Quit-Smoking Drug May Curb Alcoholism
Smoking-Cessation Drug Chantix Reduces Drinking in Lab Tests on Alcoholic Rats
Behavioral Therapy for Alcoholism
Bartlett, Heilig, and Moss note that a drug -- be it Chantix or
something else -- isn't likely to be the sole solution to alcoholism.
"We wouldn't want patients to go running to their doctors and say,
"Can I have this drug?" because it may not work unless they have
behavioral therapy as well," says Bartlett, referring to Chantix.
Each person has a different genetic profile, and "some drugs work better
for some people than other drugs," says Bartlett.
Moss puts it this way: "There is no magic bullet yet where we don't need
behavioral modification in addition to medications to help people."
Heilig has some advice for people who suspect they may have a problem with
alcohol: "Educate yourself and then seek treatment because there are
already good treatments to be had."
"I think we need a good mix of very practical, change-oriented and
compliance-oriented behavioral therapies and we need good medications,"
Overcoming Alcoholism's Stigma
"Alcoholism is still more stigmatized than mental illness, and mental
illness is pretty stigmatized," says Bartlett.
Heilig agrees. Alcoholism's stigma is "easing somewhat, but it's still
sufficient to keep a large number of people -- the majority -- out of
treatment," says Heilig.
Heilig says he would tell people dealing with alcohol problems to "try
to see through the stigma and the perception of hopelessness or the perception
that it's a character problem that you have to deal with yourself."
"The addicted brain is altered. It's very difficult, even for a person
with the best of will, to deal with that on their own," says Heilig.
"On the other hand," Heilig adds, "with adequate help, change
can happen and does happen. So that's a message of hope."
- Are you struggling to quit drinking?Find support on WebMD’s Addiction and Substance Abuse
Support Group message board.