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Meanwhile, please look at the general addiction resources.
The FDA has approved 3 medications for the treatment of alcohol abuse and/or dependence.
• Antabuse® (disulfiram) does not reduce cravings, but can be helpful for some persons. Disulfiram blocks one of the main mechanisms in your liver that breaks down alcohol, causing severe nausea and often vomiting in someone who consumes alcohol after taking disulfiram. The benefit is that one only needs to decide once a day not to drink; after you take the disulfiram, you can’t drink for the next day or so without becoming violently ill. Disulfiram is the oldest of these medications.
• Campral® (acamprosate) is a medication that helps some people to have fewer cravings, as demonstrated in some clinical trials.
• Vivitrol® (naltrexone) is an injectable medication. One gets the injection monthly from one’s health care provider, and in studies it has been shown to reduce frequency of binge drinking and amount consumed during binges.
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is the first and largest of the 12-step support groups. Founded in 1935, AA is an organization of recovering alcoholics helping other people to recover. More information can be found on their website, aa.org , including times & locations of meeting in your area.
A number of offshoots of AA have developed over the years, targeted at specific groups of persons affected by the disease of alcoholism. Al-Anon is an organization for family & friends of alcoholics who have also been affected; Alateen is intended for teenage family members and specifically addresses challenges faced by adolescents.
AA emphasizes a spiritual component to the recovery process as they understand it, though they are not affiliated with any particular religious denomination or creed. Different AA chapters and regular meetings vary in their particular understanding of the spiritual component, as well as their attitude towards the use of psychiatric medications. If you are considering AA and you are not happy with the first meetings you attend, you may benefit from asking about the specific philosophies and cultures of the specific meetings in your area.
At least two other programs exist that are explicitly secular, but are based on principles from the 12-step model, sometimes incorporating CBT techniques. These may be a better fit for individuals who are not satisfied with AA and affiliated groups. These secular 12-step organizations are Smart Recovery and Rational Recovery.