Alcohol Withdrawal Medication
- PrintArticle Summary
- Naltrexone, Acamprosate, and Disulfiram
- Medically-Assisted Alcohol Detoxification Medicines
There are many tools available that can provide assistance with overcoming an addiction to alcohol. In addition to a 12-step program and therapy, alcohol withdrawal medication can be immensely helpful in the recovery process. Typically, medications for alcohol withdrawal are used to help a person safely detoxify from alcoholic substances. However, they may also be used to assist the body in recovering from damage caused by alcohol abuse.
If you or a loved one is struggling with an alcohol addiction, speaking to an expert about alcohol addiction medication is a great way to kick off the recovery process. Call our confidential toll-free helpline at 1-888-658-5242 for recommendations.
Naltrexone, Acamprosate, and Disulfiram
When you first begin an alcohol treatment program, you will be examined by a medical professional. The person will ask about your alcohol consumption, previous treatments, and any existing health conditions. The medical professional will generally do a physical examination and conduct any testing deemed necessary for accurately evaluating your health. Depending on the outcome of the examination, the medical professional may prescribe an alcohol withdrawal medication. The most common ones are naltrexone, acamprosate, and disulfiram.
Naltrexone is an oral medication that is used to treat narcotic and alcohol addiction. It is categorized as a competitive antagonist and acts on the opioid receptors in the brain to reduce the pleasurable effects experienced from consuming alcohol and narcotic drugs. Naltrexone decreases alcohol cravings, which can lead to abstinence. It is often used as part of a treatment method called the Sinclair Method. This medication is also sold under the brand name ReVia.
Acamprosate is prescribed to people who have stopped drinking and/or completed the detoxification process. This medication acts on the neurotransmitter glutamate to stabilize brain chemistry in the post-withdrawal phase. The goal of this medication is to help the person avoid drinking alcohol. Recent medical studies have found that acamprosate is effective at reducing the incidence of relapse. This medication is sold under the brand names Campral and Campral EC.
Disulfiram is an anti-abuse medication that interferes with how alcohol is metabolized. As a result, a person experiences unpleasant side effects, which are similar to a hangover, when they consume alcohol while using this medication. The purpose is to discourage the alcoholic from drinking. This drug is sold under the brand name Antabuse.
Before beginning a treatment program that includes the use of alcohol addiction medication, be certain to tell the medical professional about any other medications or supplements you may be using. This should be done to avoid any adverse interactions between the substances.
Women who are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are nursing should discuss the merits of using this type of medication with their doctors. Some of these pharmaceutical drugs can have an adverse affect on the fetal development or a newborn child.
Medically-Assisted Alcohol Detoxification Medicines
Alcohol withdrawal medication can make the process of recovery easier. Many people struggle with the temptation to drink, especially during the detoxification process. Medications for alcohol withdrawal can ease the cravings for alcohol and make it easier for the person to avoid giving into the temptation. Studies conducted on medications like disulfiram have found them to be very effective at helping people kick their addiction to alcohol.
Typically, alcohol addiction medication is used as part of a holistic treatment program that includes detoxification, therapy, and the development of coping skills. It is important to take advantage of all available tools to help you achieve and maintain sobriety. If you or someone you know has an alcohol addiction and would like more information about alcohol withdrawal medication, call our free national hotline for a referral to an expert that can help you.