Is There a Pill That Can Help You Stop Drinking?

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Are you struggling with alcohol addiction? Have you tried to cut back only to find old drinking habits creeping back? Have you tried to quit “cold turkey”? Does AA alone just not work for you? Have your relationships, your career and your quality of life been seriously impacted by your alcohol abuse? Do you want to kick this habit now before you do permanent harm to your liver?

Pharmaceutical Treatment May Help

There is no quick fix for alcoholism. But some patients can be helped by medications such as Antabuse. These medications belong to a specific category of drugs called “alcohol antagonists”.  The worst effects of alcohol on your body occur slowly over time. This makes them easy to ignore until you end up with a serious medical condition. In contrast, alcohol antagonists make you feel sick if you take even a tiny sip of booze.

The interaction between the alcohol and the pill causes facial flushing, queasiness, and headache. Some patients even throw up. If you have this reaction every time you have a drink, you begin to associate alcohol consumption with immediate negative consequences. This quick feedback can help interrupt the addiction cycle. It takes away the idea that you can enjoy just one little drink and then go back on the wagon. Newer drugs such as Campral also seem to help curb cravings for alcohol, but medical researchers aren’t sure exactly how or why that works.

This Treatment Is Not for Everyone

  • If you already have liver disease or other chronic health problems like diabetes and heart disease, you won’t be a candidate for this medication.
  • You can’t have “one last drink” right before taking the medication since this could lead to a severe reaction.
  • You must be ready to commit fully to abstaining from alcohol. This includes educating yourself about any foods or personal care products that contain even trace amounts of alcohol. Even using mouthwash could trigger an interaction with your pills.
  • You can’t rely solely on medication. In fact, most of the alcohol antagonist drugs available in the US are only to be prescribed if you are under psychiatric care and getting support to help prevent a relapse.
  • You can’t simply replace alcohol with some other drug to take the edge off. You must really want to quit for good.

The first step in determining if you are candidate for treatment with alcohol antagonists is to schedule an evaluation. If you live in the DFW Metroplex, you can choose Dr. Lawrence to be your Orange County psychiatrist. He has extensive experience with addiction medicine and the right tools to help you be free from alcohol dependence.