Symptoms of alcoholism may affect its treatment with medication, finds study

Posted on March 19th, 2018 in alcoholism

Symptoms of alcoholism may affect its treatment with medication, finds study

Alcoholism can affect anybody, irrespective of his or her race and economic status. Be it an adolescent, an adult or an elderly, addiction to alcohol can lead to a disaster on anyone’s life. Now, a new research conducted at the Oregon State University (OSU) has found another dark side of this illness. The study has revealed that the existing symptoms of alcohol use disorder (AUD) make it difficult for individuals to continue taking naltrexone, a prescription drug to treat the disorder. This, in turn, might delay the treatment for the condition. The study findings were published recently in the journal Annals of Behavioral Medicine.

Sarah Dermody, an assistant professor in the School of Psychological Science in OSU’s College of Liberal Arts, said that the study findings would help researchers understand the ways in which the effectiveness of medication can be improved by getting involved with the concerned patients. Dermody’s focus was on studying the dangerous behaviors that one indulges in, including alcohol and nicotine use, with an aim of developing a better understanding about the factors that lead to such behaviors and the ways in which one can deal with them.

For the study, the researchers chose a sample of 58 individuals who had been prescribed naltrexone for a duration of eight weeks. The aim was either to diminish or halt their drinking. Along with this, the study also tried to analyze the role of mobile health (m-health) intervention to assist people follow the medication. The previous day’s use of alcohol, its cravings and side effects experienced by patients after using naltrexone were collected through text messages. On analyzing the entire data, following are some important findings by the researchers:

  • Faithfulness to the drug decreased with time. This drop was recorded from approximately eight in 10 patients at week one to nearly four in 10 participants by week eight
  • On the completion of daily text message assessments, the chances of patients’ taking medications increased by almost twice as compared to the days when they were still completing the assessments
  • It was also possible for researchers to predict the patients who would continue following the treatment
  • Factors like an underlying disease affected a patient’s adherence to the medication
  • Heavy drinking days, weekends and strong craving days were found to have lesser chances of the patients taking medications.

Further research needed to address symptoms

Dermody said that there is a need to conduct further research to understand and identify the ways in which the symptoms that affect a patient’s adherence to medication can be best addressed. Experts also believe that there is an urgent need to improve adherence to medication after an individual drinks heavily or craves for more alcohol. Emphasizing on the need to maintain a daily contact with patients, she said, “We found that some sort of daily contact with the patient is important. It does not have to be human to human. It could be a mobile phone app that tracks a patient’s symptoms and tailors feedback to their needs.”

Dealing with alcohol use disorder

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), over 15 million people aged 12 or older had an AUD in 2016. However, only a few of them seek treatment for their condition. The common treatment for alcoholism includes detoxification, medication, or a combination of both. It is important that one follows the treatment plan as well as take prescribed medications to achieve their goal of sobriety.

In you are looking for details about one of the best alcohol addiction treatment centers in Arizona, the Alcohol Addiction Treatment Arizona can help. Call at our 24/7 alcohol addiction helpline number 866-671-1510 or chat online with one of our experts to know the details about the finest treatment facilities in Arizona.

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