Symptoms of alcoholism may affect treatment for alcohol use disorder, finds study

Posted on February 28th, 2018 in alcoholism

Symptoms of alcoholism may affect treatment for alcohol use disorder, finds study

Alcoholism or alcohol use disorder (AUD) can adversely affect the social, personal as well as the professional life of an individual. People who recognize this fact, show courage and opt for treatment. However, symptoms of AUD can, at times, make the treatment difficult. This was corroborated by a recent research, published in the journal Annals of Behavioral Medicine in February 2018. The findings revealed that the existing symptoms of AUD make it difficult for individuals to continue taking naltrexone, a prescription drug used to treat their condition. This, in turn, delayed their recovery.

Lead author, Sarah Dermody, an assistant professor in the School of Psychological Science at the Oregon State University (OSU), said that by getting involved with the concerned patients, the study would help the researchers understand the ways in which the effectiveness of medication can be improved. The study focused on observing the dangerous behaviors of people, such as alcohol and nicotine use, to develop a better understanding of the factors that lead to such behaviors and their treatment.

Data analyzed for patients prescribed naltrexone

The researchers chose a sample of 58 individuals prescribed naltrexone to be taken regularly for a duration of eight weeks. Further, the participants were asked to use a mobile app to track their progress. The aim of the study was two-fold. First to diminish or halt the habit of drinking in the participants and second to analyze the role of mobile health (m-health) intervention in assisting people using the medication. Text messages were used to collect the use of alcohol, its cravings and side effects experienced by patients on the previous day after taking naltrexone.

Observations the researchers came out with on analyzing the data are:

  1. Faithfulness to the drug decreased with time. While eight in 10 patients were taking the drug at week one; only four in 10 patients adhered to the drug by week eight.
  2. On the day when the daily text message assessments were completed, the chances of the patients taking medications doubled compared to the days when they did not send the text messages.
  3. Researchers were able to predict which patients would continue to follow the treatment.
  4. Factors like an underlying disease affected the adherence levels of the patients to the medication.
  5. There were fewer chances of the patients taking their medicines, on days when they drank heavily.

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 adherence to medication can be best addressed. The researchers also believed that there was an urgent need to improve adherence to medication after an individual drank heavily or craved for more alcohol.

Talking about the importance of maintaining daily contact with the patients, Dermody 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 feedbacks to their needs.”

Dealing with alcohol addiction

One must understand that prescribing medications is not enough to help one overcome his/her dependence on alcohol. Following the treatment plan, designed by a professional, is as essential as taking medications and undergoing therapy to achieve their goal of sobriety.

In case there is someone you know who is looking for details about reliable alcohol addiction treatment centers in Arizona, the Arizona Alcohol Addiction Helpline can help. Call our 24/7 alcohol addiction helpline number 866-671-1510 or chat online with one of our experts to know the complete details about comprehensive alcohol addiction treatment in Arizona.

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