Our outpatient alcohol treatment Florida program could soon benefit from the use of the drug Gabapentin, a generic pharmaceutical used to treat chronic pain and epilepsy. A double blind clinical trial conducted by researchers at The Scripps Research Institute has found that Gabapentin effectively reduces alcohol consumption in people who are quitting drinking. The drug also has benefits for improving sleep quality and mood in people giving up alcohol.
Depression, Insomnia, Cravings Huge for People in Outpatient Alcohol Treatment Florida Offers
Cravings, depressed mood and insomnia are some of the biggest problems clients face in outpatient alcohol treatment Florida has to offer. Gabapentin is a safe and well-tolerated drug that could help relieve all of these symptoms for people in alcohol treatment. Of the 8.5 million Americans who struggle with alcoholism, few receive any sort of pharmaceutical treatment for it. While there are FDA-approved pharmaceutical treatments for alcoholism, these drugs have serious limitations. Gabapentin could fill the gap for many people struggling to give up alcohol.
In the study, which was authored by Barbara J. Mason and appeared in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine on November 4, 2013, 150 alcoholics who had just given up drinking were treatment with either 900mg of gabapentin, 1,800 mg of gabapentin, or a placebo. Researchers found that, over a 12-week period, participants who received the highest dose of gabapentin refrained from heavy alcohol consumption twice as often as participants who received the placebo. They refrained from drinking at all four times as often as those who took the placebo.
In addition to reporting drinking fewer drinks overall, the participants who took the highest dose of gabapentin also reported significantly fewer alcohol cravings, insomnia and depression. They did not report any significant side effects.
Study participants who received the lower dose of Gabapentin also reported reduced alcohol consumption and cravings along with improved sleep quality and improved mood. Researchers say this stands as proof that the gabapentin did work as intended.
Gabapentin works by restoring normal levels of the neurotransmitter GABA in the amygdala, the part of the brain associated with emotion, anxiety and stress. A similar study has found that gabapentin may also work to reduce marijuana abuse in patients who are dependent on that drug.
Pharmaceuticals Already Have a Place in Alcohol Treatment
Pharmaceutical drugs for use in programs for outpatient alcohol treatment Florida has to offer have been around for years. Disulfiram, or Antabuse, discourages people from drinking by causing nausea and other unpleasant experiences if alcohol is consumed. Naltrexone, marketed under the brand names ReVia and Vivitrol, blocks the opioid receptors in the brain, which are the ones associated with feelings of reward and pleasure. If you use naltrexone while you’re in our program for outpatient alcohol treatment in Florida, you won’t feel any of alcohol’s customary pleasurable effects.
The idea behind these pharmaceuticals is to disrupt the pleasure-seeking process that motivates alcohol abuse and dependence. While they may be effective to help you stop drinking, they won’t do much good to ease the depression, anxiety, insomnia and other symptoms that can accompany alcohol withdrawals. These older drugs are also unpleasant to use by their very nature, which is why many people in our outpatient alcohol treatment Florida program fail to use them properly or at all.
Another drug approved for alcoholism, Acamprosate (also known as Campral), works in a way similar to that of Gabapentin to stabilize brain chemistry after acute alcohol withdrawals have passed. The results of the Scripps study indicate that Gabapentin may be for effective for people going through our program for outpatient alcohol treatment in Florida, especially when it comes improved mood and sleep quality. Acamprosate does not have any effect on insomnia or depressed mood.
The development of more effective pharmacological treatments for alcoholism may help many more people give up drinking and turn their lives around.
If you, or someone you care about, is addicted to alcohol, call our program for outpatient alcohol treatment in Florida today at 888-699-5679 to learn more about our treatment programs and what we can do to help you.