When AA Is Not Enough: Treating Alcoholism On A Different Level

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Alcoholism is something that a lot of people try to overcome through different non-medical programs. For example, many people will go through Alcoholics Anonymous, or AA, to get help. It works for some people, but there is a small percentage who will not find complete help or release from their addiction by group talk therapy alone. If you find that nothing else has worked for you, but you are very determined to stop abusing alcohol as your drug of choice, you need some stronger treatment. The following information can help people in your situation. 

​Alcohol Rehab Centers

Alcohol rehab centers for people fighting alcoholism are an ideal choice for the few that continue to struggle with this addiction. Rather than continue with outpatient group therapy sessions in various programs, you can check yourself in at a rehab center. Here, the medical teams work to help you detox, shake the "shakes," and get through the worst of the withdrawal symptoms. You will spend several weeks as an inpatient in a rehab center, but you will be able to leave when you feel that you have enough strength to continue as an outpatient of the facility. Doctors may also determine for you when you are able to leave, which may give you enough of a confidence boost to try other non-medical programs again for added support on the outside. 

​Medications to Help with Withdrawal and Causes for Drinking

​In and out of a rehab center, you will have access to medications that can help with the withdrawal symptoms associated with alcohol, most notably the sweats, physical pain, and the DTs, or "shakes." While in rehab, you will discuss with therapists why you started drinking, what acts as a catalyst to get a drink, and what causes you to keep drinking. You will learn how to change behaviors and expectations, which can impact where and when you drink. You will also have access to medications for anxiety and/or depression, if either of these mental health issues are at the center of your disease/dependency on alcohol. When you leave the center, medications prescribed for anxiety and depression may continue, but only if you are willing to have them filled and willing to continue taking them. 

Rapid Track to Detox

​While it is not recommended, there is a way to "rapid detox." It involves an IV push of a high volume of fluids over a very short period of time. Some doctors in some rehab centers may prescribe this if a patient has a very severe addiction and a very violent withdrawal reaction to "cold turkey" quitting of alcohol. Ask your doctor about this treatment method when you enter a facility for treatment.