Advances in alcoholism treatment in recent
years have provided more choices for patients
and health professionals.
treat alcoholism. Newer medications
acamprosate) can make it easier to
quit drinking by offsetting changes
in the brain caused by alcoholism.
They don't make
you sick if you do drink, unlike an
older medication (disulfiram). None
of these medications are addictive.
They can also be combined with support
groups or alcohol counseling.
In addition to specialists, your regular
doctor can now treat alcohol problems
using the new medications and several
brief office visits for support. See
resources for more information.
- Alcohol counseling. "Talk
therapy" also works well. There are
several counseling approaches that are
about equally effective—12 step, cognitive-behavioral,
or a combination. Getting help in itself
appears to be more important than the
particular approach used, as long as it
offers empathy, avoids heavy confrontation,
strengthens motivation, and provides concrete
ways to change drinking behavior. See resources for
help you find a psychiatrist, psychologist,
social worker, or other substance abuse
- Specialized, intensive treatment
programs. Some people will
need more intensive programs. See resources for
a treatment locator.
If you need a referral to a program,
ask your doctor.
Feeling depressed or anxious?
It's common for people
with alcohol problems to
feel depressed or anxious.
Mild symptoms may go away if you cut down
or stop drinking. See a doctor or mental
health professional if symptoms persist
or get worse. If you're having suicidal
thoughts, call your health care provider,
or go to the nearest emergency room right
away. Effective treatment is available
to help you through this difficult time.
Information about depression, anxiety, and other
mental health topics is available from the National
Institute of Mental Health