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Posts Tagged ‘sobriety’

Reuters (10/26, Pittman) reports that according to a meta analysis of 64 studies published in the journal Addiction, the medications naltrexone (Revia) and acamprosate (Campral) may be good initial treatments of alcoholism. Both acamprosate and naltrexone tended to work better when patients had abstained from alcohol for at least a few days before starting the medications, or had been through a detox program.  Acamprosate is known to calm brain activity, so it can stabilize a brain that gets agitated when an alcoholic stops drinking. Naltrexone,  works on the brain’s reward and reinforcement system, so if people were to drink while on the drug, it would block some of the positive feelings produced by alcohol and keep them from overdoing it.

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HealthDay (10/24, Pallarito) reported that new research suggests that people with alcoholism who also smoke may have more success recovering from alcohol dependency if they tackle both addictions simultaneously. “A study of alcoholics in treatment for their alcohol problems used brain scans to examine how performance on cognitive tests changes with abstinence from alcohol. Twenty-five alcoholics stopped drinking for six to nine months, but the 12 who smoked continued to smoke.” Dieter J. Meyerhoff, a professor of radiology at the University of California-San Francisco and study author, said, “We found that the smoking alcoholics over six to nine months of abstinence did not recover certain types of brain function as the non-smoking alcoholics did.” He added that “decision-making skills, thinking speed, 3-D visualization and short-term memory were affected, calling into question the prospects of long-term sobriety.” The findings appear in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

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