New Directions in the Treatment of Alcoholism

New Directions in the Treatment of Alcoholism
New Directions in the Treatment of Alcoholism
July 13, 2016

Traditional treatment of alcoholism has focused on group experiences such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Nowadays, there are new options in the treatment of Alcohol Use Disorders (AUD). Researchers hope to provide help to a broader audience and help that is more effective.

Traditional treatment options work halfway

Traditional treatment methods involved, usually, a style of group therapy such as Alcoholic Anonymous. People who sought treatment were expected to quit alcohol completely. This is also known as quitting “cold turkey.”  Studies have shown this approach worked about half the time.  However, if the AUD was coupled with other conjoined issues, people who initially quit cold turkey would slide back into drinking about half the time.

Read also: A miracle Chinese Herb to Cure Alcohol Induced Hangover

Medications are available

One of the more recent changes is the use of medications. Medications can help with cravings for alcohol. The most success comes from combining medications with counseling on behavioral changes.  Some researchers are looking for potential linkages between medicines that help with smoking cessation to be used for drinking cessation too.

Web-based counseling is a new option

As an alternative to group therapy and also traditional one-on-one therapy, a new option is web-based counseling or therapy. Leveraging the advantages of the Internet, counselors are providing web access to their counseling services. The advantages are easy access regardless of the person’s location. They can access the services anywhere there is Internet access.  The other plus is that the web-based services are not restricted to normal business hours.

Virtual reality is a modern approach

Like the 4-DX option in the most modern movie theaters, alcohol treatment professionals are incorporating virtual reality in their treatment approaches. Virtual reality situations allow people to work through high-risk situations in a safe environment. For example, simulating being at a party or restaurant where others are drinking.  The virtual reality simulation allows the person to consider the pressure and feelings to find a positive way to manage such situations.

Read also: Alcohol can Cause Cancers and Accidents

Meditation benefits a lot

People who are trying to escape problems with alcohol are turning to meditation. The benefits of medication are bringing focus to their lives and allowing a “pause” to carefully consider their plans and feelings.  In this way, people can make positive, reasoned steps about their addiction to alcohol.

Yoga is a good choice

Yoga can strengthen the mind-body connection.  The breathing and movements of yoga can also bring more focus to a person’s life.  All of this together can make someone more aware of alcohol and its effects on their life. It can also help by creating a space for more careful contemplation of life choices.  Be sure to get instruction in the correct postures and breathing techniques so that the yoga is correctly practiced.

Nutrition takes care of the energy level

Studies have shown that many alcoholics suffer from malnutrition.  So, it can be important to have a proper diet.  This can stabilize energy levels and other nutrition-related factors that could contribute to low energy levels or depression. Feeling good from good nutrition can be a positive influence to avoid drinking.

Read also: The Origin of the Word ‘Alcohol’ and What It Symbolizes

Light therapy cures insomnia

Sometimes people who have had drinking problems suffer from insomnia. Bouts of heavy drinking can unbalance sleep cycles and interrupt proper rest. Researchers have found that using strong light during waking hours can help return the brain to a normal sleep cycle. This technique originated with helping people overcome “Seasonal Affected Disorder.”

Social networking is a must

Modern life has led to making social networking integral to lifestyles.  Counselors have latched onto this by using social networking sites to help provide counseling round the clock as well as helping patients keep tabs on their feelings. Social networking sites can provide online groups that are easily accessible without constraints about time or place.

Read also: Alcoholism may be Associated with Intestinal Flora

Article highlights

  • New options exist for the treatment of alcohol abuse.
  • Traditionally, people were expected to quit cold turkey and supported through group therapy.
  • Medications can help with cravings for alcohol.
  • Web-based counseling breaks barriers of location and service hours.
  • Virtual reality allows people to learn to manage situations in a safe environment.
  • Medication helps people focus and bring attention to things driving them to drink.
  • Yoga can be used to bring more awareness to lifestyle choices.
  • Good nutrition can help reduce the desire for alcohol.
  • Light therapy can restore good sleeping patterns.
  • Social networking sites open new avenues for interaction with and among patients.

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