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5 Ways to Get Help for an Alcohol Addiction

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5 Ways to Get Help for an Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol addiction can cause considerable destruction. It can affect people’s health, interpersonal relationships, financial status, spiritual life and their ability to work or attend school. However, it is difficult to identify alcohol addiction, and its treatment options are varied. Five ways to get help for an alcohol addiction include admitting the problem, seeking treating, making lifestyle changes, medication assistance and participating in support groups.

Admitting the Problem

The first step in getting help for an alcohol addiction is to determine whether you have an alcohol abuse problem. Alcohol abuse ranges from mild to severe, but the sooner you know where you are on that continuum, the sooner you can get appropriate help before your drug abuse becomes addiction.

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. has created a self-test of 26 questions that explore your alcohol use. These questions investigate various aspects of your alcohol use, including your emotional state before, during and after consuming alcohol. In addition, the questions identify any lifestyle issues or triggers that cause you to drink. Upon answering the questions, your results are tabulated to provide insight on the severity of your alcohol use. You are also given suggestions as to appropriate responses.

While one of the benefits of this self-test is that you can do it in the privacy or your home, if you do have a problem, then you need to seek help.

5 Ways to Get Help for an Alcohol Addiction

Seeking Treatment

There are a number of treatment options for alcohol addiction, so it may seem overwhelming to explore all of them. A good place to start would be to get an overview of available options. Once you review the choices, you can then explore those that make the most sense for you. According to the Mayo Clinic, treatment for alcoholism may include the following options:

  • Detox and withdrawal – Often performed at an inpatient treatment center or hospital, detox may take two to seven days. In a controlled environment, your withdrawal symptoms are properly managed.
  • Treatment plan – Working with alcohol treatment specialists, you can create a treatment plan that may include goal setting, behavior change techniques, use of self-help manuals, counseling and follow-up care at a treatment center
  • Counseling – Individual and group counseling help people understand their problems, learn coping strategies and get support
  • Oral or injected medications – There are several medications that cause physical reactions, block the good feelings associated with alcohol use and reduce alcohol cravings
  • Addiction treatment – Many times, alcohol abuse has a psychological origin. In other cases, the alcohol addiction is combined with mental health care disorders, such as anxiety or depression. In either case, you will benefit most from inpatient treatment.
  • Continuing support – Aftercare programs and support groups help recovering alcoholics stop drinking, manage relapse and cope with necessary lifestyle changes
  • Medical management – Alcohol addiction can cause other medical problems, including high blood pressure, high blood sugar, liver disease and heart disease. Seek help to minimize these conditions.
  • Spiritual practice – For many people, being actively involved with a spiritual practice helps maintain recovery from alcoholism

After reviewing all of these options, you can delve into the choices that make most sense for you. This process makes it easier to find a solution to your alcohol addiction. You may want to start with a visit to your healthcare provider to get a complete physical exam and to discuss viable treatment options.

Lifestyle Changes

Along with seeking treatment, the Mayo Clinic recommends lifestyle changes to facilitate your recovery from alcohol addiction. The most important step in lifestyle changes is to be aware of and take control of situations. Be sure to maintain healthy habits, such as eating properly, getting plenty of rest and engaging in physical activity.

In addition, you need to be upfront with friends and family members about your need to distance yourself from anything that can break your sobriety. Get involved with activities that do not involve alcohol, such as volunteer work.

You also want to find hobbies that will take up the time you previously spent drinking. You can learn new skills and engage in relaxation activities, such as yoga and meditation. Find ways to deal with stress that do not involve alcohol.

Medication for Alcohol Addiction

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the following medications are most commonly associated with alcohol addiction recovery:

  • Naltrexone – This drugs is approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and it blocks opioid receptors involved in the rewarding effects of drinking and cravings for alcohol
  • Acamprosate (Campral®) – This medication reduces symptoms of protracted withdrawal, such as insomnia, anxiety, restlessness and dysphoria
  • Disulfiram (Antabuse®) – This medication produces an unpleasant reaction that includes flushing, nausea and palpitations if a person drinks alcohol

If you think that medication will help treat your alcohol addiction, it is very important that you seek medical advice. Medications are often considered only a part of the overall treatment plan.

Support Groups

Regardless of the treatment option you engage, support groups are essential to maintaining your sobriety. According to Helpguide.org, there are many support group options. While Alcoholics Anonymous is probably the most recognized option, there are other choices.

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