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Medication Treatment for Alcohol Addiction

1 in 10 kids live with a parent who struggles with alcohol

One of the most critical health risks in the United States is alcohol-related problems, which are caused by drinking too much, too quickly, or too frequently.

According to research, more than 14 million people over the age of 18 have an alcohol use disorder (AUD), and 1 in 10 kids live with a parent who struggles with alcohol.

Key Takeaways

Several people experience drinking problems at some point in their lives. This blog post will tell you about the following:  

  • Alcohol is a chronic disease that can result in negative consequences if left untreated.
  • According to studies, after smoking and being overweight, alcohol abuse is the third most common cause of avoidable mortality in the US. 
  • To treat alcohol consumption disorder, a variety of drugs are available. Even joining support groups and counseling sessions can also help you out.

Get professional help from The Detox-South Florida to get rid of alcohol addiction. Contact us at  (561)328-8627   learn more about our treatment programs and service charges.

Understanding Alcohol Use Disorder  

According to research, after smoking and being overweight, alcohol abuse is the third most common cause of avoidable mortality in the US. Around 17 million people in the US who are 18 or older suffer from an alcohol consumption disorder.

Men experience alcohol use disorders more frequently than women do. Seventeen out of every 100 men will experience alcohol use disorder at some point in their lives. Eight out of every 100 women will experience an alcohol consumption disorder in their lifetime.

Three to four times as many people who have an alcohol use disorder will die young as those who do not.

Signs and symptoms may include:

  • Drinking too much alcohol and not being able to control it.
  • Wanting to cut back on your drinking or trying in vain to do so.
  • Spending a lot of time drinking, obtaining alcohol, or recovering from alcohol use.
  • Having a strong inclination or urge to consume alcohol.
  • Not meeting important duties at work, school, or home as a result of frequent alcohol use.
  • Drinking alcohol while aware that it harms your health, relationships, career, or social life.
  • Giving up or diminishing social, professional, and recreational activities in favor of drinking.
  • Consuming alcohol in unsafe circumstances, such as when operating machinery or swimming.
  • Growing tolerant of alcohol requires more to feel its effects or less to have the same impact.
  • Feel the effects of withdrawal when you don’t drink, including nausea, sweating, and shaking.

People with alcohol addiction are at higher risk of the following side effects:

  • Liver disease.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Pancreas problems.
  • Stomach problems.
  • Heart disease.
  • Nerve problems.
  • Stroke.
  • Sleep problems.
  • Cancer.
  • Low bone density.
  • Anxiety, depression, or other mental health difficulties.
  • Anemia.

Treating Alcohol Dependency 

To treat alcohol consumption disorder, a variety of drugs are available. These drugs can reduce binge drinking and enhance abstinence days. Despite partial abstinence, these results probably lower the overall risk of alcohol use disorder.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) suggests a number of medications  to treat alcohol abuse. 

These consist of the following:

  • Acamprosate.
  • Disulfiram.
  • Naltrexone.
  • Nalmefene.


When someone has successfully achieved alcohol abstinence, acamprosate (marketed under the name Campral) prevents relapse by lessening alcohol cravings. It is typically administered in conjunction with counseling.

Gamma-amino-butyric acid, a molecule in the brain, is affected by acamprosate to produce its effects (GABA). Alcohol cravings are thought to be partially brought on by GABA.

Acamprosate is typically recommended as soon as alcohol withdrawal symptoms start, and the course can last up to 6 months.


If you’re trying to stay sober  but are worried that you might relapse or if you’ve already experienced relapses, disulfiram (marketed under the name Antabuse) may be used.

Disulfiram discourages you from drinking by making you feel physically uncomfortable if you do. 

These may consist of the following:

  • Chest pain.
  • Dizziness.
  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting.

Aside from alcoholic beverages, it’s crucial to stay away from all alcohol-containing substances because they could also cause an unpleasant reaction. 

The following products may include alcohol:

  • Aftershave.
  • Some types of vinegar.
  • Mouthwash.
  • Perfume.

You should also avoid substances that give off alcohol fumes, such as paint thinners and solvents.

You may continue to face adverse reactions if you come into contact with alcohol for a week after you are done with disulfiram, so it’s essential to maintain abstinence.

When taking disulfiram, you will be observed by your healthcare team about once every two weeks for the first two months and then every month for the following four months.


Utilizing naltrexone can help someone avoid relapsing or consume less alcohol.

It stops the effects of alcohol by inhibiting opioid receptors in the body. Usually, it is used in conjunction with counseling or other types of medicine.

If naltrexone is suggested, you will be informed that it inhibits the action of opioid-containing medications like morphine and codeine.

When using naltrexone, stop taking opioids right away and consult your doctor or care team for guidance.

Naltrexone treatments typically last six months, but they can go longer.


The drug nalmefene, sold under the brand name Selincro, may stop relapses or reduce alcohol consumption.

The brain’s opioid receptors are blocked, which lessens alcohol cravings.

Following an initial evaluation:

  • You continue to consume more alcohol than the daily limit of five units for women and 7.5 units for men.
  • You don’t need to stop drinking immediately or achieve complete abstinence because you don’t experience any physical withdrawal symptoms.

Only take nalmefene if you are receiving support to help reduce your alcohol consumption and continue therapy.

Other Helpful Ways to Treat Alcohol Addiction  

Detox and withdrawal. Treatment may begin with a detoxification program—a medically managed treatment known as medical detox. Medical detox program generally takes 2 to 7 days. You may need to use sedating medications to avoid withdrawal symptoms.

