Author: Gary Jackson

Substance Use and Co-Occurring Mental Disorders National Institute of Mental Health NIMH

Don’t blame yourself if the first intervention isn’t successful. The most successful treatment happens when a person wants to change. Cravings for alcohol can be intense, particularly in the first six months after you quit drinking. Make meetings a priority – Join a recovery support group, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), and attend meetings regularly.

Use these free digital, outreach materials in your community and on social media to spread the word about mental health. Use these free education and outreach materials in your community and on social media to spread the word about mental health and related topics. Research shows that most people who have alcohol problems are able to reduce their drinking or quit entirely. Overcoming alcohol use disorder is an ongoing process, one which can include setbacks. 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.

Don’t become codependent

The groups for family and friends listed below may be a good starting point. Because AUD can be a chronic relapsing disease, persistence is key. It is rare that someone would go to treatment once and then never drink again. More often, people must repeatedly try to quit or cut back, experience recurrences, learn from them, and then keep trying. For many, continued follow up with a treatment provider is critical to overcoming problem drinking.

  • Here’s some information to help you get ready for your appointment, and what to expect from your health care provider or mental health provider.
  • The most important thing is to let them know that you care and that you’ll be there when they need your support.
  • People in rural areas tend to have less access to health care.
  • No matter the reaction, you should stay calm and assure your person that they have your respect and support.
  • If you are developing your own symptoms of depression or anxiety, think about seeking professional help for yourself.
  • If your goal is to reduce your drinking, decide which days you will drink alcohol and how many drinks you will allow yourself per day.
  • Also, a healthy diet can help undo damage alcohol may have done to the person’s health, like weight gain or loss.

Our experts continually monitor the health and wellness space, and we update our articles when new information becomes available. However, long-term addictions can be successfully treated. Unlike cocaine or heroin, alcohol is widely available and accepted in many cultures. It’s often at the center of social situations and closely linked to celebrations and enjoyment.

Groups for family and friends

Alcohol use disorder, or alcoholism, is more than just drinking too much from time to time. Sometimes alcohol as coping mechanism or social habit may look like alcoholism, but it’s not the same. People with alcohol use disorder don’t drink in moderation, even if they say they’re only having one drink. While getting sober is an important first step, it is only the beginning of your recovery from alcohol addiction or heavy drinking. 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.

Intoxication can also present other unpredictable events, including physical dangers. When under the influence, your loved one may become angry and lash out. They likely don’t even realize they’re behaving this way, and they may not remember once the effects of the alcohol wear off. Someone with AUD may also become angry or irritable when they don’t have access to alcohol because they’re experiencing withdrawal. When someone with AUD lives in your household, the rest of your family members can be at risk for negative effects.

What is the outlook for alcoholism?

Also, a healthy diet can help undo damage alcohol may have done to the person’s health, like weight gain or loss. There are stark differences in how the body and brain respond to alcohol and different drugs. Information about NIMH, research results, summaries of scientific meetings, and mental health resources. Scientists are working to develop a larger menu of pharmaceutical treatments that could be tailored to individual needs.

It can help someone handle withdrawal symptoms and emotional challenges. Outpatient treatment provides daily support while allowing the person to live at home. Based on clinical experience, many health providers believe that support from friends and family members is important in overcoming alcohol problems. But friends and family may feel unsure about how best to provide the support needed.