Woman picking out wine bottle from liquor cabinet

Campral: Medication for Alcohol Addiction

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Woman picking out wine bottle from liquor cabinetUnlike illegal drugs, the consumption of alcohol is considered socially acceptable, making it difficult for many to understand the dangers involved. Alcohol is served at celebrations and considered a pastime for many. Most people don’t realize it, but alcohol is a highly addictive substance.

Drinking is a serious matter, especially if addiction is involved. You can get hooked on alcohol just as easily as heroin. Furthermore, quitting drinking can result in the kind of deadly withdrawal symptoms we see with opioid withdrawal. Those who have been consuming mass quantities of alcohol and suddenly quit can experience a seizure or stroke, end up in a coma, or die a premature death.

Many try to quit drinking alcohol, but they find the pain of withdrawal is just too difficult to overcome. Here are a few withdrawal symptoms associated with alcohol detoxification:

• Nausea
• Vomiting
• Diarrhea
• Migraine headaches
• Tremors
• Insomnia
• Head-to-toe body aches
• Chills
• Fever
• Extreme craving for more alcohol

You should never try to quit drinking without help. A professional medical detox is recommended for anyone who wants to stop drinking. After you have successfully detoxed, however; you are facing months of extreme cravings unless you take medication prescribed to treat these cravings.

Campral is a great example of a medication that helps with cravings. You can take Campral to increase your chances of navigating the first year of sobriety without a relapse.

What is Campral?

Campral (also known as “acamprosate calcium”) is a relatively new medication. It is prescribed to recovering alcoholics to increase the likelihood of continuous sobriety for the first year of recovery. It was approved by the FDA to treat alcoholism in 2004 and was made available in 2013.

Today’s generation of recovering drinkers may not realize how fortunate they are to have this medication available. In years past, those who committed to sobriety had to “white knuckle it” and endure the first few months of withdrawal without medication assistance.

Cravings for alcohol are the number one reason why recovering drinkers return to the bottle. It takes a long period of time for the brain to adjust to not having alcohol to help it function. Taking Campral helps with this process. While it doesn’t relieve withdrawal symptoms, it does make the process easier because the brain simply doesn’t crave alcohol like it would without it.

How Does Campral Work?

Without getting too technical, let’s just say that Campral works by affecting the release of a neurotransmitter called GABA. GABA is known to quiet excited nerve activity in the brain, which is believed to be associated with alcohol cravings. Over time, alcohol abuse affects the brain’s ability to effectively produce GABA. Campral restores this chemical process and “chills the brain out.”

Campral dosages vary from person to person and are determined by an evaluating doctor. You must have a prescription for Campral to take it. The same dose is taken three times a day every day for a period of three months to one year. Someone cannot start taking this medication unless they first stop drinking. You have to be abstinent from alcohol to take it.

For Campral to Work Effectively, Addiction Treatment is a Requirement

Campral will not work effectively if it is not used in conjunction with alcohol treatment and counseling. Quitting alcohol isn’t just as simple as quitting alcohol. We wish it were that simple. But, navigating sobriety is about learning coping skills, managing triggers, finding new ways to have fun, and addressing the underlying issues of the addiction. This happens with addiction rehabilitation.

Those struggling with an addiction to alcohol should check themselves into inpatient rehab or go to an Intensive Outpatient Program. Alcoholics Anonymous is also recommended for social support.

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