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Biological Addiction Treatment Modalities

(Section 1 of 3 on Addiction Treatment Modalities)



A.1.1.1. Antidipsotropic Drug Therapy for Alcohol:
-disulfiram, implants, oral
-calcium carbimide

A.1.1.2. Anti-craving Drug Therapy for Alcohol:
-fluoxetine, zimelidine, citalopram
-buspirone, ritansarin

A.1.1.3. Psychotropic Drug Therapy for Alcohol:
-antianxiety drugs
-antipsychotic drugs
-LSD treatment


Buprenorphine, Naloxone
Clonidine, Naltrexone, LAAM, Codeine


Nicotine Replacement Therapy
buproprion hydrochloride (Zyban)
varenicline (Chantix)


-herbs & supplements



A.2.3.1. Hands-On Therapies
-cranial osteopathy
-postural approaches

A.2.3.2. Mind-Body Techniques
-breath work

A.2.3.3. Alternative Healing Systems

-ayurvedic medicine

In his book, Overcoming Addictions, best-selling author Deepak Chopra sees the addictive person as being a seeker, albeit a misguided one. Dr. Chopra suggests replacing the traditional fear-based method of addiction treatment with a more uplifting approach. Ayurvedic medicine, Dr. Chopra suggests, can be a more satisfying alternative to destructive dependencies.

-Chinese medicine

A.2.3.4. Other Healing Systems
-detox medicine
-energy medicine

Risk of depression dims hope for anti-addiction pills(April 2008) discusses Chantix, a highly-touted quit-smoking pill. Marilynne Marchione.

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Printed Resources – General Information on Biological Modalities

Biomedicalization of Alcohol Studies: Ideological Shifts and Institutional (2005) makes the case for the risks to public health of reductionism, geneticism and medicalization of alcohol studies. Argues that alcohol problems are too complex and too important to be conceptualized within a narrow biomedical framework. Lorraine T. Midanik.

Clinical Manual of Addiction Psychopharmacology (2005) is a detailed review of the pharmacology of addictive drugs and the medication used to treat addiction. Henry R. Kranzler, Domenic A. Ciraulo.

Clinical Textbook of Addictive Disorders (2nd Ed.) (1998) incorporates major developments in our understanding of the biological mechanisms of addiction. Richard J. Frances, Sheldon I. Miller.

Clinical Textbook of Addictive Disorders (3rd Ed.) (2005) Richard J. Frances, Sheldon I. Miller, Avram H. Mack (Eds.)

Community Treatment of Drug Misuse: More than Methadone (1999) draws upon the author’s direct clinical experience and makes use of findings from Europe, North America, and Australia to provide a guide to methadone and alternative opiate substitutes, detoxification methods, and naltrexone. Emphasizes social factors in drug misuse and dependency. Nicholas Seivewright.

Drugs for Relapse Prevention of Alcoholism (2005) provides an overview of different neurotransmitter/peptide systems involved in craving and relapse behavior and describes the clinical application of new anti-craving and anti-relapse compounds. Rainer Spanagel, Karl Mann

Molecular Biology of Drug Addiction(2002) is a multidisciplinary review of the most relevant molecular, genetic, and behavioral approaches used to investigate the neurobiological basis of drug addiction. Rafael Maldonado.

The Real Drug Abusers(2003) criticizes the pharmaceutical industry for the spread of many dangerous drugs that often lead to drug abuse. Fred Leavitt.

The Selfish Brain: Learning From Addiction (2000) explains why the brain is vulnerable to drugs and alcohol (brain biochemistry), how addiction runs through families, and how various treatments can lead to recovery. Robert L. DuPont.

Substance Use and Misuse: Nature, Context and Clinical Interventions (1998) is designed for medical practitioners in acute and community settings. The text reflects those areas where health care professionals are assuming greater responsibility in working with substance abusers. G. Hussein Rassool.

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Printed Resources – Anti-Craving Drugs as a Biological Modality

Acamprosate in Relapse Prevention of Alcoholism (1996) presents an overview of basic mechanisms in alcohol dependence and craving. Includes clinical trials on acamprosate’s mechanisms of action and efficacy. Michael Soyka.

Printed Resources – Ayurvedic Medicine and Biological Modalities

Overcoming Addictions: The Spiritual Solution (1998) guides the reader to replace addictive behavior with enduring sources of joy and spiritual fulfillment. Deepak Chopra.

Printed Resources – Heroin Addiction and Biological Modalities

Community Treatment of Drug Misuse: More than Methadone(1999) draws on the author’s direct clinical experience and is a guide to service provision and treatment including methadone and alternative opiate substitutes, detoxification methods, naltrexone and relapse prevention, and possible approaches with non-opiate users. Nicholas Seivewright.

The Treatment of Opioid Dependence (2005) reflects new developments in treatment protocols. Methadone is still the most widely used medication for the treatment of opioid dependence, and the authors provide an extensive section on methadone treatment. Three chapters cover the pharmacology and clinical use of buprenorphine as well as the latest research on Naltrexone, Clonidine, and Lofexidine. Eric C. Strain, Maxine L. Stitzer.

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Printed Resources – Nutrition and Biological Modalities

See Nutrition and Recovery in the Addiction Recovery Section.

Printed Resources – Pharmacotherapies for Alcoholism

Printed Resources – Research on Biological Modalities

Glutamate and Addiction (2002) is a critical review of all of the evidence for the role of glutamatergic systems in opiate, stimulant, and alcohol addiction. Barbara H. Herman, Jerry Frankenheim, Raye Litten, Philip H. Sheridan, Forrest F. Wright (Eds.).

For more information on research see the Addiction Research section.

Printed Resources – Yoga and Biomedical Modalities

See Yoga and Recovery in the Addiction Recovery Section.

