Alcohol Treatment

There are different forms of alcohol treatment, which are tailored to individual needs. Irrespective of the type of alcohol treatment, the primary objective of all sorts of alcohol treatment is to help the alcoholic create an aversion to or abstinence from alcohol. Alcoholics who have a better social presence or who are well-connected to friends and family may have an easier time with recovery. Individuals who tend to remain in isolation most of the time may have a bit more of a challenge, unless they learn to get out of themselves and reach out to others for help.

At the same time, there is no measuring stick that can absolutely indicate who will remain sober, no matter one’s intelligence level, social status, or how severe their addiction was. There are seemingly impossible situations resolved every day and there are people who relapse that seemed to be doing OK. In any of these cases, starting off with a treatment program is considered the best way to start getting sober.

The length of the treatment program may vary; it could be for several months or even a year. At the end of the treatment program, the likelihood of the individual relapsing is reduced, though this is where they need to apply what they have learned. In addition, his quality of life after receiving treatment, both socially and professionally, will take some turns for the better with a continued practice of learned recovery principles. The results following treatment will be the responsibility of the individual. They will need to remain constantly vigilant and implement what they have learned as a course of alcohol treatment.

The success of alcohol treatment can’t be determined as soon as the individual leaves the rehab center or when he completes his treatment. There are certain parameters that determine the success of any alcohol treatment program, which include the length of the abstinence period or the amount of time during which the individual has not consumed alcohol, their willingness and desire to stay sober, and their application of the tools for recovery that they have learned.

Starting Alcohol Treatment

Though there are different types of treatment for alcoholism, treatment would usually not be possible or effective if there is no cooperation from the patient’s side. If the patient does not realize that he has an addiction, then it can become very difficult for anyone to help him. Most alcoholics are not willing to look into treatment as they are not willing to accept that they have a problem.

One of the common characteristics of alcoholism is denial. This is denial that there is a problem, and very often they are honestly unaware of the need for help or that there is a problem. This can be addressed through an intervention for anyone looking into helping them or else the problem is usually realized when they hit what is referred to as a ‘bottom’, which in essence is a lot of trouble in some form, where their life has usually fallen apart, and they have no other way to see how it got this way other than from their drinking.

In alcohol addiction treatment, there are generally three stages:

Detox – Detoxification is the first stage of treatment and happens as soon as the individual quits consuming alcohol. When an individual quits alcohol after chronic usage, he physically and psychologically goes through several changes due to the sudden cessation of alcohol intake that the body and brain have become accustomed to. As a result, this leads to several side effects, known as withdrawal symptoms.

About Alcohol Rehab Centers

These symptoms are sometimes very painful and can be unbearable at times. Detox is a medical process that helps deal with these symptoms and makes the withdrawal process much more bearable. Sudden withdrawal may lead to a number of symptoms such as:

  • Nausea
  • Seizures
  • Vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Irritability
  • Hallucinations

In some rare cases, it can even lead to death. For these reasons it is recommended that anyone going through withdrawal does so through the help of a detox facility.

Rehabilitation – The rehab process takes place after detox. Detox deals with the physical aspects of alcoholism and the initial powerful emotional reactions that come as the alcohol is removed from the alcoholic’s system. Rehab addresses the physical and mental issues of an alcoholic following detox. There are usually physical aspects that need to be addressed, mainly restoring the body to a state of decent health. There are also emotional symptoms that can go on for some time, including cravings for alcohol.

During rehab, the alcoholic is helped to understand how detrimental and sabotaging alcohol could be to his body. It also shows the individual the benefits of staying away from alcohol, and helps address the areas that could lead one back to drinking, which includes emotional issues. For significant emotional issues, there may be some medications that are suggested to help one get to a more even keel, with staying sober in mind, as emotional flare ups are one trigger that could lead one back to drinking.

Sobriety Maintenance and Aftercare – Once the mental and physical aspects of the alcoholic are addressed, it is now the responsibility of the individual to stay self-driven and stay away from alcohol under his own will. This maintenance period may require support from the rehab center through their aftercare offerings, along with a support system. Often it is recommended to continue with a 12-step program, and other suggestions that may be an outpatient program, counseling, a sober living arrangement and for many, their aftercare consists of all three.

