In days gone by, there was only one method to achieve alcohol detox and rehab: cold turkey. This method involves completely separating the alcoholic from his or her drink, then allowing them to go through detox. It was followed up by counselling intended to provide additional support.
The problem with the old method comes by way of the dangers of detox. Long-term alcohol abuse leads to very specific changes in human physiology – changes that could prove seriously injurious or even fatal during detox. And where those risks do not exist, detox is still incredibly uncomfortable and difficult to endure. Thankfully, there are now medications that can be used to help stop drinking.
Medications are divided into two basic groups:
- Alcohol Abuse Medications – The alcohol abuser is not considered an alcoholic if he or she does not yet exhibit the appropriate symptoms. For the abuser, detox and rehab is usually not necessary. A simple prescription that make drinking unappealing is often enough to help end the abuse.
- Alcohol Rehab Medications – The alcohol abuser that has also been diagnosed as an addict may need maintenance drugs to help him or her get through detox. When appropriate, these maintenance drugs can even be prescribed for long-term use well after a residential rehab program has been completed.
Alcohol Abuse Medications
In the UK, there are only two approved medications for abusers desiring to reduce or eliminate alcohol consumption. The first is a drug known as disulfiram. It is a medication that affects how the liver processes alcohol, causing a severe hangover within minutes of alcohol consumption. For those who really hate hangovers, this drug can be a powerful deterrent.
The other medication is known as acamprosate. This medication is believed to work by sending signals to the brain that inhibit the craving for alcohol. It can be used by mild alcohol abusers to eliminate alcohol consumption, or by recovering alcoholics who need help resisting the temptation that follow completion of a rehab program.
Alcohol Rehab Medications
One of the first steps in any rehab program is detoxification. Because detox can be a potentially life-threatening event for some people, clinics are fully prepared to administer certain types of medications that reduce withdrawal symptoms and make for safer detox.
One example is a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines. These medications can reduce anxiety as well as preventing seizures and hallucinations. If nothing else, they certainly take the edge off withdrawal symptoms. Antidepressants may be equally effective for these purposes in some patients.
It should be noted that none of the medications used to help stop drinking would be effective if the alcohol abuser continues to consume alcohol. In other words, these medications are used as aids to assist in making withdrawal and abstinence easier. Without a decision and a determined will to stop drinking, the medications will not do any good.
Alcohol Help invites you to get in touch with us today if you or someone your love is struggling with alcohol abuse or addiction. We are a referral service with connections to some of the nation’s leading alcohol rehab clinics. We can help you by getting you in touch with a facility and program that is right for you.