Three oral medications—disulfiram (Antabuse), naltrexone (Depade, Re Via), and acamprosate (Campral)—are currently approved to treat alcohol dependence.
In addition, an injectable, long-acting form of naltrexone (Vivitrol) is available.
When drinking is associated with problematic behavior caused by significant intoxication and/or withdrawal symptoms (nausea, vomiting, agitation, insomnia, seizures, and/or hand tremors), detoxification may be required to start the process of treatment.
Detoxification is done in a controlled, supervised setting in which medications relieve symptoms. Examination for other medical problems (such as liver and blood-clotting) is necessary.
These medications have been shown to help people with dependence reduce their drinking, avoid relapse to heavy drinking, and achieve and maintain abstinence.
Naltrexone acts to reduce the craving for alcohol in those who have stopped drinking.
It is important for individuals who may have Alcohol Use Disorder to consult a doctor or other health-care provider, to be honest and forthcoming to determine if they have a drinking problem and, if so, to collaborate on the best course of action.
While the specific cause of Alcohol Use Disorder is unknown, there are environmental and genetic links.
Alcohol is commonly used to celebrate, relax, or socialize with others.
When someone drinks in excess, however, or drinks as a way to cope with stressors or avoid problems, it can create physical and psychological risks.