What are the options for treating alcoholism?

There is no medical cure for alcoholism, however, there are several treatment options available to choose from. The best treatment for alcoholism differs from person to person as it depends on a number of factors including the level of addiction, personal choice, and finance.

Some people may need to be checked into an inpatient facility for a longer-term stay, while others are able to detox at home.

No matter what stage of addiction you are at, or what level of treatment you feel you will need – it is important to seek help sooner rather than later.

Getting help sooner will help not only speed up the recovery process but also make it a little easier to overcome your addiction.

How do I get treatment?

The best thing to start your journey towards recovery is to visit your healthcare provider. Be open and honest about your addiction.

It is important to tell your healthcare provider exactly how much you drink and how often you drink as this is the best way to ensure that you get the proper care and treatment needed for your own personal circumstances.

It might not be a pleasant conversation, but your doctor will not judge you and will most likely have seen worse cases.

Depending on your personal circumstances, some treatment options you will be offered are:

1. Inpatient treatment

Inpatient treatment is usually reserved for people with the worst cases of alcoholism however, anyone can avail of this type of treatment if they want to. Inpatient treatment requires you to check into a residential facility for a number of days or weeks.

This way, any necessary medication can be administered to you in a safe and secure environment and you also have medical staff available at all times if you have a bad reaction or feel sick because of the detox.

Within an inpatient facility, you will also be treated for any underlying psychological issues that might have added to your addiction such as anxiety or depression. Inpatient rehab facilities often have a wide range of treatments available to help you overcome your addiction so that when you leave the facility, you are better equipped to face the world and any temptations or triggers that you will inevitably face.

2. Outpatient treatment

If you go for outpatient treatment, you will still live at home during your treatment.

This type of treatment may involve detoxification medications as well as therapy for an underlying mental health condition, however, you will visit a facility on set days to check in with a healthcare professional who will be keeping an eye on your progress.

This type of treatment is popular however, it can be difficult to overcome your addiction when you are still living with the same triggers in your day to day life.

If you choose to undergo outpatient treatment, it is a good idea to let friends or family members know what you are doing so they can support you through days when you might struggle.

3. Therapy

There is a range of therapies that could be offered to you while in an inpatient facility, and these therapies will also be available to you as an outpatient.

Identifying any underlying mental health issues or traumas that might have contributed to your alcoholism is a good way to begin to overcome your addiction once and for all.

Some of the most popular therapies in the treatment of alcoholism are:

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) – this type of therapy aims to change the way you think about and approach certain situations. It will help you to view things in a more positive light and can be a very effective treatment in overcoming addiction
  • Dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT) – is similar to cognitive behavioural therapy; however, it is mostly aimed at people who feel emotions quite intensely and teaches you how to overcome these strong emotions and teaches you skills to manage them
  • Couples or family therapy – couples and family therapy focuses on the relationships within the home and aims to change the way things are approached within those relationships.  It promotes a non-judgemental way to communicate within the relationships that are most important to us and promotes problem-solving skills
  • Detox and withdrawal – Most alcoholics will experience some withdrawal symptoms during their recovery, the severity of which will differ from person to person depending on the level of alcoholism. Some withdrawal symptoms include fever, chills, palpitations, and nausea

In extreme cases, you will be offered medication to alleviate some of the withdrawal symptoms.

Care after completion of alcoholism treatments

There is a lot of aftercare available once the initial treatment is finished. You can continue with the therapy treatments that you feel work best for you for as long as you feel you are benefitting from it.

You can also attend peer support groups for people with alcohol addiction such as 12 step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous.

If Alcoholics Anonymous isn’t for you, you could look into attending a support group such as SMART recovery which puts the main focus on you and teaches that you are in control of your addiction.

Peer support groups are very successful with aiding recovery as they are a place in which you can talk about all of your problems and triggers with zero judgement and even get advice and tips from people who have been in the exact same position that you are in.

Many people also get a “mentor” from these programs – someone that they can contact at any time of the day or night if they are having a particularly difficult day and feel that they are on the verge of a relapse.

Keeping in touch with your healthcare provider or assigned key worker is beneficial as they will be able to spot if you are slipping back into your old ways and will be on hand with advice.

The most important advice is to not suffer in silence. There is always help and advice available, you just need to know not to be afraid to reach out and ask for help if you feel you need it. The sooner you seek help for your alcoholism the easier your recovery will be.