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Are there medications to treat alcoholism or Alcohol Use Disorder?

During the initial alcohol detoxification period, either benzodiazepine such as chlordiazepoxide, or antipsychotic agents, such as haloperidol, may be given for 4-5 days to help patients through severe alcohol withdrawal.

Most clinical trials indicate no benefit in prescribing antidepressants or lithium to treat the average alcoholic person who has no independent or long-lasting psychiatric disorder.

Newer drugs that may be used to help prevent alcohol cravings and relapsed include naltrexone hydrochloride (Revia and Vivitrol) and acamprosate (Campral).

Mental Health Library Sources:

Information included in all topics of the Mental Health Library comes from the Desk Reference to the Diagnostic Criteria From DSM-5 and Kaplan & Sadock’s Concise Textbook of Clinical Psychiatry. Complete diagnostic and treatment information may be found within these publications.


Information within the Mental Health Library is not intended to be used for self-diagnosis purposes. Rather, it is provided as a public educational service to make people aware of mental health conditions. Please consult a qualified mental health professional for a diagnosis of any suspected mental health illness.

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