One of the most abused substances is alcohol. This is partly due to the fact that drinking alcohol is legal once a person hits a certain age. Thus, alcohol is easily accessible. Unfortunately, what many people don’t realize is that alcohol is a highly addictive substance. Thus, if someone continuously abuses it, he or she is susceptible to developing an alcohol dependency and/or addiction. Because of how addictive alcohol is, learning how to beat alcoholism is difficult. It usually requires medical detox and addiction treatment at a rehab facility.
What is Alcohol Addiction?
When a person suffers from alcohol addiction, he or she has experienced changes in his or her brain chemistry due to excessive alcohol consumption. Alcohol addiction is also characterized by not being able to stop drinking even after one attempts to.
The fact that people that suffer from alcohol addiction can’t stop abusing alcohol even when they try to show just how difficult it is to learn how to beat alcoholism. That’s why alcohol addiction treatment programs are so vital.
Alcohol Addiction vs. Alcohol Dependency
Prior to suffering from alcohol addiction, people must already have become dependent on alcohol. Alcohol dependency means that a person experiences withdrawal symptoms anytime he or she minimizes or discontinues drinking alcohol.
Because the withdrawal symptoms that people who suffer from alcohol dependency experience are so severe, many people choose to continue to drink more and more alcohol to avoid feeling them. As a result, many people that develop alcohol dependency later develop full-fledged alcohol addictions.
Because alcohol dependency is a stepping stone on the way to alcohol addiction, all individuals that suffer from alcohol addiction also suffer from alcohol dependency even though all individuals that suffer from alcohol dependency don’t necessarily suffer from alcohol addictions yet.
Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
There are numerous symptoms that are typical for people that are suffering from alcohol withdrawal to experience. The severity of the alcohol withdrawal symptoms that people experience when they suffer from alcohol dependency only increases over time, hence the reason why many people start to drink more alcohol to avoid feeling more intense withdrawal symptoms. Unfortunately, such behavior only causes many people that suffer from alcohol dependency to later develop alcohol addictions. Many of the standard alcohol withdrawal symptoms are listed below.
- Mood changes
- Gastrointestinal disturbances
- Excessive sweating
- Heart palpitations
- Increased heart rate
- Increased blood pressure
- Rapid breathing
To overcome alcohol dependency or addiction, individuals must first detox from alcohol. To do this, individuals must taper their drinking until they are no longer consuming alcohol and there is no longer any alcohol in their bodily systems.
Tapering one’s drinking means slowly minimizing the amount of alcohol that one consumes until he or she is no longer consuming any alcohol at all. By tapering one’s drinking, a person that suffers from alcohol dependency and/or addiction will start to experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Thus, during alcohol detox, a person must withstand experiencing alcohol withdrawal symptoms without drinking more alcohol.
There are prescription withdrawal medications that people can take to help them manage their alcohol withdrawal symptoms during alcohol detox. To receive such prescription alcohol withdrawal medications, people must attend medical detox. This is because only medical detox programs provide doctors to monitor the entire detox process and prescribe detox patients withdrawal medications.
Prescription Alcohol Withdrawal Medications
Prescription medications that doctors prescribe individuals to treat their alcohol withdrawal symptoms are all FDA approved. These FDA-approved prescription withdrawal medications are typically either benzodiazepines, barbiturates, or some other kinds of anticonvulsant seizure medications.
FDA-approved benzodiazepines that doctors prescribe to individuals to help them manage their alcohol withdrawal symptoms include:
- Chlordiazepoxide (Ex. Librium)
- Clorazepate (Ex. Tranxene)
- Diazepam (Ex. Valium)
- Oxazepam (Ex. Serax)
Examples of anticonvulsant medications that doctors sometimes prescribe to people suffering from seizures during medical detox due to alcohol withdrawal include:
- Carbamazepine ( Ex. Tegretol)
- Gabapentin (Ex. Neurontin)
- Oxcarbazepine (Ex. Trileptal)
- Valproic Acid (Ex. Depakene)
FDA-Approved Medications for Alcohol Dependence and Alcohol Addiction
There are other FDA-approved medications that doctors often prescribe to individuals to not only help them manage their withdrawal symptoms but to also help them get through alcohol addiction treatment and alcohol addiction in general. The following FDA-approved medications are the ones that people typically hear about when it comes to treating alcohol dependence and addiction.
- Disulfiram ( Antabuse)
- Naltrexone ( Vivitrol and Revia)
- Acamprosate (Campral)
Alcohol Addiction Treatment
Once individuals get through alcohol detox and get a handle on their alcohol withdrawal symptoms, they should enter alcohol addiction treatment. This is especially true if such individuals want to learn how to beat alcoholism.
Alcohol addiction treatment programs are offered at addiction treatment centers such as Live Free Recovery. A person’s alcohol addiction treatment program can be either inpatient or outpatient.
Whether a person attends an inpatient rehab program or an outpatient rehab program depends on that person’s individual treatment needs. This is because inpatient forms of addiction treatment offer different things than outpatient forms of addiction treatment.
For example, inpatient alcohol addiction treatment programs require their patients to live in rehab facilities while receiving care. This is because inpatient rehab programs provide their patients with 24/7 care and monitoring.
Thus, individuals that don’t have much support at home and/or don’t have healthy home lives should receive inpatient alcohol addiction treatment. People that can’t avoid drinking alcohol when not actively in treatment sessions should also receive inpatient alcohol addiction treatment.
Individuals that do have healthy places to live and some support at home can possibly attend outpatient alcohol addiction treatment programs. People that must tend to daily life responsibilities and thus can’t take off from life completely while attending rehab should also look into receiving outpatient treatment. This is because outpatient rehab programs allow their patients to live in their own homes and tend to their normal lives when not in treatment sessions.
Types of Inpatient Alcohol Addiction Treatment
There are only two types of inpatient rehab programs, standard inpatient rehab and residential rehab. The only difference between these two types of inpatient rehab is that standard inpatient rehab is more structured and residential rehab is more casual. Thus, residential rehab patients get more free time to themselves than standard inpatient rehab patients do.
Types of Outpatient Alcohol Addiction Treatment
There are three types of outpatient treatment. These three types are partial hospitalization program (PHP) treatment, intensive outpatient program (IOP) treatment, and standard outpatient program (OP) treatment. While all three types of outpatient treatment allow their patients to live in their own homes when not receiving care, the intensity of each type of outpatient treatment program varies.