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Medication to Stop Drinking

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 1

For people with a drinking problem (alcoholics) battling their addictive tendencies has always posed problems. Newer medications to stop drinking have come out in the last several years and decades to help alcoholics in this manner. However, thinking that taking a pill is going to cure you of your alcoholism is probably making the mistake of overgeneralizing. Medication that treats alcoholism and helps people to stop drinking should only be one part of your strategy to stay in recovery.

Medication to Quit Drinking

The fact of the matter is that one of the ways that alcoholics find it difficult to stop drinking is in dealing with cravings. A person can be having a typically normal day when, out of the blue, they are struck with intense cravings to drink alcohol. And these cravings are never to simply have a glass of wine or a beer. No, these are cravings that call to the person to start binge drinking and consume enough alcohol that they are inebriated. For alcoholics, cravings pose a significant risk to one's sobriety.

There are several medications that are used in an off-label manner to treat these cravings. Probably the most common of these are naltrexone and topamax. These drugs have shown to be effective in reducing cravings for alcohol and helping people with a drinking problem to stop drinking. However, they are only one part of the solution. Studies show that these medications are not entirely effective at helping people to quit drinking unless those people are also getting therapy or part of a 12 step fellowship such as Alcoholics Anonymous. And, on this issue, these studies are conducted by members of the psychological care establishment that are going to advise that you see a paid therapist in order to stop drinking. For most people this is a huge waste of money as your addictions therapist will teach you the principles of AA (and other recovery fellowships) that you will be able to get for free at an AA meeting. So, if you want to see a drug counselor then that is it up to you but you are probably going to be paying for something you could get for free. This study does show that people who see drug counselors have more success when it comes to treating alcoholism.

However, the main point of this article is that medications to quit drinking do not cure people of alcoholism. They do not even cure people of their cravings. What they do do is reduce cravings so long as the person is taking the medication. And they can also diminish (for some people) the elation that they feel when they get drunk, making the whole process less appealing.

The fact of the matter is that quitting drinking requires a multi-prong strategy in order to be successful. There is, nor will there ever, be such a thing as a pill to quit drinking. There will always be some give and take with the mind and alcoholics will always be required to get support from a group like Alcoholics Anonymous or a therapist. Therefore, if you are looking for a medication to stop drinking, I would encourage you to get honest about the drinking problem that you are facing and prepare to take the steps that you need to take in order to take care of yourself properly. These steps include attending an alcohol treatment center (if necessary), going to regular AA meetings, and continuing your maintenance plan that will allow you to maintain your sobriety.

If want more information on medication to stop drinking alcohol, you may be interested in these related Infobarrel Articles:
Want to stop drinking and can't
I need to stop drinking alcohol
Learn How to Give Up Drinking



Jun 4, 2010 11:28pm
Topamax and Revia can be a great part of your overall recovery plan. Skipping therapy for AA though is not a good idea. Not all therapists will teach 12 step principles, in fact, if they are good at what they are doing they will engage in actual therapy. This is not to say that support groups aren't helpful though.
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