Treating Alcoholism
Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Treating alcoholism is more than just putting an end to drinking alcohol. It involves understanding the problems that led to an individual’s alcohol abuse and getting help for them as well. Dr. Edward Hill discusses treatment of alcoholism in today’s 60 Second Housecall.

Alcoholism is best treated by professionals trained in addiction medicine. Physicians and other health care workers are best suited to manage alcohol withdrawal and the medical disorders associated with alcoholism.

Generally, three steps are involved in treating an alcoholic once the disorder has been diagnosed—intervention, detoxification and rehabilitation.

Intervention involves getting the alcoholic to admit there is a problem. Detoxification involves taking alcohol away under a controlled, supervised setting.

Rehabilitation programs support the affected person after detoxification to maintain abstinence from alcohol. Counseling, psychological support, nursing and medical care are usually available within these programs.

Medications are sometimes prescribed to prevent relapses. Long-term treatment with counseling or support groups is almost always necessary.

Relapse after treatment is common, so it is important to maintain support systems. Treatment programs have varying success rates, but many people have a full recovery.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, I’m Dr. Edward Hill.