Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is the medical term for when someone can’t control how much they drink and has trouble with their emotions when they’re not drinking. Most people are more familiar with the term alcoholism. However, whatever the term you use, this condition will eventually require alcohol addiction treatment.
Some people may believe that people who suffer from problematic use of alcohol can deal with it through sheer willpower and recover independently. However, AUD is a brain disease. Quitting drinking without professional help, like medical detox or alcohol addiction therapy, can be difficult. If you or someone you love wants to take that first step into recovery, call Midwest Detox Center at 833.647.0392 or contact our team online. Ask about our programs and services designed to help people with AUD.
Do You Need Alcohol Addiction Treatment?
It can be challenging to figure out if you or someone you love is simply a heavy drinker or actually alcohol dependent. In cases like this, a doctor of another healthcare provider can help by diagnosing you.
In general, medical experts will say that you have an AUD if you:
- Always feel like you have to drink alcohol
- Can’t control how much or how often you drink alcohol
- Feel bad or experience withdrawal symptoms when you can’t drink alcohol
Should you decide to have yourself diagnosed, talk to your doctor about your goals following your diagnosis. Are you simply trying to drink less, or do you want to stop alcohol use completely? Your doctor will give you different advice based on what you want to do. They can help you form a treatment plan or refer you to professionals that can help.
What To Expect From Alcohol Detox
Medical and social complications arising from AUD can ruin lives. However, many alcoholics continue to drink, if only to avoid alcohol withdrawal. Alcohol withdrawal and detoxification are known to cause psychological and physical distress. If done without medical supervision, detox can even be life-threatening. However, detoxification and withdrawal is typically the first step to recovery. In fact, many alcohol addiction treatment programs require detox as a prerequisite.
Your body and brain will need to learn how to function normally and feel well without alcohol. This withdrawal process begins within a few hours after your last alcohol drink. The acute symptoms will continue to happen for up to five days.
Inpatient vs. Outpatient Treatment
Most people go to a hospital or a treatment center because of severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms like shaking or tremors and seizures. During detox, some people will also experience hallucinations, meaning that they feel or see things that aren’t there. You can go through detox and deal with these symptoms in one of two ways:
- Inpatient: If you’ve been misusing alcohol for a long time or are a heavy drinker, this may be the best option for you. Inpatient detox is usually also medical detox. You stay in a hospital or detox center with round-the-clock medical supervision and help throughout your detox process. The medical team can give you medication, like Naltrexone, Acamprosate, or Disulfiram, to help you deal with your symptoms, too.
- Outpatient: If you can’t take a break from your typical daily routine, outpatient detox may be your only option. You can visit your doctor or other healthcare provider and get treatment during the day. Outpatient detox can be a good option if your AUD is mild to moderate.
Alcohol detox isn’t a cure or treatment for alcoholism. It is a crucial step but not the only step to take. The goals of alcohol detox are to stop you from drinking. It also can give your body time to get alcohol out of your system. This can usually be accomplished within a few days to a few weeks.
What To Expect From Alcohol Addiction Therapy and Treatment
AUD has no cure. The road to recovering from AUD is a long one that can involve various therapies and treatments. Medical experts recommend that a patient’s individual treatment plan should be based on their American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) criteria results, as well as personal circumstances.
You may have various options. Some will require you to go through alcohol detox, possibly with medication-assisted treatment (MAT). Most alcohol addiction treatment programs have group counseling or individual therapy sessions. Topics included in therapy and counseling include relapse prevention training, behavior modification, and more. Working with a therapist can help you work through your behaviors, feelings, and thoughts. It can also help you get to the root cause of the development of your AUD.
At the end of your alcohol addiction treatment program, a healthcare professional can recommend support groups for you to join. For instance, Alcoholics Anonymous or an alumni group connected to the treatment center you went to right after detox can be quite helpful.