Alcoholism and Treatment


Similar to other illnesses and diseases, alcoholism can be overcome with quality alcoholism treatment, increased research attempts, and prevention.

Stated in another way, as critical as alcohol dependency is, fortunately it can be treated. Treatment for alcoholism frequently includes a mixture of doctor prescribed drugs and counseling to help an individual quit drinking and become sober.

Under the best of circumstances, moreover, alcoholism and treatment can lead to recovery.

Alcoholism and Treatment: A General Overview

Not unlike other illnesses, alcoholism can be overcome with increased research efforts, prevention, and proper alcohol addiction treatment.

By providing more people with access to exceptional alcoholic treatment, the costly drain on society and the physical, psychological, and financial encumbrances that alcoholism places on families can be substantially diminished.

To be sure, the research literature reveals compelling data that professional alcoholism treatment approaches and alcoholism prevention efforts result in significant reductions in cancer, hearth disease, strokes, traffic fatalities, crime, unwanted pregnancy, HIV, and child abuse.


Additionally, qualified treatment for alcohol dependency and drug abuse improves an individual's quality of life, health, and job performance while at the same time minimizing drug use, family dysfunction, and involvement with the criminal justice system.

As threatening as alcohol dependency is, fortunately it can be treated. Treatment for alcohol addiction habitually combines counseling and practitioner prescribed medications to help an individual abstain from drinking alcoholic beverages.

While most alcoholics need help to recover from their affliction, scientific examination has illustrated that with support and expert treatment for alcohol dependency, scores of individuals are able to quit drinking and reclaim their lives.

Exactly What Is Alcoholism?

Alcoholism, known as alcohol addiction and alcohol dependence, is a progressive debilitating disease that is comprised of the following four components:
  • Craving: having a strong urge or need to drink.

  • Loss of control: an inability to discontinue drinking after the first drink.

  • Physical dependence: withdrawal symptoms like nausea, "the shakes," anxiety, headaches, and perspiration when refraining from alcohol.

  • Tolerance: the need to drink increasingly more amounts of alcohol in order to get "high" or to feel a buzz.

Alcoholism Treatment and Withdrawal Symptoms

A number of atypical techniques exist for treating alcoholism withdrawal. Insomuch as some of these therapies use medications, numerous, alternatively, do not.

It can be noted with fascination that according to current research findings, the most reliable way to treat mild withdrawal symptoms is without drugs. Such non-drug detoxification methodologies use broad social support and screening throughout the entire withdrawal procedure.

Other non-drug detoxification therapies, furthermore, use vitamin therapy (unusually thiamin) and proper nutrition for treating mild withdrawal symptoms.

Mild to Moderate Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

The following illustrates mild to moderate physical withdrawal symptoms that ordinarily occur within 6 to 48 hours after the last alcoholic drink:

  • Tremor of the hands.

  • Looking pale.

  • Nausea.

  • Pulsating headaches.

  • Sweating (especially on the palms of the hands or on the face).

  • Enlarged or dilated pupils.

  • Loss of appetite.

  • Vomiting.

  • Clammy skin.

  • Vomiting.

  • Abnormal movements.

  • Involuntary movements of the eyelids.

  • Rapid heart rate.

  • Sleeping difficulties

Severe Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

The following is a list of severe symptoms that typically take place within 48 to 96 hours after the last alcoholic drink:

  • Muscle tremors.

  • Seizures.

  • Visual hallucinations.

  • Severe autonomic nervous system overactivity.

  • Convulsions.

  • Black outs.

  • Delirium tremens (DTs).

  • Fever.

  • Convulsions.

Traditional Alcoholism Treatment Approaches

There is a diversity of orthodox alcohol treatment approaches that are considered "conventional" therapies.

The following alcohol addiction treatment methodologies and therapies will be reviewed: Outpatient alcoholism Treatment and Counseling, Detoxification, Behavioral Treatment, Therapeutic Medications, Residential alcohol addiction Treatment methodologies and Inpatient Alcohol Rehab, and Family and Marital Counseling.

Outpatient alcohol addiction Treatment and Counseling. There are considerable counseling methods that educate alcoholics how to become attentive to the situational and psychological" hot buttons" that prompt their drinking.

Armed with this information, people can accordingly learn about unique ways in which they can handle circumstances that do not necessitate the employment of alcohol. Not surprisingly, therapies like these are almost always offered on an outpatient basis.

Detoxification. Alcohol detoxification is the protocol of letting the body rid itself of alcohol while managing the withdrawal symptoms in a harmless environment.

Alcohol detox treatment is almost always done under the guidance of a medical doctor and is commonly the first step employed in an alcoholic treatment program.

Detoxification methodologies, because of the relatively long time frame to complete the process, are almost always part of an inpatient alcohol rehab program.

Behavioral Treatments such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Motivation Enhancement Therapy, and Alcoholics Anonymous.

It is interesting to note that according to a study administered by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and alcohol addiction, each of these three behavioral treatment therapies extensively reduced drinking in patients the year after treatment.

Whereas all three of these methods were considered "successful," none of them, on the other hand, could be categorized as "the most efficient" treatment for alcohol addiction.

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Alcoholics Anonymous is a mutual support program for recovering alcoholics Specifically centered on the 12-steps of recovery that are needed in order to stay sober.

Backing and support are provided by the meetings that meet on a regular basis. Is Alcoholics Anonymous the most effective strategy for the treatment of alcohol dependency?

While Alcoholics Anonymous has proven to be an helpful alcoholism treatment methodology, numerous practitioners outside of Alcoholics Anonymous, as well as more than a few people within Alcoholics Anonymous, believe that Alcoholics Anonymous works most effectively when incorporated with other types of therapy like psychotherapy and medical care.

