When a person suffers from alcoholism, it is likely that he or she has an accompanying mental health disorder as well. Integrated dual diagnosis treatment can provide relief from alcoholism and mood disorders.
Mood Disorders Associated with Alcoholism
Alcohol can make us feel relaxed, calm, silly, brave and a host of other feelings. The ability to drink safely without becoming addicted is dependent upon many factors that can be biological, physical, emotional, and environmental. Regularly consuming large quantities of alcohol (what qualifies as “large quantities” is determined by an individual’s body) can create the foundation for alcoholism.
A craving is a real need being experienced by the body. Cravings, which usually accompany regular consumption of alcohol, are similar to the need for food or water. Without alcohol ingestion, the body will have withdrawal symptoms. The length of time spent drinking, the amount consumed over time, and the number of times one has gone through withdrawal will all contribute to the severity of a withdrawal. The dangers of alcohol detox and withdrawal can be life-threatening and should never be minimized.
An estimated 40 percent of all people who drink heavily suffer from depression. Of that number, about 5-10 percent suffer from a mental health disorder. Alcohol consumption combined with a mental health disorder will only worsen the symptoms of the disorder and complicate the alcohol addiction treatment needed.
Medication Treatment for Alcoholism
In a dual diagnosis treatment program, there are medications that will ease the alcohol cravings and provide you with relief from the mental health disorder. These medications are often prescribed in alcohol rehab centers by a physician or ARNP who is an addiction specialist.
- Disulfiram (Antabuse)
This drug is commonly used to treat alcohol withdrawal symptoms and can make a person sick if even a small amount of alcohol is consumed.
The use of naltrexone will not stop alcohol intoxication after drinking, it will just stop the pleasurable sensations associated with the drink. It has been recently approved in a once a month injectable form.
- Acamprosate (Campral)
Acamprosate, also known as Campral, was approved by the FDA to treat alcohol addiction and cravings in 2003. It is designed to block the pleasure areas in the brain. Thus, a person who drinks while taking Campral will not experience any pleasurable feelings from alcohol but will experience intoxication and withdrawal.
- Topiramate (Topamax)
Topamax is one of the anticonvulsant medications used to help treat alcoholism. Topamax has been found to help reduce alcohol relapses and increase the length of abstinence.
- Gabapentin (Neurontin)
Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant that is used off-label to treat alcohol dependency.
- Librium (Chlordiazepoxide hydrochloride)
Librium is a benzodiazepine used to treat anxiety and acute alcohol withdrawal symptoms. It is a seizure precaution for seizures that are secondary to alcohol withdrawal.
Looking For Treatment?
Alcohol can be deceiving. We use it to relax, lighten our mood and have fun. However, there is a dark side to the constant use of alcohol that belies the image one thinks of when drinking. If you have been living the dark reality of alcoholism and would like to stop the chaos, we can help. Call Recovery Connection now and find out more about dual diagnosis treatment facilities that are right for you. 866.812.8231. Our trained staff can answer your questions about treatment and addiction. Don’t wait. Help is available now.
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