If you have a problem with alcohol, you’re not alone. According to a study published by Newsweek, a weekly news magazine and website that has been delivering high-quality journalism to readers worldwide for more than 80 years, 30 percent of Americans have admitted to having an alcohol use disorder in their lifetime. Also, 1 in 7 American adults admitted to having a severe problem with alcohol within the last year alone, the study further revealed. And the sobering statistics do not end there. Another study published by the National Institutes of Health shows that alcohol overdose is responsible for more than 29,000 hospital emergency room visits every year in America.
It is also worth noting that alcohol abuse can impact many communities financially. To further put this into context, the same study published by the National Institutes of Health noted that the cost associated with hospitalization stemming from alcohol use disorders is roughly $1.3 billion each year. Given these statistics, it is reasonably safe to say that alcohol abuse is a severe problem for many individuals. Fortunately, many of the people who have a problem with alcohol have decided to seek treatment at one of the more than 14,000 rehab facilities in the United States.
What You Should Know About Alcohol Detox
If you have decided to seek help with overcoming alcohol addiction, you should know that the journey toward sobriety is not an easy one. After all, alcohol cessation is known to trigger an onslaught of unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. And in many cases, these withdrawal symptoms are severe enough to drive individuals to start drinking again. That said, some of the more common withdrawal symptoms synonymous with alcohol cessation, according to a study published by Harvard Health Publishing, the publishing arm of Harvard Medical School, include the following:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Profuse sweating
While we are on the topic of alcohol withdrawal symptoms, it is worth noting that a small percentage of individuals who choose to stop drinking will also experience what is known as delirium tremens as they go through detox. For those who are not familiar with delirium tremens, it is a severe withdrawal symptom that causes changes in breathing, body temperature, rapid heartbeat, and blood pressure. Delirium tremens can start within 2 to 3 days after an individual has consumed their last alcoholic beverage and can be life-threatening if left untreated.
Because the withdrawal symptoms associated with alcohol cessation are so severe, it is not uncommon for many individuals to forgo their pursuit of sobriety and start drinking again. To further put this into context, we need only take a look at a study published by U.S. News and World Report. According to the 2017-study, roughly 40 to 60 percent of individuals who have undergone substance abuse treatments in hopes of quitting alcohol relapse within one year. It should also be made clear that recovering from alcohol addiction is an ongoing process as some people have been known to start drinking years after going through and completing rehab. And Hollywood actor Philip Seymour Hoffman is a prime example of that fact. The same article published by U.S. News and World Report noted that the award-winning actor died from overdosing on drugs and alcohol after being sober for over 23 years. So while a licensed rehab facility can help individuals get started on their journey to sobriety, those who are seeking treatment must also have a strong and unyielding desire to remain alcohol-free long-term.
How Prescription Medication Can Help Ease Severe Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
The physicians and addiction experts that work in the more than 14,000 rehab facilities across America are fully aware of the challenges that come with going through alcohol detox, particularly when it comes to withdrawal symptoms. As such, many of them will offer medication-assisted detox to ensure individuals have the best chance at achieving both short and long-term sobriety. While there are plenty of prescription-based medications that can help in this regard, many of the physicians at these rehab facilities will prescribe Campral, also known as acamprosate, to the patients in their care.
How Does Campral Help Ease Severe Withdrawal Symptoms?
For those who are not as familiar with Campral, it is a prescription-based medication that is administered orally and works by helping chemicals in the brain, also known as neurotransmitters, return to a balanced and healthy state. Of course, this only tells half the story as there is much more to this medication. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in restoring the balance of chemicals in the brain, Campral allows the body to function without the use of alcohol. As a result, individuals who take the medication as prescribed will notice significant relief from their alcohol withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, cravings, and even pain. Along with Campral, Antabuse and Naltrexone are also FDA-approved to treat severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms. However, unlike these medications, Campral is broken down in an individual’s digestive tract rather than their liver, which makes it ideal for those who have developed cirrhosis of the liver due to their long-term struggles with alcoholism.
How To Get The Most Out Of Taking Acamprosate
As with any prescription-based medication, to get the best results from taking acamprosate to ease severe withdrawal symptoms, it must be taken as prescribed by a licensed physician. Furthermore, doing so will lower your risk of developing many of the side effects commonly associated with taking the medication, some of which include the following:
- Reduced urination
- Nausea and vomiting
- Vision and hearing problems
- Fainting spells
- Muscle weakness
- Irregular heartbeat
Additional Side Effects Associated With Taking Acamprosate
For women who are pregnant and have a problem with alcohol, seeking treatment at a licensed rehab facility will benefit you and your unborn baby. However, medication-assisted detox involving the use of acamprosate is generally not recommended. Several animal studies have shown that taking acamprosate while pregnant may adversely affect fetal development. Also, women who are nursing should avoid taking acamprosate as the medication could potentially be passed on to their baby via breast milk.
Of course, this list does not encompass all of the side effects associated with not taking acamprosate as prescribed; however, those listed in this article are among the most common, according to many physicians working at rehab facilities throughout America. That said, let’s take a moment to go over how to take Campral and its generic equivalent, acamprosate, safely.
Taking Acamprosate Safely
According to most physicians, individuals should not take Campral or acamprosate until after they have gone through detox. To ease withdrawal symptoms during detox, most physicians will prescribe Antabuse or Naltrexone. That aside, individuals taking Campral or acamprosate are usually advised by their physician to take the medication three times per day. In some cases, a physician may recommend taking acamprosate or Campral along with Antabuse or Naltrexone as the combination can further improve their chances of achieving short and long-term sobriety. It is worth noting that all of these medications can be taken on an empty stomach; however, most physicians will recommend taking them with meals to help lower the risk of stomach upset. On average, most individuals will remain on acamprosate or Campral for at least one year.
What To Expect While Taking Acamprosate
When taken as prescribed, acamprosate and Campral are both effective when it comes to helping individuals overcome alcohol addiction. While taking these medications, especially when combined with Antabuse or Naltrexone, many individuals have reported the following after taking either one of these medications for only a short time:
- A decline in severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms
- Fewer alcohol cravings
- An overall happier mood
In summary, if you’re ready to put alcoholism behind you for good, acamprosate should play a role in your addiction recovery. Fortunately, many of the physicians working in rehab facilities throughout America will prescribe this medication to improve an individual’s chances of moving past their addiction and finally getting their life back on track.