Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) is the term doctors use when a person cannot control their amount of alcohol intake and have difficulty in maintaining their moods when they are not drinking. Some of you might think the best and only way to deal with it is sheer will power as if it is an issue that can be dealt with alone.
AUD, however, is a brain disease that brings changes to your neurons, making it harder to quit. Trying to find a cure for it on your own is equivalent to curing a tumor with positive thoughts. It is just not enough. The essential first step is to start collecting information about the possible treatment methods that would suit you well. There is a lot to choose from.
Start with your doctor. Alcohol use disorder has a common type – alcoholism. Milder cases also call for attention where people abuse alcohol but are not exactly dependent on it. The doctor might make a diagnosis for AUD if you regularly feel like you have to drink, can’t control the amount, and feel bad when you cannot grab a bottle. When you meet the experts, talk about your ultimate goals and how you want the treatment plan to go about.
Knowing Your Treatment
Once you become alcohol dependent, you may feel as it is the end of the world, but you surely are not alone in this. There are many contemporary treatment options available that include having a healthy support system and boosting personal motivation, which will get you and your life back on track.
Your treatment plan will be supervised by a team of medical experts at a rehabilitation center, guiding you through every step of the recovery process – from detox to life post-rehab. It is important to remember, though, that overcoming AUD is a slow process and, as a result, could test your patience level. Less than half of the individuals face a relapse after achieving one year of sobriety. It would help if you continued with counseling and community support group therapies to reach long-term non-indulgence.
The Treatment Types
No doubt, choosing a program to treat AUD could possibly be the biggest decision you make in your life. Before starting a treatment plan, you should understand what each program entails. For instance, a comprehensive process will focus on the individual too rather than just their alcohol use. Many long programs employ several, or all of the factors mentioned ahead.
- Alcohol detox. One of the most difficult processes for patients to go through is detoxification. Within a few days after you quick drinking, you might go through serious withdrawal. This is the reason why detoxification should happen under expert care and supervision. Once the detox is completed, you can move forward to other forms of treatment and therapy.
- Inpatient rehab. This one is a more structured environment for those overcoming AUD. These centers are usually aimed for stricter treatments that require 24-hour supervision for a period of 30 – 90 days, depending on the program. The treatment professionals will provide you on the clock care and train you for the life post-rehab – overcoming triggers, the importance of sobriety and maintaining it, and what to do in the occurrence of a relapse.
- Counseling. Communication is important for individuals with AUD. The process of talk-therapy with an alcohol counselor opens the chance for figuring our underlying issues that may be triggering alcoholism, such as family relationships, peers, or work. You will have a shot at introspection while keeping your body healthy both outside and inside.
- Government services. In many countries, for example, in the United States, there are many state-owned resources and treatment programs that can help greatly with alcoholism. One of the most commonly known in the country is the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) that serves as the hub of treatment, information, and referral service.Moreover, many countries are also focusing on making the treatment more affordable for the common folk to make sure anyone who needs help gets it. Sadly, due to the rise in demand for rehabs, many government treatment centers have long waitlists and other needs such as finances and medical attention.
How to Stay Sober
After you have taken the grand steps towards recovery, the support of family and friends, and formulating a good plan for managing urges would make things easier.
- Stay out of risky situations. This means you might need to stop hanging out with people you used to drink with – even if it was just a “social affair.”You might take a new route for home to keep yourself away from the usual hangout spot or an alcohol hub more like.
- Build a social support network. Keep your closest family and friends to lean on whenever you need to, even if you think your relationships are not the way they used to be once. Consider booking an appointment with a family therapist or a counselor to help deal with that and other personal issues. Moreover, have some sober buddies invite you over for non-alcoholic parties like a plus-one social event or wedding. Make sure to stay in touch with your doctor or sponsor so you can call them in case you feel anxiety building up.
- Peer support group. There are many organizations like Narcotic Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous that help you build a support network. You can sign up for various meetings and choose the one best suited to your needs.
While working on getting better, remember that it will take time to change. Do expect pushbacks as you may become defensive and deny the problem at hand. Try your best not to take it personally and take it as a planting seed that will eventually blossom into new, better habits.
Make a plan, and have some concrete steps to follow. Look for local therapy groups and counselors that fit your plan and are willing to offer all kinds of support.