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Treatment for Alcoholism

Even though alcohol is the most abused drug in the United States, many people with alcoholism go untreated. When people become addicted to alcohol, their physical, psychological, and social health often suffers.


Treatment for mental health issues is not a decision taken lightly. A staggering number of individuals in the United States are addicted to drugs or alcohol. Around 15 million Americans have an alcohol use problem, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.


Alcohol-related vehicle accidents claim the lives of 30 Americans daily, while alcohol poisoning claims the lives of six Americans daily. Sadly, only roughly 7% of those individuals suffering from alcohol use disorder (SUD) get any medical attention at any point.


Consider these treatment alternatives if you or a loved one is struggling with alcoholism.

Treatment of Alcoholism

Ultimately, the best therapy choice for you or a loved one depends on your circumstances and objectives. Many patients find that a mix of therapies is most effective, which may be accomplished in just a single program.


Some of these programs need you to remain at a treatment facility for a while. Other options include programs that allow you to live at home while still receiving treatment at a facility.


Treatment options for alcoholism include the following:


Addiction rehabilitation often begins with detox, but this alone is seldom enough to help someone maintain long-term sobriety. Detoxification is a series of procedures to help someone grappling with AUD safely and painlessly wean themselves off alcohol. It can be done at either an outpatient or inpatient treatment facility.


However, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, anybody at risk of severe and life-threatening alcohol withdrawal, including seizures and DTs (Delirium Tremens), should undertake detox in a residential institution, such as a health center or other acute care facility.


Patients undergoing alcohol detox may be given medications to aid their withdrawal safely.

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Expert Contributor

Dr. Williams presently serves on the board of Directors for two non-profit service organizations. He holds a Master’s degree in Human Services from Lincoln University, Philadelphia, Pa, and a Ph.D. with a concentration in Clinical Psychology from Union Institute and University. In Cincinnati, Ohio. He is licensed to practice addictions counseling in both New Jersey and Connecticut and has a pending application as a practicing Psychologist in New Jersey.

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Medications for Alcohol Addiction

The NIAAA recommends a variety of FDA-approved drugs to treat alcoholism:

Acamprosate (Campral)

Acamprosate (that trades as Campral) is a drug that assists individuals who have recently quit drinking from relapsing. To minimize alcohol cravings, it's frequently administered in conjunction with psychotherapy.


If given this drug, the course begins immediately as you start your alcohol withdrawal phase and may extend for up to six months, depending on your circumstances.


Nalmefene or Selincro is a drug that may reduce the chances of relapse or decrease the quantity of alcohol consumed.


It works by preventing alcohol cravings by inhibiting opioid receptors in the system.


After an initial examination, Nalmefene may be suggested as a viable prescription for alcoholism if you meet the following criteria:


  • You're still consuming more than seven and a half units of alcohol daily (for males) or more than five units each day (for women).

  • There are no physical withdrawal signs in your body.

  • You don't have to quit drinking right away or become completely dry.

  • Only use Nalmefene if you're getting assistance to reduce your alcohol consumption and stay in treatment.


If you're attempting to achieve sobriety but are worried about relapse, or if you've had repeated relapses, disulfiram (that sells under the brand name Antabuse) may help.


Disulfiram creates unpleasant bodily responses when you consume alcohol, which makes you want to stop drinking. These may include the following:

  • Vomiting 

  • Nausea

  • Dizziness 

  • Chest discomfort


Naltrexone may be used to avoid relapse or reduce the quantity of alcohol consumed. It works by preventing the effects of alcohol by inhibiting opioid receptors in the brain. It's generally used with other medications or counseling.


If naltrexone is prescribed, you should know that it inhibits the action of medications containing opioids, such as codeine and morphine.


If you get ill while using naltrexone, quit taking it immediately and see your therapist or medical team. A naltrexone treatment may continue up to six months, but it can also be longer.

Treatment at Rolling Hills Recovery Center

Therapy Options at Rolling Hills Recovery Center

Addiction therapy for alcoholism may take several forms, inpatient (residential) or outpatient (day treatment). Among others, but not limited to:


Psychotherapy (talk therapy) is the traditional treatment method by having patients and therapists dialogue about the issue. Here, a therapist listens intently while the patient recounts their struggles.

There are various ways in which the patient and psychologist might work together. The following choices are available: one-on-one, small group, or family therapy sessions.


Psychoanalysis, behavior modification, cognitive behavioral therapy, and holistic or complete treatment may all be used in your psychotherapy program. In addition, a psychiatrist who does psychotherapy may give their patients medicine.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) aims to discover and promote good ideas and behaviors while replacing negative ones. The solution-oriented approach in CBT includes addressing negative thoughts, confronting anxiety and depression, and role-playing to build social ties.


Motivational Enhancement Therapy

This treatment helps the person make a more solid decision about whether or not to drink alcohol by exploring and accepting their mixed feelings about it.

Counseling for Couples and Families

Spouses and other household members are invited to participate in family therapy. This therapy can help heal broken family ties and improve your familial relationships. Study after study has shown that strong family support, achieved through family therapy, can help people not drink and never drink again.

Support Groups

Support systems are often used as a part of the treatment process in alcohol rehabilitation facilities. A well-known treatment-related peer support group is AA (Alcoholics Anonymous). It is a sort of aftercare for people in recovery that helps them maintain sobriety and provides a network of people they can turn to for advice and encouragement.

Having a group of like-minded people with whom you can share your fantasies and cravings may be pretty helpful. There is no need for anybody to go through the healing process on their own, alone.


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The Bottom Line

The term "alcohol use disorder" refers to a pattern of harmful or toxic drinking, such as consuming alcohol daily and in large quantities. Intensity may vary widely, from light to extreme. Having a more significant number of symptoms indicates a more severe condition. Alcohol addiction is a term used to describe alcoholism in moderate to severe cases.


Alcoholism is a long-term (chronic) health condition that requires long-term treatment. A lack of strength or determination is not to blame. It can be healed, much like many other disorders. If you or someone you care about is struggling with alcohol addiction, you should seek immediate professional assistance at a reputable drug treatment facility.

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Treatment of alcoholism
Medications for alcohol addiction
Treatment options at Rolling Hills Recovery Center
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