Each year, 95,000 Americans die as a result of alcohol abuse. Not only that, but about 7% of adults have a substance use disorder and a startling 60% of adults increased their drinking during COVID-19 lockdowns from 2020-2021. There is no doubt that alcohol continues to play a major role in our culture, as millions of people continue to struggle with alcohol addiction. Thankfully, for those who develop an alcohol use disorder, there is help available. Evidence-based therapies can help those with alcohol use disorder, as can medications. Specifically, some alcohol addiction detox medications can help lay the foundation for a successful recovery.
Types of Alcohol Addiction Detox Medications
While not every person who detoxes from alcohol and transitions into recovery uses medication as part of treatment, there are many who do. Determining who gets prescribed medications and who doesn’t is often a decision based upon specific factors such as how long the alcohol abuse was occurring and how much alcohol was being consumed at a time. The vast majority of medications that are available for the treatment of alcohol addiction are not recommended for use during the detox stage of treatment. Instead they should be used after the body has fully cleared alcohol from its system.
Benzodiazepines, such as Klonopin, Ativan, and Xanax, are a prescription medication for those in alcohol detox who need support withdrawing. These medications, when provided by a medical professional, can help to reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms and keep an individual more stabilized during this time, preventing more serious complications such as seizures.
Outside of over-the-counter medications, benzodiazepines are some of the only alcohol addiction detox medications that can be used while a person is still withdrawing. However, there are several other medications that are approved for use once an individual fully detoxes that can aid them in succeeding in recovery.
Acamprosate, which is the generic term for the brand name Campral, is one of the most commonly prescribed alcohol addiction medications. It works to help minimize cravings for continued alcohol use, allowing for a person to continue to focus on their recovery with less risk of relapse.
Disulfiram is not an alcohol addiction detox medication at all, but is a medication that can be used once an individual has fully withdrawn from alcohol. Disulfiram, which is known by the brand name Antabuse, is effective in preventing the breakdown of alcohol in the body. Therefore, if someone were to drink alcohol while on this medication, they would develop distressing symptoms similar to those of the flu. Disulfiram is used as a deterrent medication for recovering alcoholics.
Naltrexone is most commonly known for being a medication used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. It is also highly effective in helping to minimize cravings in those who are recovering from alcohol use disorder, too. Similar to acamprosate, naltrexone lessens the intensity of cravings, allowing for an individual to stay fixed on their recovery goals.
Topiramate is an anticonvulsant medication that is most commonly used to treat those with epilepsy. It is also used for off-label purposes, such as for the treatment of major depressive disorder or bipolar disorder. The supervised use of topiramate can help reduce cravings for continued alcohol use.
Some studies have shown that Zofran, a prescription medication used to help extreme nausea, can help to minimize cravings for alcohol in those in recovery.
The types of medication that a person in recovery for alcohol use disorder will be prescribed will be based on that individual’s needs and treatment goals. Again, not everyone who is in recovery for alcohol use disorder will require prescription medication.
Benefits of Alcohol Addiction Detox Medications
Recovery from alcohol addiction is a process. There are many factors that go into unraveling one’s relationship with alcohol while simultaneously building up their recovery. Medications, however, can offer a number of benefits for an individual so that they can focus on the work they need to do in order to establish a happy, healthy, sober life. Some of these benefits include the following:
- Reducing the risk of relapse, allowing for further work to be done in recovery
- Mitigating the level of distraction a person may otherwise experience due to cravings
- Preventing an individual from suffering more extreme withdrawal symptoms that could be fatal
- Increasing the longevity of one’s recovery
The more involved that a person is in their own recovery, the more benefits they will reap as a result.
Alcohol Rehab in Redondo Beach
If you are ready to stop abusing alcohol and get sober, call us at Clear Recovery Center right now at 1 (877) 799-1985. We can help you learn more about our programming options as well as how our team of dedicated professionals can help you achieve recovery once and for all.