Alcoholism is a cunning, baffling and powerful disease, and it’s one of the leading causes of preventable deaths in the world. The problem is that most people who have developed an addiction to alcohol are unable to control their cravings for alcohol, or be able to see how they’ve become dependent to the substance. It’s difficult to face the harsh reality that you react differently to alcohol than the other people in your life.
One of the most common symptoms of an alcoholic is the intense cravings they feel. These cravings for alcohol are different than when someone craves food. While an alcoholic does crave alcohol when they aren’t drinking, they crave more when they aren’t even done with their first drink. From the moment they take their first drink, they’re immediately obsessing about where the next one is coming from. This leads them to try a variety of different methods to control their drinking, which typically fail or don’t last long.
Not long ago, a doctor created a medication called Naltrexone. This medication is used by some treatment facilities to help alcoholics and opiate addicts have reduced cravings. It works by attaching to the receptors in the brain that are usually stimulated by alcohol or opiates. Since these receptors are being occupied, the mind believes that alcohol is being introduced to the system.
The medication wasn’t originally created to help alcoholics recover from addiction though. The original plan was to give this medication to alcoholics to allow them to control their drinking, but the results were not as expected. If the average person takes this medication, they won’t want to drink as much as they normally would when they go out with friends to a bar or a party, but it’s virtually ineffective for anyone suffering from alcoholism.
Anyone who is a true alcoholic is unable to moderate their drinking while taking this medication because the obsession is far too strong. The medication is supposed to be taken an hour or two before drinking, but most alcoholics don’t have that luxury because they often drink when they don’t plan to drink.
The most effective way to reduce your cravings for alcohol is by changing your reactions to different situations, which are also known as “triggers.” This is called cognitive behavioral therapy, which is something that the best rehab centers in the world use on a regular basis. Your mind and body begin craving alcohol when you experience different thoughts, sights, sounds, situations and emotions, so your first reaction is to pick up a drink.
The best way to overcome your cravings for alcohol is to take sobriety one day at a time, and they will eventually begin to disappear. You’ll need to learn that you cannot drink no matter what, and this may seem like a tall order at first, but it will get easier. Tell yourself that you aren’t going to drink for that day, and find something else to do to occupy your time. Whether it’s calling a friend or family member or taking up some type of hobby, your brain will begin to change its initial reaction to the different triggers of everyday life.