A new drug for fighting alcohol addiction is finding support in England thanks to positive results shown thus far in Scotland. New sources say the drug, known as Nalmefene, is a once-a-day pill that recovering alcohol abusers and alcoholics can take in conjunction with psychotherapeutic treatments.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) stated in its official guidance that Nalmefene could be used to treat as many as 600,000 people suffering from various levels of alcohol abuse and dependence. The organisation believes that offering it as an NHS option would cost approximately £600 million annually. One NICE representative told The Independent that the drug would be helpful to many who have already undertaken a first step toward recovery by enrolling in psychotherapy through a GP.

Initial tests of Nalmefene in Scotland showed very promising results. Among men who drank an average of eight units of alcohol per day and women who drank an average of six, the drug helped them reduce their consumption by half at the six-month mark. Each of the subjects was also undergoing psychotherapeutic treatments at the same time. Those treatments are the key to Nalmefene’s success.

What It Does

Nalmefene proponents say the drug works to help reduce alcohol dependence by inhibiting the brain’s natural response to drinking, thus minimising the pleasurable effects of alcohol. This effectively reduces cravings and, as a result, makes reducing total alcohol consumption easier. However, without proper psychotherapeutic treatment to go along with the drug, the lessened feelings of pleasure could actually increase the level of drinking.

This paradox is the reason behind some of the criticisms of Nalmefene. Those not in favour of the NHS offering the drug as an option believe the money could be better spent in other ways. Increased funding of alcohol counselling services is but one suggestion. Improving existing programmes is another.

Recognising the Need

For anyone to be helped, the need must first be recognised. The fact that Nalmefene would only be available by way of prescription would require the individual to first admit the possibility of a problem requiring help. Recognising the signs of potential alcohol abuse and addiction is the key. Here are some of the most common signs and symptoms:

  • drinking as the first and last activities of the day
  • worrying about having enough alcohol in the house
  • being willing to go to great lengths to secure alcohol
  • thinking about alcohol even when doing other things
  • being secretive about drinking habits
  • becoming defensive when others show concern
  • hiding alcohol around the house
  • gradually increasing the amount consumed. 

The existence of any of these signs or symptoms indicates at least the start of an alcohol abuse problem. Individuals exhibiting multiple symptoms simultaneously may already be dependent on alcohol. If you recognise the symptoms in your own life, you may want to consider undergoing a professional evaluation.

If you are concerned that you may have a problem with alcohol, there is no need for you to wait to see your GP. You can contact us here at Addiction Helper for a free and confidential assessment. Our trained counsellors can spend the time necessary to help you figure out where you are with alcohol. They can also help you locate and access an appropriate treatment facility.

Addiction Helper provides free counselling and referral services to those struggling with drugs and alcohol. They work with the best clinics throughout the UK providing bespoke treatment plans at private, residential facilities. Addiction Helper can also advise you regarding free alcohol rehab services from the NHS.

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