Today, drinking alcohol on social occasions has somehow become the norm. Some would even argue that alcohol plays a role in celebrations and parties. More so, it’s often associated with the ideas of relaxation and having a good time. However, at some point, too much consumption isn’t ideal too. And some studies suggest frequent drinking and binge drinking too often may lead to alcohol dependence.
What Is Alcohol Dependence?
Alcohol dependence is a term that refers to a chronic condition affecting people who tend to have an unstoppable urge to consume alcoholic drinks. And in some cases, people who have alcohol dependence have also developed a higher tolerance. This means that they need to increase the amount of their consumption to get the effect and feeling they’re after.
In addition, people who have alcohol dependence also tend to experience symptoms and adverse effects. This includes frequent mood swings, insomnia, nausea, and tremors. And for them, the only way to eliminate and avoid these symptoms is by drinking.
And as a result, this condition can affect the way people live. For instance, they could fail to do their obligations at home or work. And in most cases, alcohol dependence can pose various health risks to the drinker. And more so, safety risks for the people around them too.
Treating Alcohol Dependency
Recognizing and acknowledging the problem are both considered the first step to recovery. Furthermore, there are various ways to efficiently help patients deal with and manage their alcohol dependency. However, it’d be worth noting that treatments vary from one person to another, depending on their needs and condition.
To help you get started, here are some effective treatments for alcohol dependence.
- Treatment Programs And Facilities
One of the best ways for people with alcohol dependence to get the help they need and be treated is to stay at a treatment facility. Most facilities have programs that aim to provide support therapies, whether individual or as a group, and lectures that can help patients understand what they’re going through and help them with it.
In addition, most facilities have in-house professionals that can best help in treating alcohol concerns among patients and help them manage their drinking habits. This includes licensed counselors, medical practitioners, and social workers.
There are now more than thousands of recovery centers for alcohol use disorder worldwide. You may reach out to Jackson House Addiction Treatment & Recovery Centers if you’re residing within California or other treatment facilities within your locality.
- Therapy And Counseling
Health professionals always rule out the efficacy of simply telling or advising alcohol-dependent people to stop drinking. However, certain approaches could help with this. There are various therapy remedies and counseling programs they can try and participate in. Some of these therapies include:
- Motivation Through Interview
Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a type of counseling that aims to help patients have concrete objectives and remain motivated to change. People who have alcohol dependency tend to feel helpless over their struggles. As such, therapists will aim to understand their motivation and further promote it.
Furthermore, in MI, the therapist expresses empathy, overrides resistance, and helps patients develop self-worth. It’s a therapy that’s usually incorporated with other modes of therapy interventions.
- Psychological Therapy
During psychotherapy, the patient talks to a psychologist or psychiatrist to help them understand and deal with what they’re currently going through. This could be their moods, thoughts, and even behavior.
Each therapy session provides patients with a safe and non-judgmental space for them to talk about their issues and concerns freely. For instance, the patient may have been using alcohol to fill an emptiness they can’t overcome. Or perhaps, despite knowing the consequence of their drinking habits to them and the people around them, they still opt for alcohol. This can then help them come to terms with the factors that resulted in alcohol dependence. It’s especially needed during alcohol withdrawal processes.
More so, psychotherapy teaches patients how to deal with their emotions and thoughts without resorting to alcohol. It also teaches them to develop effective and healthy coping mechanisms to help them gain control of their life and maintain a positive outlook despite challenges. They must always watch out for behavioral changes and guard against relapse.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT is a mode under psychotherapy that helps the patient recognize their negative thoughts and actions. Patients are taught to replace those optimistic inclinations with positive thought processes. This therapy also involves identifying situations that may trigger drinking tendencies among the patient.
These sessions usually aim to address negative ideas and confront anxieties. Sometimes they play roles to introduce or improve the patient’s social relationships. The therapist will then lead the patient to learn self-help methods to effectively quit drinking.
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
DBT is also a psychotherapy method that teaches emotional regulation to alcohol dependents. It includes tolerance against negative emotions and teaches skills for effective social conduct and relationships. They’re trained to manage their feelings and discomforts and to communicate honestly.
DBT sessions also teach participants to live in the now instead of lingering on the past. It enables patients to combine transformation with the acceptance of their history. And it has been found to help people with alcoholism.
Medical findings show that alcohol dependents who received medications fared better than patients who didn’t. And while medications can’t cure alcohol dependency, it was found that patients have improved alcohol avoidance and lesser craving for alcohol after them.
Disulfiram, for instance, is a medication known for alcohol dependence and misuse. It’s believed to exhibit adverse effects like vomiting that make the patient avoid alcohol while on medication. More so, it’s meant to condition patients into thinking that they will get sick if they drink alcohol.
Naltrexone is another type of medication used to help manage alcoholism. It’s used to control the brain and block the feeling of euphoria in drunk individuals. It’s believed to help decrease patients’ cravings for alcohol and, at the same time, reduce incidents of relapse.
Another anti-alcohol medication is Acamprosate. Together with counseling, it can help normalize brain activity changes brought about by alcohol. It also helps patients bear emotional and physical discomforts felt after withdrawal from alcohol, and it helps them avoid a relapse.
Alcohol dependence is both a physical and mental struggle from the beginning until the patient’s desire to get off its hook. There have been studies and various treatment options aiming to help patients effectively manage their alcohol use disorders. But at the end of the day, it’s still up to the patient’s readiness to change.
This article has outlined some of the effective treatments to manage alcohol dependence. Furthermore, consider seeing and consulting medical professionals to help you. Discuss how your treatment plan will proceed. The earlier the intervention, the better it is for you, your health, and the people around you.