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Online Resources – General Information on Biomedical Modalities

Alcohol, Other Drugs, and Health:Current Evidence (January 2008) researches the latest biomedical modalities for the treatment of addiction. Boston University School of Medicine/Boston Medical Center. 

Psychotherapeutic Medications 2006: What Every Counselor Should Know (2000) is designed as a quick “desk reference” for substance abuse and mental health treatment providers. Mid-America Addiction Technology Transfer Center.

Online Resources – Alcohol Treatment and Biomedical Modalities

Aripiprazole has Potential for Treating Alcohol Dependence (April 2008) is currently approved to treat bipolar disorder as well as schizophrenia but new research shows it increases the sedative effects of alcohol and, to a lesser degree, decreases the euphoric effects of alcohol.

Drug Therapy of Alcoholism talks about drugs that have been proven to help alcoholics with craving and mental obsession.  Drugs covered include Antabuse (disulfuram), Revia (naltrexone), and acamprosate.

Naltrexone and Alcoholism Treatment (1998) Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) 28 will help clinicians and treatment providers use naltrexone safely and effectively to enhance patient care and improve treatment outcomes. Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). DHS Publication 98-3206.

Naltrexone for Extended-Release Injectable Suspension for Treatment of Alcohol Dependence (Spring 2007) is a substance abuse treatment advisory for medical professionals. Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

A Systematic Review of Opioid Antagonists for Alcohol Dependence (2000) attempts to determine the relative effectiveness of opioid antagonists in the treatment of alcohol dependence. World Health Organization (WHO).

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Online Resources – Amphetamine Treatment and Biomedical Modalities

Systematic Review of Treatment for Amphetamine-Related Disorders (2001) studied pharmacological treatments for amphetamine withdrawal such as amineptine, fluoxetine, and imipramine. World Health Organization.

Online Resources – Ayurvedic Medicine

American Institute of Vedic Studies
The Ayurvedic Institute

Online Resources – Cocaine Treatment

Medications Development for the Treatment of Cocaine Dependence: Issues in Clinical Efficacy Trials (1998) is a state-of-the-art handbook for clinical investigators, pharmaceutical scientists, and treatment researchers. NCADI # M175, Research Monograph 175.


Online Resources – General Information on Opioid Treatment as a Biological Modality

Information for Pharmacists: Suboxone and Subutex (2005) explains the two versions of buprenorphine, which is a medication used for the treatment of opiate addiction. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

LAAM in the Treatment of Opiate Addiction (2004) Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) 22 attempts to provide treatment providers, clinicians, and administrators with current knowledge about LAAM ¹. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). DHHS Publication 95-3052.

Medication Assisted Treatment for the 21st Century: Community Education Kit (2004) can be used by local treatment providers to broaden the knowledge base about methadone and other medication-related options for the treatment of opioid dependence. Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT), publication no. F038.

Response: Integrating Buprenorphine Therapy Into Clinical Practices (1) and Practical Considerations for the Clinical Use of Buprenorphine (2) (August 2004) are articles intended for a medical professional audience. (1) Martin C. Doot, J. Thomas Payte, Arthur Van Zee. (2) Hendree E. Jones. Science & Practice Perspectives.

(2012) The Role of Biomarkers in the Treatment of Alcohol Use Disorders (September 2006) is a substance abuse treatment advisory for medical professionals. Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

See the Methadone section for additional information on methadone maintenance therapy.

(1) Note: LAAM is not approved for use in Canada.

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Online Resources – Clinical Guidelines of Opioid Treatment

Clinical Guidelines for the Use of Buprenorphine in the Treatment of Opioid Addiction (2004) Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) 40 provides physicians with science-based clinical practice guidelines on the use of buprenorphine in the treatment of opioid addiction. Designed primarily for physicians. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). DHHS Publication 04-3939.

NIH Consensus Statement: Effective Medical Treatment of Opiate Addiction (November 1997) reflects state-of-the-art information regarding effective treatments for opiate addiction and the conclusions and recommendations of a blue-ribbon panel. National Institutes of Health. Volume 15, Number 6.

Matching Treatment to Patient Needs in Opioid Substitution Therapy (1995) Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) 20 develops guidelines to assess the needs of patients in opioid substitution therapy and to match patients, based on their needs, to a variety of services, including medical, psychiatric, social, and other support services. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). DHHS Publication 95-3049.

Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Addiction in Opioid Treatment Programs (2005) Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) 43 provides a detailed description of medication-assisted treatment which includes medical maintenance treatment, detoxification, and medically supervised withdrawal. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). DHHS Publication 05-4048.

Online Resources – Diversion Control of Opioids

Narcotic Treatment Programs (April 2000) is a guideline that outlines compliance standards for methadone maintenance programs when handling narcotic replacement pharmacotherapies. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Practitioner’s Manual: An Informational Outline of the Controlled Substances Act (2006) is intended to summarize and explain the basic requirements for prescribing, administering, and dispensing controlled substances under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Online Resources – Miscellaneous Treatment Information on Biomedical Modalities

Testing Combined Pharmacotherapies and Behavioral Interventions in Alcohol Dependence: Rationale and Methods (July 2003) shows the results of Project COMBINE, which evaluated the efficacy of the two most promising medications (naltrexone and acamprosate) both singly and together, when combined with different intensities of behavioral therapies. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, Vol 27, No. 7.

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Video Resources – Biomedical Treatment

Naltrexone Treatment is a treatment for heroin addiction.

What the Bleep Do We Know? on Addiction talks about brain activities and addiction.

Video Resources – Nutrition and Addiction

Dr. Abram Hoffer is a YouTube video where Dr. Hoffer discusses his famous patient, Bill Wilson. Dr. Hoffer is an orthomolecular biologist who has studied the positive effect of niacin on individuals with addictions.

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