The Scripps Research Institute Alcohol Research Center

The Scripps Research Institute ARC


Alcohol Treatment

If you have a friend or family member you trust, who has had a drinking problem, it may be helpful to discuss your concerns about your own drinking with them.

If you think you might have a drinking problem, discussing it with your doctor may be very helpful in getting more information about your drinking, how it is affecting your health, and what kinds of treatment could help you.

It is not uncommon for drinking to cause depression, anxiety attacks, and sleeping problems. Often just stopping drinking for two weeks can help these problems tremendously or even make them disappear.

It can also be very helpful to discuss your drinking problem with other health professionals who are qualified to evaluate it. Psychologists, social workers, marriage and family health counselors, and addiction treatment professionals can all help you understand your problem and what you can do about it.

Counseling can be helpful in identifying high risk situations for relapse and either avoiding them or devising a coping strategy (avoiding bars completely, getting rid of all alcohol in the house, giving up friends who are drinking heavily).

Medications can be used to treat depression and anxiety symptoms that can occur with withdrawal symptoms the first couple of days after stopping drinking (Benzodiazepines: Valium, Librium).

A medicine called naltrexone can be used to help someone to remain sober by reducing cravings and helping to prevent a relapse. Antabuse can discourage drinking by causing the person to feel physically ill when he drinks.

In some situations, it is advisable for a person with alcoholism to be treated in a hospital. Some of these situations include serious medical or psychological problems, withdrawal symptoms, or repeated failure in trying to stop drinking as an outpatient.

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is one of the best treatment options for a recovering alcoholic. AA is a 12-step program based on the belief that the alcoholic himself is powerless over alcohol, but he can be helped by turning to a Higher Power and regularly attending AA meetings.

Can Alcoholism be Cured?

Alcoholism cannot be cured. But if a person with alcoholism stops drinking, he can reach a full recovery.