Overcoming Cross-addiction While Recovering From Alcohol Addiction
Unintentionally swapping one addiction for another is a fear that many individuals who seek recovery may have. This is primarily due to the increased propensity to get addicted to another substance while trying to quit one.
Alcohol addiction, akin to any addiction, is like a disease of the brain, which has a tendency to associate the euphoria induced by alcohol or substances as good and positive feelings. The brain strongly memorizes such a feeling and tries to recreate it to invoke a similar high.
This very characteristic of the brain worries many individuals that they may develop other compulsions even if they are treated for their respective addictions, e.g. smoking, binge eating, prescription drug addiction, etc.
Moreover, some of the other important reasons behind the increased vulnerability to developing cross-addiction include the habit of self-medication to alleviate symptoms. Therefore, one stands a high risk of developing another addiction, especially after completing recovery treatment, to experience the same euphoric effects as triggered by the addictive substances.
Fortunately, this phenomenon is not new and is taken into account while tailoring treatment approaches or prescribing anti-addiction medications. For individuals suffering from alcohol addiction, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the United States has given a green light to the use of three medications to effectively stop or reduce their drinking and prevent relapse. Some of these are:
· Naltrexone: Besides being used for treating opioid addiction, this opioid antagonist reduces heavy drinking. However, it may not prevent cravings.
· Acamprosate: This medication is administered along with counseling to treat alcohol addiction. It stabilizes the chemical balance within the brain disturbed by withdrawal symptoms, thereby leading to abstinence.
· Disulfiram: This is an alcohol-deterrent medication that prevents alcohol from being metabolized in the body. As a result, it causes unpleasant side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, flushing of the skin upon consumption of alcohol, etc.
Medications that lower risk of cross-addiction
It would be unfair to equate medications for addiction as the source to another form of addiction. They have not been developed to treat pain or have any hallucinogenic compounds that leave any room for encouraging dependence.
Though, the efficacy of anti-addiction medications may vary from person to person they are the best option for overcoming alcohol addiction in most cases. In addition, all medications approved for treating alcohol addiction are non-lethal and non-addictive in nature. They are designed to keep in check the aggravation of a chronic disease, similar to how a person with asthma or diabetes takes medications to manage his or her illness.
When it comes to the treatment of alcohol addiction, a good treatment facility can effectively identify what type of treatment approach would suit the patient best. By considering various factors, such as genes, past alcohol use, medical history, etc., one can successfully forecast how a patient will respond to certain treatments.
In addition, there has been an increased focus on the development of anti-addiction medications that can change and revolutionize the way treatment decisions will be made in the near future. Here are some medications that were designed for other purposes but have been greatly beneficial in holistically treating alcohol addiction:
· Varenicline: Sold under the brand name Chantix, this anti-smoking drug can effectively reduce alcohol consumption and cravings in individuals dependent on alcohol.
· Gabapentin: This medication is administered to treat epilepsy and chronic pain conditions. It can also reduce heavy drinking, increase abstinence, control alcohol cravings, improve mood and sleep, etc.
· Topiramate: An antiepileptic medication that can inhibit heavy drinking, especially among individuals with a certain genetic makeup that dictates the treatment’s efficacy.
Road to sobriety
As such, medications alone do not cure addiction. With the involvement of talk therapy and counseling, a person can successfully learn to identify the cues that trigger drinking tendencies. It is also essential to learn about the different ways to identify the signs of a relapse to stay away from the path of addiction. Therefore, it is recommended that one undergoes early intervention to prevent the aggravation of alcohol use and address the problem.
If you or your loved one has developed alcohol addiction, it is important to seek help. The 24/7 Recovery Helpline assists in accessing the best alcohol abuse rehab centers in the U.S. that specialize in delivering evidence-based intervention plans. Call our 24/7 helpline number 855–441–4405 to know more about treatment options.