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Can a Pill Treat Alcoholism?

Alcohol is probably the most generally used addictive substance within the U.S. – virtually 18 million individuals endure from abuse or dependence. But can a new method permit these hooked on alcohol to “drink themselves sober”?

Naltrexone is usually prescribed to reverse opiate overdoses, and in response to research, it might additionally block the intoxicating results of alcohol. In the Sinclair Method, alcoholics proceed to drink, however they take Naltrexone beforehand. Psychiatrist Dr. Domenick Sportelli and Psychologist Dr. Adi Jaffe be a part of The Doctors to offer their differing views on Naltrexone as a remedy for alcoholism.

“When someone drinks alcohol, not only do they get drunk but they have a euphoric experience,” Dr. Sportelli explains. “And the euphoric experience is based on endogenous opiates.” These chemical compounds are produced by our personal brains. Naltrexone gives the potential of blocking the endogenous opiates – making getting drunk a lot much less rewarding.

The catch is that Naltrexone’s impact depends on the consumer consuming alcohol. “We’re sitting here saying ‘Alcoholic – take a drink!?’ It’s difficult to conceive,” says ER Physician Dr. Travis Stork.

Watch: Happy Hour for Alcoholics?

Dr. Jaffe agrees, “It is. And a lot of individuals really feel that for those who’re going to maintain alcohol addiction, you must be prepared to give up perpetually.” However, with the Sinclair Method, the affected person initially continues consuming. “It slowly pares away the pleasure effect from the experience of drinking. People report that, when it works for them, they just don’t want to drink as much.”

Only 10 % of individuals with alcohol issues go into remedy of any sort, and Naltrexone might encourage extra drinkers to attempt to cease. Dr. Jaffe says, “This is something you can try relatively easily with a prescription and a therapist or a psychologist.”

Dr. Sportelli cautions, “You’re relying on this conditioning and extinction. And the only way that that works is if the person is willing to take that pill every time before they take that drink … You’re asking someone addicted to the euphoric experience of getting drunk to take something to stop that euphoric experience.”

Watch: The Challenges of Treating Alcoholism

Dr. Jaffe suggests it may be a first step for heavy drinkers to maneuver towards quitting. “I think the important thing is patient screening and close monitoring,” provides Dr. Sportelli. He doesn’t consider it’s sufficient to ship an alcoholic house with a bottle of tablets.

Both docs agree that for some sufferers, this remedy may also help. And Dr. Stork provides, “I always say, the more options the better! Just be sure that the option you’re using is right for you.”

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