If someone you know is struggling with alcohol addiction, help is available. Backed by research, new treatments are being offered at a wide variety of levels of care to meet the unique needs of those with problem drinking. Treatment options include behavioral therapy, medications and peer support groups.
The first step is to get an accurate diagnosis. This will help your loved one understand the severity of their condition and allow them to receive a customized treatment plan. It’s also important to determine if there are any underlying conditions that may be contributing to the problem drinking, such as depression or anxiety.
An alcoholic who doesn’t seek treatment can suffer from serious health problems, including liver disease, brain damage and heart disease. If they are pregnant, their untreated drinking can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth or fetal alcohol syndrome. They can also miss work and family responsibilities, experience financial difficulties and have legal issues.
Inpatient rehab facilities are a more structured option for those with serious drinking problems. They require that individuals live on-site for 30, 60 or 90 days while being monitored by medical professionals. They will participate in group therapy, individual therapy, case management services and psychiatric visits. This level of treatment is considered more restrictive, but it provides the highest level of care for those overcoming alcohol addiction.
Some people choose to continue their recovery journey with outpatient rehab programs. These offer the flexibility to maintain their regular routines while addressing their problem drinking. These programs can provide a supportive environment, teach coping strategies and help individuals develop healthy relationships. Individuals may be encouraged to join a support group, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, to build a supportive network in their community and find encouragement on their recovery journey.
Often, professional alcohol addiction help is accompanied by depression and anxiety. Talk therapy with a licensed therapist can help treat these conditions and give people the tools to manage their symptoms. This can include cognitive behavioral therapy, which focuses on changing thoughts that contribute to problematic behaviors, such as heavy drinking. In addition, a primary care provider or addiction specialist can prescribe FDA-approved medications that are proven to reduce drinking and prevent relapse.
If you suspect your loved one has a problem with drinking, it’s important to act quickly. Waiting too long can give them time to deny the issue, hide their behavior or go on a dangerous binge. It’s also important to make sure the treatment program you choose accepts your loved one’s insurance and can accommodate their schedule. You can also check for telehealth, which is available at many treatment centers and allows for sessions over the phone or via video chat. If you’re unsure about what to look for, you can search for a therapist with addiction specialties here.