Pharmaceutical drugs are proving to have multiple purposes. Chemical compositions thought to best treat one disorder are showing promise in treating something completely different.
Gabapentin, a drug created to treat epilepsy, is also showing great help for people battling alcoholism.
Gabapentin for Epilepsy
Epilepsy is brain disorder that causes its sufferers to experience seizures without warning. Gabapentin, also known as the pharmaceutical name Neurontin, works on epilepsy by stabilizing various types of electrical activity in the brain. The drug’s chemicals find nerve cells in a person’s brain and spinal cord and attach themselves to internal calcium channels. Gabapentin’s chemicals then alter the nerve cell to a point where the same high level of activity, and subsequent message sending that often lead to a seizure, is halted.
For people with epilepsy, the message senders throughout the brain and body, called neurotransmitters, believe that seizures are necessary at certain times. With the influence of Gabapentin, the messages are changed, mainly by influencing the neurotransmitter called glutamate. When slowed down, the stimulation of excitement messages are stopped, and seizures do not occur.
The Scripps Research Institute Study
The institute, located in La Jolla, California, has conducted a study on how the mechanism for helping those with epilepsy can also help those with alcoholism. The theory was that, with Gabapentin’s impact on the brain, the slowing of glutamate could also reduce the stimulation of cravings for alcohol.
Three groups of study participants, who all met the criteria for addiction to alcohol, were created: one group taking 900 milligrams of Gabapentin every day, one group taking 1,200 milligrams of Gabapentin every day, and one group taking 0 milligrams of Gabapentin, in the form of a placebo, every day. The study went on for 12 weeks.
Researchers were pleased to find that the study participants who were being given the highest dose, the 1,200 milligrams of Gabapentin each day, were twice as likely to refrain from alcohol use throughout the 12 weeks when compared to the placebo group.
Further, the 1,200 milligram group had a 400% higher rate of complete abstinence from alcohol during the 12 week study when compared to the placebo group. No significant differences were discovered between the participants who were taking 900 milligrams of Gabapentin and the placebo group taking 0 milligrams.
Gabapentin for Alcoholism
The Scripps Research Institute study results show that the integration of Gabapentin in treatment for alcoholism can successfully help those in recovery experience less cravings for alcohol, and can function as a tool in keeping people from going back to alcohol after treatment. With somewhere around 18 million people in the United States abusing alcohol on a regular basis, if a drug like Gabapentin can help those seeking treatment, it can offer great help and support.
Treatment for Alcoholism
When entering a rehab program, an individual is assessed for all presenting symptoms. Often alcoholism coexists with depression or another mental illness, so it is important that all aspects of a person’s situation are identified so treatment can accurately address everything that keeps someone drinking.
Medication management, that can now include Gabapentin for those clients deemed appropriate by a psychiatrist or a medical doctor, paired with therapy and other forms of healing can really help an alcoholic heal.
Clients that enter Balboa Horizons for treatment are viewed as unique individuals who need thorough assessment, careful diagnosis, and personalized care. Each client creates his or her treatment plan with a counselor, catering to personal struggles, needs, and effective therapeutic approaches.
To find out more, contact the treatment team at Balboa Horizons now at 877.309.4593 and stop alcoholism from taking over your life, or the life of someone you love.