An alcohol use disorder involves the anguish and harm caused by drinking alcohol. It is a medical condition in which you:
• Drink alcohol compulsively
• You cannot control how much you drink
• Feels anxious, irritable and/or stressed when not drinking
The types of disorders include alcoholism (also called alcohol dependence) and alcohol abuse.
What are the treatments for the disorder for alcohol consumption?
Most people with alcohol use disorder can find help with some form of treatment. These include medications and behavioral therapies. Many people get a better result by receiving both treatments. People who are treated for alcohol use disorder may also benefit from attending a support group such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). If you have the disorder and mental illness, it is important to get treatment for both.
Some people may need intensive treatment for this disorder. For example, they can be placed in a residential rehabilitation treatment center, where the treatment is highly structured. In general, alcohol rehab includes several different types of behavioral therapies. It may also include medications for detoxification (medical treatment for abstinence from alcohol) and/or to treat alcohol use disorder.
What medications can treat alcohol use disorder?
Three medications are approved to treat alcohol use disorder:
Disulfiram: Causes unpleasant symptoms such as nausea and redness of the skin each time you drink alcohol. Knowing what to drink will cause these unpleasant effects can help keep you away from alcohol
Naltrexone: Blocks receptors in the brain that make you feel good when you drink alcohol. It can also reduce your cravings for drinking. This can help you reduce your alcohol consumption
Acamprosate: Helps to avoid alcohol after having stopped drinking. It works in multiple brain systems to reduce your cravings, especially right after you stop drinking
Your doctor can help you determine if one of these medications is right for you. They are not addictive, so you do not have to worry about replacing one addiction with another. While they are not a cure, they can help you manage your alcohol use disorder. It is similar to taking medications to manage a chronic illness, such as asthma or diabetes.
What behavioral therapies can treat alcohol use disorder?
Another name for behavioral therapies is counseling or counseling about alcohol. It involves working with a health professional to identify and help change the behaviors that lead to your excessive alcohol consumption.
The cognitive behavioral therapy helps identify feelings and situations that can lead to excessive consumption of alcohol. He teaches coping skills, including how to manage stress and how to change the thoughts that make you want to drink. You can receive one-on-one therapy with a therapist or in small groups
The therapy motivational enhancement (stimulation therapy or motivation) helps build and strengthen the motivation to change their drinking habit. It includes about four sessions in a short period of time. Therapy begins with the identification of the pros and cons of seeking treatment. Then, you and your therapist work on creating a plan to change your habit. The next sessions are focused on increasing your confidence and developing the skills you need to be able to comply with the plan
Marriage and family counseling includes spouses and other family members. It can help repair and improve your family relationships. Studies show that strong family support through this therapy can help you stay away from alcohol.
Is the treatment for alcohol use disorder effective?
For most people, treatment for alcohol use disorder is useful. But overcoming it is a continuous process and you may have a relapse, as you are called to start drinking again. You should look at the relapse as a temporary setback and keep working on your alcohol detox process. Many people repeatedly try to reduce or stop drinking, have a setback, and then try to stop drinking again. Having a relapse does not mean you cannot recover. If you have it, it is important to return to treatment immediately, so you can learn what triggered it and improve your self-improvement skills. This can help you be more successful next time.