Understanding Treatment Options For Alcoholism

Understanding the Treatment Options of Alcoholism

July 21, 2010

When loved ones are dealing with an alcoholic they may automatically start searching for some type of treatment for that person. This is the best thing to do, as long as the person is willing to get help. It is always best for the helping individual to understand that getting help is a process and it is going to be difficult for the person that will be treated. This article will examine a few of the main treatment options that are available. Once someone has a full understanding of these options, he, or she, can determine which one may be best for themselves, or their loved one.

The first type of treatment that may be recommended is detoxification. This is when the body is allowed to rest while all of the alcohol is being worked out of the body. This is a natural process and it is often very uncomfortable for the individual that is experiencing it. This means that it is highly recommended that the person be in a secure, professional setting so that they can be monitored closely by health care professionals that know what they are doing. This is also needed so that the withdrawal symptoms can be managed as best as possible.


Another option to consider would be different types of behavioral treatments. These are generally used to help change the person’s behavior so that they can make better choices. One of the many types of behavioral treatments that can be used is AA meetings. This is a 12-step process that requires the support and help of other recovering alcoholics in order to remain sober.
Alcoholics Anonymous, AA, is very effective for the individuals that continually attend the meetings and rely on the support that they have. Cognitive behavioral therapy may also be used for individuals that are seeking change. This type of treatment relies on an educational process rather than support and guidance from others. The alcoholic will spend a lot of time learning about their own thoughts and triggers. It is believed that if the person can change his, or her, thought patterns they may be able to change the way that they feel and the way that they respond to certain situations. The individual will also be asked to complete different types of homework in order to gain insight through this process.


A third treatment option is implementing types of medication. The individuals that may be appropriate for this type of treatment are those people that have a really difficult time controlling their withdrawal symptoms. Medications can even help decrease the likelihood of brain damage, or even seizures resulting from withdrawal. One of the most common forms of medication is Antabuse. This is given to a person that is not able to control their drinking. When they take Antabuse they will become ill if they actually do drink. The person may have vomiting, nausea and they may even become dizzy. It is believed that this medication is effective because the individual does not want to become ill; which associates a negative stimulus with the use of alcohol. Therefore, they will not consume alcohol while taking this medication.

Inpatient Treatment

Other options may include inpatient treatment. This may be a great way for an individual to work through their detoxification and get the help and support that they need. This may be really effective for individuals that have not had much success with outpatient treatment such as AA meetings. The person will most likely be able to begin working with a counselor, or therapist, to learn about their addiction. This relationship can continue when the person is released from the treatment center.


Having a understanding of the different treatment options that are available is a good starting point. But, that does not mean that each option is appropriate for every person. Everyone has different needs that will need to be identified, and met, in order for treatment to be effective. Because of that, it is very important to remember that the treatment process may actually be a little bit of trial and error. The person may need to change treatments, or try something different, if one type of treatment does not work. This means that loved ones will also need to be patient with the entire process. Before entering into any one type of treatment it is very important to evaluate the options and what may be the most appropriate. The following questions may help an individual with this process.

Questions to ask one’s self to determine which treatment option may be the best:

1.) Have community support groups been attempted and failed? If that is the case then inpatient treatment may be best.
2.) Has it been very difficult to deal with withdrawal symptoms, so relapse always occurs? If so, medication may be a great deterrent.
3.) Are there a lot of marital and family issues and complications? Counseling may be best if that is the situation the person is dealing with.
4.) Are withdrawal symptoms so severe that they need to be managed by a professional?
5.) Is support and guidance a must? Community meetings such as AA may be great if support is needed.

Hopefully, the answers to these questions can help an individual find the best type of treatment option. Research, and understanding, of each treatment option is a great place to start. Every individual is different and it may take some time to get things in order. Persistence is also needed so their must be a desire to change. This can take time, but with the right treatment it is possible.