With alcoholism the most common addiction in America, there are a variety of alcohol treatment medications and therapies available to the individual in recovery.
Alcohol addiction treatment programs guide the former user through a safe and effective medical detox, followed by counseling that targets the reasons behind addiction.
Overcoming an alcohol addiction starts with a qualified treatment center that can help address underlying and co-occurring disorders. Because of alcohol’s prevalence throughout our culture, recovering alcoholics are constantly bombarded with triggers. Treatment centers must be equipped to help the recovering user find effective ways to manage triggers and cravings in order to be effective.
The First Step Of Recovery From Alcohol
Getting alcohol out of the addicted person’s system is the first part of recovery. People with a severe alcohol addiction can experience intense withdrawal symptoms. A supervised alcohol detox is usually necessary for people addicted to alcohol to prevent potentially fatal complications. Shaking, sweating, seizures, and hallucinations are possible alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
A medical detox can prevent discomfort and complications during alcohol withdrawal.
Alcohol Treatment Medications
One of the benefits of inpatient treatment is medical management of the physical aspects of addiction. Using prescription drugs in combination with treatment boosts the recovery success rate to 50 percent.
Medications can be used to help ease the symptoms of withdrawal in order to avoid relapse or to create a negative physical reaction to alcohol that helps eliminate the desire to drink. Common drugs used in alcohol detox and recovery include:
- Acamprosate: Used to reduce alcohol cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
- Naltrexone: Used to reduce cravings for alcohol as well as its pleasurable effects.
- Vivitrol: An extended-release formulation of Naltrexone.
- Disulfiram: Causes severe negative effects when alcohol is consumed.
Inpatient Alcohol Treatment
Inpatient rehab allows for round-the-clock care and personalized support from medical staff.
Inpatient treatment is a good choice for anyone who wants to focus completely on recovery without the stress or distractions of work, school, or social obligations. It allows for a thorough immersion in the recovery process and may be a good choice for people who have tried other treatments unsuccessfully. Inpatient treatment for alcohol rehabilitation may last anywhere from 30 days to six months or longer — recovery times depend on the needs of the individual.
Treatments at inpatient centers may include behavioral therapies, the most popular of which is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). These therapies encourage participants to change the way they react to stressful external stimuli (like failing a test or losing a job) by promoting healthy ways of coping. Many centers also offer group and individual counseling, experiential therapies, and training on proper nutrition and health.
Ongoing Recovery From Alcohol Addiction
After rehab, the best thing you can do to overcome your alcohol addiction is to find support for ongoing recovery. Whether you seek out the company of other recovering addicts or find support in your personal networks, it is imperative that you share your struggles with other people.
Ask for friends and family to support you in the recovery process; chances are they’ll be proud of you for taking control of your life again. External support groups include Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), which originated the 12-step program and now has approximately 2 million members. The 12 steps emphasize the participant’s ability to submit to a “higher power” to ask for help. The higher power doesn’t have to be rooted in religion, though that is the case for many. Others look for a “higher power” within.
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