One of the defining characteristics of alcohol use disorder (AUD), commonly referred to alcoholism, is having an often-insatiable urge to consume alcohol despite the negative consequences being intoxicated causes. Persistent cravings to drink are one of the single largest barriers standing between active drinking and recovery from AUD. Acamprosate, sold commercially as Campral in pharmaceutical markets outside of the U.S., is a medication said to reduce, and in certain cases eliminate, cravings to drink. This effect occurs for about 10 percent of patients. Doctors from the Hazelden Betty Ford Clinic and Mayo Clinic recently began a study to identify “biomarkers” to predict which patients with AUD would receive the benefits of the acamprosate. Doctors would then be able to prescribe the medication to patients who have the best chances of having a positive response.
Keeping AUD in Perspective
Even with the dramatic surges in opiate addiction and subsequent deaths during the opioid epidemic, there are still more people in the U.S. with alcohol addiction than there are those with opiate addictions. With an estimated 8.1 million Americans with alcohol use disorder, even a ten percent success rate could help thousands recover. “Ten percent is a big number when you look at all the people in this country who have AUD,” said Marvin Seppala M.D., Hazelden Betty Ford’s chief medical officer in a recent interview with Minnesota news site MinnPost. “We’re aiming to identify exactly who can be helped by this medication. Once we find that out, the doors will open for so many more people.”
Medication assisted treatment is a touchy subject in certain sects of the recovery world, especially with prevalence of 12-step, abstinence-based recovery in alcohol and drug treatment facilities. But creating increasingly personalized approaches to treating substance use disorder is becoming common practice. If you have trouble controlling your drinking and experience intense cravings during times you are abstinent, there is help. The easiest way to recover from alcohol use disorder is to seek help. TruHealing Gaithersburg’s are a proud member of the Amatus Recovery Centers family. Amatus Recovery Centers, a division of Amatus Health, offers treatment for drug and alcohol addiction as well as co-occurring mental health disorders in facilities across the country. To learn more visit amatusrecoverycenters.com