Preventing health consequences of alcoholism

Does the ability to drink without consequence aid or harm the alcoholic?

minute read

“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?

About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.


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  1. I absolutely agree with those who already posted comments. I think that drugs like this would merely induce a “dry drunk.” I have seen suboxone work in the lives of a few addicts that I have come in contact with. I believe this drug is meant to be taken for a short period which is not conducive to the goals of the pharmaceutical companies.
    With that being said, I have to play devil’s advocate. Whenever I came into recovery the only thing that was promised is that I could maintain abstinence from drugs for that day. All of the other benefits that I got came from the program, but those benefits were not what I was looking for. I just wanted to stay clean. I hope people will choose to attend some type of a twelve step program rather than taking another drug to alleviate the symptoms of their true problem.

  2. Change is certainly what life is all about. As an AOA I feel that change is a necessity. Drugs to cure alcoholism is not a requirement, but a recognition of the your life with alcohol and what it can be without it results in an awakening.

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