Medications for Alcohol Use Disorder

Treatment providers can connect you with programs that provide the tools to help you get and stay sober. Once alcohol is consumed, it quickly enters the bloodstream and travels through the body. Since alcohol is a depressant, it releases “feel good chemicals,” known as endorphins, that bring a sense of calmness and happiness.

medicine for alcoholism

The more endorphins that are present in the brain, the better a person feels. This is why people sometimes resort to alcohol in order to relax and “let loose.” Unfortunately, relying on alcohol to bring happiness can lead to a dangerous cycle of alcohol addiction. Naltrexone is a prescription medication for treating alcohol abuse disorders. Naltrexone can be a helpful part of a comprehensive recovery plan. Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances. The sooner you recognize there may be a problem and talk to your healthcare provider, the better your recovery chances.

Cessation of alcohol intake

The category of benzodiazepines, or benzos as they’re also known, are highly addictive and commonly abused. Use should stop immediately once the most severe sober house symptoms of withdrawal subside, before a dependency on them can build. If you or a loved one is ready to overcome an alcohol addiction, reach out today.

  • Larger and longer trials of the combination therapy are needed.
  • Many inpatient and outpatient rehab centers offer naltrexone as an injection.
  • Ordinarily, the negative consequences of alcohol consumption (e.g., health problems) are delayed and are uncertain (e.g., your significant other may or may not become angry with you; the police may not apprehend you for drunk driving).

People who have alcohol use disorder drink regularly and in large amounts. When their bodies don’t have alcohol, they experience withdrawal symptoms. The risk of alcohol dependence begins at low levels of drinking and increases directly with both the volume of alcohol consumed and a pattern of drinking larger amounts on an occasion, to the point of intoxication, which is sometimes called binge drinking.

Medications to Treat Alcohol Withdrawal

However, most people do not need or benefit from 28-day residential treatment. Advances have led to evidence-based treatments that are less intensive and can be accessed through a primary care physician or mental health clinic. Components of effective treatment include medications and behavioral treatments, ideally in combination.

The medicines are usually taken once people have stopped drinking to help keep them from starting to drink again. Naltrexone, an opioid antagonist, reduces alcohol consumption in patients with AUD, and is more successful in those who are abstinent before starting the medication.8 The opioid receptor system mediates the pleasurable effects of alcohol. Alcohol ingestion stimulates endogenous opioid release and increases dopamine transmission. Naltrexone blocks these effects, reducing euphoria and cravings.20 Naltrexone is available in oral and injectable long-acting formulations.