Because an alcohol use disorder can be a chronic relapsing disease, persistence is key. It is rare that someone would go to treatment once and then never drink again. More often, people must repeatedly try to quit or cut back, experience recurrences, learn from them, and then keep trying. For many, continued followup with a treatment provider is critical to overcoming problem drinking.
NOTE: This fact sheet discusses research findings on effective treatment approaches for drug abuse and addiction. If you’re seeking treatment, you can call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA's) National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (1-800-662-4357) or go to www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov for information on hotlines, counseling services, or treatment options in your state.
Addiction is an all-consuming disease, using much of an individual’s time, energy and resources. There are many physical, mental and emotional signs of addiction. If you or a loved one are experiencing a combination of these signs, treatment may be a stepping stone for long-term recovery. Looking for signs and symptoms of drug abuse can be the first step toward identifying an addiction: Inside NHS detox centre - Victoria Derbyshire
Even relatively moderate drug use poses dangers. Consider how a social drinker can become intoxicated, get behind the wheel of a car, and quickly turn a pleasurable activity into a tragedy that affects many lives. Occasional drug use, such as misusing an opioid to get high, can have similarly disastrous effects, including overdose, and dangerously impaired driving.
Alcohol is also linked to self-harm, psychosis, and suicide and because it can impair judgement and lead to reckless, compulsive behaviour, many people who take their own lives do so while under the influence of alcohol. In fact, NHS Scotland has said that over half of all hospital admissions related to deliberate self-harm have a direct link to alcohol either immediately before or during the act.
To begin this process and to find these treatment options, a person dealing with drug or alcohol addiction can get in touch with their state or local mental/behavioral health or substance abuse services. These are often part of larger public or community health agency networks within the government. SAMHSA maintains a Directory of Single State Agencies (SSA) for Substance Abuse Services to make it easier for people to find out whom to contact. The state’s government websites can also provide information on these services and how to apply for them.
Alcohol detox– In most cases of long-term alcohol addiction, detox must occur prior to formal treatment. This part of the healing process involves stopping the consumption of alcohol and all other drugs. This gives the body time to cleanse itself of all harmful toxins. Withdrawal symptoms may be an issue (e.g., depression and anxiety, mood swings, sweats, chills and irritability). They all depend upon the specifics of the addiction. Physical and mental health care and support is provided, as needed.1Therapeutic medication– The need for therapeutic medication depends on the individual patient’s needs, experiences and circumstances. If a drug is used, it should be medically-managed by a physician.
Substance abuse therapy: Used as a part of many inpatient and outpatient programs, therapy is one of the cornerstones of drug addiction treatment. Individual, group and family therapy help patients and their loved ones understand the nature and causes of addiction. Therapy teaches coping strategies and life skills needed to live a productive, sober life in the community. For individuals with a co-occurring mental illness, intensive psychotherapy can also address psychiatric symptoms and find the underlying issues that contribute to addiction. Inside Shalom House, Australia’s ‘strictest’ drug rehabilitation | Australian Story