DRS femme1 480x400DRS femme1 480x400



DrugRehab PotBanner

PotBanner narrow

What Medication Is Used to Treat Alcoholism?

Alcoholism is a disease that can control a person to the extent of changing their mental and physical appearance, as well as impair their ability to work or function socially. In Canada, thousands of people are struggling with this disease. Some begin their struggle at a very early age.

It is estimated that 17% of the alcoholics in Canada are underage drinkers. As people continue to drink in excessive amounts, they cannot control their actions. An alcoholic can have drastic mood swings that range from severely depressed to great enthusiasm to intense and violent anger. Because of these changes in personality, the ability to hold a job, or stay in any form of relationship, is severely hindered or impossible.

DRS femme2

DRS femme2

The Canadian government has continually sought ways to help curb the onslaught of alcoholism and the economic problems that come with it. As the treatment progresses and counselors realize the need for a multi-pronged approach to treating alcoholism, new methods are being introduced with some success. A switch from short-term treatment to long-term in house alcohol treatment has seen some success in the last few years. Another part of a multifaceted treatment approach is through the use of different medications.

Medication is often used in conjunction with other treatment avenues, but not as a standalone method for successful treatment. There are several types of medicines available that counselors and physicians can prescribe. However, three have shown remarkable progress in treating the disease of alcoholism.

The first of these is called Disulfiram. This medication is often prescribed as a deterrent to alcohol. When someone is prescribed this drug, they will experience intense reactions such as nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, headaches, and increased heart rate. Disulfiram is usually prescribed to someone who is in the middle stages of alcoholism and does not have serious medical conditions.

The next type of medication commonly prescribed for treating alcoholism is called Naltrexone. This medication is also known as ReVia or Depade. This medication does not react to the alcohol but works within the neurotransmitters in the brain. Naltrexone works to reduce the feeling of being drunk by blocking these neurotransmitters when alcohol is being consumed.

For those who also have severe medical conditions brought on by prolonged abuse of alcohol, there is another type of medication available to them. This medication, known as Acamprosate, or Campral, works to help the alcoholic during the detox time. Because of the medical conditions such as liver damage, or heart problems, medicines that react with the alcohol will not help. What is needed is something to help the person get over the symptoms of withdrawals. Campral works to reduce the stress of detox and help to ease the mind.

It must be noted that these medications, while are very important to treatment, are not a treatment in themselves. They are prescribed as a supplement to treatment in order to help a person better handle the detox process, or staying away from alcohol altogether. The success of these drugs is also directly related to the motivation of the individual themselves and regaining life skills in order to live a drug-free life. The most successful alcohol treatment does not use medication except to detox the person safely.

Reference: pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh23-2/099-106.pdf


marcel gemme author

Marcel Gemme

More Info

Marcel Gemme has been helping people struggling with addiction for over 19 years. He first started as an intake counselor for a drug rehabilitation center in 2000. During his 5 years as an intake counselor, he helped many addicts get the treatment they needed. He also dealt with the families and friends of those people; he saw first-hand how much strain addiction puts on a family and how it can tear relationships apart. With drug and alcohol problems constantly on the rise in the United States and Canada, he decided to use the Internet as a way to educate and help many more people in both those countries. This was 15 years ago. Since then, Marcel has built two of the largest websites in the U.S. and Canada which reach and help millions of people each year. He is an author and a leader in the field of drug and alcohol addiction. His main focus is threefold: education, prevention and rehabilitation. To this day, he still strives to be at the forefront of technology in order to help more and more people.

alcohol booklet

Get more facts and find out the truth about Alcohol

Meet an Expert

Sylvain Fournier

Sylvain Fournier | Bio

Across Canada, there are many different treatment options to choose from, private, government-funded, inpatient, and outpatient. See More