Alcohol Addiction Treatment
Treatment for Alcoholism benefits anyone with an alcohol abuse problem. You don’t have to have been addicted for years. It isn’t about the amount; it’s more about a person’s relationship to drinking. Do you drink in response to emotions or to mental or physical health issues?
Over 17 million people in the United States suffer from alcohol abuse or alcohol dependence. These problems exist for several reasons. Alcohol is easy to find, inexpensive, and legal. Drinking is also socially acceptable. Chronic binge drinking episodes may lead to troubles with alcohol abuse and/or dependency.
Fortunately there is a range of specialized treatment options with positive results for those willing to make the healthy changes necessary for a successful recovery from alcohol abuse.
Treatment for Alcohol Abuse
Recovery begins with detox. It begins with eliminating the immediate influence alcohol has on your mind and body and letting your body heal itself and function as it should. Detox is not recovery. It is an essential first step to this process of regaining balance and wellness.
One of the first goals of alcohol treatment is aiding the patient with withdrawal. Medications are used to promote safety and comfort. Some forms of treatment include the use of benzodiazepines, seizure medications, or antipsychotic medications. These drugs help balance chemicals in the brain and body. You should not stop drinking alcohol on your own without proper medical care. After the initial detox period, treatment continues in a residential or outpatient setting.
Alcohol disorders do not occur in a vacuum. Records show that 37 percent of those suffering from an AUD also suffer from a mental illness or disorder. The occurrence of both a mental health disorder and a substance abuse disorder is diagnosed as a co-occurring disorder or a dual diagnosis. Each disorder aggravates the symptoms of the other. For example, drinking alcohol increases the symptoms of someone who suffers from depression. Many times, a mental health disorder will go undiagnosed. Alcohol and other substances are used as a form of self-medication. Over time, this pattern of drinking develops into an AUD.
Specialized treatment is necessary for co-occurring disorders, as dual diagnosis methods treat each disorder simultaneously. Teams of medical professionals work together to manage both issues as primary disorders. This means that someone suffering from depression, for instance, may be treated with medications that need to be monitored more closely if they are also suffering from a substance abuse disorder.
Behavioral therapies are highly successful in treating both facets of co-occurring disorders. Evidence-based treatment models that utilize scientific research, clinical knowledge and individual patient preferences are useful methods during dual diagnosis treatment as well.
Inpatient Services and Outpatient Treatment
Treatment for an AUD will vary depending on the severity of the condition. Other factors, include genetic predispositions and environmental stressors. A residential alcohol treatment center offers a structured environment and provides a stable routine. There is a schedule for meals, sleeping and therapy sessions.
Balanced and nutritious diet plans are important aspects of recovery as are exercise or fitness opportunities. Alcohol dehydrates you and depletes the body of natural nutrients. Exercise can produce endorphins that activate the reward center in your brain in a positive manner. Some residential programs offer alternative treatments, such as massage, equine-assisted therapy, yoga, meditation and other holistic methods.
Behavioral therapies help treat a negative self-image and/or destructive behavior patterns. Any social and/or emotional triggers that may cause a desire to drink are identified. Individuals use coping mechanisms to handle these triggers.
Group therapy sessions provide a safe and secure environment where those with similar circumstances can support each other and feel safe. Educational opportunities provide the necessary knowledge for managing the disorder successfully long-term. Family therapy, as well as individual counseling and therapy sessions, is an important part of the recovery process as well.
Reintegration and Aftercare
Treatment programs also teach life skills and ways to manage emotional side effects of the disorder. Substance abuse creates chemical changes in the brain that take time to reverse. Residential treatment allows the opportunity to fully explore and heal the psychological ramifications in a comprehensive manner. Total immersion in a residential program can give those suffering from an AUD the chance to balance physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of the self, creating new and healthier habits before returning home.
Support groups are a vital part of the recovery process and aftercare. For many, aftercare means participation in 12-Step programs or other sobriety groups. A healthy peer network can go a long way toward the prevention of relapse. The creation of strong support systems helps with long-term sobriety. Family education and therapy helps family members take an active role in understanding and supporting someone in recovery.
Recovery is possible with the right treatment that suits your needs.