Treatment for Alcoholism


Alcohol treatments are available for those who realize that they have a drinking problem and want to get help. There are several different ways that treatment can be rendered, ranging from the use of self-help books to aversion therapy. The biggest factor in benefitting from alcohol treatments is to completely abstain from alcohol while the treatment is being pursued.

The use of self-help books can be a good treatment route for those who are looking to modify their behavior when it comes to drinking. They can provide information on ways to stay away from alcohol in different settings, as well as help you to remain strong in your endeavor of successfully completing alcohol treatments. Self-help books can also help by allowing you to set goals that are realistic to your situation. You may cut back on the amount you drink by half, for instance, but you need to set realistic goals so that you can achieve it. If the goal is set too high as to be unachievable, it will be easier to quit.

Counseling is another alcohol treatment that is available. For some people it is easier to sit down and talk about the why they drink. Once a reason is found, they can remedy the problem and quit drinking. For instance, if you drink to bury your financial woes, then by fixing your financial problems, you will find that you are not drinking to keep from dealing with your problems. If the problem is deeply embedded in your psyche, a counselor may provide cognitive behavioral therapy. This type of therapy allows you and your therapist to find and identify the triggers to your stress that induces your drinking. Once these triggers are identified it becomes easier to manage the stressors and discourage yourself from drinking.

Alcohol affects the brain like other sedative-hypnotic drugs. Some therapies focus on provision of a class of sedative-hypnotic drugs called benzodiazepines. Drugs that fall into this class include Valium and Librium and are often used in the first few days after a person stops drinking to ease the withdrawal process. However, because these drugs have their own addictive qualities, they are not used for prolonged periods of time.

Longer term, two drugs that are used for alcohol addiction are naltrexone and disulfiram. Naltrexone can reduce the craving for alcohol and help prevent a person from relapsing to heavy drinking, if taken along with counselling or therapy. Disulfiram is a drug used in what is called aversion therapy, which is used for those that were unable to succeed at the previous treatments. This therapy consists of pairing alcohol with an aversive-response inhibitor, usually a medication, so that whenever a drink is consumed, the person feels nausea or gets sick. After a while the medication is stopped, but the aversive response is still triggered when alcohol is consumed. This type of therapy is generally successful because no one likes to get or feel sick after drinking.

Alcohol treatments are available in many forms and depend on the level of alcoholism that is shown in each individual. What works for one person may not work for another, so there are many options available. After each treatment is performed, it is highly suggested that follow up care be performed at a treatment center so that individuals will be completely successful in their endeavor to quit drinking.



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Random Facts about Alcohol

Alcohol is the third leading cause of preventable mortality in the US, behind tobacco and diet/activity patterns. It contributes to 100,000 deaths annually.

J McGinnis & W Foege, "Actual Causes of Death in the United States," Journal of the American Medical Association {JAMA}, Vol. 270, No. 18, 11/10/93, p. 2208


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