January 12, 2022 AddictionAlcoholTreatment

Treatment Options for Alcohol Addiction

Fourteen million American adults drink too much, too often, too fast, and qualify for alcohol use disorders (AUDs). The issue of alcohol is a raised public health concern that has grown in recent years—alongside other substance use disorders (SUDs). It’s quite common to struggle with controlled drinking.

Treatment, however, works. Most people with AUD benefit from therapies and treatments. One-third of all people treated for alcoholism do not show symptoms 12 months later. Others reduce and monitor their drinking with fewer problematic outcomes for themselves or their families.

When looking for treatment, you’ll find at least three major treatments for alcohol problems from evidence-based centers:

  • Medically supervised detox
  • Residential inpatient environments
  • Outpatient treatment facilities

Each detox, residential, and outpatient facility is unique, but most will allow you to choose one or all three treatment options (when offered).

What is alcohol addiction?

If you can’t control when or how much you drink and have trouble with not drinking, you may have an alcohol use disorder. While non-doctors sometimes think it’s merely a willpower problem—professionals understand that alcohol use disorder is actually a medical disease.

Alcoholism, or AUD, is a common affliction in modern times, but there are also cases of alcohol abuse when the user isn’t dependent on it. Dependency, however, usually requires careful and strategic treatment. Consider whether treatment could work for you by answering these basic questions about your drinking patterns:

  • Do you feel you have to drink?
  • Do you want to cut down but can’t?
  • Do you drink more than you intend?
  • Does drinking interfere with your life?
  • Do you continue to drink despite trouble?

Answering yes to these questions can get you thinking about how to take the next step in managing a potentially serious problem. There can also be a sense of urgency if you’ve noticed serious withdrawal symptoms such as shakiness, irritability, nausea, or others.

Your drinking may be a cause for concern, but there are many available treatment options to help you manage the symptoms of AUD along with your overall health.

What are my options for alcohol treatment?

Depending on your personal history, the treatment you can access, and the severity of your AUD condition—treatment for alcoholism works best when handled in stages:

  1. medical detox begins recovery;
  2. residential inpatient cements it; and,
  3. outpatient treatment manages outcomes.

Recovery from substance abuse and addiction is unique to each person. Let’s consider each as an option and as a stage for someone who may need the full suite of treatment services.

medically supervised detox

Medically Supervised Detox

Detox typically means sitting under 24-hour medical supervision as you withdraw from alcohol. The symptoms of withdrawal can be intense, difficult, and life-threatening in severe cases. By having a doctor and medical team, you’ll protect yourself from unpleasantness, pain, and potential risks.

Residential Inpatient Rehab

Inpatient treatment through a residential facility helps add structure, support, and security to the treatment process. Residential clients have access to around-the-clock professional support while staying in a drug- and alcohol-free environment as they learn new skills.

Ongoing Outpatient Programs

Outpatient treatment, sometimes intensive, follows detox and residential courses of treatment, giving clients continued access to therapists, prescribing psychiatrists, and groups. Outpatient treatment is a great way to carry routines, skills, and coping into a sober lifestyle.

What will my treatment for alcohol include?

Many think of Alcoholics Anonymous and 30-day residential stays alone when asked how alcohol is treated. But, there are many ways to treat a drinking problem or alcohol addiction. Many of them are thanks to advances in the science of addiction and the realization that it’s a medical disease.

Medication Management

There are several medications approved by the FDA for the treatment of AUD. As well as working during the detoxification process’ withdrawal symptoms, these medicines can stop or reduce drinking and prevent relapse. They can be prescribed by some primary physicians, psychiatrists, and other health professionals, usually in combination with counseling. Typically, they work by making alcohol unpleasant to consume.

Talk Therapy

Behavioral talk therapy aims to change drinking behavior through counseling. Studies show talking about issues within a structured therapeutic framework—such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)—can be highly effective. They look at alcohol cravings, behaviors, and patterns in the short and long term. For this reason, research shows significant support for talk therapy as a strategy in most treatment plans and treatment programs.

Group Support

Support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and SMART Recovery offer peer support for people who are quitting drinking. Added to other forms of treatment, researchers suggest these groups are helpful in many cases. They often reduce a sense of stigma around addiction that encourages recovery.

Family Therapy

Your family can be included in treatment to keep you accountable and on track with milestones of recovery. Some groups—like Al-Anon and Alateen—are specifically designed for family members of those with a drinking problem. They offer important empathy and insight for the ones you love to understand alcohol dependence and support you to stop drinking.

Where can I find alcohol treatment options?

The process of discovering you have a problem with alcohol can be as difficult as finding the right help for your condition. Once you or your doctor have evaluated your drinking patterns, you may wonder where you can turn to get the right resources.

Known throughout the United States—Indiana Center for Recovery provides alcohol addiction treatment through medical detox, residential inpatient, and ongoing outpatient. The award-winning facility, staff, and campus help ensure a more satisfying life for clients.