Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if I have a drinking problem?

If alcohol has had a negative effect on your work, relationships or other important areas of your life, then you may have a drinking problem. You can take a test to find out.

What causes alcohol use disorder (AUD)?

Alcohol is an addictive substance, so anyone who drinks alcohol may risk becoming addicted to it. Approximately 10% of the population have genetics which mean they have an abundance of endorphin receptors in their brain. Drinking alcohol triggers the release of endorphins. The person with AUD begins to crave alcohol and the feelings this endorphin release creates. There are medications which can block these endorphin receptors and can effectively cure addiction to alcohol. If alcohol is consumed without medication, the addiction will return.

Is it best if I stop drinking completely?

It is best to stop drinking completely if you have been diagnosed with alcohol dependence. The nature of alcohol addiction means that your brain has been conditioned to want to continue drinking. While abstinence may feel unachievable for you at this time, treatment may help change that. If you have mild alcohol dependence, controlled drinking utilising the sinclair method may help you return your drinking to within recommended limits. This may help to minimise the harm your drinking may cause. Once your drinking problem has been treated, you may feel you want to stop drinking completely. You will likely need help from your doctor to achieve this. Left untreated, AUD is a progressive illness. It is recommended that you seek help as early as possible to prevent the illness from becoming worse and causing serious health effects.

Can targeted opioid receptor antagonist therapy (TORAT) help with other addictions?

There is some evidence to suggest that TORAT may be helpful with other addictions besides alcohol addiction. More research is needed to better understand how TORAT might help.

Does targeted opioid receptor antagonist therapy (TORAT) have side effects?

Yes. The most commonly prescribed opioid receptor antagonist, naltrexone, has side effects. Reported side effects include sleep problems, tiredness, anxiety, headache, joint and muscle pains, abdominal pain and cramps, nausea, vomitting, overheating.  They can be quite unpleasant, but they won't cause harm. Naltrexone has been proven to be a safe drug and is approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration. It is not addictive and is not abused. Over time, the body adjusts to naltrexone and the side effects lessen. Not everyone experiences side effects, but many people do. It is important to ensure you have eaten and drunk sufficient fluids before taking naltrexone to reduce side effects. More research is needed to develop medications which are more effective and have fewer side effects. Naltrexone is the best and safest option available for TORAT currently.

Why do I have to stay on medication for life if I have Alcohol Use Disorder?

If someone with alcohol dependence/ Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) returns to drinking without medication, their condition will progress and become problematic again. AUD can be controlled, but medication will always be needed every time the person drinks alcohol. 10% of the population have genes for a higher number of opioid receptors in their brain. This means they are more prone to developing AUD. Medication blocks these receptors so that consuming alcohol cannot impact them. Drinking without medication means these receptors will be affected by alcohol again and the problem drinking habit will return.  

How can I get involved with The Healthy Hope Foundation?

The Healthy Hope Foundation is run by anonymous volunteers and we appreciate help. Email us on the email on our Contact page. We look forward to working with you. 

Can I use targeted opioid receptor antagonist therapy (TORAT) and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)?

Yes. The ethos of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is maintaining 100% abstinence. It is important to respect the recovery of other AA members if attending AA. The AA group commitment to 100% abstinence helps members to maintain their sobriety. If you are ready to commit to 100% abstinence and attend AA to help achieve this, you can also use targeted opioid receptor antagonist therapy (TORAT) in case you slip and drink when you didn't intend to. It is recommended that everyone who is diagnosed with alcohol dependence be prescribed naltrexone. If you go to AA and slip into unintended drinking, it is recommended that you take naltrexone 1 hour before you drink, every time you drink.