Alcohol-related prescriptions are on the incline. Medications such as Antabuse or Campral, which are substances which can aid an alcoholic on the road to recovery.

Antabuse is a substance that is designed to be used as a preventative measure for those suffering with alcohol addiction. It works by making the person violently sick when they ingest alcohol. This is by no means a cure for alcoholism – if a person is still in the throes of their addiction they will either choose not to take the medication, or will drink in spite of the negative consequences. That being said, for those who have already undertaken a programme and entered recovery, Antabuse represents a “safety net” which can provide additional peace of mind during those early stages of recovery.

Campral is an anti-craving medication. It works by stabilising the chemicals in the brain that cause alcohol cravings. This is certainly very helpful to an alcoholic in early recovery, as it can take the edge off of something that would otherwise be unbearable. However, Capral will do little for those who have not addressed the psychological side of the addiction through rehab, therapy or meetings – effectively they will become a dry drunk; someone who does not drink but still exhibits all the behaviours of an alcoholic. This usually results in relapse and continued drinking.

The figures show that in 2003 102,741 prescriptions were given for medication which had increased to 178,247 in 2012. These figures can be viewed two ways; either the prevalence of alcohol addiction is on the increase, or alternatively more and more people are seeking help for their addiction. Either way, it shows that the Government needs to continue providing this support to those who need it. Alcoholism is a disease of the body and mind, and it is important that it is viewed in this way.

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