Understanding alcohol use disorders and their treatment

To date, three medications—disulfiram (Antabuse), naltrexone (Trexan), and acamprosate (Campral)—have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of alcohol dependence, and only about 20 percent of eligible patients receive them. In the past decade, however, there has been a growing body of evidence supporting a more central role for medications in the treatment of alcohol dependence. These medications, the evidence supporting them, and recommended dosages are discussed in the following. Table 13,4 provides a summary of the medications with prescribing information, adverse effects, contraindications, and costs. However, regardless of your level of alcohol abuse, seeking the guidance of medical and mental health professionals can promote a better understanding of this chronic disease and help inform the course of treatment that you ultimately select.

treatment for alcoholism

Your peers can offer understanding and advice and help keep you accountable. Others may want one-on-one therapy for a longer time to deal with issues like anxiety or depression. Alcohol use can have a big effect on the people close to you, so couples or family therapy can sober house help, too. It also tells what researchers have found about how well the medicines work to treat alcohol dependence and alcohol use disorder. The sooner you recognize there may be a problem and talk to your healthcare provider, the better your recovery chances.

Treatment of alcoholism

The Sinclair Method is the standard treatment protocol for alcohol dependence in Finland, the method is also used in the U.K., but the method has yet to catch on in the United States. Shortly thereafter, the FDA approved disulfiram to treat alcoholism. It was first manufactured by Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories under the brand name Antabuse. In general, the goals of AUD treatment are to reduce and manage symptoms and improve health and functioning. Reach out to a treatment provider for free today for immediate assistance. Alcoholism is a common and different term for alcohol use disorder.

treatment for alcoholism

Some people also use it to treat the anxiety and depression that go along with alcohol addiction and withdrawal. It also cut the number of heavy drinking days and increased the number of days they didn’t drink at all. People with AUD who quit drinking abruptly may go into alcohol withdrawal.

Did you receive a Medicare coverage denial?

The individual expresses a tentative belief in the possibility that alcohol use might be harmful. Skepticism is not the same as denial but instead allows some degree of personal reflection. The patient is receptive to new information, or just as likely reassured that current behavior is acceptable, in the absence of information. Thus, the clinician should influence the ambivalence characteristic of contemplation in a direction favoring change. This can include pointing out that the patient’s actions are not congruent with their goals, giving pamphlets concerning alcohol abuse, and suggesting an abstinence trial.

  • Because of these significant restrictions and problems with compliance, disulfiram is not recommended for treating alcohol dependence, particularly in the primary care setting.6 Disulfiram is FDA pregnancy category C.
  • St. John’s wort can help to relieve depression and mood swings that come with alcohol withdrawal and early recovery.
  • You’re likely to start by seeing your primary health care provider.

The condition can range from mild to severe and is diagnosed when a patient answers “yes” to two or more of the following questions. Research shows that about one-third of people who are treated for alcohol problems have no further symptoms 1 year later. Many others substantially reduce their drinking and report fewer alcohol-related problems. Many people struggle with controlling their drinking at some time in their lives. More than 14 million adults ages 18 and older have alcohol use disorder (AUD), and 1 in 10 children live in a home with a parent who has a drinking problem.

NEED HELP PREPARING FOR TREATMENT?

The various treatments of alcoholism can be classified as physiological, psychological, and social. Many physiological treatments are given as adjuncts to psychological methods, but sometimes they are applied in “pure” form, without conscious psychotherapeutic intent. Naloxone saves lives by reversing the toxic effects of overdose. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), naloxone is one of a number of medications considered essential to a functioning health care system.

  • In addition to choosing the type of treatment that’s best for you, you’ll also have to decide if that treatment is inpatient (you would stay at a facility) or outpatient (you stay in your home during treatment).
  • In the United States, there are many government-issued services and resources that can help with alcoholism.
  • One theory is that it forces out the toxic waste that builds up in the body’s tissues from alcohol use.

Treatment providers can connect you with programs that provide the tools to help you get and stay sober. They cannot tell whether a person has been drinking heavily for a long time. Moderate alcohol consumption does not generally cause any psychological or physical harm. However, if someone who enjoys social drinking significantly increases their consumption or regularly consumes more than the recommended quantity, AUD may eventually develop. The FDA lists the following possible side effects for medicines to treat alcohol dependence and alcohol use disorder. Medicines are usually used with talk therapy and support groups to treat alcohol use disorder.

Find Out if You’re Misusing Alcohol

Patients should try at least 5-10 different meetings before giving up on the AA approach because each meeting is different. For example, women often do better at meetings for women only because the issues for female patients with alcoholism are different from the issues for male patients with alcoholism. A meeting in the suburbs might not be appropriate for someone from the inner city and vice versa. Use explicit evidence; emphasize the consequences endured by the patient as a result of alcohol abuse. Many physicians believe no effective treatment is available for alcoholism; therefore, these physicians do not refer their patients for treatment. However, more than 13 studies representing more than 4000 patients demonstrate that brief interventions make a difference.

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