Alcoholism, also known as alcohol use disorder or alcohol dependence, occurs when you consume so much alcohol that the body subsequently becomes addicted or dependent on alcohol.
In the long run, this would lead to many negative consequences, such as damaging relationships, losing jobs, and different health issues.
The exact cause of alcoholism is still unclear. However, many scientists believe that it is associated with some chemical changes in your brain when you consume alcoholic drinks.
These effects stimulate pleasurable sensations and cause a desire to drink more. Stopping drinking is the traditional treatment for alcoholism.
During the rehabilitation process, you need some prescription medications to reduce the risk and intensity of some withdrawal symptoms.
Also, you can choose some other options to improve the chances for success. In this guide, we will take a look at some alternative therapies for alcoholism.
The first alternative option for treating alcoholism is acupuncture, a traditional medicine practice originated from China. It has been long used for dealing with pain and discomfort caused by many chronic conditions.
During the procedure, an acupuncturist will insert small, thin needles into your skin. This can help restore balance and stimulate the blood flow to specific areas.
If used properly, acupuncture can be effective in alleviating depression and pain in people with alcoholism. Some experienced experts even believe that acupuncture would aid in detoxifying the liver and other body parts.
Several studies found out this association, but more research is still needed to verify it. If you choose this option, make sure to find a licenced and experienced acupuncturist to improve the chances for success and reduce the risk of complications.
For those people who are looking for natural remedies for alcoholism, herbs should be considered. Three plants have been shown effective in improving symptoms, including kudzu, milk thistle, and ashwagandha.
Kudzu extract can help heavy drinkers reduce alcohol consumption and moderate binge drinking. It contains puerarin, a component that can boost blood flow in the brain.
Scientists believe that the plant would make you feel more satisfied even when drinking less alcohol.
Milk thistle or Silybum marianum is a plant that contains an antioxidant called silymarin. This substance is proved to be effective in protecting your liver against alcohol-induced damage and restoring functions of this organ.
However, more research is still needed to learn more about the overall effectiveness and possible side effects.
Ashwagandha is a herb extracted from the Withania somnifera plant. This supplement has been long used in Ayurvedic to deal with alcohol cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
In general, you should not start taking these herbs to treat alcoholism without consulting your healthcare provider. Otherwise, they would interact with alcohol or other medications and cause serious side effects.
Alcoholism could affect your sleep and reduce the overall quality of life. This problem is especially worst during alcohol withdrawal. Sleep disorders like insomnia are not uncommon in alcohol-dependent individuals.
Light therapy can be an effective option for this problem. During this procedure, you are exposed to artificial and bright light during waking hours.
It is often used for treating seasonal affective disorder. If used properly, the treatment can help improve your sleep quality and alleviate depression.
A recent study by Boston University has suggested some benefits of light therapy. In this research, scientists also used a drug called naltrexone to help people with alcoholism overcome their withdrawal symptoms.
The results revealed that this combination was just as effective as other intensive treatment programmes for alcohol dependence.
Self-control and mental discipline are key to helping you quit alcohol successfully. After a long period of abusing alcoholic drinks, drinking might become a coping mechanism and a way to relieve stress for many people.
An effective option to replace alcohol without being affected by negative thoughts is to meditate.
During this procedure, you need to find a quiet place and take a few moments to stay focused. Make sure to relax your body and breathe deeply.
You would choose to repeat or change a positive message in your mind. For instance, you would keep thinking: “I can quit alcohol and have a better life.”
Another technique is to picture yourself overcoming alcoholism. Try to think about your happiness when you finally achieve your goal.
In addition to meditation, other mindfulness therapists can help people with alcoholism and other substance abuse issues. In general, these programmes tend to develop from meditation techniques.
The main goal is to show patients to be aware of their cravings, emotions and thoughts instead of reacting to these stimulants.
Some studies have shown that this approach can be more effective than relapse prevention options and a 12-step programme. Nevertheless, not all researches reach the same conclusion.
Indeed, a systemic meta-analysis and review of studies in 2017 found that this therapy does not actually benefit more than other kinds of relapse prevention.
Yoga has been quickly becoming popular all over the world over the last decades. It comprised of many gentle exercises specially designed to improve the harmony between the body and mind.
In people with alcoholism who often feel out of control, yoga can effective in retaining balance. You will learn how to breathe deeply and slowly as well as move and the body gently.
The ultimate goal of yoga is to establish a connection between the body and the mind. This can help relieve stress and improve your sense of well-being. More importantly, the practice can help you use the body more healthily and efficiently.
There are many forms of yoga available, ranging from vigorous power to slower-paced categories. You can practice it in various settings, such as yoga studios, gyms, or community centres.
Music plays an important part in our life. To help people with alcoholism deal with their physical and emotional issues, musical therapy can be effective.
This approach can tap into inner emotions and needs, which can be challenging to express or communicate. As a result, it provides many great benefits, such as reduced stress, improved depression, and decreased anger or anxiety.
There are many options available in music therapy. Common choices include creating music pieces based on your feelings, analysing lyrics, writing songs, musical games, and relaxation training.
These activities can be helpful in relieving pain, improving memory, as well as promoting wellness. In some cases, using music therapy can even lead to more efficient responses and shorter periods of treatment compared to other intervention approaches.
Depending on your personal preferences, a music therapist can suggest some suitable music genres. This is very important to help you express inner emotions and relieve other negative thoughts.
To ensure effectiveness, it is important to choose a licensed and experienced expert, which knows exactly what you need and how to address your alcoholism with music.
More importantly, a music therapist should be able to communicate and discuss with you about your memories, opinions, feelings, and thoughts.
Horse-assisted therapy, often known as equine therapy, is a therapeutic procedure that involves horses to complement other standard treatments.
You will start by learning how to care for the animal and build up mutual trust. Once a connection has been established, you could ride the horse and enjoy many other interesting challenges.
A recent study has suggested that the relationship between a horse and a patient can provide support and reduce the effects of depression during withdrawal phases.
In addition, emotions can be significantly improved when participants have a chance to stay outdoors and do some physical activities.
For some people, this option is obviously more effective than a setting with an enclosed and verbal atmosphere in a therapy room.
Art therapy is a relatively new treatment option for alcoholism. It allows you to express your thoughts and behaviours through imaginative and creative tasks.
These might include sculptures, painting, drawing, or music. Some studies have suggested that art therapy can help reduce some withdrawal symptoms in alcoholism.
Also, the method can allow participants to communicate and improve their outlook. Depending on your personal preferences, there will be different options available.
In all cases, you need to work closely with an art therapist to choose the most suitable ways to relieve your negative emotions and speed up recovery from alcoholism.
Biofeedback is a mind-body procedure that involves the use of an external device to produce information about the patient’s physiological responses.
This can help control these responses and receive proper feedback. During this process, you need to play an active role in changing the physiology. Visual and auditory sources can be used to provide added support.
During a biofeedback session, a therapist will guide you through some mental and physical exercises with a monitoring device attached. Immediate feedback will be provided once you have completed these tasks successfully.
A biofeedback device could measure your daily and body activities. These include menstrual cycles, sleep habits, respiration, body temperature, heart rate, and more.
A therapist can base on the information to provide better treatments and support for people with alcoholism.