Motivation Enhancement Therapy (MET). Motivation Enhancement Therapy is a systematic therapeutic method that is almost the total contrast of Alcoholics Anonymous in that it uses motivational strategies to activate the client's own change mechanisms. Some of the most important elements of MET are the following:

  • Therapist empathy.

  • Providing the client with a diversity of unusual change options.

  • Providing feedback on the subject of the individual risks or damage connected to the abuse.

  • Helping the client achieve self-efficacy or a sense of optimism.

  • Emphasis on taking personal responsibility for constructive change.

  • Receiving unmistakable advice to make healthy changes.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). There are more than a few forms of cognitive behavior therapy. Most of them, all the same, have the following commonalties:

  • CBT uses the Socratic Method that is rooted in the asking of questions for insight.

  • In CBT, a solid therapeutic relationship is necessary but not the primary focal point for effective therapy.

  • CBT is structured and directive.

  • CBT is a mutually shared attempt between the therapist and the client.

  • CBT theory and techniques rely on the Inductive Method. This method has patients look at their thoughts as hypotheses (or suggested explanations) that can be tested and questioned. If clients discover that their hypotheses are false, they can then change their thoughts and experiences to be more in line with reality.

  • Homework is a central feature of CBT.

  • CBT is based on an educational model that views most emotions and behavioral reactions as learned responses. Thus, the therapeutic goal in to Assistance the client unlearn undesirable reactions and emotions and replace them with new and more constructive ways of functioning and reacting.

  • CBT is centered on stoic philosophy. CBT does not tell clients how they should feel. More accurately, this kind of therapy focuses on helping patients learn how to think more logically and helpfully.

  • CBT dependably has therapeutic sessions that are briefer and fewer in quantity than most other forms of therapy.

  • CBT methodologies are established on the cognitive model of emotional response. Specifically, if people change the way they think, they can therefore act and feel better, even if the situation doesn't change.

Therapeutic Medications. In this treatment methodology, the alcoholic takes doctor-prescribed medications such as disulfiram (Antabuse) or naltrexone (ReViaT) in an attempt to help prevent the individual from returning to drinking after he or she has ingested alcohol. Stated simply, with this methodology, doctors prescribe medications (drugs) to treat alcoholism.

For instance, antabuse is a drug given to alcoholics that results in negative effects such as flushing, vomiting, nausea, or dizziness if alcohol is ingested.

Obviously, antabuse is effectual basically because it is a realistic deterrent. Naltrexone (ReViaT), in contrast, targets the brain's reward circuits and is successful because it reduces the craving the alcoholic has for alcohol.

Residential Alcohol Treatment methods and Inpatient Alcohol Rehab. If a person needs alcohol poisoning treatment, if the individual's withdrawal symptoms are harsh, if outpatient approaches or support-oriented methods like Alcoholics Anonymous are not productive, or if there's a need for alcohol AND drug abuse treatment, the individual typically has to register into a hospital or a residential alcohol treatment facility and receive inpatient alcohol rehab treatment.

Programs like these are targeted for alcoholism clients and almost always involve doctor-prescribed drugs to help the individual get through detoxification and the alcohol withdrawal treatment protocol in a safe manner.

Family and Marital Counseling. Due to the fact that the recovery course of action is so intimately tied to the support the client receives from his or her family, a number of alcoholism methods include family therapy and marital counseling as key features in the treatment protocol.

Such therapeutic methodologies, moreover, also provide alcoholics with important community resources, like legal assistance, parenting courses, financial management programs, childcare courses, and job training.

Alcoholism and Treatment: Unconventional Therapies

Despite the fact that the research findings are not definitive, there is a fairly wide range of unusual treatment interventions for alcohol abuse and alcoholism that are becoming more available, widely used, and more researched.

Examples include the following therapies that have been proposed as "natural" classes of alcohol abuse treatment: the holistic and naturalistic methodologies used by Traditional Chinese Medicine, different vitamin and supplement therapies, and "Drumming out Drugs" (a therapeutic approach that employs the use of drumming by patients).

As promising as these nontraditional methodologies are, more research, however, is needed to establish their effectiveness and to determine if these varieties of treatment for alcohol addiction offer long-lived success.

Teen Alcoholism and Treatment

Learning about alcohol treatment is unusually significant concerning teen alcohol dependency.

More to the point, if a teenager or a parent of a teenager can read about and comprehend some of the facts and statistics about teenage alcohol abuse and teen alcohol addiction, they might be able to avoid the detrimental effects that are interconnected to teenage alcohol abuse and teen alcoholism in the workplace, school, or in college.

More exposure to relevant information also means that our youth may be able to stay away from adolescent alcoholism treatment or the teen alcoholism treatment procedure entirely.

Conclusion: Alcoholism and Treatment

Even though a cure for alcohol addiction does not currently exist, multiple drug and alcohol therapeutic methodologies and alcoholism treatment programs, however, exist that help alcoholics recover from their alcohol dependency. In brief, there is a lot of alcoholism and treatment information that is available both online and offline.

Some individuals, however, are sure to ask the following question about treating alcoholism: "What is the most efficient type of alcoholism treatment"? Like any chronic illness, there are varying levels and degrees of success concerning alcohol dependency treatment.


For instance, some alcoholics, after treatment, refrain from drinking and remain sober. Other alcoholics, conversely, encounter fairly long periods of sobriety after receiving treatment, and then have a drinking relapse.

And still other alcoholics cannot abstain from drinking alcohol for any sustainable period of time, no matter what manner of treatment they have received.

It is interesting to point out, by the way, that all of these treatment outcomes happen with every known type of alcoholism treatment.

In any event, when discussing alcoholism and treatment, one thing is unmistakable: the longer an individual refrains from drinking alcohol, the more likely he or she will be able to remain sober and steer clear of the need for the treatment for alcoholism.