Alcoholism cannot be cured, and an addict must guard themselves against relapse throughout life. However, alcoholism can be treated with professional counseling and rehabilitation much like any other drug addiction. Without the proper treatment, most alcoholics are unsuccessful at breaking the cycle of addiction.
Determining whether there is a problem is the first step. If you are addicted to alcohol, cutting back will not be effective. Stop all use of alcohol and seek treatment for the disease. There are several forms of treatment available and most follow specific steps to recovery.
- Detoxification and withdrawal– Treatment always begins detox programs and it generally takes up to a week. Medication may be needed during this time
- Establishing a treatment plan- This also will require professionals and counselors to assist in the goal setting process, behavior techniques and self-help education to set a plan for success.
- Counseling Sessions- Therapy may include group and individual counseling sessions to help better understand alcoholism and the recovery process. Many find family or couples counseling beneficial in the recovery.
- Continued support- There are many aftercare groups that support and help those recovering from alcohol addiction. The support groups also help manage possible relapses and cope with the lifestyle changes the alcoholic will likely experience.
- Emotional Help- This may be needed since many alcoholics suffer emotional health disorders. Talk therapy and professional counseling will help treat the depression and anxiety that a recovering alcoholic usually experiences.
- Other health problems– These can and will accompany alcoholism, including high blood sugar, high blood pressure, heart and liver disease. Many conditions improve after alcohol treatment, but it may be necessary to seek medical advice and treatment for specific physical ailments.
- Spiritual healing- This may also be helpful to the recovering alcoholic. Some type of regular spiritual counseling is helpful since it helps the addict gain a better insight into their spiritual side, using it to gain strength and understanding.
Treating an alcohol addiction begins with medical detox, which breaks the physical addiction. During medical detox, drugs are administered as needed to address uncomfortable or dangerous withdrawal symptoms.
After the physical addiction is broken, the psychological aspects of the addiction are addressed through family, group, and individual therapies that equip patients with skills and techniques for coping with stress, cravings, and triggers and increase their level of self-awareness surrounding the addiction and its various underlying and contributing issues.
After treatment, an individualized aftercare plan is set in motion to help patients transition back into the community and promote long-term recovery by helping to prevent relapse. The aftercare plan will include ongoing therapy, participation in a 12-Step or alternative recovery group, and ongoing monitoring of any co-occurring mental illnesses.
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