For those facing alcoholism, there are thankfully a number of treatment options available. Certain methods could be viewed as being more adaptable to a specific personality type. Other factors will include how far along the condition has progressed and how serious it is. It will not surprise most that relapse is common, but a holistic treatment plan can prove vital as a preventive measure. Yet there is a path that many do take when it comes to overcoming a dependence on alcohol.
Seeing as the goal of treatment is to eliminate the need for alcohol, a detox program is a natural first step in removing the physical dependence. In more serious cases of extreme alcoholism, there will be a need to overcome the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms that excessive drinking eventually brings. Though physical shaking is seen in more intensive cases, it still is quite possible, along with other common signs such as nausea and vomiting. The worst cases could experience delirium tremens and seizures. Hallucinations can take place as well. The goal of detox is to minimize potential discomfort during this period. Detox often takes one to two weeks for an alcoholic in a treatment facility. Yet certain symptoms can persist beyond this time.
During the detoxification period, the alcoholic could be more prone to a number of negative or unpleasant emotional states, such as depression, anxiety, and a lowered sex drive. The drinker can become ill-tempered and also experience sleeplessness. There could also be a lowered metabolism or sense of vitality as well.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Those with more serious forms of alcoholism could especially benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy. This will allow the patient to work through the roadblocks that drinking presents in their lives, such as through specific therapeutic exercises. Examples could include drawing the connection between much of his or her personal history related to drinking. Clients will learn how to better deal with triggers which could arouse the desire to drink, such as being offered alcohol at a celebratory gathering. There are a number of adult functions where drinking is encouraged and perhaps even expected to some degree. The former drinker will need to learn how to be assertive and stand ground in such situations. The alcoholic can learn new and more positive hobbies to occupy their time.
A number of different medications have been approved to help ease the treatment process for alcoholics. The longest-running option in the medical field is Antabuse, or Disulfiram, which works by spurring unwanted side effects if the person drinks even a small amount. Side effects include heart palpitations, nausea, and flushing of the skin. There is also Naltrexone, which inhibits the pleasure that an alcoholic usually receives from drinking. Certain brain receptors are blocked which assist in providing alcohol’s intoxicating effects. This can help those dependent on alcohol to have one or two drinks and not feel anymore is necessary. Campral, or Acamprosate, is an oral medication that is intended to reduce the symptoms associated with sudden abstinence from alcohol, including agitation and sleeplessness.
Oftentimes, family members can have a sense of shame about the drinker’s dependence on alcohol. Relationships can become severely strained as the drinking escalates out of control, either gradually or more rapidly, perhaps as a result of a traumatic experience. The drinker could be driven to such extremes due to the death of a parent or sibling. There are programs specifically intended for families that have an alcohol abuser within it. If families are willing to be part of the recovery process, this can have a powerful impact on encouraging a patient to initiate positive behavioral changes.
This program emphasizes change from within, using common psychological methods such as cognitive-behavioral therapy. Those who decide to help themselves or a loved one begin the path to recovery today, using group therapy and many other treatment options, can reach our admissions team at 802-231-1018.