Can Medication Help Curb Alcohol Cravings?

Can Medication Help Curb Alcohol Cravings?

Anyone who has attempted to recover from alcohol dependence or addiction can attest to the lingering cravings that continue for months or even years after alcohol use has ceased. While alcohol cravings and symptoms of withdrawal are most intense right after an individual stops drinking, the task of overcoming a craving never gets any “easier,” no matter how far along an individual is in his or her recovery. However, there are a few medications that can help curb alcohol cravings, including the following:

  • Naltrexone
  • Campral (acamprosate)
  • Topamax (topiramate)
  • Baclofen
  • Chantix (varenicline)
  • Zoran (ondansetron)

During the recovery journey, individuals learn skills to avoid relapse triggers, but only recently has there been a tool designed to curb or eliminate alcohol cravings.

How Do Anti-Craving Medications Work?

Anti-craving medications curb cravings for alcohol in various ways. Some medications act as a blocking agent, preventing users from experiencing any pleasurable sensations from drinking alcohol. Specifically, these medications prevent serotonin and dopamine from attaching to nerve receptors. No matter how much alcohol is consumed, the individual will not be able to experience any pleasurable symptoms, making it pointless to continue drinking.

Other medications reduce alcohol cravings by blocking pleasure areas of the brain but allowing GABA receptors to receive neurotransmitters. This blocks any sensation of pleasure from alcohol, but it allows the individual to experience intoxication and the grueling symptoms of withdrawal. Campral (acamprosate) is one medication that works in this manner. Campral also helps restore normal brain function that has been altered or damaged by long-term alcohol use. If long-term alcohol users can only experience negative symptoms of drinking, they are less tempted to drink since there is nothing good that can come from it.

Lastly, some medications curb alcohol cravings by reducing the painful symptoms of withdrawal, such as seizures, anxiety, depression and insomnia.

Is Anti-Craving Medication Right for My Recovery?

Anti-craving medication is an effective tool for curbing alcohol cravings. It is best suited for individuals wanting to cut back on how much they drink or wanting to quit drinking altogether. Anti-craving medication is also helpful to individuals wanting to end their dependency or addiction to alcohol. When treating addiction, this type of medication should be used in conjunction with other forms of treatment. Alcohol addiction is a complex disease with many components. Curbing alcohol cravings will certainly make the recovery process a little easier, but there are many other addiction issues that must be addressed if a person wishes to stay sober for the long haul. When anti-craving medication is integrated with other alcohol addiction treatment, individuals are able to focus on the other aspects of addiction and recovery. Healing emotionally, making positive life choices and developing skills to avoid relapse are all just as important for addiction recovery as breaking the physical addiction.

Anti-craving medication is not right for everyone. Individuals looking to stop drinking or end alcohol dependency or addiction should talk with recovery professionals about their options for treatment and whether anti-craving medications are right for their recovery.

Treatment Options for Alcohol Dependency

If you are seeking treatment for alcohol dependency or addiction, please call our toll-free number. Our recovery professionals are available around-the-clock to answer questions, explain options and help you in your search for the right treatment and recovery services. Whether you have questions or need helpful guidance and professional information, we are happy to help. If you are ready, we can connect you with the alcohol dependency treatment that can meet your own unique recovery needs.