Understanding Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol addiction, also known as alcohol use disorder, is a serious problem that often requires professional treatment. There are some practical ways to treat alcohol abuse and addiction, with medical detox programs widely used to enable alcohol discontinuation and rehab programs initiated to address the issues surrounding addiction. From extensive medication treatment through to behavioral therapy and relapse prevention, addiction treatment centers can deal with every aspect of alcoholism.

alcohol-addictionMedical Detox

A medical detox period is often needed to treat alcohol addiction, with medications used to reduce and manage the associated withdrawal syndrome. Alcohol is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant that produces physical-somatic withdrawal symptoms when drinking stops, some of which can be dangerous and even fatal if not treated properly. Common withdrawal symptoms include headaches, insomnia, nausea, vomiting, tremors, seizures, and delirium tremens. Benzodiazepine medications such as Valium and Librium are often used to help reduce the severity of these symptoms before they lead to additional complications.

Pharmacotherapy

Alcohol addiction is a physical and psychological disorder, with alcohol use disorder widely recognized as a medical condition. While binge drinking and alcohol abuse cases are often treated through psychotherapy measures alone, physical alcohol addiction is treated through a combination of medication and behavioral therapy. Pharmacotherapy programs administer drugs on a long-term basis to reduce the chances of relapse and improve the chances of recovery, with common medications including benzodiazepines, naltrexone, Antabuse, and Campral. These medications are applied at different stages of the recovery process, with the length and extent of addiction significantly influencing treatment methods.

Behavioral therapy

Behavioral therapies are widely used to treat alcohol addiction, with typical treatment models including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), motivational interviewing (MI), family therapy, and contingency management. These programs attempt to change problematic drinking behavior by addressing the emotional and cognitive precedents of such action. By recognizing the factors underlying alcohol addiction, therapists can help alcoholics to avoid compulsive and impulsive behavioral responses. While addiction treatment drugs are not always required, behavioral therapy and counseling are always recommended.

Relapse Prevention

Relapse prevention programs play an important role in addiction treatment, with various systems used to reduce relapse rates and promote long-term recovery. Relapse is both an outcome and a transgression of the recovery process, with different techniques and methods used at various stages of recovery. Emotional relapse often takes place first, followed by mental relapse and physical relapse. Relapse prevention programs are initiated during rehab and aftercare, with recovering alcoholics taught how to recognize triggers, avoid high-risk situations, and cope with stressful life events when they arise.

12-Step Support Programs

Addiction treatment options include conventional 12-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), with these programs designed to promote abstinence and support recovery on a long-term basis. The 12-step approach adheres to the disease model of addiction, with recovering alcoholics needing to admit a lack of control over their addiction before recognizing a higher power and making amends for past mistakes. After someone has been through a treatment program successfully, they also need to help others who are going through a similar situation. From the early days of medical detox through to the later days of rehab and aftercare, there are lots of practical addiction treatment programs for alcoholism.