Preventing health consequences of alcoholism
“Medically speaking, to reduce the amount of drinking as well as the harm associated with alcoholism is a more realistic goal [than abstinence],” says Ivan Diamond, VP for neuroscience at CV Therapeutics in Palo Alto, California.- Brain Works, Vol. 18, No.5
So says one of today’s neurological leaders who are trying to identify medications that will “help” addicts and alcoholics. These particular medications aim to tackle alcohol addiction in a number of different ways, listed below.
naltrexone = blocks opioid receptors in the brain to eliminate and prevent an alcohol “high”
acamprosate = eases alcohol withdrawal symptoms
disulfuram = triggers nausea if alcohol is consumed
topiramate = reduces heavy drinking days AND increases the number of sober days in study subjects
One proposed method of treating alcoholism is to use medications like topiramate to modulate the dopamine system in order to eliminate recurrence of alcohol use. The only problem that I have with this approach is that drinking still occurs. OK, it’s done without the “high”, but so what? Will this lead to a change in other behaviors? Will such measured and balanced addiction equal spiritual growth, or just homeostasis?
It’s my opinion that an alcoholic or addiction really needs to hit bottom in order to change. If we take away the consequences, the discomfort, the pain of drinking excessively, what is left? To me, the use of drugs like naltrexone and topiramate will propagate blase and passive humans … rather than those who are motivated to change. And isn’t change what life is all about?