Alcohol use disorder may not steal as many headlines as opioid use disorder, but the condition is even more deadly. To be clear, any form of addiction requires treatment and a program of recovery; and, in a perfect world, all types of mental illness would receive the attention they deserve. With that in mind, there exists a dire need to develop methods for helping alcoholics abstain from alcohol. While treatment works, and recovery is possible, the risk of relapse is expressly high for multiple reasons; a primary factor being that alcohol is exponentially more pervasive than other addictive substances.
A heroin addict who finds recovery has a pretty good shot at never coming into contact with the substance again provided however that they stay out of environments where the drug is used. Given the legal standing of heroin, it is unlikely in most cases a person will attend a family gathering and see people using the drug; the same cannot be said for alcohol, and whenever a person is close to the substance, cravings are likely to develop. In early recovery, cravings are too much for some people to contend with and a decision might be made to use again.
Beer, wine, and liquor are everywhere! It is challenging to go anywhere, be it a grocery store or a sporting event, and not run into the substance. Unless someone’s program is particularly strong, exposure can trigger cravings and cravings can trigger a relapse. While there are a few medications that individuals can turn to, to keep urges at bay or cause sickness if one drinks, none of the available medicines are ideal. Since abstinence is the goal and relapse rates are notably high, researchers are working tirelessly to find a means of keeping cravings for alcohol to a minimum.
Alcohol Use Disorder Medication
Each year, some 88,000 Americans die of alcohol-related causes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); alcohol’s death toll significantly surpasses that of opioids. A professor from the University of Rhode Island College of Pharmacy is working to find a medication that can help people recover from alcohol abuse, according to a URI press release. With the help of a $1.65 million federal grant, Professor Fatemeh Akhlaghi, the Ernest Mario Distinguished Chair in Pharmaceutics, is testing a Pfizer drug initially developed to treat obesity and diabetes.
The research centers on a drug that targets ghrelin, a peptide that stimulates appetite and food intake, the article reports. Individuals with higher concentrations of ghrelin are found to have more significant cravings and consume more alcohol. A preliminary study, appearing in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, involving 12 patients using a ghrelin-blocking drug to help curb cravings for alcohol shows excellent promise. A larger placebo-controlled clinical trial is underway to determine the drug’s efficacy.
“The drugs that are available to treat alcohol use disorder either came from opioids or other drugs that make you have an aversive effect if you drink, and each of them has only small effects,” Akhlaghi said. “The study with the 12 patients shows potential success, although the results are clearly very preliminary and in need for replication. In the new phase, we are looking at the efficacy of the drug. We cannot say this is a cure; we can say it is a promising therapy.”
Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment
Please contact Celebrate Drug Rehab if you or a loved one has an alcohol use disorder. Addiction recovery is possible! Help is needed. Support is available. Call Today! (800) 708-3173