Medications for Alcohol Cravings

Medications for Alcohol Cravings

Alcoholism is a very serious disease in that you can experience intense cravings that make it feel like you cannot go a whole day without alcohol. There are medications out there to reduce those alcohol cravings. It is important to understand that these medications do not provide a cure for alcoholism and that other forms of treatment need to be taken into consideration.

One medication for alcohol cravings is Naltrexone which is a once-monthly injection which blocks the part in the brain that makes you high when you drink alcohol to reduce cravings. That way if someone has one or two drinks, they do not feel like having anymore. Another medication is Acamprosate which reduces alcohol cravings, physical distress, and emotional discomfort that you experience during the withdrawal period. This medication can restore the chemical imbalance in the reward system that is altered by alcohol. Normally three pills are prescribed a day when you stop drinking up to a year.

Antabuse is another medication where you experience a severe adverse reaction when consuming alcohol. Its job is to stop the production of enzymes that would allow the body to absorb the breakdown of the alcohol product acetaldehyde. This means that as soon as you take this medication, you will instantly experience the negative side effects of drinking like nausea, vomiting, headaches, palpitations. Antabuse is saved for high risk patients or being in a high risk situation like going to a party. The only problem with this medication is that because this medication makes you feel bad, it will prevent you from wanting to take it. It is best used when monitored at a clinic or at home with your spouse or relative by your side.

It is important to know that while these drugs are beneficial to stop cravings, they do not cure alcoholism as alcoholism is a brain disease that requires long-term treatment. If you stop taking these drugs, the cravings will persist. There are a number of treatment options for alcoholics like cognitive behavioral therapy to identify and modify negative thought patterns. 12 Step programs will give you the opportunity to share your story and listen to others going through the same thing. Motivational enhancement therapy will help you find motivations to keep going on this journey and make a personal plan for yourself. Trying as many options as possible to treat alcoholism will help beat these cravings.

Located in Tacoma, Washington, Bayview Center’s mission is to offer clinically-driven programs and services to treat a number of substance abuse disorders along with anxiety and depression using cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, trauma therapy, yoga therapy, and more for a successful recovery. For more information, please call us at 888 570 7154 as we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.