An essential component of our evidence based Pennsylvania
Model of Recovery is the utilization of safe, approved and effective medications
that have been shown to effectively improve treatment results.
Medications utilized by Assisted Recovery are not "cures"
in themselves but they do level the playing field so to speak.
Currently the anti-alcohol medications recommended by Assisted Recovery include:
naltrexone,(ReVia(r), Vivitrol(r), Campral®,
ondansetron (Zofran ®) and Topamax®. These medications are available only by
a prescription from a licensed physician.
I can tell you is, the medications make a huge difference. In fact, I rarely
even think about drinking.” -ARCA Client
One of the primary investigators of medication assisted treatment
for alcohol dependence is Joseph Volpicelli, MD, PhD, associate professor
of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania.
Assisted Recovery Centers of America in Phoenix, AZ, has worked
with Dr. Volpicelli to create the treatment protocols what have become known
as the Pennsylvania Model of Recovery Protocols.)
He explains that one of the reasons humans like to drink is for the endorphin
"high" that alcohol causes. "When you drink, your brain releases
these morphine-like compounds called endorphins," he says. "These...
create the need to have another drink and cause the pleasurable effects of
“Management of craving is a new approach to the treatment of addiction,
and naltrexone is the best example we have of an anti-craving medication.”
- Dr. Alex Stalcup MD
Opiate antagonists, such as naltrexone, bind to the endorphin
receptors in the brain -- the same parts that are stimulated by endorphins
-- but do not activate them, Dr. Volpicelli explains. As a result, cravings
are reduced, and if the alcoholic drinks, the sense of "high" is
greatly reduced -- in some patients, by half.
"When an alcoholic is taking naltrexone, if he doesn't
drink, he doesn't feel anything," says Dr. Volpicelli. "But if he
does drink, it tastes different in a way he can't describe; it just doesn't
hit the spot anymore. He will start sipping the drink and will do something
he has never done before: leave the drink on the bar half-empty."
Notably, the idea of treating the symptoms of alcoholism goes
against the grain of the Alcoholics Anonymous fellowship. For the more then
two million AA members worldwide, there is no such thing as a cure, but an
ongoing, lifetime effort to stay sober and to help other alcoholics get sober.
In general, the use of naltrexone or other pharmacotherapy treatments is frowned
upon in the 12-step AA ethos, which views alcoholism as a spiritual disease
requiring the strength for sobriety to come from a "higher power".
Pharmacotherapies Treat Alcohol Addiction
Rx.com Magazine, 2000
here for the full article
Overcoming the enormous hurdle of alcohol addiction usually means a period
of white-knuckled craving during which the goal is simple, though not easy:
to make it moment-to-moment without a drink. Of the one million Americans
treated each year for alcoholism, almost 50 percent start drinking again in
the first few months of sobriety. But naltrexone, among a class of medications
called opiate antagonists, appears to offer hope to alcoholics and has garnered
the attention of the medical community. When compared with a placebo in clinical
trials, naltrexone consistently reduced the rate of relapse to heavy drinking
as well as the frequency of drinking. Opiate antagonists have been used for
more than 20 years to help people kick addictions to drugs such as heroin
and morphine. Researchers express excitement about the potential of these
medications to treat alcohol addiction as well.
Contact Assisted Recovery today at
(602) 264-7897 or toll free (800) 527-5344