#alcohol #addiction #treatment
Treating Alcohol Addiction
How is alcohol addiction treated?
There’s no cure for alcohol dependence or alcoholism. Overcoming addiction can be a long process that requires both personal dedication and various treatments or therapies. Your optimal treatment plan will depend on your personal circumstances, including your:
- prior history of alcohol dependence
- level of support from family and friends
- personal commitment to becoming and remaining sober
- financial situation
If you’re ready to face your addiction, make an appointment with your doctor. They will likely ask you a series of questions to determine your level of addiction. These questions can also help them determine which treatment option is best suited to your needs. They may also want to speak with some of your friends or relatives to gauge your addiction, symptoms, and treatment opportunities.
Your doctor or therapist may recommend one or more of the following treatment options:
- behavior modification
Many treatment plans begin with a detoxification program to help break your body’s physical addiction to alcohol. Detoxification is often performed in an inpatient therapy treatment center or hospital. It typically takes one week to complete. Because the symptoms of physical withdrawal can be dramatic, you may also be given medications to help prevent:
People who misuse alcohol are often addicted to the act of drinking, as much as the alcohol itself. For that reason, you may need to learn skills and coping mechanisms to help you avoid alcohol once you leave a treatment center or return to familiar environments where the urge to drink may be stronger. Your doctor may refer you to a counselor or other treatment program to help you learn those skills and coping strategies.
Your doctor may also refer you to one-on-one or group counseling. Support groups can be especially helpful when you’re going through treatment for alcohol addiction. A support group can help you connect with other people who are facing similar challenges. They can help answer questions, provide encouragement, and direct you to support resources.
Several medications are used to treat alcohol addiction. They include:
- disulfiram, an alcohol-sensitizing drug that may lower your desire to drink by making you sick when you consume alcohol. When combined with alcohol, it can cause flushing, nausea, vomiting, and headaches.
- acamprosate, which may help combat alcohol cravings by restoring the balance of certain chemicals in your brain.
- naltrexone, which blocks the feel-good effects that alcohol has on your brain. Without those good feelings, you may feel less inclined to drink.
Naltrexone is available in the form of an oral tablet or injection. Vivitrol is an injected form of the drug that your doctor can give you once a month. It may be more reliable and convenient than oral pills, especially if you think you may forget or be unwilling to take a pill every day.