FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) - According to the National Institute of Health, nearly 15 million Americans suffer from alcohol use disorder or AUD. Only 8% have received treatment. See how a once-a-month medication is helping those in their search for sobriety.
Saryna Parker was just five years older than her 10-year-old son, Hunter, when she had her first drink.
“I was probably about 15, trying to just fit in," Parker shared.
By her 20’s, alcohol had become her escape.
“It started with a couple of glasses, and then a couple of glasses turned into a bottle, then a bottle was 2 bottles,” continued Parker.
Saryna suffered from alcohol use disorder or AUD, and she’s not alone.
Drew Lieberman, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Compass Detox, says, “A lot of these people are functioning in this society, working and carrying on somewhat of a regular life.”
But Dr. Lieberman says when they try to stop drinking, the symptoms start.
“Headache, irritability, shakiness, tremors, in the worst-case scenario even seizures,” Dr. Lieberman continued.
He said the only thing that seems to help is that next drink. Although Saryna had stopped drinking for years, she hit the bottle again and hit rock bottom in 2017 with a DUI.
“In a matter of 24 hours I had lost my job, my family, and was publicly humiliated,” stated Parker.
That’s when she went into treatment and started a medication called Vivitrol.
Dr. Lieberman explained, “It’s a once a month intramuscular shot into the gluteus muscle.”
Vivitrol works by taking away cravings for alcohol and stopping the euphoric feeling people get from drinking.
“It’s like those endorphins that make you excited or give you the good feeling of thinking about having a drink, don’t come,” said Parker.
Saryna took Vivitrol for a year combined with counseling and has been sober for three years!
“I have my family back,” smiled Parker.
Giving hope to those battling addiction.
Saryna will soon graduate with her Ph.D. in educational leadership and stem sciences. Dr. Lieberman says he has treated nearly 100 patients with Vivitrol and more than 75% of them report progress in their sobriety. Twenty percent reported depression as the most common side effect. Vivitrol is just part of a long-term sobriety plan and should be combined with counseling or a peer program such as Alcoholics Anonymous. One injection can cost up to $1,500 but is covered by most insurance plans. The shot must be administered by a healthcare provider.
Contributors to this news report include: Janna Ross, Field Producer; Matt Goldschmidt, Editor; and Judy Reich, Videographer.