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Antabuse is a drug that was first utilized over sixty years ago when the challenge of alcoholism became a major issue. As a result, it was utilized to assist persons suffering from persistent addiction in reducing their alcohol use. Antabuse has been demonstrated to generate better effects when used with other therapies such as counseling, psychotherapy, and behavior modification (Nora, 2014). Using these support services in addition to Antabuse allows a person to not only physically stop drinking but also to realize the benefits of not drinking. In addition, the individuals are able to reconsider and think of creative activities they can engage in as an alternative to drinking. Supervision of patients using Antabuse as well as counseling have shown to play a really great role in the recovery of individuals from chronic addiction (Judson et al, 2012).
Examples of medications that are used to treat alcoholic addiction include naltrexone commonly called Revia and acamprosate which is also known as Campral. All these medications are aimed at either terminating or reducing the effects that are caused by addiction to alcoholism. Some of the effects of addiction to alcohol include damage of the critical body organs such as the liver, heart, nervous system, stomach and the brain (Marilyn et al, 2013). On the other hand, alcohol addicts tend to other medical problems such as high blood pressure, cancer or even stomach problems. In addition to the above physical consequences, an individual is likely to experience social challenges such as loss of a job, domestic violence or even isolating himself from friends and family members. Antabuse therefore is a medication that not only improves the physical health of an individual but also his/her social welfare (White et al, 2011).
How Antabuse works
When an individual consumes alcohol, it is broken down into acetaldehyde which is in turn broken down into acetic acid in the liver to enhance its remove either through urination or sweating. Antabuse on the other hand inhibits the conversion of acetaldehyde in to acetic acid causing an increase in the levels of acetaldehyde (White et al, 2011). As a result, when an individual takes alcohol while on Antabuse, they experience a very unpleasant physical reaction that makes them get sick and wish to rather abstain from drinking than have the reaction. Some of the symptoms that make them feel uncomfortable include an increase in rate of heartbeat, a decrease in the pressure of blood, increased rate of sweating, vomiting, dizziness and shortness of breath (Nora, 2014).
These symptoms differ from one individual to another in some instances they may lead to death of the individual. These symptoms can last for a short period or they can persist for example up to seventy two hours which makes an individual so uncomfortable that they don’t wish to take alcohol any longer while on medication. The effects of taking alcohol while on medication may differ among individuals with some extreme cases of death. It is therefore advisable that an individual goes through an intensive counseling session to get sensitized on the effects of the medication. In addition, upon acceptance by an individual to use Antabuse, they should be advised on how to take the medication on a regular basis as well as motivated to avoid using alcohol when on the drug (Gene, 2014).
What to observe before, during and after taking the medication
After an individual has taken Antabuse, it is advisable that they should avoid taking alcohol to prevent them from getting unpleasant reaction which can lead to death in the extreme cases. Individuals who may have taken medication containing flagyl should also not take the medication since they are likely to experience adverse effects (Robert, 2016). On the other hand, individuals should not take Antabuse if they have consumed any substance containing alcohol. Examples of alcohol containing substances include; vinegar, mouthwash and some medicine such as those used to treat cough. In addition, individuals with health problems such as those suffering from diabetes, liver, kidney or heart diseases, epilepsy and brain damage should inform their doctors before commencing to take the medication to ensure that their health is good to avoid future complications of the body (Beth et al, 2011).
When taking Antabuse, it is highly recommended that individuals take the medication as directed by the doctor. Taking an over dose or under dose is likely to cause detrimental effects an individual since it alters the function of the liver. This therefore means that an individual should regularly visit the doctor to have blood tests that show how the liver is working. Family members play a great role in ensuring that a person takes the Antabuse medication in the right dosage and at an appropriate time (David et al, 2014). This promotes accountability and results to better results in an individual recovering from addiction. Frequent counseling is also required by an individual when on medication to promote their understanding of the need to respect the medication and avoid consuming alcohol or other related products such as vinegar. In case of overdose, an individual should consult a doctor as soon as they can to prevent extreme cases such as those of death of an individual (John, 2014).
