The most difficult phase of treatment is early recovery. It is common for withdrawal to accompany unpleasant side effects, cravings, or temptations. This makes it easier to drink again. The withdrawal symptoms are especially uncomfortable for those who have abused alcohol. Most cases will use medications for alcoholics for initial detox to help with withdrawal and comfort during this difficult phase. The benefits of Medication-Assisted Treatment can be used to reduce the chance of relapse and help in long-term recovery.
Alcoholism is a chronic condition that affects people who can’t control their drinking habits. Alcohol is an easy-to-get depressant, often used to cope with anxiety and stress. Co-occurring mental disorders are often associated with alcoholism. Many people become obsessed with alcohol, despite the negative effects on their mental and physical health, relationships, and financial situation.
If alcohol abuse is not controlled or people depend on it for their “normal” feelings, casual drinking can become unregulated and lead to addiction. There are many negative effects that alcohol abuse can cause, such as:
- Physical problems can develop
- Strained relationships
- Financial hardship
- Mental health issues
- Difficulty at school or work
- Legal problems
A person may experience withdrawal symptoms as soon as alcohol is stopped abruptly. The symptoms tend to worsen over time, especially within the first 24 to 72 hours. Sometimes, withdrawal can take several weeks and sometimes become very painful. These side effects can cause many to reintroduce alcohol to avoid them. Side effects can vary in severity but may include:
- Mood swings
- Appetite loss
- Heart rate increases
The Benefits Of Medication-Assisted Treatment For Alcohol Detox
A medically monitored detox is recommended to increase the success of alcoholism treatment. Medical professionals can help those suffering from alcohol addiction to safely detox from any side effects and eliminate the effects of the mind-altering drug. Many people who seek treatment for alcohol addiction is malnourished, dehydrated, or struggle with many other symptoms. These problems can make withdrawal more difficult and even life-threatening.
Patients are monitored by a doctor and given vitamins, fluids, and nutrition to help with withdrawal symptoms. Many medications are used to treat co-occurring conditions and prevent seizures. While detox can vary from person to person, it generally lasts between 7 and 10 days. The length of the detox phase depends on how long a person has been abusing alcohol and the extent of the harm it has caused to the individual, as well as other factors. Individual differences can have an impact on how a person experiences withdrawal symptoms. Some may experience mild side effects, while others could face serious consequences.
Although none of these medications can cure alcoholism, they help with withdrawal and are the most effective.
Because it causes unpleasant reactions to alcohol consumption, disulfiram is often used to treat chronic alcoholism. This medication is commonly used in cases where someone has just completed detox but is still in the beginning stages of recovery. Disulfiram may cause adverse reactions in some who have had alcohol for more than two weeks. Side effects of this medication can include:
- Chest pain
- Rapid heart rate
- Pain in the neck or head
- Nausea or vomiting
Acamprosate is often used to aid those who have quit drinking and want to avoid alcohol abuse in the future. This medication decreases the desire to drink. It is usually taken within days of the last drink. Treatment can last from three to twelve months if taken three times daily and combined with behavioral therapies. Acamprosate can cause nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and other adverse reactions if mixed with alcohol or misused prescription medication.
Naltrexone, an opioid antagonist, is often used to treat heroin addiction. It reduces the euphoric effects alcohol has on the brain, which can decrease motivation to drink it. You can take it in liquid or tablet form. It is most effective when combined with other therapies. Because it doesn’t cause mental or physical dependence, Naltrexone is becoming more popular in treatment settings.