Online PR News – 17-December-2013 –New York, NY – Reducing the craving for alcohol: “Naltrexone (Revia, Depade) is an oral medication that blocks opioid (painkiller) receptors in the brain,” says Dr. Stuart Kloda. “Alcohol exerts its pleasurable effects, in part, by stimulating opioid receptors.The medication itself helps to reduce cravings for alcohol. In addition, drinking is less pleasurable when someone drinks while taking the medication. This is behaviorally reinforcing in itself.”
Naltrexone is also available as a monthly injection (Vivitrol). “At a minimum, naltrexone can reduce the amount that someone drinks.,” says Dr. Kloda. “At best, it can help someone to stop drinking completely. Naltrexone is very useful as a tool for ‘harm reduction’, with the ultimate goal being complete abstinence. Harm reduction is essentially the idea that drinking less than before (e.g. 3 drinks as opposed to 7 drinks daily) is considered a good thing, an achievement, actual progress. Some patients need to taper down on their drinking before stopping completely; stopping all at once does not work for everyone. When someone reduces their drinking they are more open to and benefit more from addiction counseling and therapy. Motivational interviewing and CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) are two modern psychological treatments for addiction.”
Dealing with anxiety and irritability, without alcohol
Dr. Kloda says that patients who drink, in part, because of anxiety, dysphoria, or irritability (all of which are common) can benefit from medications that work on the GABA system. “Alcohol exerts its calming and sedating effects by stimulating the GABA-A receptor. Medications that work on the GABA system include gabapentin (Neurontin), topamax (Topirmate), baclofen (Lioresal), and acamprosate (Campral).
“If someone is drinking, in part, because of psychological symptoms, those symptoms must be addressed and treated. This gives people the best chance of becoming abstinent. Illnesses such as major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder can be treated with medication and psychotherapy,” says Dr. Kloda.
People become abstinent in different ways
“Some people stop drinking completely on their own without any form of treatment. Others are able to do so by going to self-help groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (12-steps, spiritually based) or SMART Recovery (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy based). It is interesting that they both say many of the same things; one based on spirituality, the other rooted in psychology. Outpatient treatment at a facility for substance abuse is group therapy based on either the 12-steps, CBT, or a combination of both,” says Dr. Kloda.
“One-on-one medication management with addiction counseling, which I offer, is another way that patients can reduce or stop their drinking,” says Dr. Kloda.
Dr. Kloda’s YouTube video discusses the medications used in the medical treatment of alcohol addiction in more detail –
Dr. Stuart Kloda’s New York City medical offices are located at Columbus Circle and Wall Street. For more information visit www.stuartklodamd.com or call (646) 713-6578.