Have you ever wondered whether there was a medication that could help you avoid alcohol and achieve your dream of a sober life? One of the newest drugs used to treat alcoholism is acamprosate, which is sold under the brand name Campral. Campral is taken daily as an oral medication to help you control your desire to drink. In order to achieve your long-term recovery goals, you should use Campral in conjunction with counseling, group therapy and other psychosocial rehab services.
What Does Campral Do?
Pharmaceutical researchers still don’t know exactly how Campral works to reduce the craving for alcohol. However, scientists know that Campral can help the brain recover from alcohol abuse by restoring the normal production of the neurotransmitters that affect your sense of contentment and well-being. Long-term alcoholism can result in chemical imbalances that perpetuate alcohol dependency. Campral may help you stay sober by making drinking less desirable and by reducing your craving for alcohol.
Campral doesn’t relieve the symptoms of acute alcohol withdrawal, such as nausea, tremors, fevers or seizures. But the Substance Abuse Treatment Advisory notes that once you’ve been through detox, Campral may reduce the long-term symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, including:
- Sleep problems
When you use Campral as part of your rehab program, you may find that it’s easier to stay sober and start building a healthy, stable life. Having the support of a therapist, a recovery group, and a network of family and friends is crucial to your success.
How Effective Is Campral?
Campral was approved for use by the FDA in 2004 after clinical studies confirmed that it could be an effective therapy for alcohol dependency. Campral is not recommended for alcoholics who haven’t stopped drinking or who haven’t been through the detox process. The medication is most likely to work for people who have already stopped drinking and who are committed to a recovery program.
A review of studies published in the Annals of Pharmacotherapy indicated that people who took acamprosate had higher rates of abstinence after alcohol withdrawal than people who didn’t take the medication. The drug was first used successfully in Europe before being used in the United States. Today, Campral is often prescribed with naltrexone, another anti-addiction medication, to increase your chances of remaining sober.
Campral is only effective if you take it as prescribed. If you frequently miss doses or don’t participate in counseling while you’re taking the medication, you’re much more likely to give in to the urge to drink. If you have the drive to stay sober and you’re willing to do whatever it takes to get healthy, Campral can be a powerful part of your treatment plan.
Is Campral Addictive?
If you have a history of alcohol or drug abuse, you are probably concerned about the addictive potential of any medication you take. Unlike some of the medications used in alcohol recovery, like the sedatives Ativan or Valium, Campral is not habit-forming. Its potential for abuse is considered to be very low, making it a generally safe addition to an addiction recovery program.
Tips for Taking Campral
How can you maximize the effectiveness of Campral? Here are a few suggestions for including acamprosate in your sobriety maintenance plan:
- Enroll in a professional detox and rehab program, where you can benefit from a full range of recovery services.
- Work with an experienced addiction therapist who supports your use of medication as part of your recovery program.
- Join at least one self-help recovery group, such as Alcoholics Anonymous.
- Get to know the side effects of Campral (diarrhea, upset stomach, dizziness, insomnia, skin irritation, etc.) and report any unusual effects to your doctor.
- Use calendars, scheduling programs or alarm clocks to help you remember to take your medication as prescribed.
- Commit yourself to Campral therapy by making your medication a regular part of your daily routine.
Relying on medication alone to stay sober is a dangerous approach to recovery. Acamprosate doesn’t “cure” alcoholism; the drug simply makes it easier for you to avoid a relapse. Psychosocial sources of support, such as 12-step meetings or individual therapy sessions, are just as important, if not more so, in your efforts to create a sober life.
The personalized rehab programs here at Axis offer a supportive, secure environment where you can build a strong foundation for your recovery. Our residential treatment center near Palm Springs, California is the perfect setting to begin the healing process. To find out how you can incorporate Campral and other recovery tools into your rehab plan, call our experienced intake counselors at any time.