Alcohol use disorder is when you can’t regulate how much you drink and have emotional problems while sober. Some may assume willpower is the only way to deal with it as if it’s an issue they must solve alone.
AUD is a neurological illness. Alcohol produces brain alterations that make quitting hard. Trying to tough it out alone is like treating appendicitis with optimism.
First, understand alcoholism and treatment choices.
Alcohol Misuse Test
Alcohol use disorder is called alcoholism. Milder examples include alcohol misuse without dependence.
Your doctor can diagnose you. If you have:
- Feel thirsty
- Drink too much
- Regret not drinking
Discuss goals with your doctor. Are you drinking less or quitting? Start a treatment plan together. Your doctor can recommend a treatment center or experts.
Many people find that combining therapies through a program works best. Some are inpatient or residential, where you stay at a treatment center. Outpatient programs allow patients to live at home while receiving therapy.
If your drinking issue is severe, do this. Detox isn’t only treatment for alcohol addiction.
Stop drinking and let your body process the alcohol. Usually takes a week.
Most people go to a hospital or treatment facility because of withdrawal symptoms like:
- Shaking (tremors)
- Seeing or feeling phantoms (hallucinations)
Doctors and other experts can monitor and treat your problems.
Two Basic Detox Methods Exist:
Inpatient: If you’ve been abusing booze, try this.
Outpatient: Daytime doctor visits are common. Mild or moderate conditions can safely undergo outpatient rehab.
Psychologists, social workers, and alcohol counselors can:
- Change drinking-inducing behaviors
- Manage stress, triggers
- Build a solid support system
- Achieve goals
Some need a brief counseling session. Others may need longer-term therapy for anxiety or depression. Couples or family counseling can help with alcohol’s effects on loved ones.
Some medicines can help with recovery from alcoholism. They make drinking less fun so you drink less:
- Drinking while taking Disulfiram (Antabuse) makes you nauseous.
- Acamprosate (Campral) reduces cravings.
- Naltrexone (Revia) blocks alcohol’s high.
Medications for smoking, pain, or epilepsy may improve alcoholism. See if one of these is right for you.
Quitting alcohol takes persistence and work. Healthy behaviors and coping skills can aid rehabilitation. You can:
- Surround yourself with supporters. Say you’re done drinking.
- Be healthy. Eat well, get enough sleep, exercise, and handle stress.
- Avoid alcohol-related activities and hobbies.
Group therapy or a support group might aid during rehab and beyond.
Group therapy led by a professional can provide treatment and peer support.
Non-therapists lead support groups. These are alcoholics. Programs like AA, SMART Recovery, etc. Peers offer support, advice, and accountability. Long-term groups are common.
Long-term recovery may require continued care. Some recovering alcoholics relapse. If so, don’t feel bad. It’s a process step.