How to treat alcoholism? Tips and Recommendations

The World Health Organization, so mentioned by the media during 2020, considers that the daily consumption of alcohol above seventy grams in men and fifty grams in women corresponds to an alcoholic condition. To give you an idea, a quarter of a liter of wine contains thirty grams of alcohol.

Alcoholism has a multifactorial origin: genetic predisposition, in case of having a family history with problems of this type; physiological and psychological. In addition, the habit of drinking alcoholic beverages from an early age has a sociocultural origin. Alcoholism also goes through a cycle of learning and habituation. It is an addiction that gradually damages brain activity and can generate important organic failures, even precipitating death.

Is it possible to treat alcoholism? 

Alcoholism, like any addiction, requires a long treatment, which takes care of the particular psychological factors and the contextual conditions that induced the individual to get drunk continuously, and the physiological consequences that it could have caused in the organism of the same.

Alcoholism does not heal like a wound that only needs to heal or an infection that resolves with antibiotics does. The condition of alcoholic is preserved for the rest of life , what is achieved is the state of sustained sobriety throughout the years to come.

After quitting, the subject should not consume more alcohol for the remainder of his life. The social drink is prohibited. You won’t even be able to have a glass of beer. If you take it again, it will be interpreted as a relapse. The relapses are to be understood as part of the healing process , because they serve as learning not to go through the same conditions that caused it .

How to cure alcoholism with the help of friends and family? 

The previous clarification does not prevent that by convention one can speak of a cure for alcoholism, although it is not scientifically true. The task of helping an alcoholic person is very difficult. It can lead to serious stressful situations. Therefore, it is advisable to take care of yourself while helping the alcoholic person. You should seek support in your family environment, friends, and support groups for people with alcoholic relatives.

Stressful situations could lead to depression or anxiety , so the protection of professional therapy is an excellent alternative. In any case, the alcoholic individual must accept his condition so that he can start treatment, where the family can play an important role. But, the weight of the decision falls on your sick family member.

Of course, clinical experience shows how fundamental the support of the human environment of the patient is. Find information about these support groups for family members of alcoholics and ask them for help. Dependency-producing habits take a long time to totally suppress and reprogram them for healthy habits.

From your position as family member and friend, keep an eye on the course of your loved one’s illness and let them know that you are counting on them. Pay attention to your loved one when they are getting better or just making an effort to get better. Treatment depends on the severity and length of the person’s alcohol consumption.

In all cases, family and friends are a reference that facilitates the progress of the patient. When the alcoholic person is left alone because of his dependency, recovery becomes even more difficult. To help control your loved one’s alcohol intake, take part of the following actions:

  • Support the alcoholic by avoiding places and people that encourage them to drink alcohol.
  • Distract the person by combining them with other activities, such as going on a hike.
  • Eliminate all alcoholic beverages from your home and the friendly places that your family member or friend frequents.
  • Help the sick person to plan a series of anti-alcohol habits.
  • Take on the task of helping your family member or friend to other people who have overcome the habit or are abstainers.

How to cure alcoholism if I can not with friends and family? 

Alcoholism and its consequences is one of the most widespread addictions in the world, which is why it is considered a public health problem. Alcoholism necessarily requires going through a detoxification treatment , followed by quitting. The maintenance of sobriety is achieved up to a certain point and according to each particular case, appealing to the prescription of drugs, with different indications: antagonists of alcohol, antidepressants, etc.

Professional therapy encompasses the analysis of the contextual issues that stimulate binge drinking. The psychologist is a key agent in this healing process. Ultimately, there is no one treatment that works for all cases equally. A list of procedures would look like this:

  • Behavioral treatments . These therapies, led by psychotherapies, are aimed at modifying alcohol intake behaviors through prescriptions. Behavioral treatments are similar in some strategies, namely:
  • Strengthen the ability to counteract consumption.
  • Implement feasible objectives.
  • Management of the stimulating conditions of a relapse.

Therapies are very diverse and depend on the professional and training characteristics of the psychotherapist. However, the following are common:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy . It concentrates on discovering the clues or clues that lead the patient to ingest alcohol in excess. In addition, it strengthens the management of stress that eventually leads to relapse.
  • Motivational stimulus therapy . This therapeutic procedure seeks to create and strengthen the motivational elements that serve to abandon addictive behavior.
  • Family and couples therapy . Individual therapy is helpful, but tends to lack the support of the patient’s family. The controlled incorporation of the family into the treatment process increases the range of preservation of abstinence. In addition, family members also require the support and guidance of a psychotherapist.
  • Medications . There are a number of drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat alcohol addiction. Neither of these drugs is addictive. They are: a) Naltrexone, b) Acamprosate and c) Disulfiram.

The former works to decrease excessive intake of alcoholic beverages. The second is a facilitating factor for the prolongation of abstinence time. The third is a blocker of alcohol metabolism , causing it to cause nausea or symptoms of displeasure. The drug helps in the preservation of abstinence.

The trend in pharmacology directed at alcohol addiction is to find more and more specific drugs. On the other hand, it has been proven that some drugs intended for other pathologies are efficient in treating alcohol dependence and intake. A list would look like this:

  • Varenicline , used for tobacco dependence, can reduce the desire to drink alcohol.
  • Gabapentin , an active agent against epilepsy and pain, also serves to increase or sustain the time of abstinence from alcohol or reduce its consumption. It plays an important role in the good management of arousal and sleep.
  • Topiramate , an anticonvulsant substance, which works to contain alcohol consumption in patients resistant to other drugs.
  • Support groups . The search for comprehensive treatments has led to the formation of support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), among others. These associations of people work in synergy with treatments and therapies carried out by professionals. The idea is to anonymously support alcoholic patients.

Final considerations regarding specialized treatment

Professionals in the field will tell you which are the best options. Hospitalization or outpatient treatment depends on the severity and condition of the patient. In cases of alcoholic dementia, encephalopathy, polyneuritic psychosis, etc., the severity of the patient warrants hospitalization.

The recovery of a patient intoxicated and habituated by alcohol consumption implies a continuous effort, which is not exempt from relapses. Alcoholism is a chronic condition . Failures should become learnings to continue treatment with more determination. The drugs are suppressants of anxiety and withdrawal syndrome, useful also when the patient is involved in personal problems, which push him to relapse into drinking.

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Alexa Clark specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She has experience in listening and welcoming in Individual Therapy and Couples Therapy. It meets demands such as generalized anxiety, professional, love and family conflicts, stress, depression, sexual dysfunction, grief, and adolescents from 15 years of age. Over the years, She felt the need to conduct the psychotherapy sessions with subtlety since She understands that the psychologist acts as a facilitator of self-understanding and self-acceptance, valuing each person's respect, uniqueness, and acceptance.

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