Further Reading

Is there implantable antabuse: How about environmental planning?

Dear Dr. Stanton;

My 30-year-old son has a serious addiction to alcohol. He has been through 5 full inpatient programs and within hours of discharge he drinks and then gets into fights which have most recently resulted in a criminal assault charge. When not drinking he is a totally different person — on alcohol he is without any semblance of judgement. He wants to go on long term anabuse or something similar which he claims is implantable subcutaneously. I have been unable to find any information on such an implantable device. No one seems to believe such a thing exists. Can you shed any light on this issue? We would be greatly appreciative of your help. His life may depend on something like this that he can`t subvert at will.

Richard


Dear Richard:

I don't know of anything implantable. It is hard enough to find antabuse programs. And, as you indicate, you have to take the antabuse daily — forever. The problem is, your son feels very defeated to start — that he can't even be trusted to take the antabuse, let alone not to drink. Obviously, the inpatient programs are not helping him deal successfully with the situations that cause him to drink. A superior approach could be an outpatient program directed towards preparing him for the daily provocations to drink. For starters, I would have him write down which situations are the ones he is sure (because they always have in the past) lead him to consume alcohol. He (and you, since you seem highly involved) could learn a lot from examining this list. There may be obvious commonalties in the situations. Some situations can be clearly avoided. Others may be so central to living that a detailed plan for attacking them may be called for.

The idea of a mechanism that will always be with you to prevent you from drinking — while perhaps desirable — seems as yet to be a dream.

Sincerely,
Stanton