Alcohol addiction like every sort of addiction is hard to break and doesn’t really have a cure. The solution is to stop the intake of alcohol, which takes treatment and therapies. These treatments depend on the addict’s circumstances, their history with alcohol addiction and support system. The doctor or therapist usually wishes to talk to the person about their experience, life situation and motivation to quit. In addition to that, they also like talking to their friends and family to find out more about the addiction and the reasons behind it.
The treatment is started with a detoxification program to rid the patient’s body of the effects of alcohol, hence working on the physical factor of the addiction. Detoxification is performed in rehab centers or hospitals for the duration of a week. As the physical addiction is being broken it gives rise to withdrawal symptoms. With no more alcohol in the system the patient may experience, nausea, anxiety, shaking limbs, difficulty breathing, and other symptoms. Since these symptoms are very acute and agonizing to go through most people turn back to the alcohol to end them. But during the detoxification process, medication is given to help reduce the effect of these symptoms.
The second part of the treatment is psychological. Alcohol addiction usually has an underlying cause. Since drinking liquor is a very normal social activity most people are used to it and know how to control their intake. Certain situations or emotions trigger the addiction. This can either be a financial crisis, breakups, depression, anxiety, etc. In order to forget or to seek relief people turn to alcohol. Therapists are available at rehab centers to help patients with their problems and show them other ways to deal with them instead of drinking them away.
Counseling and support groups such as the ones in the 12 step program, like Alcoholics Anonymous, can help with alcoholism. For patients who would rather have an individually tailored plan, there is also a nontraditional program which is much more flexible.
A part of the treatment is medication. There are several medicines such as:
- Disulfiram: it reduces your desire to drink alcohol by causing nausea when you drink while you are on this medication. It causes vomiting, headaches, nausea and flushing.
- Naltrexone: alcohol causes the reward system of your brain to light up, this medication blocks that. So if you don’t feel ‘rewarded’ you are less likely to want to drink.
- Acamprosate: it helps with alcohol cravings
- Vivitrol: It is an injection which is given once a month and is basically the same thing as Naltrexone, but has a longer lasting effect and is good for people who are bad at remembering to take pills.
It is hard to beat the addiction but it is not impossible. Alcoholism is a lifelong problem but can be controlled, it is easy to get tempted especially since alcohol is so easily available but people manage to stay sober. Some stop drinking altogether and others drink in controlled amounts. If relapse seems inevitable then it is advised to join a sober home to help before falling into addiction again.