The Affordable Care Act may just be the shot in the arm the addiction rehabilitation industry needs, especially now that insurance providers are required to cover substance abuse treatment, allowing hundreds of people to seek treatment from alcoholism and drug addiction.
"It will integrate substance abuse treatment into the rest of health care,"said Treatment Research Institute Dr. A. Thomas MacLellanduring the New York Society of Addiction Medicine's annual meeting last year, Drug Free.org reports.
"If diabetes were treated like substance abuse, only people in the most advanced stages of illness would be covered, such as those who had already lost their vision or had severe kidney damage," he said.
The New York Times reports that less than 10 percent of alcoholics are given medications to treat their conditions. Meanwhile, less than a third of the total people with alcohol abuse problems get the help they need.
Group Health Research Institute senior investigator Dr. Katherine Bradley noted in a New York Times interview that addiction rehabilitation were long dependent on support groups to treat alcoholism. This has since changed, however, as more health care practitioners started to view alcohol addiction as an illness that should be dealt with beyond the four walls of an AA meeting.
"It's been a slow transition getting these medications onto the medical agenda," Bradley told the New York Times. "But patients need to know that addiction is a biological condition of the brain and that we have treatments to improve it," she said.
After all, the rate of recidivism (relapse) is high among alcoholics. Relapse usually occurs when a patient misses a dose, or is not getting the adequate treatment he needs to physiologically curb alcohol cravings completely.
Exposure to alcohol-related stimuli or situations, however, challenges an alcoholic's journey to recovery, leadingthe ex-alcoholic back to his or her poison. A study published on the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and penned by Dr. Howard Becker states that clinical studies have suggested that alcohol-dependent people are more vulnerable to stimuli to start cravings.
The study also said that the belief that drinking alcohol again can soothe withdrawal during abstinence,forcing analcoholic person to turn to alcohol again.
Naltrexone and acramposateare two of the popular drugs today that are formulated to address alcohol dependence and alcohol relapse prevention.
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism director Dr. George Koobtold CNN that his instituteis urging doctors and pharmaceuticals to promote the use of medications in addiction treatment.
Naltrexone, in a biodegradable implant form, as used in BioCorRx, Inc.'s Start Fresh Program, has quickly gained traction in effectively curbing not just alcohol, but opioid cravings in patients as well. Clinics in the US using the Start Fresh program have reported sobriety success rates as high as 85% in routine surveys with patients after one year of program start date and with those who complete the entire 6-8 month program.
Naltrexone works by blocking receptors in the brain's pleasure centers to prevent a euphoric high elicited by a craving.
Acramposate is sold under the brand name Campral. According to About.com, Campral works by easing anxiety, sweating and other symptoms associated with alcohol abstinence.
A study published on the Psychiatry Journal in 2005 states that alcohol-related disorders rank third among most common health problems in America.
The same study also estimates that around 200,000 deaths annually are linked to alcohol-related disorders.