Psychologist Help
Psychologists who are trained and experienced in treating alcohol problems can be helpful in many ways. Before the drinker seeks assistance, a psychologist can guide the family or others in helping to increase the drinker’s motivation to change.
A psychologist can begin with the drinker by assessing the types and degrees of problems the drinker has experienced. The results of the assessment can offer initial guidance to the drinker about what treatment to seek and help motivate the problem drinker to get treatment. Individuals with drinking problems improve their chances of recovery by seeking help early.
Using one or more of several types of psychological therapies, psychologists can help people address psychological issues involved in their problem drinking. A number of these therapies, including cognitive-behavioral coping skills treatment and motivational enhancement therapy, were developed by psychologists. Additional therapies include 12-Step facilitation approaches that assist those with drinking problems in using self-help programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous .
These therapies can help people boost their motivation to stop drinking, identify circumstances that trigger drinking, learn new methods to cope with high-risk drinking situations, and develop social support systems within their own communities.
Is Treatment For Alcohol Use Disorder Effective
For most people, treatment for an AUD is helpful. But overcoming an alcohol use disorder is an ongoing process, and you may relapse . You should look at relapse as a temporary setback, and keep trying. Many people repeatedly try to cut back or quit drinking, have a setback, then try to quit again. Having a relapse does not mean that you cannot recover. If you do relapse, it is important to return to treatment right away, so you can learn more about your relapse triggers and improve your coping skills. This may help you be more successful the next time.
NIH: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
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Other Options For Alcohol Addiction Treatment
Anti-seizure medications.Topiramate, used to treat epilepsy and to prevent migraine headaches, is not approved for alcohol treatment, but is being prescribed by doctors and used successfully a daily pill of topiramate reduces drinking at least as well as naltrexone and acamprosate, according to an analysis done by the Veterans Health Administration published in the journal Addiction Science and Clinical Practice in 2013. Topiramate has been shown to reduce drinking, especially when there is a family history of alcoholism. We are not sure how it works. The main side effects are sedation and confusion, Weaver says.
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A newer anti-seizure medication being investigated for alcohol treatment is ezogabine. Testing in animals suggests that it may reduce alcohol abuse by opening up channels in the brain that reduce the pleasurable effects of drinking alcohol.
Ivermectin. Researchers at the University of Southern California have been studying the possible role in alcohol addition treatment of ivermectin, a drug used to treat parasite infections. After successful findings from lab studies involving mice, they are now investigating its potential role on people, not only as a treatment, but also as a preventive.
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