I hope everyone has enjoyed reading about the different aspects of alcoholism and addiction. Now I will tell you what I have learned about the meds that are available today, and the differences in how they work.
The most well known pill on the market is Antabuse. Most people have heard about this in one way or another. It is a drug that has been used by the courts because when it is in your system and you drink alcohol, it makes you very sick. Usually nausea and vomiting, but there is a range of reactions and the bottom line is…it makes drinking a very unpleasant experience!
The other drug is called Naltrexone. It is availabe as a pill or an injection, but its effect is very different. In the biological part of the blog I described the role that endorphins play in alcoholics as well as how they work in other people. Naltrexone comes in and blocks the pleasure that you get from drinking. That surge of endorphins that I outlined previously no longer exists. Therefore, the pleasure is taken out of drinking. When there is no reward then there is no motivation to drink. It is a pretty simple process and seems to have pretty good results.
So if you read the three parts of this series, you can see how neither of these pills can address all of the elements involved in this disease. Personally, I think Naltrexone’s ability to remove the craving is a very powerful tool, but you have to address the psychological issues also. They simply cannot be ignored. We say that if you sober up a horse thief, then you have a sober horse thief. All of the mental components that make me who I am are still going to exist whether I have a drink in my hand or not. If I don’t do the work to fix those inner problems, then they will continue to haunt me and I will drink again.
For a person who is just in the beginning struggle to get sober, and to stay sober, taking away the craving is a wonderful help. But you have to treat the rest of the issues.