I have a drinking problem.
I don’t drink, but people around me do. My Grandfather, on my mother’s side died of DTs during prohibition. I never met him. I have known a fair number of people who were alcoholics, as well as other addicts. I never understood it, I just thought it was lack of willpower. Just don’t do it!
Recently, I read about Naltrexone, which was FDA approved in 1994 for the treatment of alcohol addiction. It works about 80% of the time, at the one year follow up. In this case, the criteria is to have drinking under control, some stop drinking altogether, others drink socially, without getting drunk.
Programs such as AA work about 15% of the time at one year follow up. AA is an abstinence program.
There are 3 drugs approved for the treatment of alcohol addiction:
Anatabuse – makes you sick when you drink alcohol.
Flagyl – makes you sick when you drink alcohol.
Getting sick can by avoided by not taking the drug for the 2 above.
Naltrexone and related drugs - you have to engage in the addiction for it to work. You take the Naltrexone an hour before drinking. it works as an opioid antagonist. In other words, it works on the endorphin system, blocking the pleasurable effect. Using it one hour before drinking, is called extinction. You don’t get the endorphin high from drinking, and you get the behavior under control. It takes 3 to 4 months to have it completely under control.
Most addicts fail in less than a year. The craving is too great. The craving is still there, unless you remove the craving.
I read a book by one of my favorite Science-fiction actors, Claudia Christian. She played Ivanova on Babylon 5. The book is Babylon Confidential: A Memoir of Love, Sex and Addiction. She is now a promoter of the use of Nalterexone and the related drugs. The book she is promoting is The Cure for Alcoholism: the Medically Proven Way to Eliminate Alcohol Addiction by Roy Eskapa.
If you have a drinking problem, I strongly recommend that you read this book. There may be benefit for other addictions as well, as long as it involves the endorphin system. Sorry, it doesn’t work with nicotine, which doesn’t use the endorphin system.
You need a prescription for Naltrexone. Buy the book and take it to your doctor when you visit, to get a prescription. It you already have cirrhosis of the liver, you need one of the other, related drugs such as Nalmefene, which are not metabolized by the liver.
One odd factoid. Danger! Danger! Don’t take Naltexone before engaging in the good addictions, such as jogging or bicycling, which also use the endorphin system. They recommend going a day without Naltrexone, before engaging in healthy addictions.
This is the first real treatment I have seen for alcohol addiction, besides will power. About 15% of people are able to stop by willpower alone. Now there is a drug to help the rest. The patent has expired on Naltrexone, so, don’t expect any American pharmaceutical company to promote it.
Methadone is used for heroin addiction. It is a replacement addiction. I saw it in use when I worked at St. Boniface Hospital in Winnipeg. Apparently, it does work as long as they take it. I wonder if Naltrexone would work for that?
You heard it here.