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Treatments for Alcoholics

If you feel that you have a problem with drinking then you might have the medical diagnosis, “alcohol use disorder”, or AUD. AUD is a disease that affects the brain causing you to want to keep drinking. You lose all control of trying to stop and if you do try to quit, your body will go into a state called alcohol withdrawal.

You can evaluate yourself or a loved one prior to seeking treatment to see if you struggle with AUD. In 2013 the American Psychiatric Association issued the 5th edition of DSM-5.

How to tell if you struggle with AUD?

There are certain criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) for someone to be diagnosed with AUD. If you meet any two of the eleven criteria within a 12 month period, then you will receive a diagnosis of AUD. The severity of your diagnosis, mild, moderate, or sever will be based on how many of the criteria’s you fall under.

Questions to ask to evaluate if yourself or a loved struggle with AUD

  • Had times when you ended up drinking more, or longer than you intended?
  • More than once wanted to cut down or stop drinking, or tried to, but couldn’t?
  • Spent a lot of time drinking? Or being sick or getting over the aftereffects?
  • Experienced craving — a strong need, or urge, to drink?
  • Found that drinking — or being sick from drinking — often interfered with taking care of your home or family? Or caused job troubles? Or school problems?
  • Continued to drink even though it was causing trouble with your family or friends?
  • Given up or cut back on activities that were important or interesting to you, or gave you pleasure, in order to drink?
  • More than once gotten into situations while or after drinking that increased your chances of getting hurt (such as driving, swimming, using machinery, walking in a dangerous area, or having unsafe sex)?
  • Continued to drink even though it was making you feel depressed or anxious or adding to another health problem? Or after having had a memory blackout?
  • Had to drink much more than you once did to get the effect you want? Or found that your usual number of drinks had much less effect than before?
  • Found that when the effects of alcohol were wearing off, you had withdrawal symptoms, such as trouble sleeping, shakiness, irritability, anxiety, depression, restlessness, nausea, or sweating? Or sensed things that were not there?

The severity of AUD will be defined as:

  • Mild: The presence of 2 to 3 symptoms
  • Moderate: The presence of 4 to 5 symptoms
  • Severe: The presence of 6 or more symptoms

When is the best time to seek treatment?

There is no better time than now. If you struggle with AUD, you must seek help right away. If left untreated, it can lead to additional problems and health complications. Alcoholism can also lead to death.

It is also not enough to just acknowledge that you have a problem, you must also be willing to take action. Get help from your family and loved ones if an extra push is required.

Types of Treatment for Alcoholics

There are different types of treatments that are available to someone struggling with alcoholism. Depending of the severity of your addiction and differences between individuals, there can be different options.

Medications

There are medications that an individual can take that will help control their drinking. There are currently 3 medications that a physician can prescribe which are FDA approved. Medication should not be seen as a cure and should be used in conjunction with counseling.

  • Acamprosate
  • Naltrexone
  • Disulfiram

Types of Treatments for Alcoholics

Studies show that behavioral treatments can be very beneficial to your recovery. You receive high level of care by licensed health professionals. The level of care and the treatment type will vary based on your severity of AUD.

Detox

In most cases, with alcohol addiction, you will require to detox from the substance which will require 24/7 monitoring in a health facility. Alcohol detox can take a week or so depending on severity. If you are at a level that requires detox, do not do this on your own without any medical supervision. The withdrawal process if not monitored correctly can be deadly. 

Inpatient Rehab

After detox you can continue your counseling by attending an inpatient or outpatient rehab. With an inpatient rehab, you will be required to remain on-site similar to the detox process anywhere between 30 to 90 days. The level of care will not be as extensive as it was during detox but treatment specialist will be available around the clock.

Outpatient Rehab

In an outpatient rehab you are not required to stay at the facility. You will be given a schedule an required to attend counseling at an outpatient facility. You will receive the same level of care as inpatient but be allowed to attend work or be with family.

Support Groups

After behavioral treatment peer support is highly recommended. Support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and other 12-step programs can provide support to stay on a path of recovery.

Other support groups will come from treatment as most facilities offer an alumni group. You will continue communications with individuals who went treatment alongside with you and still have direct communication with your treatment facility.

Seeking Help for your alcoholism

If you or a loved one are struggling with an alcohol addiction, seek help right away. If you are just unsure of the process and have more questions, our team is available to help 24/7. You can give us a call or just chat with an addiction specialist who will help answer any questions you might have. You can also Don’t delay your well-being, seek treatment and live a life free of alcoholism.


Sources: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, American Psychiatric Association

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