Doctors ask a series of questions to assess possible alcohol-related problems, including:
Have you tried to reduce your drinking?
Have you felt bad about drinking?
Have you been annoyed by another person's criticism of your drinking?
Do you drink in the morning to steady your nerves or cure a hangover?
Do you have problems with a job, your family, or the law?
Do you drive under the influence of alcohol?
tests may be done to:
Look at the size of your red blood cells and to check for a substance called carbohydrate-deficient transferrin
Check for alcohol-related liver disease and other health problems
Treatment for alcohol abuse or dependence is aimed at teaching patients how to manage the disease. Most professionals believe that this means giving up alcohol completely and permanently.
The first and most important step is recognizing a problem exists. Successful treatment depends on your desire to change. Your doctor can help you withdraw from alcohol safely. This could require hospitalization in a detoxification center. They will carefully monitor you for side effects. You may need medication while you are undergoing detoxification.
Drugs can help relieve some of the symptoms of withdrawal and help prevent relapse. The doctor may prescribe medication to reduce cravings for alcohol.
Medications used to treat alcoholism and to try to prevent drinking include:
(ReVia, Vivitrol)—blocks the high that makes you crave alcohol
(Antabuse)—makes you very sick if you drink alcohol
A study showed that an anticonvulsant drug,
(Topamax), may reduce alcohol dependence.
Education and Counseling
Therapy helps you to recognize alcohol's dangers. Education raises awareness of underlying issues and lifestyles that promote drinking. In therapy, you work to improve coping skills and learn other ways of dealing with stress or pain.
Mentoring and Community Help
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) helps many people to stop drinking and stay sober. Members meet regularly and support each other. Your family members may also benefit from attending meetings of Al-Anon. Living with an alcoholic can be a painful, stressful situation.
Here are some general statistics on treatment outcomes of individuals one year after attempting to stop drinking:
1/3 remained abstinent
1/3 resumed drinking but at a lower level
1/3 relapsed completely
If you are diagnosed with alcohol abuse or alcoholism, follow your doctor's
Realizing that alcohol causes problems helps some people avoid it. Suggestions to decrease the risk of alcohol abuse and dependence include:
Socialize without alcohol.
Avoid going to bars.
Do not keep alcohol in your home.
Avoid situations and people that encourage drinking.
Make new nondrinking friends.
Do fun things that do not involve alcohol.
Avoid reaching for a drink when stressed or upset.
Limit your alcohol intake to a moderate level.
Moderate is two or fewer drinks per day for men and one or fewer for women and older adults
A 12-ounce bottle of beer, a five-ounce glass of wine, or 1.5 ounces of liquor is considered one drink
If you are a parent, having a good relationship with your children may reduce their risk of alcohol abuse.
Most professionals who treat alcohol abuse and dependence believe that complete abstinence is the only effective “prevention.”
10/25/2007 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
: Johnson BA, Rosenthal N, Capece JA, et al. Topiramate for treating alcohol dependence: a randomized controlled trial.
2/4/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance: Schinke SP, Fang L, Cole KC. Computer-delivered, parent-involvement intervention to prevent substance use among adolescent girls. Prev Med. 2009;49;429-35.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a