Treating alcoholism as a chronic disease is not that easy, especially when the sufferer doesn’t even know that he or she has developed alcoholism. You see, this condition doesn’t start with a specific set of symptoms, such as a fever, a cold, or a headache. It’s not like the flu. You can’t pop a pill and sleep it off, hoping for a better tomorrow.
The only way to determine success is to make sure the person in question achieves and maintains sobriety. With the right guidance and treatment approach, beating alcoholism is within reach. Treating alcoholism as a chronic disease takes time, but that can move faster if you have help.
Medications to Treat Alcoholism
When people decide to quit and address their alcoholism, they’re bound to experience withdrawal, often characterized by an array of physical symptoms. There are many prescription drugs for alcoholism that can help this process, such as:
Naltrexone is an ideal medication for alcoholism with its anti-craving effects. Just take it once a day, and the yearning for alcohol goes away. However, it’s not suitable for people with liver problems because they become at risk for hepatotoxicity.
Vivitrol is the injectable counterpart of Naltrexone, which lasts longer because of its extended-release form. Experts believe that drugs for alcoholism with longer-lasting effects produce more favorable outcomes when combating addiction.
Much like Naltrexone, Acamprosate diminishes alcohol cravings by assisting the brain function as it recovers from the addiction. It needs to be taken thrice a day and reduces distress caused by alcohol withdrawal rather than specific withdrawal symptoms.
Diazepam and Clonazepam are some of the best drugs of choice when dealing with withdrawal symptoms. People undergoing the alcohol detoxification phase often become agitated and highly anxious for no reason. Benzos sooth a user by binding to the brain’s GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) receptors, which control anxiety levels, and increasing their activity.
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)
This type of medication for alcoholism treats depression, which can occur for anyone with alcohol dependence. The physical and emotional changes these people go through can be overwhelming. Drugs like fluoxetine and sertraline can alleviate the negative emotions and do not lead to dependence, unlike other medications.
People with immense addictions are at risk of life-threatening withdrawal symptoms, such as seizures and tremors. Baclofen, a muscle relaxant for people with Multiple Sclerosis, also doubles as medicine for alcoholism by relaxing the muscles and managing cravings.
Support for Alcoholism
Aside from medical intervention, it’s also important to seek counseling and build a strong support system. Treating alcoholism as a chronic disease is a comprehensive process. It’s not just treating alcoholism, but also getting to the bottom of what led to it. When you treat the physical manifestation of alcoholism and the withdrawal symptoms that go with it, you are only managing part of the condition. If you want to eradicate it truly, you must cut it from the root, which can only be achieved through therapy. Individuals can also learn to fight their cravings when they don’t have anyone around to reprimand them.
During the initial phases of recovery, it is highly critical to attend daily counseling. If the counselors notice drastic improvements, the sessions will decrease over time. Visits are necessary to prevent alcohol relapse.
At the beginning of recovery, counseling may take place daily. Regular visits can help those in recovery to prevent relapse.
Relapse Prevention Strategies for Alcoholism
Treating alcoholism includes a long recovery process. It takes focus, determination, and a few coping mechanisms to make sure relapse doesn’t creep up on you. Here are some strategies that can help you stay on the path of recovery:
- Don’t forego therapy, even when you think you have things under control.
- Understand your emotions and respect them. It’s normal to feel sick and sad at the beginning of your journey.
- Avoid temptations, such as bars and parties.
- Find ways to manage your cravings, such as calling sponsors, meditating, exercising, and so on.
- Discover and pursue new passions. A new hobby can help you divert your attention and regain confidence.
It’s hard to say there will be no alcohol relapse, but it’s possible to get over your addiction and manage recovery, especially with continuous therapy from a Christ-based center.
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