An alcohol use disorder (AUD) is drinking that causes distress and harm. It is a medical condition in which you
An AUD can range from mild to severe, depending on the symptoms. Severe AUD is sometimes called alcoholism or alcohol dependence.What are the treatments for alcohol use disorder?
Most people with an alcohol use disorder can benefit from some form of treatment. Medical treatments include medicines and behavioral therapies. For many people, using both types gives them the best results. People who are getting treatment for AUD may also find it helpful to go to a support group such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). If you have an AUD and a mental illness, it is important to get treatment for both.
Some people may need intensive treatment for AUD. They may go to a residential treatment center for rehabilitation (rehab). Treatment there is highly structured. It usually includes several different kinds of behavioral therapies. It may also include medicines for detox (medical treatment for alcohol withdrawal) and/or for treating the AUD.Which medicines can treat alcohol use disorder?
Three medicines are approved to treat AUD:
Your health care provider can help you figure out if one of these medicines is right for you. They are not addictive, so you don't have to worry about trading one addiction for another. They are not a cure, but they can help you manage AUD. This is just like taking medicines to manage a chronic disease such as asthma or diabetes.Which behavioral therapies can treat alcohol use disorder?
Another name for behavioral therapies for AUD is alcohol counseling. It involves working with a health care professional to identify and help change the behaviors that lead to your heavy drinking.
For most people, treatment for an AUD is helpful. But overcoming an alcohol use disorder is an ongoing process, and you may relapse (start drinking again). You should look at relapse as a temporary setback, and keep trying. Many people repeatedly try to cut back or quit drinking, have a setback, then try to quit again. Having a relapse does not mean that you cannot recover. If you do relapse, it is important to return to treatment right away, so you can learn more about your relapse triggers and improve your coping skills. This may help you be more successful the next time.
NIH: National Institute on Alcohol use disorder and Alcoholism
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