While it doesn’t always make the headlines as other drugs do, alcohol abuse is just as prevalent in the United States. And this is substantiated by multiple studies that have examined alcoholism and its effect on individuals, families, and communities nationwide. One of those studies comes from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, which revealed more than 15 million Americans struggle with an alcohol use disorder (AUD), and less than 10% of them ever receive the treatment they need to regain control over their lives.
It is worth noting that alcohol abuse impacts not only the lives of those doing the drinking but also their communities. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were over 10,500 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in 2018. From property damage to medical care and everything in between, alcohol-impaired driving is costing the U.S. roughly $199 billion annually, notes the NHTSA study. As unsettling as the alcohol problem is in the U.S., there is some good news worth noting; every day, more and more people are going to rehab to get the help they need to quit drinking.
What Types of Alcohol Treatments Are Available?
If you’re among the many people going to rehab to put alcohol abuse behind you, you deserve a round of applause as you are well on your way toward changing your life for the better. But you should know the journey toward sobriety and that better life is not easy. Fortunately, most rehab facilities in the U.S. have numerous treatments designed to help people put alcohol abuse behind them, irrespective of how long they have been drinking. Some of the more popular ones include
Detox assistance – When most people abruptly stop drinking, they encounter an onslaught of unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, often within 6 to 12 hours of consuming their final alcoholic beverage. Detox assistance, which comprises FDA-approved drugs and round-the-clock monitoring by a licensed physician, makes it easier for individuals to cope with those symptoms, some of which include the following:
- Changes in breathing
- Changes in mood
- Chronic fatigue
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Heart palpitations
- Increased blood pressure or heart rate
- Tremors or shakes
The FDA-approved drugs commonly prescribed to relieve these alcohol withdrawal symptoms include naltrexone, acamprosate, and disulfiram. In extreme cases, some physicians will also prescribe benzodiazepines, such as lorazepam and diazepam, to help combat alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
Addiction counseling – Provided by a licensed therapist, addiction counseling helps individuals overcome the psychological aspects of giving up alcohol. Most rehab facilities will make addiction counseling available to individuals after they have completed detox, and they generally comprise one or more of the following forms of psychotherapy:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Contingency management
- Motivational interviewing
- Rational emotive behavior therapy
The goal of addiction counseling is twofold; firstly, it helps individuals identify the triggers that caused them to start drinking, and second, it teaches them how to cope with cravings and temptations that can sometimes lead to relapse.
Support groups – After completing rehab, some people do, unfortunately, relapse. And this happens more often than a lot of people think. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), around 68% of people who successfully quit alcohol eventually relapse. Mindful of this, most rehab facilities provide referrals to Alcoholics Anonymous and similar support groups. There, individuals can share their sobriety journey with others. They also have access to a sponsor who can help keep them clean long-term and answer any questions they might have relative to being in a support group.
Treatments offered to individuals trying to overcome alcohol addiction can vary from one rehab to the next. However, the ones mentioned in this article are available in nearly all private and state-funded rehab facilities. To learn about treatments that can make achieving sobriety easier or to get help finding a rehab facility in your area, consider speaking with one of our compassionate and knowledgeable associates today at 833.970.2054.