A Blog For Those Affected By Environmental And Invisible Illnesses Written By Fellow Survivors
Overcoming Alcohol Addiction: What Are Your Best Options?
If you're an individual who's recovering from alcohol abuse, you know that managing alcohol cravings can be a struggle. The first step in the road to recovery is admitting that you have a problem.
However, confronting the situation head-on isn't always as easy as it appears to be. Excessive drinking can have a negative impact on your life in the long term. If you've lost the ability to control your alcohol intake, then you've probably developed alcoholism or alcohol dependence.
There will always come a time wherein cutting back isn't enough. You need treatment options and other ways wherein you can make a change and give up alcohol entirely.
Start with your doctor
Alcoholism, or alcohol dependence, is a type of alcohol use disorder. One of the very first steps that you need to take is to consult with your doctor, acknowledge your problem and talk more about your goals.
That way, it's so much easier carving out a treatment plan that works best for you. Moreover, your physician can refer you to other experts and holistic addiction treatment programs that you might need.
Your doctor might recommend you to one or more of these options:
- Behavior modification
Note that you need to work on treatment options that are right for you. Most people find that a combination of one or two of these treatment options works best for them.
You might also need to enroll in an inpatient or residential program where you have to stay for quite some time. Alternatively, there are a couple of outpatient programs available, allowing you to live at home, yet still go to the center and seek treatment.
Most treatment plans start with a detoxification program, where it helps the body break its physical addiction to alcohol. Usually, detoxification is performed on in-patient therapy centers and hospitals.
There are times where the symptoms of physical withdrawal to alcohol are considerable, and you're given medications to prevent various symptoms such as:
Detoxification can also be effective for people with severe alcohol use disorder. Ideally, one of the goals is to stop drinking, giving the body time to extract all the alcohol out of the system. The process usually lasts a couple of days, to a week.
See a counselor or therapist
Your doctor may also refer you to a one-on-one, or group counseling. Being part of these support groups can help you with your journey when it comes to treatment for alcohol addiction.
Connecting yourself with a support group where you can meet other people (sometimes undergoing the same challenges as you) can help you get the encouragement that you need. It also gives you the right resources, and answer essential questions that might come up along the way.
There are also trained medical professionals, experts, and best alcohol rehab centers who will guide you, and help you acquire the right skills and strategies that you can use in your everyday life. These are social workers, psychologists, and alcohol counselors who can help teach you how to:
- set the right goals and achieve them
- create a strong support system
- deal with stressful situations and other triggers that might cause you to relapse
- change behaviors that cause you to drink.
It's also worth noting that alcohol can also create a profound effect on the people closest to you. Therefore, spouses, partners, and family members can help out as well.
Several medications are correctly used to treat and cure alcohol addiction. These include:
- Disulfiram - Disulfiram lowers your urge to drink, and can even make you sick the moment that you drink alcohol. It's because the moment the drug is combined with an alcoholic substance, it gives off unpleasant symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, headaches, and flushing.
- Acamprosate - Reduces your alcohol cravings, and even restore the chemical balance in your brain.
- Naltrexone - Blocks the feel-good effects alcohol creates in your brain. Without these feel-good effects, you might be less inclined to take any alcoholic beverage.
People who often misuse (or abuse) alcohol are often addicted to the act of drinking, not just to the alcohol itself. That's why you need to develop coping mechanisms and strategies that will help you avoid alcohol altogether, once leaving in a treatment center and being exposed to familiar environments.
By learning the different skills and coping strategies taught by a counselor or in a treatment program, you would know how to modify your behavior as you deal with situations more effectively, especially if the desire to drink becomes stronger.
Recovery from alcoholism isn't easy. You might face different temptations and relapses along the way, and it's understandable. Others might beat their dependence the first time they try to get sober. Others fight off this dependency for years and can be a life-long journey for some. The important thing is how do you make the most of these options, as you live a healthier, more fulfilling life.