Last updated: 04/2/2019
Author: Addictions.com Medical Review
Reading Time: 4 minutes
Disulfiram (also known by its brand name Antabuse) is a carbamate derivative used to treat alcohol abuse and addiction. Although it is meant to deter someone from abusing alcohol, disulfiram can cause serious side effects of its own, especially in those who drink anyway while on their medication. Disulfiram rehab is sometimes necessary, and often, patients require inpatient care.
Disulfiram Abuse and Inpatient Rehab
As stated by the National Library of Medicine, “Disulfiram is used to treat chronic alcoholism.” The drug is not addictive in itself, but if an individual addicted to alcohol begins to drink while on the medication serious, life-threatening effects may occur. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, these effects are not as common as they once were in those being treated with the medication, but they still occur. In addition, disulfiram is not able to curb one’s desire to drink.
Someone who experiences these side effects (including respiratory depression, seizures, and serious heart problems) will need to be treated in a hospital-based rehab center immediately. Because those who experience this issue have usually been struggling with alcoholism for years as well, inpatient care is often the only safe option for treatment.
What Should I Look for in Inpatient Care?
In an inpatient program for disulfiram recovery, you should absolutely look for a facility that offers 24-hour medical care. Although the effects listed above are not common for those who do relapse back to drinking while on the medication, they can occur, and those who experience this issue will need intensive treatment. Hospital accommodations are often necessary with round-the-clock medical care in order for those who do experience these effects to recover safely.
Your rehab center will also need to address your alcoholism in addition to any issues you are experiencing with the disulfiram. In some cases, individuals who are originally put on disulfiram and then relapse back to alcohol abuse will require a different pharmacological option.
Three other medications (including oral naltrexone, extended-release naltrexone, and acamprosate) exist for the treatment of this disorder in addition to disulfiram (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism).
You may need to be switched to a different medication as well as begin behavioral therapy for your additional substance abuse issues while being treated for any problems you’ve experienced with disulfiram.
Inpatient treatment programs must offer a safe and relaxing environment in which patients can recover, and this may be especially important to you if you have been in programs previously in which you have felt less than comfortable. It is also necessary for the medical staff at your facility to encourage your recovery during this time, especially if you have been struggling with alcoholism for many years.
Choosing the Best Option: How Do I Know the Program is Best for Me?
It can be difficult to determine if a specific rehab center is the best option for your needs, and, especially if you have been in and out of recovery programs over the years, it can be hard to feel comfortable in an inpatient facility. But if you are suffering from severe side effects of disulfiram and need to be moved to a different medication for your alcohol addiction treatment, you will need to look for a program that
- Offers comprehensive care for both the disulfiram’s effects and your alcoholism
- Provides a full treatment program that is catered to your needs and can be altered over time to reflect any change in these needs (National Institute on Drug Abuse)
- Allows you to transition safely into an aftercare program once your treatment has finished
You must also find out before making the final decision on a program if you feel comfortable at the facility, if the healthcare providers there are people you can build a connection with, and if the program will cater to your needs.
Visiting the facility beforehand is the easiest way to determine these aspects, but you can also call ahead of time to learn more. All in all, the program must offer you treatment that is safe and beneficial for your needs and your needs alone.
Find Your Inpatient Disulfiram Rehab Today
Locate the best treatment center that most closely fits your needs, and you can start narrowing down your search to find the perfect facility for your disulfiram rehab.