Health Smart

Alcoholism Breakthrough? The Pill That Could Curb Cravings

LOS ANGELES (KTLA) — Alcohol is everywhere, but local doctors warn that recent statistics are nothing to ‘cheers’ about.

In the past ten years, it’s estimated more than 200,000 people have died in alcohol-related accidents

And in 2012 alone, alcoholic liver diseases killed more than 15,000 people.

Now, doctors say that a pill could help curb that craving to drink.

“When I started with alcohol or beer, I was the guy who would start Thursday night and would finish Sunday feeling awful,” says “Eric.”

Like most alcoholics, Eric admits there is nothing happy about happy hour when your body becomes physically addicted to booze.

“I think what people don’t understand is that somehow people think that you are having a good time when you have an addiction problem,” he says.

“That somehow this person is partying — and what you are trying to do when your body is dependent on alcohol is just feel normal and it’s almost impossible to maintain.”

For many who hit the bottle too hard, life becomes chaos — jobs are lost and loved ones leave.

The Agoura Hills man had been on the wagon before, but like the 90 percent of alcoholics who relapse, he just couldn’t stay there.

“It had gotten so bad for me that I was either asking God to help me or take me,” Eric says.

Hope came inside another kind of bottle — a prescription bottle.

Founder of Inspire Malibu, Dr. Mohammad, says there may not be a magic pill to cure alcoholism, but there are non-habit forming drugs that can help curb the craving to consume.

“Antabuse was the first to be FDA approved. If you are taking this white pill and order something on tap — the person will get really sick,” says Dr. Mohammad.

Naltrexone is a tablet that blocks the “high” people get from sucking down spirits, while Vivitrol injections do the same.

And something called Campral is the most recently approved medication. It restores the chemical balance in the brain after chronic alcohol abuse.

“I would recommend people suffering from alcoholism — not only that but are relapsing,  they are struggling with sobriety — these are the patients I would recommend they take some kind of medication,” Dr. Mohammad says.

Alcoholism is considered a life-long disease, but with eight months of sobriety at Eric’s back, he can finally see the light.

“Seek help. There is plenty of help out there, and if you do it the right way you can find joy like you never knew,” Eric says.

Addiction specialists like Dr. Mohammad insist that therapy and environmental changes, plus family and friend support, are also integral parts of treating alcohol addiction.

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