While alcoholism is an incurable disease it is treatable and there are many different treatment options available to help people such as yourself to over come their dependency to alcohol. Overcoming alcoholism is a life long process, the first step is admitting you have a problem and seeking help for it. This can be one of the most difficult parts of the recovery process. However, it will be the best choice you’ve ever made. When getting to this point it is important to be aware of all of the treatment available for alcoholism so that you receive the treatment that will meet your recovery needs. There is no cookie cutter treatment approach for treating alcoholism, however there are basic outlines that treatment facilities follow in aiding alcoholics in the recovery process.
Withdrawal From Alcohol
Approximately 95% of those with an alcohol dependency will experience mild to moderate withdrawal symptoms, others can experience more extreme and painful symptoms of withdrawal. For those with mild withdrawal symptoms they will experience mild shakes and discomfort. Those with severe addictions to alcohol may experience confusion, hallucinations, convulsions, autonomic instability, delirium and even death. While many with mild symptoms of withdrawal are able to withdrawal on their own or with the help of an outpatient detox program, those with severe alcoholism will require an inpatient detox program to ensure their safety and success.
Detoxification is the first step in any treatment plan. This is the process in which you abstain from alcohol use while your body is cleansed of the chemicals and toxins associated with its use. This is the withdrawal period which many who attempt to detox on their own are unable to handle withdrawal symptoms and cravings and return to the bottle. For all looking to stop drinking alcohol it is important to have either an inpatient treatment or outpatient treatment to ensure their success in getting through the detox process and onto the next step in their recovery process.
The outpatient detox process allows you to remain in the comfort of your own home while detoxing. You will make daily trips to the rehab center to meet with a counselor who will monitor you progress in detox. To keep your withdrawal symptoms at bay you may receive an prescription medication, an benzodiazepines (tranquilizers such as Valium, Librium, Ativan or Serax), that will help relieve withdrawal symptoms and cravings. You will be slowly weened off this medication during the detox process until you are comfortable with on prescription aid.
For those with severe alcoholism it is important to enter into an inpatient detox program because there can be health risks associated with withdrawal. You will have 24-7 supportive medical care when receiving inpatient detox. The detoxification process takes 3 to 7 days where you will be given a prescription aid if needed to help control withdrawal and cravings. For the first few day of treatment you will receive tranquilizers called benzodiazepines that will help you to withdrawal safely. Following this you may receive a medication such as naltrexone (ReVia) or disulfiram (Antabuse) which will help control cravings and keep you sober.
Alcoholism is not only an physical dependency to alcohol, there are many psychological aspects to this addiction that require treatment to prevent relapse. Various counseling and therapy sessions will help you to work through your psychological addiction to alcohol as well as uncover any underlying causes. Treatment centers are big on educational programs to help educate alcoholics in the dangers of this diseases as well as to teach them the key tools they will need to maintain their sobriety.
The Food and Drug Administration has approved certain medications in the treatment of alcoholism. These medications help those who have stopped drinking to maintain their sobriety. There are currently 3 medications that are clinically proven to treat alcoholism;
- Antabuse (disulfiram) causes the person to become sick if they consume any alcohol, this medication acts as a deterrent from alcohol.
- Naltrexone (Revia) blocks the affects of alcohol in the brain, also reducing any alcohol craving.
- Acamprosate (Campral) relieves the discomfort and any distress experienced by the alcoholic when they stop drinking.
It is important to remember that there is no pill that will cure alcoholism, these medications are used to aid in the treatment of alcoholism and you will need to be weened from the medication over time.
Alcoholism Support Groups
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a well know and proven successful treatment in the recovery process from millions suffering from alcoholism. This is a self help group that is run by a fellowship of men and women who too are suffering from alcoholism and in recovery. This group works by sharing each others experiences with alcohol and their success in sobriety. Each member of the group has a sponsor who is available to them 24-7 to offer support when needed and to help monitor the individuals recovery and maintenance of their sobriety. AA takes a 12 step approach to the healing process. This is a free support group that has helped millions to find success in their recovery.
AA is not the only type of support group available. Others may prefer an online support group or a non-12 step support group. Regardless to the type of support group chosen there has been scientific research that shows the benefits of a support group in the recovery of alcoholism.