Baclofen Alcoholism and Addiction Treatment

Depending on the individual, many luxury addiction treatment facilities will opt for Baclofen to help replace the addictive substances. Often, a forty-five, sixty or ninety day course of addiction treatments will incorporate medicinal and psychological components. First, you'll need to connect with a substance abuse or behavior addiction addiction recovery facility that's going to keep you happy and well-situated. When you're prepared to explore your executive inpatient addiction clinics, call 888-885-8202 to speak to someone free of charge who can help you get you started.

Alcohol Addiction Treatment

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Efforts to find treatments for alcohol and drug addictions have led researchers to explore the effects of existing drugs that are normally used to treat other physical conditions. Baclofen, a medication commonly used to treat back-related conditions is one of those drugs. The theory behind this investigation has to do with the areas of the brain baclofen targets.

Current studies involving baclofen have produced conflicting results, so baclofen has not yet received FDA approval as a safe treatment for alcohol or drug addiction disorders. If you or someone you know suffers from alcohol or drug addiction, baclofen may provide an effective treatment for these conditions sometime in the near future.

Baclofen Effects

While commonly used to treat multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injuries, baclofen is still undergoing testing as a treatment for alcoholism and drug addictions.

Baclofen – also known as brands Remular and Lioresal – received FDA approval in 1977 for its ability to reduce muscle spasms, muscle stiffness and pain associated with back conditions. The same chemical mechanisms that address these problems may also help to alter the chemical processes that drive alcoholism and drug addiction.

Baclofen’s chemical makeup closely resembles the brain neurotransmitter chemical known as GABA, or gama-amino butyric acid. GABA secretions in the brain have a calming or “slowing” effect on a person’s mood and overall physical state, which is why it’s so effective in treating back-related conditions. In effect, it changes how chemicals interact within the spinal cord and relaxes the nervous system as a whole.

Baclofen Interactions

BaclofenIf you use alcohol or drugs on a regular basis, these substances directly affect how the brain secretes dopamine, another neurotransmitter chemical known for its “feel good” effects. The resulting feelings of relaxation and happiness are directly linked to the amount of dopamine chemicals secreted in the brain. Dopamine secretions are regulated by a conduit known as the mesolimbic dopamine system. This system plays a pivotal role in regulating a person’s mood states.

These same dopamine secretions move into another area of the brain known as the ventral tegmental area, or VTA. A large number of the neurons (or brains cells) that secrete GABA reside within the ventral tegmental area. After years of ongoing alcohol and drug use, these two chemical systems start to crave the effects that alcohol and drug use create. After a certain point, these brain systems can no longer function normally without the presence of drugs or alcohol. This is when addiction takes hold.

Since baclofen’s effects are similar to GABA’s, it can help lessen a person’s craving for alcohol and drugs while reducing the withdrawal symptoms that occur when someone stops using. Since the systems regulating dopamine and GABA are intertwined, baclofen may also help to regulate dopamine levels in the brain.

Mood States Affected by Baclofen

Any medication treatment for alcohol and drug addiction must be able to combat the many mood states that alcohol and drugs produce. Baclofen’s effects on key neurotransmitter systems shows promise in its ability to relieve many of the factors that drive addiction. According to a University of Pennsylvania report, some of the mood states and the neurotransmitter systems involved include:

  • Arousal state:  Adrenalin and dopamine systems
  • Fantasy state:  Dopamine, seratonin and norepinephrine systems
  • Satiation state:  GABA and endorphin systems
  • Super reality state:  This mood involves hallucinations and breaks with reality; as of yet the chemical systems involved in this state are unknown.

Abstinence Effects

The effects of alcohol and drugs on the brain are known to grow increasingly worse the longer a person continues to use. This means the brain’s ability to regulate chemical processes changes as alcohol and drugs impair brain functions. As a result, baclofen’s effects can vary depending on how long a person has used alcohol or drugs.

Results from a clinical study conducted by Brown University show alcohol-addicted participants receiving baclofen were able to abstain from drinking for longer periods of time than those who didn’t receive the drug.

A similar clinical study involving participants who drank at moderate levels showed little difference in abstinence rates between those who took baclofen and those who didn’t. These findings indicate more research is needed to better pinpoint baclofen’s effects within the brain at different stages of alcohol and addiction use.

Baclofen’s Effects on Positive and Negative Reinforcements

Positive and negative reinforcements play key roles in driving a person’s addiction to alcohol or drugs. Positive reinforcements have to do with the rewards from using, such as a more relaxed mood or feelings of happiness and euphoria. Negative reinforcements involve the withdrawal effects felt when the body craves alcohol or drugs, such as depression, irritability and anxiety.

Researchers at the Medical College of Wisconsin observed the effects of baclofen on positive reinforcements by giving the drug to two groups of rats.

One group was not addicted to heroine while the other group was. Both groups were allowed to self-administer heroine doses at will, with each dose producing positive physical effects. When given baclofen, both groups of rats showed a decrease in the number of times heroine was self-administered. In effect, the changes in GABA and dopamine levels caused by baclofen reduced the positive reinforcement effects of heroine on brain processes. If a person experienced this same reaction, it would be easier for him to abstain from heroine or at least decrease the amount of heroine ingested per day (or per week).

A similar experiment conducted by the University of Adelaide in South Australia and Tehran University of Medical Sciences in Iran examined how baclofen affects the negative reinforcements caused by opiates, such as morphine and naloxone on rats and mice. When given baclofen, both the rats and the mice experienced less intense withdrawal effects when morphine/naloxone doses were withheld. The same effects in a person might help to reduce physical cravings, which also makes it easier to abstain from ongoing use.

Behavior Cues in Drug Testing Trials

Clinical trials used to test the effects of baclofen on different types of drugs reveal promising results when tested with mice. Researchers base these results on behavior cues that indicate cravings levels experienced by the test subjects. Behavior cues observed include:

  • Cues before and after the mice become addicted to a drug
  • Cues before and after baclofen dosages are given
  • Number of times the mice self-administer a drug, such as heroine or cocaine
  • Behaviors that indicate withdrawal symptoms are present, such as shaking or hiding

Side Effects

In spite of the positive results observed in clinical trials with humans and animals, baclofen can produce side effects in the body. When prescribed for back-related conditions, side effects associated with baclofen include:

  • Overall fatigue
  • Disoriented thinking
  • Wooziness
  • Upset stomach
  • Drowsiness

For some people, baclofen may cause more serious side effects, such as seizures and breathing problems.
Baclofen’s effects on the brain’s chemical processes can also offset the effects of any other medications a person is taking. Baclofen can reduce or increase the effects of tranquilizers, muscle relaxants, sleep aids and even vitamins depending on a person’s body chemistry. People who have certain physical conditions, such as epilepsy, ulcers and heart-related ailments or psychological conditions, such as depression and anxiety disorders, may also experience adverse effects when taking baclofen.

If you’d like to learn more about how baclofen, feel free to contact us. We can answer questions about addiction treatment and link you up to a high-quality treatment program that can help you kick addiction to the curb for good.

Make sure to ask what anti-addiction medications may be available to assist your recovery. We invite you to dial our toll-free number at 888-885-8202 to speak with one of our helpful advisors who can assist you in finding top exclusive treatment programs.