Side effects of taking Antabuse
When an individual consumes alcohol while on medication, there are several side effects that are likely to occur to him or her. Some of these side effects include having a skin rash or even acne, having mild headache, loss of interest in sex and having a taste like that of garlic in the mouth (Sally & Scott, 2013). These side effects are mild and their effects are not extreme. On the other hand, some effects are extreme and need immediate action by a doctor since they can be dangerous. Some of these side effects include the sudden loss of vision, having problems of the liver such as jaundice which can cause yellowing of the skin as well as the eyes and a state of confusion or having unusual behaviors which are not pleasant (John, 2014). Such effects if not handled immediately can result to death of an individual or cause the failure of major organs such as the liver. In addition to the symptoms mentioned above, other symptoms that can occur as a result of disulfiram-alcohol reaction include fainting, slow breath and having severe chest pain which in some circumstances can spread to the shoulder causing more seething pain (Marilyn et al, 2013). In summary, Antabuse can have a lot of negative side effects to an individual in the event of taking alcohol while still under medication. This therefore shows that the individuals on the medication should spend more time with the counselor and engage in constructive activities that will destruct them from alcohol at all times including fourteen days after medication (David et al, 2014).
Advantages of using Antabuse
Antabuse encourages an individual to remain sober at all times since any intake of alcohol will cause him or her to have unpleasant physical symptoms. Antabuse makes an individual to stop drinking due to the fear of the consequences that are likely to occur. This is unlike other methods such as the use of self- initiative where the an individual makes a decision to stop drinking but ends up being tempted especially in events such as weddings or parties (White et al, 2011). Use of Antabuse is therefore a quicker way of stopping to take alcohol since in an event of temptation to take alcohol there is a great consequence. An individual is therefore sober regularly than using when using other medications (Sally & Scott, 2013).
On the other hand, through continued research, the use of Antabuse as the treatment for alcohol addiction has shown to be an effective deterrent. This is due to the fact that individuals on Antabuse medication showed over fifty percent abstinence from alcohol than other individuals. This shows that Antabuse is effective in reducing the incidence of consumption of alcohol among individuals (Robert, 2016).
Moreover, the use of Antabuse acts as a cushion in the event of vacations, holidays as well as weddings since these are the challenging seasons when it becomes hard for a person to be sober. As a result, when an individual is able to abstain from alcohol during the festivals, it becomes very easy for them to stop drinking for life and they are able to venture into more creative businesses or jobs which keep them busy as well as increase their source of income (Judson et al, 2012).
Disadvantages of using Antabuse
Unlike other addiction drugs such as naltrexone, Antabuse is not able to stop the cravings that occur in an individual especially during weddings and other kind of parties. In extreme cases of craving for alcohol, an individual may get stressed due to the challenge of living without alcohol. This is likely to result to the intake of alcohol in spite of being on medication which can result to huge detrimental effects (Marilyn et al, 2013).
On the other hand, it is easy for users to fail to comply to the directions given by the doctor on taking the medication. As a result, many alcohol addicts usually abandon taking the drugs for them to be able to take alcohol once again which does not help to solve the challenge of addiction. It is therefore very easy for an addict to stop using the drug and get back to drinking alcohol. In summary, lack of continuous follow up with the addicted individuals is likely to promote addiction to alcohol again (David et al, 2014).
In addition, Antabuse reacts to medicine or any type of food even with a very low percentage of alcohol. This is really disadvantageous to an individual since they are not able to take important medicine at some time which can be used to cure disease (Beth et al, 2011). On the other hand, due to a very small percentage of alcohol such as the one in food, an individual may have extreme unpleasant reactions which can result to death. This is very inappropriate to an individual since in some circumstances they may take a substance containing alcohol yet they are not aware (Sally & Scott, 2013).
In conclusion, it is evident that for the use of Antabuse to be effective, there is need to use other treatments such as counseling of specific individuals to increase their period of sobriety. Counseling enables an individual to appreciate what triggers them to drink; hence they are able to come up with better ways of dealing with the challenge of drinking (Judson et al, 2012). In addition, the support of addicted individuals from others who have been successful in the use of Antabuse, gives those in the treatment process the motivation to continue with the medication since others have undergone the same and become successful. Moreover, for the use of Antabuse to be more effective, an individual needs to make changes in how they spend time doing different activities (David et al, 2014). A change in lifestyle will enhance the individuals to make new friends and avoid areas that are likely to lead them to drinking such social gatherings. Therefore, the success of the use of Antabuse as a medication for addiction to alcohol becomes most successful if used with other support services such as counseling. This helps in giving the individuals a reason to stop drinking and venture into businesses or other activities that make their life bright. In summary, treatment of alcohol addiction using Antabuse medication becomes effective when used together with other support practices such as counseling.
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