Published on March 1st, 2017 | by George B0
A Medicine That Blunts The Buzz Of Alcohol Can Help Drinkers Cut Back
If you drink more alcohol than you want to or should, you’re not alone. A nationwide survey by the National Institutes of Health found that 28 percent of adults in the U.S. are heavy drinkers or drink more than is recommended.
Yet, most heavy drinkers don’t get the help they need.
“The biggest problem we have in the field is that less than 10 percent of individuals with an alcohol use disorder get any treatment whatsoever,” says George Koob, director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
Part of the challenge, researchers say, is that many drinkers don’t realize that a medicine long used to help people addicted to opioids quit their drug habit can help alcoholics and other heavy drinkers cut back, too.
“I thought my only option was AA,” John tells NPR. We’ve agreed to use only his middle name; disclosing his trouble with alcohol publicly, he says, would jeopardize his business.
He’s a 47-year-old professional who says he started out as a social drinker — a few beers with his softball team after a game. But he sank into a deep depression after several deaths in his family, and sought “solace in the bottle,” he says.
“I wanted to numb my thoughts,” says John.
He’d often start with hard liquor in the morning, John says, and it wasn’t uncommon to have eight drinks or more before the end of the day.
He worked from home, so he was able to mask the problem for a while. But eventually his wife confronted him.