Navigating substance use that interferes with your day-to-day can be difficult, and a multipronged approach may lead to the best results.
Alcohol use disorder (AUD) affects many in the United States, with over 14 million adults — people ages 18 or older — living with the condition, according to the
For many, it can be difficult to stop drinking alcohol. However, you may come to a point where find yourself questioning the health impact of your alcohol consumption.
This could be due to the increased frequency of your drinking, concern expressed from friends or family, or maybe the way you feel during or after drinking.
Consuming alcohol doesn’t automatically mean you have alcohol use disorder (AUD).
If you have alcohol use disorder, you may have trouble managing your alcohol use. Your drinking may even become disruptive or interfere with your day-to-day life.
You might feel as if you can’t control your drinking, and your priorities may have shifted to center on when you can get your next drink.
Regardless of your reasoning, if you decide you want to change your alcohol use, you have options.
A common option for addressing alcohol use disorder is a combination of psychosocial treatments.
Psychosocial treatments are those that combine both psychological and social environment-focused modalities within a treatment plan. A
The American Psychological Association (APA) recommends a combination of psychosocial treatments and medication for alcohol use disorder.
The goal of psychosocial treatments is to target a person’s cognitive decision-making and their social environments.
This can be achieved through different types of therapy, social training, education, case management, and vocational training.
Talk therapy, aka psychotherapy, is a common avenue for those looking for alternative coping mechanisms.
Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is a popular form of talk therapy because it’s designed to address and challenge unhelpful thought processes.
Incorporating prescribed medication can help curb your desire for alcohol or relieve any withdrawal symptoms. It’s crucial to connect with a healthcare or mental health professional to determine the best course of action and if one of the approved medications is right for you.
This approach aims to determine the internal motivation for your alcohol use to help change your drinking habits. It’s often combined with motivational interviewing to help you identify the impact that alcohol use has on your life and how it may be affecting your personal goals.
Motivational enhancement therapy typically involves an initial assessment to discuss your alcohol use, followed by four sessions with a therapist. In these sessions, the therapist will work with you to manage and reduce your alcohol use.
This often includes education about the condition and treatment options. It can be helpful for you, as well as for anyone in your support circle — including family, friends, partners, and other loved ones.
Psychoeducation programs can teach problem-solving skills and ways to cope with alcohol use disorder. They can also provide information on signs that a person is having trouble with recovery.
Psychosocial rehabilitation can help you develop the skills you’ll need to manage your condition. It helps you cope by teaching strategies to handle stressful situations and other triggers.
Psychosocial rehabilitation can include family counseling, housing, employment coaching and training, and social support. It can also teach you how to manage your medication and therapy.
In vocational rehabilitation, you’ll receive career counseling and help with job searches. Each state has its own vocational rehabilitation agency. You can find one near you by visiting your state’s National Reporting System for Adult Education directory.
Living with alcohol use disorder can be overwhelming and frustrating. For some people, a multimodal approach may offer the best possible treatment.
Your healthcare professional may recommend a combination of therapy, medication, rehabilitation, and a support program — such as Alcoholics Anonymous.
Having someone, like a case manager, who is familiar with resources near you can serve an important role on your support team. They can help you find financial assistance programs, housing opportunities, and employment programs that may be helpful for you.
You can ask your healthcare or mental health professional to recommend a case manager near you, if you don’t already have one. Many of them work with local, state, and county governments or insurance companies. Rehabilitation or medical facilities also often employ case managers.
Support groups are a great way to meet people who are going through similar issues and know how you feel. They can share tips and strategies that have worked for them and those that have not.
They are also great places to form lasting relationships with other group members as you both journey through recovery together.
However, support groups are not for everyone. Even people who do enjoy them may have to try different groups before they find one they like and that fits their needs.
Acknowledging the desire for support around alcohol or substance use can be scary, but know that you have plenty of options.
You can start by making an appointment with a healthcare professional to discuss if what you’ve been experiencing falls within the parameters of alcohol use disorder.
Even if you discuss your experiences with your healthcare and mental health professional and they see no immediate cause for concern, you know your habits and your body better than anyone.
You can feel empowered in knowing that there are resources available for you if lasting change is what you desire, and that a multipronged approach can be an effective option.