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Unleashing the Potential of Antabuse

Summary:
Hangovers are not healthy. So it is not only unpleasant to drink when using disulfiram, it is bad for your health. That wasn’t fully understood in the early days of disulfiram, which tarnished its reputation somewhat. Such alcohol-disulfiram interactions are no longer a real problem:Deaths from the disulfiram-alcohol (ethanol) interaction have not been reported in recent years, possibly because the dosages used are lower than those used 40 years ago and patients with cardiac disease are now excluded from

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Unleashing the Potential of Antabuse
Unleashing the Potential of Antabuse

Hangovers are not healthy. So it is not only unpleasant to drink when using disulfiram, it is bad for your health. That wasn’t fully understood in the early days of disulfiram, which tarnished its reputation somewhat. Such alcohol-disulfiram interactions are no longer a real problem:

Deaths from the disulfiram-alcohol (ethanol) interaction have not been reported in recent years, possibly because the dosages used are lower than those used 40 years ago and patients with cardiac disease are now excluded from treatment.

Alcohol abuse and depression often go together. Chris Aiken speculates as follows on why disulfiram helps reduce depression as well as reducing alcohol abuse:

Although these studies cannot explain why disulfiram works well in depression, I will venture a guess from clinical experience. Patients with depression are often unable to take action on the things that are good for them, ie, bathing, eating healthy, and achieving sobriety. Although they want to stop drinking, they struggle with ruminative thoughts and never arrive at an executable plan. Disulfiram halts indecision, relieving them of the struggle.

Many people worry too much about the small- to modest-sized dangers from a treatment and too little about the huge dangers of the disorder treated. Alcohol abuse should be taken very, very seriously. Disulfiram can help.

I also wonder if some people think of alcohol abuse as a character flaw that should be treated with character improvements. Character improvements are something to be pursued in any case, but alcohol abuse is so deadly that chemical help to fight it should also be sought. (Similarly, tobacco is so deadly that chemical help—which is often available—should be sought in quitting smoking as well. Self-discipline is great, but shouldn’t be the only tool one turns to.)

For annotated links to other posts on diet and health, see:

Miles Kimball
Miles Kimball is Professor of Economics and Survey Research at the University of Michigan. Politically, Miles is an independent who grew up in an apolitical family. He holds many strong opinions—open to revision in response to cogent arguments—that do not line up neatly with either the Republican or Democratic Party.

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