As detoxification only cleanses the body and does not bring down the alcohol cravings, a maintenance treatment process is imperative. For an individual who has not developed a severe addiction to alcohol, the symptoms would usually be minor and easily addressable. Poor sleep and anxiety are some common symptoms. Withdrawing from long-term alcohol dependence would most likely bring up severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms, such as spasms, shaking, hallucinations, and panic.

Such cases should be dealt with in a professional manner; otherwise, the symptoms will be very uncomfortable and may be dangerous. The treatment should be carried out by an experienced doctor, and it usually involves the individual staying in the center or the hospital for the initial few days of the treatment. There are a number of different kinds of medications and prescription drugs that the person may be offered, and some may be necessary.

Benzodiazepines are a medication that is often used while detoxing from alcohol abuse that help deal with problems such as poor sleep and anxiety. They also are sometimes known to help in preventing delirium tremens and seizures. Once the detox stage is done with, the medication would most likely be discontinued. These drugs should be taken with care and only as per the instructions of the doctor, as these drugs are pretty addictive.

There are also medications for dealing with alcoholism recovery and ensuring sobriety and abstinence. A commonly used drug after the detox procedure is Disulfiram. This drug should be used only when the individual is abstinent from alcohol, as this drug tends to interfere with the individual’s alcohol metabolism. If an individual takes this drug when he is still under the influence of alcohol, then he could come across problems such as vomiting, nausea, confusion, blurred vision, and difficulty breathing.

If the individual is finding it difficult to resist the cravings for alcohol, then he can take a drug called Naltrexone. This drug helps in bringing down the cravings and it is usually recommended by doctors during any kind of alcohol rehab treatment. This drug is now available as an injection and it should be administered once a month. If Naltrexone is not effective with the cravings, then there is another drug called Acamprosate. This is an FDA-approved drug, which obviously means that its efficacy has been proven.

Medications such as Gabapentin and Topiramate, which primarily work against seizures, are also known for helping with alcohol cravings. However, these two drugs have not been approved by the FDA for their ability to reduce alcohol cravings. With antidepressants, the individual would be able to control resulting or underlying anxiety that is connected with alcohol addiction. As these symptoms show after a bit of time away from alcohol, these antidepressants are usually not given to the patient until the detox treatment is completely over.

The major objective of any alcohol rehab treatment is alcohol abstinence and not just during the alcoholic’s treatment in the center or for some short time post treatment. The recovery process is not just comprised of medication and detox procedures; counseling sessions, therapy, family involvement, etc. are also often part of the process. Of the different approaches towards alcohol addiction treatment, the one followed by Alcoholics Anonymous has been very successful. However, other treatment approaches have also been able to successfully help individuals with alcohol.

Alcohol Treatment

Diet and Nutrition – If an individual consumes alcohol in large amounts, then it would have an impact on the individual’s normal eating habits.

The appetite levels of the individual would go down as the consumption of alcohol sends an indirect signal to the brain that the body is not in need of any food.

Alcoholics are usually seen lacking important nutrients and minerals that are vital for the normal functioning of the body.

Some of the nutrients that alcoholics are seen having deficiency problems with are Vitamin A, C, B complex, carnitine, folic acid, selenium, magnesium, zinc, etc. They also may have deficiency problems with some of the essential antioxidants and fatty acids. Nutrients such as thiamine can help restore this deficiency. These nutritional supplements are an integral part of most any rehab program.

Though professional treatment is essential for alcoholism, some of the milder cases can be treated with the help of some home remedies. The best and the most uncomplicated way to get rid of alcoholism is alcohol abstinence. Though staying away from alcohol might sound like a very easy thing to do, it is not so in reality. Staying away from alcohol for someone who has been consuming alcohol for ages would be very difficult.

However, following certain tips would ease the process. The individual should avoid places and people who they associate with drinking. The individual would be advised to join self-help groups and should let family and friends know what’s going on. Stopping alcohol consumption will create a vacuum in the individual’s life. He should try to fill up this spare time by indulging in some hobbies or other activities along with those related to recovery. Exercise is also a suggested practice, for it helps one stay in good health and to feel better, which can help when someone is looking to reduce triggers that make them want to drink.

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