Nearly 88,000 deaths in the U.S. each year are associated with alcohol consumption. Although not all of these deaths involve a person with an alcohol use disorder (AUD), some do, causing heartache and pain for many Americans. A recent study reveals that few people who drink heavily are getting the help they need, which includes prescribed medication to help avoid binge drinking and deal with the effects of alcohol withdrawal.
The Dangers of an Alcohol Use Disorder
Alcohol may be legal for adults, but that does not mean its misuse is not dangerous. In 2012, there were approximately 17 million Americans ages 18 and older that met the criteria for having an alcohol use disorder. This is a medical condition that can impact anyone since alcohol is a highly addictive substance.
In the short term, alcohol misuse can lead to work, relationship and legal troubles. Long-term misuse of alcohol can lead to severe physical consequences such as liver, heart and brain damage. One of the ways to treat an AUD is with medication.
Medications Used to Treat AUD
When a person has an AUD, this requires comprehensive addiction treatment. This might involve options that include behavioral therapy combined with certain prescription aids. Some of the medications used to treat AUD include:
- Disulfiram (Antabuse). This is a drug that will cause a patient unpleasant side effects after consuming alcohol. These include a headache, nausea, sweating, chest pain and vomiting.
- Acamprosate (Campral). This is a drug used to treat the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.
- Naltrexone (Vivitrol). This drug prevents a patient from experiencing the euphoric effects of consuming alcohol.
While these drugs are considered beneficial in treating an AUD, a recent study reveals they are not used with enough regularity.
Study Reveals Gap in Treatment for AUD
A study just released in JAMA shows that, even though there are three medications approved in the U.S. to treat an AUD, most patients are not getting these prescriptions. According to the results of the study, just eight percent of people with an AUD receive treatment in a rehab facility and under nine percent of those are receiving prescriptions for drugs that could help them avoid a recurrence of use.
Researchers note that primary care providers should be taking a larger role in screening their patients for an AUD. This can be accomplished simply with just a few questions. Patients who do need care can then be referred for counseling and given the right prescription medications.
Where Can You Turn for Help With an AUD?
If you are a person struggling with alcohol addiction, you no longer need to fight this battle alone. At The Recovery Village, we offer effective and compassionate treatment for alcohol use disorder that includes medications when appropriate.
Contact The Recovery Village now to discuss your situation with a treatment specialist. They would be happy to discuss your admissions options, answer any questions and help you determine the type of program that will best suit your needs.