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Help to Stop Drinking – The Simple Guide to Your Options

Lisa Taylor
Lisa TaylorAddiction Counsellor

Coming to terms with the fact that you have a drinking problem is usually the most difficult step in the process of getting well. Are you visiting our website because you are finally at that place? If so, we want to help you in any way we can. Getting help to stop drinking is the best thing you can do for yourself and your family; we want to be part of the process.

The first thing you should know is that you have numerous options for treatment, depending on how severe your problem is. A comprehensive evaluation may reveal that you are a problem drinker who regularly exceeds generally accepted levels of safe drinking but without regular binge drinking or drunkenness. Or perhaps you abuse alcohol by drinking more than you should, more often than not.

If you sense that your problem is even more severe, you may already be an alcoholic. Below is a list of symptoms most alcoholics exhibit; if you recognise any of them in your life then there is good reason to believe you might be suffering from alcoholism:

  • You constantly worry there will not be enough alcohol available to you
  • You are willing to go to great lengths to procure more alcohol
  • You are willing to avoid family and friends just to drink
  • You find yourself hiding alcohol at home or work
  • You cannot function at social gatherings without drinking
  • You find you need to consume more and more alcohol to feel good.

Only a proper evaluation by a trained professional can truly determine how severe your problem is. When you call our 24-hour helpline, one of our trained and professional counsellors can provide you with a comprehensive assessment capable of determining where you stand.

Options for Problem Drinkers

Problem drinkers who are not yet considered alcohol abusers or alcoholics have the greatest number of options available to them. Many start by paying a visit to the GP for a medical examination. In your case, the doctor would be able to examine you and, based on the answers you provide to specific questions, determine if you have an early stage issue that would be classified as problem drinking.

A diagnosis of problem drinking brings with it several options for treatment:

  • Medication – There are certain medications a doctor can prescribe to help you avoid alcohol. For example, disulfiram is a drug that makes drinking physically unpleasant. If you were on this drug, any drinking on your part would result in symptoms similar to a hangover within minutes of taking a drink. There are three other drugs that doctors use to help people avoid drinking and/or to reduce alcohol cravings.
  • Counselling – Medication to help reduce alcohol consumption only works to a limited degree. Problem drinkers can benefit by counselling or support group participation alongside prescription medication. Counselling is offered one-on-one or in a group setting.
  • Healthy Lifestyle – It can be difficult to cut down on the amount of alcohol one drinks without adopting a new healthy lifestyle. Therefore, counsellors often recommend doing things such as modifying the diet, engaging in daily exercise, and pursuing a level of spirituality.

If these options work for you as a problem drinker, you may find yourself limiting your alcohol consumption more quickly than you had imagined. If they don't work, you may be in the early stages of alcohol abuse. This would require some additional treatments.

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Options for Alcohol Abusers

A person who would clinically qualify as an alcohol abuser has already begun to develop some measure of tolerance. Therefore, relying on medication and counselling alone to help stop drinking may not be successful. A doctor or professional counsellor may suggest going one step further, including recommending the person attend an outpatient rehab programme.

Outpatient rehab is usually available through the NHS, private clinics, or alcohol charities. It is a kind of therapy that brings structure to the life of the alcohol abuser for the purposes of helping him or her come to terms with alcohol abuse and eventually overcome it. By definition, patients attend treatment sessions during the day before returning home in the evening.

Outpatient treatment can include:

  • one-on-one counselling
  • group counselling
  • psychotherapeutic treatments
  • diet and exercise classes.

Sometimes doctors and counsellors will also put the alcohol abuser on a special nutrition programme in order to restore the vitamins and minerals that are typically lost due to excessive drinking. Restoring these levels can help a great deal in changing a person's outlook and how he or she physically feels.

Options for Alcoholics

By the time an alcoholic decides to get help to stop drinking, the physical and emotional toll alcohol has taken on the body results in limited options for treatment. It is rare for an alcoholic to successfully stop drinking simply by taking prescription medication and receiving a few weeks of counselling. A much more intense treatment programme is required.

Alcoholics need a very structured outpatient or residential treatment programme designed by an alcohol recovery specialist. Furthermore, detox will be a necessary part of treatment regardless of whether an outpatient or residential programme is chosen. Detox is a 7-to-10-day process for most people; it could go as long as two weeks in some cases.

Outpatient treatment for alcoholics is similar to what an alcohol abuser would experience. Perhaps the one main difference is that treatment for the alcoholic includes more thorough medical monitoring. That's because overcoming alcoholism can present some medical challenges that could develop into emergencies if proper medical care is not provided.

With all of that said, the alcoholic sincerely desiring the best possible help to quit will find it in a residential treatment programme through a private clinic. Residential treatment offers a lot of things that outpatient treatment cannot. For example, a private residential programme separates the alcoholic from his or her normal life and places him or her in a controlled and stress-free environment that is very conducive to recovery. Residential treatment also gives patients access to their care providers 24 hours a day. This makes it possible to address any challenges as soon as they arise, rather than having to wait until the next day's programme begins.

Let's Explore Your Options

Do you believe you need help to stop drinking? If so, you have already taken the first step by searching for information on our website. Now it is time to contact us so that we can begin exploring your options together. Let us provide a comprehensive assessment to determine the severity of your problem, followed by a list of treatment providers in your area. We walk you through each treatment option so that you can decide what is best for you.

There is help to stop drinking if you want it. We are here to connect you with that help as soon as you are ready. Remember this: regardless of the seriousness of your drinking problem, you may not be able to overcome without professional treatment.

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