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:
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.”
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.
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