Author: John Carter

Alcohol Use Disorder

alcohol psychologist

Specialists who are board certified have thousands of hours of training and practice. And they must continue to take training courses to keep their certification.

Working to stop alcohol use to improve quality of life is the main treatment goal. When seeking professional help, it is important that you feel respected and understood and that you have a feeling of trust that this person, group, or organization can help you. Remember, though, that relationships with doctors, therapists, and other health professionals can take time to develop. They will help you learn whether a program offers higher-quality care and is a good fit for your situation. But as with any chronic condition, there are varying levels of success when it comes to treatment, as well as the type of treatment used. In many cases, the longer a person abstains from alcohol, the more likely it is that sobriety will be maintained.

  1. You will not need to ask a board-certified addiction doctor about qualifications.
  2. Some therapists also offer payment plans, scholarships, and sliding-scale fees based on income.
  3. Also, be sure to look for the other types of treatment providers— alcohol treatment programs and board-certified addiction doctors.
  4. It is important that as you try to help your loved one, you find a way to take care of yourself as well.
  5. As more medications become available, people may be able to try multiple medications to find which they respond to best.

Alcohol use disorder is a pattern of alcohol use that involves problems controlling your drinking, being preoccupied with alcohol or continuing to use alcohol even when it causes problems. This disorder also involves having to drink more to get the same effect or having withdrawal symptoms when you rapidly decrease or stop drinking. Alcohol use disorder includes a level of drinking that’s sometimes called alcoholism. Alcohol abuse and alcoholism can worsen existing conditions such as depression or induce new problems such as serious memory loss, depression or anxiety. For many people, drinking alcohol is nothing more than a pleasant way to relax. People with alcohol use disorders, however, drink to excess, endangering both themselves and others.

Overcoming alcohol use disorder is an ongoing process, one which can include setbacks. In addition to choosing the type of treatment that’s best for you, you’ll also have to decide if that treatment is inpatient (you would stay at a facility) or outpatient (you stay in your home during treatment). Your healthcare provider can help you evaluate the pros and cons of each. Overall, gather as much information as you can about the program or provider before making a decision on treatment.

Another factor is stress, because alcohol can alleviate distressing emotions. Social norms, such as drinking during a happy hour or on a college campus, and positive experiences with alcohol in the past (as opposed to getting nauseous or flushed) play a role as well. For many, beer, wine, and spirits conjure up thoughts of social gatherings and tipsy fun.

This question-and-answer fact sheet explains alcohol problems and how psychologists can help people recover. There may not always be one specific type of therapy that is considered to be the most effective for every person. Alcoholics Anonymous is a decades-old treatment, but one that research shows is effective. A recent review found that Alcoholics Anonymous led to higher rates of abstinence from alcohol long term compared to other treatments. One of the key reasons, according to the data, is that people continue to participate for years after they have completed the 12-step program. AA is not for everyone and there are plenty of different treatment options, but it can be successful and meaningful for those who choose it.

Impact on your health

Naltrexone acts to reduce the craving for alcohol in those who have stopped drinking. Acamprosate is thought to work by reducing symptoms, such as anxiety and insomnia, that may follow lengthy abstinence. Disulfiram discourages drinking by making individuals feel sick if they drink alcohol. Fortunately, effective treatment is available for alcohol use disorder. Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is one of the most popular psychotherapy approaches for treating alcohol use disorder.

alcohol psychologist

The results of the assessment can offer initial guidance to the drinker about what treatment to seek and help motivate the problem drinker to get treatment. Individuals with drinking problems improve their chances of recovery by seeking help early. Spouses and children of heavy drinkers may face family violence; children may suffer physical and sexual abuse and neglect and develop psychological problems.

Alcohol use disorder

These advances could optimize how treatment decisions are made in the future. Still, to help your search in general, see the Navigator’s summary of five signs of quality alcohol treatment. We also help you spot quality in the “Why you should ask” and “What to listen for” sections for the recommended questions.

alcohol psychologist

It is important to remember that not all people will respond to medications, but for a subset of individuals, they can be an important tool in overcoming alcohol dependence. Some are surprised to learn that there are medications on the market approved to treat alcohol dependence. The newer types of these medications work by offsetting changes in the brain caused by AUD.

SEARCH for addiction doctors

If you have any of these symptoms, your drinking may already be a cause for concern. A health professional can conduct a formal assessment of your symptoms to see if AUD is present. For an online assessment of your drinking pattern, go to Research shows that about one-third of people who are treated for alcohol problems have no further symptoms 1 year later. Many others substantially reduce their drinking and report fewer alcohol-related problems.

Is Individual Therapy More Effective than Group Therapy?

Alcohol consumption was also linked to a greater risk for stroke, coronary disease, heart failure, and fatally high blood pressure. However, it’s difficult to discern if drinking was the primary problem, or whether lifestyle choices such as diet and exercise influenced health outcomes as well. Research shows that most people who have alcohol problems are able to reduce their drinking or quit entirely.

Remember that your loved one is ultimately responsible for managing his or her illness. Three medications are currently approved in the United States to help people stop or reduce their drinking and prevent relapse. They are prescribed by a primary care physician or other health professional and may be used alone or in combination with counseling. Therapists with expertise in treating addiction can support people with alcohol problems in several ways. They help clients to set goals, develop skills to cut down or stop drinking, manage stress, and build a strong social support system.They may offer one-on-one, family, or group sessions, once or more a week.

Triggers become engrained in addiction, so it’s valuable to recognize these cues, avoid them, and replace them with new behaviors, such as calling a sponsor or loved one when craving alcohol, which can help avoid a relapse. Residential treatment programs typically include licensed alcohol and drug counselors, social workers, nurses, doctors, and others with expertise and experience in treating alcohol use disorder. Also, be sure to look for the other types of treatment providers—therapists with addiction specialties and alcohol treatment programs. Alcohol use disorder is a problematic pattern of alcohol use that leads to distress in one’s daily life, according to the DSM-5. Experiencing at least two symptoms throughout the course of a year merits a diagnosis, from mild to moderate to severe. Caring for a person who has problems with alcohol can be very stressful.