How Does Treatment for Alcoholism Work
Alcoholism can be a threat to one’s life.
Treatment is a must. But how does an alcoholism treatment work?
Acamprosate is one of the most commonly prescribed medications for the treatment of alcoholism. Often referred to by the brand name Campral, Acamprosate is perhaps the most used medication in the US for alcohol abuse treatment.
People who are struggling with addiction may be prescribed with this medication to help reduce their dependence on alcohol. This is because unlike other alcohol treatment medications that reduce or block the pleasurable effects of alcoholic drinks, Acamprosate affects the brain directly to limit its dependence.
Alcohol use changes the way the brain functions. It alters brain chemistry. As alcohol abuse continues, these changes become more severe. The longer the addiction lasts, the more severe the problems that develop. The body adjusts itself to the constant presence of alcohol, meaning that if the person were to stop drinking suddenly, they would experience painful or life-threatening withdrawal.
Acamprosate reacts with the neurotransmitter systems in the brain. The drug helps modulate and normalize brain activity that has been thrown off balance by the cessation of alcohol use. Right now, the exact mechanism by which Acamprosate works is not yet fully understood. However, the effectiveness of this medication is undeniable.
Studies have shown that Acamprosate impacts the glutamate and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) systems. Aside from reducing dependence, this medication can also reduce symptoms like insomnia, anxiety, and restlessness. Acamprosate is broken down by the digestive tract, unlike other medications that are broken down by the liver. This makes Acamprosate advantageous to those who are dealing with liver-related health concerns caused by alcoholism.
How Acamprosate Should be Used?
Acamprosate should be prescribed only after the patient has ceased alcohol use. This means the patient has to go through detox first. For those who are taking this medication, Acamprosate should only be used under the guidance of a physician.
Pregnant women should not take Acamprosate. It is also very important to note that this medication alone is not enough to treat alcoholism. Just like other medications, it should be used in combination with therapy and other medications prescribed by medical professionals. Acamprosate is often taken with other alcoholism medications such as Naltrexone and Disulfram. Studies have shown that this increases the effectiveness of Acamprosate. However, it does not seem to boost the effectiveness of the other medications.
Acamprosate is typically taken orally three times a day. It can be taken with or without food, although users choose to take it with meals because it is easier to remember if it is part of breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Some people are prescribed with Acamprosate for a period of one year. However, many users take it for shorter or longer periods of time, depending on their condition.
Benefits of Acamprosate
Acamprosate has a number of benefits that make it advantageous for people trying to recover from alcohol addiction. It actively reduces cravings for alcohol and directly reduces dependence by reacting with neurotransmitters in the brain.
Additionally, it is absorbed through the digestive tract rather than the liver, which improves its effectiveness and reduces side effects for patients with liver damage. Its side effects are fewer, less severe, and less common. It is quite rare to encounter severe side effects from Acamprosate.
It also has no known drug interactions with other medications or substances.
Potential Side Effects of Acamprosate
Most side effects of Acamprosate subside the longer treatment continues. Some of them are mild, but some people experience more serious side effects such as diarrhea, insomnia, anxiety, muscle weakness, nausea, vomiting, flatulence, itchiness, dizziness, headaches, depression, and suicidal thoughts. Others experience irregular heartbeat, vision problems, fainting, reduced urination, loss of appetite, and hypersensitivity to the drug.
Take note that these side effects are quite rare. In fact, Acamprosate is known as a great treatment for alcohol addiction because of its comparative lack of side effects. If a person encounters the symptoms mentioned above, they should immediately contact their physician and discontinue the use of Acamprosate.
If someone in the family is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, it is important to seek help. A combination of medical detox and behavioral therapy can go a long way in the fight against substance abuse. But because every individual is affected by addiction differently, a comprehensive program tailored to their specific needs is necessary. Look for a nearby addiction treatment facility today and find out how drug treatment programs work.
Rehab is Your Best Chance
Treatment is an addicted individualʼs best option if they want to recover. Beating an addiction not only requires eliminating the physical dependence, but also addressing the behavioral factors that prevent them from wanting to get better. Simply quitting may not change the psychological aspect of addiction. Some people quit for a while, and then take alcohol again, only to overdose because they did not detox properly. Recovery involves changing the way the patient feels, thinks, and behaves.