Detox is typically done at an inpatient treatment center or a hospital. In case you are struggling with withdrawal symptoms.

Self-Help Groups

Many people with  stress and alcohol dependency problems find it helpful to attend self-help groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).

One of the central beliefs behind AA is that alcohol dependence is a long-term, progressive illness and total abstinence is the only solution.

The AA treatment program is based on a 12-step structure made to assist you in getting over your addiction.

Admitting you have no control over alcohol and your life has become unmanageable, acknowledging you acted up, and, if at all possible, apologizing to those you have wronged are some milestones in the recovery process.

You can alter your thinking and actions that lead to drinking with the help of this therapy.

Numerous support groups are available to assist people in quitting drinking, including Women for Sobriety, Secular Organizations for Sobriety, LifeRing Secular Recovery, and SMART Recovery.

You and your loved ones may benefit from joining a support group or care program. These programs are created to support you, educate you on how to deal with life in recovery, and assist you in controlling cravings and relapses.

Locate a local support group. Your doctor or the neighborhood hospital can help you find a support group.

Motivational Interviewing 

Motivational interviewing is a counseling approach that helps people resolve uncertainty and improve motivation to change. It focuses on assisting people to become more willing, confident, and ready to change. 

This talk therapy uses your internal strengths to encourage and motivate change. It helps you to learn skills that can help you battle unwanted situations and circumstances in the future.

Alcoholics Anonymous 

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a support organization that aids individuals in beating their alcohol dependence. It provides group meetings and what is frequently referred to as a “sober support” network.

Some AA members will deliberately seek out a sponsor, or another group member, who has typically maintained long-term sobriety. Someone battling alcohol addiction may benefit from additional support from a sponsor.

Additionally, sponsors can urge responsibility and offer support. They frequently assist with “step work,” which is going through all 12 AA stages to become sober and keep it that way. 

Ask the healthcare outreach office at your neighborhood hospital, where you may find an AA chapter close to you.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy  

You can alter the thoughts and actions that lead to drinking with this kind of therapy. Small groups or one-on-one therapy sessions with a therapist are both options. 

The goals of this type of therapy include stress management and recognizing the emotions and circumstances (referred to as “cues”) that trigger binge drinking. 

The objective is to alter the mental patterns that result in alcohol abuse and to build the coping mechanisms needed to deal with commonplace circumstances that could result in problem drinking.

If you and your loved one are experiencing alcohol use disorder, get help from The Haven Detox-South Florida. The Haven Detox is one of the most reliable treatment providers in America. 

We came into existence with a vision to help people struggling with alcohol addiction and other mental health problems, including bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, and mood disorders. 

Furthermore, our medical professionals are highly qualified from prestigious medical institutes and know how to treat our patients and help them get back to an addiction-free life.

Motivational Enhancement Therapy

Motivational Enhancement Therapy is carried out over a brief period to develop and strengthen motivation to alter drinking habits. 

The goal of therapy is to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of getting treatment, create a strategy for changing one’s drinking habits, increase confidence, and acquire the skills necessary to follow the plan.

Marital and Family Counseling 

Marital and family counseling involves spouses and other family members in the therapeutic process and can help mend and enhance family bonds. 

Compared to patients receiving solo counseling, studies demonstrate that strong family support through family therapy enhances the likelihood of maintaining abstinence (stopping drinking).

The decision to seek treatment may ultimately be more significant than the method, provided that the process avoids intense confrontation and includes empathy, motivational support, and a focus on altering drinking habits.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the most effective treatment for alcohol dependence?

There is no single treatment to treat alcohol abuse disorder effectively. A number of treatment methods can be used to get rid of alcohol dependency, including self-help groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), family therapy, and certain medications. Naltrexone, a drug that suppresses the positive effects of alcohol, may prevent binge drinking and lessen the desire to consume alcohol. 
Once you stop drinking, acamprosate may help you stave off cravings for alcohol. Naltrexone and acamprosate don’t make you feel ill after drinking, in contrast to disulfiram.

Is there a drug that can stop alcoholism?

Nothing can stop alcoholism. There are anti-craving & deterrent medications like Acamprosate, Naltrexone, Nalmefene, Antabuse, etc., but these medications can’t cure you. Multiple studies have shown that the medicines mentioned above are highly effective but do not completely cure. 
The actual treatment is attending support groups and several therapy sessions. Therapy is done individually or in a group to preserve individuals from the harmful effects of alcohol on physical as well as mental health.
But if you are going to drink, you’re going to drink, so all the advice & medication in the world won’t stop you unless you desire to stop.

What is the first line of treatment for alcoholism?

The first line of treatment for alcoholism is to seek medical care. Your medical professional can help you understand the issue’s severity. A primary care physician can evaluate a patient’s drinking pattern. He can recommend medication or some practical therapy sessions that can help you to learn coping mechanisms and advanced techniques to battle alcohol cravings and stay away from drinking. 
Joining support groups is also categorized as first-line treatment for people struggling with alcohol abuse disorder.

Get Long-Term Recovery from The Haven Detox-South Florida 

Alcohol abuse disorder is a leading cause of death in the US. If you are struggling with alcoholism or any other mental health issue, let The Haven Detox-South Florida be your support. The Haven Detox aims to help people get back to life.  

We offer a wide range of programs, including detox treatment program , residential treatment program, smart  recovery treatment program, and more. Furthermore, our counselors are available around the clock to assist you in the admission process and make recovery easy and accessible.

Call us at (561)328-8627 to learn more about our treatment programs and service charges. 

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