Addiction to alcohol is a difficult illness to overcome, but it is possible. If you have been struggling with your drinking, your first step should be to see your doctor or an addiction specialist. Either one can tell you if you meet the alcohol dependence criteria and can put you on the path to getting well. With treatment, support from friends and family and dedication to sobriety on your part, you can overcome alcoholism.
Addiction or Abuse?
It’s not always easy to tell if you are truly addicted or whether you simply abuse alcohol. If you are worried about your drinking, chances are that you are misusing alcohol and could use some help. You don’t need to be a full-blown addict to benefit from addiction treatment. The difference between substance abuse and dependence can be a fine line. Generally, being addicted or dependent means that you experience withdrawal symptoms when not drinking, you have intense cravings for alcohol and you can’t stop or control your drinking.
Treatment for Alcoholism
Whether you think you are an addict or not, if you are struggling with alcohol use, get treatment. Your doctor can help you find specialists or a reputable rehab facility. You have options when it comes to treatment. If you can afford to do so, taking time off from work to go to a residential facility for treatment is a good choice. It will give you the chance to immerse yourself in your binge drinking treatment.
If, on the other hand, you can’t take the time off, you may consider outpatient treatment. A therapist or drug counselor can work with you outside of the hours of your job. The experience will be less intensive, but you can still benefit from this kind of treatment. You might also think about joining a support group. Regular attendance at 12-step meetings can help strengthen your sobriety.
Medication for Alcoholism
Another aspect of treatment that may work for you is medication. Using drugs to treat addiction is a new idea and one that is controversial. Some people believe that addicts should abstain from all substances, but research shows that medications can help. Acamprosate for alcoholism, for example, can reduce the intensity of cravings that you have for a drink. Naltrexone is another drug that can help. It blocks the pleasant feeling that alcohol gives you so that you have no reason to drink. Finally, disulfiram is a drug that makes you physically ill if you drink alcohol.
Alcohol addiction is a terrible disease. Whether you are an alcoholic or you simply worry about how you abuse alcohol, you can benefit from getting good, professional treatment. There are more options available than ever before and treatment is more focused on what research has shown to be effective. From rehab and counseling to support groups and medications, there are a number of tools that you can use to overcome alcohol addiction.