Determining When to Seek Rehabilitation for Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol-related problems have become a significant public health issue in the United States, affecting millions of individuals and their families. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol addiction, it’s important to understand when it’s time to seek rehabilitation and explore the available treatment options. This comprehensive guide will provide you with the necessary information to make informed decisions about addressing alcohol problems.

When Is It Time for Treatment?

Recognizing the need for treatment is the first step towards recovery. Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) is a medical condition that is diagnosed when an individual’s drinking causes distress or harm to themselves or others. If you answer “yes” to two or more of the following questions, it may indicate the presence of AUD:

  1. Have you had times when you ended up drinking more or longer than you intended?
  2. Have you tried to cut down or stop drinking but couldn’t?
  3. Do you spend a lot of time drinking or recovering from its aftereffects?
  4. Do you experience strong cravings or a strong urge to drink?
  5. Has alcohol interfered with your responsibilities at home, work, or school?
  6. Have you continued to drink despite it causing problems in your relationships?
  7. Have you given up or cut back on activities you once enjoyed to drink?
  8. Have you engaged in risky behavior while or after drinking?
  9. Do you continue to drink despite it worsening your mental or physical health?
  10. Have you experienced withdrawal symptoms when trying to quit or cut back on drinking?

If you have experienced several of these symptoms, it’s essential to seek help and consider treatment options. Remember, AUD is a treatable condition, and most people can benefit from some form of treatment.

Options for Treatment

When it comes to alcohol addiction treatment, there are various options available. It’s important to understand the different treatment methods to determine the most suitable approach for you. Here are some of the primary options:

Behavioral Treatments

Behavioral treatments are designed to change drinking behavior through counseling. These treatments are led by health professionals and have shown effectiveness in addressing alcohol addiction. Behavioral treatments can help individuals develop coping mechanisms, set reachable goals, and build a strong support system.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a widely used approach that helps individuals identify triggers and develop strategies to manage them. Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET) focuses on building motivation and confidence to make positive changes. Marital and Family Counseling involve incorporating family members in the treatment process to repair and improve relationships.


Several medications have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help individuals stop or reduce their drinking and prevent relapse. Medications such as Naltrexone, Acamprosate, and Disulfiram can be prescribed by healthcare professionals to aid in alcohol addiction treatment. These medications can be used alone or in combination with counseling.

Mutual-Support Groups

Mutual-support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) provide peer support and can be a valuable addition to professionally led treatments. These groups offer support, guidance, and a sense of community for individuals seeking to quit or reduce their drinking. While the success rates of these groups are challenging to determine, they can complement formal treatment approaches.

Starting with a Primary Care Doctor

If you’re considering treatment for alcohol addiction, it’s recommended to consult with a primary care physician. They can assess your drinking pattern, evaluate your overall health, and help craft a treatment plan tailored to your needs. Primary care doctors can also determine if medications are appropriate for your situation.

Treatments Led by Health Professionals

Professionally led treatments for alcohol addiction include behavioral treatments and medications. These treatments should be administered by qualified healthcare professionals who specialize in addiction treatment. Here is an overview of the treatments led by health professionals:


Certain medications have been approved to treat alcohol dependence. These medications can help reduce heavy drinking, maintain abstinence, and block the breakdown of alcohol in the body. Medications like Naltrexone, Acamprosate, and Disulfiram have shown effectiveness in treating alcohol addiction when used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan.

Behavioral Treatments

Behavioral treatments, also known as alcohol counseling, focus on helping individuals change behaviors associated with heavy drinking. These treatments aim to develop skills to stop or reduce drinking, build a strong support system, and cope with triggers that may lead to relapse. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET), and Marital and Family Counseling are examples of behavioral treatments commonly used for alcohol addiction.

It’s important to note that there is no one-size-fits-all solution, and treatment plans should be tailored to each individual’s specific needs and circumstances. A combination of medication and behavioral treatments may be the most effective approach for some individuals.

What FDA-Approved Medications Are Available?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved several medications for the treatment of alcohol dependence. These medications have been shown to help individuals stop or reduce their drinking and avoid relapse. Here are the currently approved medications:

  1. Naltrexone: This medication helps reduce heavy drinking by blocking the effects of opioids in the brain, which can reduce the pleasurable feelings associated with alcohol consumption.
  2. Acamprosate: Acamprosate works by restoring the balance of certain brain chemicals that are disrupted by alcohol addiction, helping individuals maintain abstinence.
  3. Disulfiram: Disulfiram creates unpleasant physical reactions when alcohol is consumed, acting as a deterrent to drinking.

These medications are non-addictive and can be used in combination with other treatment approaches. It’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional to determine which medication is most suitable for your situation.

Tips for Selecting Treatment

Choosing the right treatment program and provider is crucial for successful recovery from alcohol addiction. Here are some tips to consider when selecting a treatment option:

  1. Understand the available treatment methods: Learn about the different treatment approaches and determine if the program or provider offers a comprehensive range of options.
  2. Tailored treatment: Ensure that the treatment plan can be tailored to your individual needs and can adapt to changing circumstances.
  3. Expectations and goals: Clarify what is expected of you during treatment and discuss your treatment goals with the provider.
  4. Measurement of success: Inquire about how the program or provider measures treatment success and assess if it aligns with your personal goals.
  5. Relapse prevention: Understand how the program or provider addresses relapse and supports individuals in maintaining long-term sobriety.

It’s important to gather as much information as possible, seek recommendations from trusted sources, and take the time to find a treatment program or provider that best suits your needs.

An Ongoing Process

Recovering from alcohol addiction is an ongoing process that may involve setbacks and challenges. It’s crucial to approach recovery with persistence and a long-term mindset. Here are some important considerations:

The Importance of Persistence

Alcohol Use Disorder is a chronic relapsing disease, and setbacks can occur along the journey to recovery. It’s not uncommon for individuals to make multiple attempts to quit or reduce their drinking before achieving long-term sobriety. Persistence is key, and learning from setbacks is part of the process.

Relapse Is Part of the Process

Relapse is a common occurrence among individuals recovering from alcohol addiction. Relapses often happen during periods of stress or exposure to triggers associated with past drinking. It’s essential to understand that relapse does not signify failure but rather a temporary setback. Behavioral therapies can help individuals develop coping skills to avoid and overcome triggers, and regular check-ins with treatment providers can provide ongoing support.

Mental Health Issues and Alcohol Use Disorder

Many individuals with alcohol addiction also experience co-occurring mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. It’s essential to address both the addiction and any accompanying mental health issues for successful recovery. Seeking treatment for any underlying mental health conditions is crucial for overall well-being.

Advice for Friends and Family Members

Caring for a loved one with alcohol addiction can be challenging and emotionally draining. It’s important to seek support from friends, family, and support groups to help manage the stress and impact of a loved one’s addiction. Remember to take care of your own well-being and seek professional help if needed. It’s important to recognize that your loved one is ultimately responsible for managing their illness, but your support can make a significant difference.

In conclusion, determining when to seek rehabilitation for alcohol addiction is a personal decision that requires careful consideration. Recognizing the signs of alcohol addiction and understanding the available treatment options are essential steps towards recovery. By seeking professional help, exploring medication options, and considering behavioral treatments, individuals can embark on a path to long-term sobriety and improved well-being. Remember, recovery is an ongoing process, and with persistence and support, it is possible to overcome alcohol addiction and lead a fulfilling life. Call us today at 833-820-2922.