Alcohol Treatment Options

Overcoming an alcohol addiction can be very tough. It may seem impossible at first but if you are willing to get the support you need, you can get through any alcohol addiction no matter how bad it is. Every patient trying to withdraw from alcohol experiences some level of alcohol withdrawal symptoms. The symptoms might be mild ones for people who are not alcohol dependent but they might be severe for those whose bodies have become highly dependent on alcohol.

There are various alcohol treatment options available to help people with alcohol abuse problems. These treatment options mainly depend on the level of addiction. Patients with mild symptoms can be treated on an outpatient basis and those with severe alcohol addiction would best benefit from an inpatient facility, both for detox and for rehab that would be recommended after the detox.

Alcohol Treatment Options

Alcohol Detox And Withdrawal

The detox process is a medical intervention that helps a patient go through withdrawal safely and as comfortable as possible.

It is the first step of a comprehensive alcohol treatment process. Most detox processes takes place in a rehab facility or a detox center in hospitals.

This is highly recommended as complications may arise and the staff helps the patients go through the process safely.

When a patient is admitted for detox, a clinical assessment is done to determine the best approach to treatment. Benzodiazepines are the most common drugs used during the detox process.

While prescribing medication, the doctors may use these three approaches:

  1. The first approach takes into consideration the patient’s degree of tolerance. A small dose of the medication is given every hour until the patient is completely recovered.
  2. The third approach is to defer treatment until the symptoms occur. This approach should not be used on patients who have had seizures or a serious alcohol dependence.
  3. The second approach involves giving a standard dosage of the medication according to their drinking history and adjustments are made based on the withdrawal experience of the patient.

Alcohol Treatment Options

The length of time spent in the detox facility will vary from patient to patient depending on:

  • The level of alcohol dependency.
  • How long the patient has been drinking.
  • If the patient has any mental disorders.
  • The amount of alcohol consumed every day.
  • If the patient has experienced any traumas before.

The detox process is a very vital first step as no progress will be made in the alcohol treatment process before the physical withdrawal symptoms are dealt with.

Psychotherapy for Alcohol Treatment

Psychological approaches are now used to treat alcoholism. Some of these approaches include social skills training, motivating the patient, analyzing their behaviors, relaxation training, and family therapy. These approaches have been scientifically proven to work on different levels. The task of the people involved is to determine which approach is the best and that which will have better results.

The approach may be chosen depending on the individual characteristics of the patient, the effectiveness of the 12-step program of Alcoholics Anonymous and the value of additional support offered. No single approach has been regarded as superior to others in helping patients recover. The different approaches have been known to work equally effectively as long as the patients are matched to the approach that benefits them most.

Family therapy will work best on patients who are married or have long-term relationships unlike in people with unstable relationships. It is all about matching the client with the matching treatment. Motivational therapy is based on the assumption that the responsibility and the desire to change lies within the patient. The therapist starts by pointing out the effects of alcohol on the patient’s life. He then explains the benefits of abstaining from alcohol and the treatment options available. A plan is later designed to implement the treatment goals.

12-Step Recovery Programs

Recovery programs are turning out to be the most sought out source of help for alcohol and drug-related problems. Alcoholics Anonymous is one of the most well-known self-help groups. It outlines 12 steps that alcoholics should complete during the process of recovery. Some alcoholics may join AA before seeking medical treatment, as part of the ongoing process or after completing the medical treatment as an aftercare option.

A combination of medical treatment and AA is known to have better results on some patients than practicing AA alone. AA benefits the patients as it helps them replace their drinking friends they had with the AA members who can provide motivation and support them as they go through the process of abstinence. It also offers coping skills similar to those offered by more structured psychological treatments, therefore leading to a reduced consumption of alcohol.


Researchers are now focusing on the development of medications that will block alcohol-brain interactions that promote alcoholism. The medication Naltrexone was approved in 1995 by the US Food and Drug Administration to prevent relapse among recovering alcoholics. The patients taking the medication have shown reduced alcohol consumption for longer periods of time. As with other medications, it is only effective when taken on a regular basis as prescribed.

Acamprosate has shown promise in treating alcoholics who are still undergoing psychological treatment. Results show that a combination of this also has favorable results and the patient may have a better chance of remaining sober when compared to those patients receiving psychological treatment alone. Some medications may be more effective in some patients but research highly supports the use of medication while undergoing psychotherapy.

People looking into alcoholism treatment have access to a wider range of treatment options these days. Some methods such as 12-step programs have been around for a long time. Others such as couple’s therapy, motivational therapy, and behavioral analysis are new concepts but have been shown to be effective in reducing alcoholism and its related problems.

While undergoing alcohol treatment, patents are sometimes prescribed vitamins, specifically vitamin B1 (thiamine). This is because many alcoholics tend to not eat properly, leading to lack of nutrition. Lack of vitamin B1 can lead to severe brain damage if not addressed on time. Support from friends and family is also very helpful while undergoing any alcohol treatment process.

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