Is There A Cure For Alcoholism?
So many people suffer from alcoholism.
There are those who wanted it, others were trapped in their addiction
To those who want to get out, is there a cure?
Because alcoholism is a chronic illness, there is technically no “cure” for it. Unlike bacterial infections, alcoholism does not show any biological signs that can be measured to determine if a person has been cured. But people struggling with alcoholism can still be treated to help them regain their sobriety and learn how to maintain it.
With proper support and treatment, anyone can beat this chronic illness. Here we will discuss the various ways of treating alcoholism.
Medications used for Treatment of Alcoholism
Medications are sometimes used to treat the physical effects of alcoholism. This includes cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Examples of medications used for treatment of alcoholism are the following: acamprosate, naltrexone, vivitrol, benzodiazepines, Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), and baclofen. Take note that while there is no guarantee against relapse, alcohol addiction can be managed for the long term, just like other chronic illnesses like diabetes and asthma. You can still live a normal, healthy life by managing the disease. These medications help patients accomplish this goal.
Acamprosate is a drug taken as a tablet three times a day. It helps relieve cravings for alcohol, which means alcoholics won’t have the desire to seek out alcoholic drinks. It works by helping the addicted brain work normally even without alcohol. However, it is not known to relieve withdrawal symptoms.
Naltrexone is similar to acamprosate, as it also helps relieve cravings for alcohol. This tablet is typically taken once a day, but is not recommended for people with liver problems.
Vivitrol is another drug that is used to fight alcoholism. It is an extended release, injectable version of naltrexone that has a similar function, but a longer lasting effect. Studies have shown that vivitrol is more effective when it comes to fighting addiction.
Benzodiazepines are substances that can be used to moderate withdrawal symptoms. Valium and Klonopin are examples of benzodiazepines. These substances can reduce anxiety and irritability, which commonly occur when a person goes through detox. Benzodiazepines work well for those who are detoxing because it acts on the GABA receptors in the brain, just like alcohol. It tricks the brain into thinking you have taken alcohol.
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors or SSRIs like Prozac and Zoloft are non-habit-forming drugs that could help with depression. This is a very common symptom for those who are struggling with heavy alcohol use.
Lastly, baclofen is an anticonvulsant medication that has shown some success in reducing muscle spasms as well as mitigating cravings. Those with severe addiction to alcohol may sometimes encounter the most dangerous withdrawal symptoms like tremors and seizures. This medication can potentially prevent that.
Counseling for Alcoholism
Medications help keep the physical effects of alcoholism at bay as the body flushes out the alcohol from its system. But in addition to medical treatments, counseling should also be done in order to deal with the mental and emotional effects of this chronic condition. Most professionals agree that alcoholism has to be treated through counseling and a strong support structure.
Therapy attempts to address the feelings and thoughts that led to the abuse of alcohol in the first place. A counselor can help individuals with an alcohol addiction deal with these issues head on and learn proper coping mechanisms. The patient will learn how to deal with cravings and other difficulties in life. They will leave not just with a healthier body but with a healthier mind.
When it comes to addiction, it always feels like it’s the end of the world, because the effects are overwhelming—but this is far from the case. Counseling lets alcoholics get a fresh perspective of their own life. In the beginning of recovery, counseling may take place daily, but as time goes on, it becomes less frequent. Continued visits can help those in recovery prevent relapse.
Managing a chronic illness is a lifelong commitment, and there is always a risk of relapse. With medications and counseling, the person will be free from the effects of addiction and they will be able to live a normal life. But to make sure they don’t relapse, they need to learn some healthy coping mechanisms.
Staying sober takes motivation, determination, and self-control. If necessary, the patient should keep going to therapy, as it is great for their mental health. Many alcoholics struggle with difficult thoughts and feelings. Therapy can help address these issues. It is a misconception that therapy is unnecessary once you get out of rehab. Therapy is a good buffer during difficult situations.
Recovering individuals should learn that their feelings are normal. People are likely to feel sad or sick during the early stages of alcohol recovery, but these feelings are temporary.
Of course, it also pays to stay away from bars and social activities where there alcoholic drinks are present. Seeing others consume alcohol can trigger cravings, which may be difficult to control. If these social events are inevitable, it is important to have a backup plan or a sober buddy.
If someone in the family is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, it is important to seek help. A combination of medical detox and behavioral therapy can go a long way in the fight against substance abuse. But because every individual is affected by addiction differently, a comprehensive program tailored to their specific needs is necessary. Look for a nearby addiction treatment facility today and find out how drug treatment programs work.
Rehab is Your Best Chance
Treatment is an addicted individualʼs best option if they want to recover. Beating an addiction not only requires eliminating the physical dependence, but also addressing the behavioral factors that prevent them from wanting to get better. Simply quitting may not change the psychological aspect of addiction. Some people quit for a while, and then take alcohol again, only to overdose because they did not detox properly. Recovery involves changing the way the patient feels, thinks, and behaves.