What Is Antabuse?

What Is Antabuse? | Transcend Recovery Community

Over the many years that experts have researched addiction and recovery, there have been a variety of products developed to help ease the pain of addiction. One of these products is medication known as anti-alcohol drugs. These are prescribed to men and women who want to quit drinking but can’t. With this prescription and when under a physician’s care, some have found that it’s possible to put their drinking to an end.

One such anti-alcohol drug is called Antabuse, developed in 1951. Under the generic name it’s known as Disulfiram. Many have found a certain success with Antabuse because of the way it works. Essentially, the drug makes you sick to your stomach if you have any alcohol. When people know that they are going to get sick when they drink, they are less likely to drink and they are less likely to think about drinking.

In fact, many have found that Antabuse is effective for them. Research has shown that this medication can help reduce cravings and reduce the risk of relapse. One of the reasons people find the drug effective is because of the time it takes before the drug wears off. For instance, if you start taking Antabuse and cravings prompt you to quit in order drink again, the after-effects of Antabuse will make you sick. It takes up to two weeks before the effects of Antabuse wears off. A person will not be able to drink one day, decide to take Antabuse, and then quit to drink again. During that two week interim, a person will get sick whenever he or she drinks. The benefit of this is that there is plenty of time to think through the decisions one makes and get outside help.

Furthermore, when someone is taking Antabuse, it only takes one drink for sickness to come on. With just one bottle of beer, one glass of wine, or one shot of liquor, soon after vomiting will occur. Typically, when someone is on Antabuse and they have a drink, they will at first feel flushing in their face. Next, they will likely have a headache and experience low blood pressure. Next, they might have a racing heart and dizziness, until finally they will feel nauseous and begin to vomit. As you can imagine, experiencing these symptoms are enough to keep someone away from alcohol, even if they are addicted to it.

However, for others, it may not be. If the addiction has grown to be severe, Antabuse may not be the answer. Instead, in order to effectively put an addiction to an end, a person might have to spend time in a residential treatment center, where the environment, trained staff, and detox experience can all add to the momentum of quitting.

Before deciding whether Antabuse will work for you, speak to your doctor. A thorough discussion about the drug as well as other addiction treatment options can lead to making the right choice for you. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcoholism, contact a mental health professional or a physician today.


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