Alcoholism can be understood as a chronic and progressive medical condition that involves compulsive consumption of alcohol by an individual. Such a maladaptive pattern of drinking can result in several serious familial, social, as well as physical consequences. In this article, we would be discussing alcohol addiction treatment.
Confronting Alcohol Addiction
One of the first steps in treating alcoholism is to confront alcoholism and accept that you have such a problem. It is not easy to confront an addiction or to accept the fact that drinking is having a negative influence on your life. However, this is a necessary step that one has to take before going for alcohol addiction treatment.
In case you are unable to control your alcohol consumption, it means that you have alcohol dependence. Simply cutting back might not be enough. It becomes imperative to quit drinking and give it up entirely.
A doctor or a counselor can help you in making such a change. He or she might recommend detoxification, medication, or other similar treatment options.
Treatment of Alcohol Addiction
There is no instant cure for alcohol addiction. Overcoming alcohol addiction can turn out to be a long process that may require both personal dedications as well as different therapies or treatments. An optimal treatment plan depends on the personal circumstances of an individual. These circumstances can include:
- Personal commitment to becoming sober
- Previous history of dependence on alcohol
- Level of support from friends and family
- Financial situation
When you feel properly ready to face your alcohol addiction, make an immediate appointment with a doctor. The doctor will ask you several questions for determining the level of alcohol addiction that you have.
These questions would help them in determining the best treatment option for your needs. The doctor might even want to talk to your relatives or friends for gauging your symptoms, and the treatment options. The different treatment options for alcohol addiction are as follows:
In most of the alcohol rehabilitation centers, treatment begins with a detoxification program for breaking the body’s addiction to alcohol. This can typically take around one week to complete. The symptoms of sudden physical withdrawal from alcohol can be quite dramatic and one may even have to be given medications for preventing hallucinations, confusion, and convulsions.
- Behavior modification
The individuals who misuse alcohol are also addicted to the act of drinking beside the alcohol itself. Thus, one may need to learn certain skills and coping mechanisms for avoiding alcohol after leaving a rehabilitation center for alcohol. Returning to a familiar environment may make the urge to drink stronger.
The doctors at a rehabilitation center for alcoholics may refer their patients to a support group or one-on-one counseling sessions. Such support groups can be quite helpful when one is going through alcohol addiction treatment.
Support groups can also help the addicts in connecting with other people with similar challenges. This can help you in getting answers to your questions, encouragement, as well as direction to support resources.
There are several medications for treating alcohol addiction. These include the following:
- Disulfiram: This is an alcohol-sensitizing drug that lowers the addict’s desire of drinking by making the addict sick when he or she consumes alcohol. If combined with alcohol, this drug can cause nausea, flushing, headaches, and vomiting.
- Acamprosate: It is a drug that helps in combating alcohol cravings. This is done by restoring the balance of some specific chemicals in the brain.
- Naltrexone: Naltrexone is a drug that blocks the feel-good effect of alcohol on the brain. In the absence of these good feelings, one may feel less inclined towards alcohol. This drug is available in the market in the form of an oral tablet as well as an injection.
Vivitrol is another injected form of the drug that a doctor might give you once a month for de-addiction. This may turn out to be more convenient and reliable than oral pills, especially if the addict forgets to take pills every day.
The recovery from alcohol addiction can be a lifelong journey. One may face temptations and relapses. It may even take a physical toll on the body of the addict. It is common to slip in or out of sobriety and one may not succeed in the first few attempts.
However, it is important not to give up and as the more you try to come out of your addiction, the higher the chances of your success. In case you face any other complications during the treatment, make sure to seek medical care for them too.