I have been writing recently on the impact of alcoholism on health and society. In this post I will focus on the traditional treatments available for alcoholism and the impact it may have on the patient.
There are several treatments available depending on the severity and nature of alcoholism. Often a brief intervention and counselling in group or individual counselling give good results. If further problems persist, inpatient stay and outpatient programs may be necessary.
Alcoholism and problem drinking treatment usually comprise of: -
- The first step is detoxification which is usually carried out for two to seven days, followed by withdrawal. Generally an administration of medicines like sedatives is made to counter the withdrawal symptoms (confusion, shaking, hallucination etc.). The process of detoxification is typically carried out in a specialized clinic or hospital where you have to stay during the treatment period.
- Alcohol treatment specialists usually carry forward special ways of treatment which may include counselling, target or goal setting, using self-help manuals, behavioral changes, and follow-up treatment at special centers.
- Psychological counselling is indeed an essential and important step in neutralizing alcoholism. The help from your family is of extreme importance. Group and individual counselling to understand your problem and psychology will help you win the battle against alcohol.
- Orally administered medicines like disulfiram may be helpful in preventing you from drinking. This medicine could stop your habit or compulsion towards drinking. The drug usually creates an adverse effect (headache, nausea and vomiting) when alcohol is consumed making it difficult to drink. Another drug Naltrexone stops the good feeling of being drunk, thus reducing the urge to drink. These two drugs, though useful, can make you feel sick. In this respect, another drug Acamprosate, is better as it stops your passion towards alcohol without the sick feeling.
- There are injectable versions of Naltrexone as well to combat your cravings for alcohol. The injection is known as Vivitrol. The injection needs only one dose a month and can be quite useful as taking regular oral medicine may not be always convenient for people struggling to recover from alcohol dependency.
- Continuing support and helping out persons suffering from alcoholism for prolonged duration is of extreme importance. Support groups and aftercare programs are there to help and support alcoholic patients to recover from problem drinking and alcoholism through and cope with changing lifestyles.
- Different mental health problems are usually associated with alcoholism. So, special treatments for related psychological disorders are also necessary during treatment of alcoholism. Proper counselling and medication for those problems will be needed as per requirement.
- Similarly, alcoholism results in other physical health problems like high blood sugar and pressure, hepatic disorders, and heart diseases that need medical attention. Often these problems get reduced drastically after stopping alcohol consumption.
- Alcoholism and problem drinking can be controlled with spiritual practice. Since, it is a mind game and depends a lot on your will and determination, people involved in some sort of regular spiritual practice, finds it easier to carry forward and maintain the recovery process from problem drinking and alcoholism. Gaining spiritual insight may also play as a goal to quit alcohol.
- When you have a serious alcohol problem, it is necessary to stay in a residential treatment facility to recover from alcoholism. Group and individual counselling, educational lectures, activity therapy, involvement of family members along with proper medication and monitoring with professional staff and doctors are possible in these types of centers.
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