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  • Writer's pictureChris Thompson

4 Alternative Treatments for Alcoholism

Updated: Oct 24, 2023



Everyone that deals with alcoholism is going to have their own unique experiences and need specialized treatment plans to overcome it. No two people go through the same treatment, and finding a plan that works for you is important.


Traditional treatment for alcohol abuse will involve going through a treatment center, undergoing therapy, quitting drinking altogether, and relying on support groups and 12-step programs. While this works for many people, it doesn’t always work for everyone.


Having alternative treatment options available can help you to find a plan that works well for you. You can try out a variety of the treatment methods we will mention in this article to find the perfect fit for your needs.


Keep reading to learn more about what’s out there to help treat your alcohol dependence.


What Is Alcoholism?

Alcoholism is a chronic and progressive disease that happens when you cannot control your drinking behaviors and develop a physical and emotional dependence on alcohol. People suffering from alcoholism have difficulty recognizing that their drinking patterns are dangerous and out of control.


They may be uncomfortable disclosing their issues with others because bringing light to it means they must admit they have a problem. For many people with alcoholism, the disease has progressed from drinking during social events to having a drink every day after work to drinking before important events and drinking as soon as you wake up.


Many people will try to hide their problems with alcohol which only prolongs the impact it has on a person before they finally get help. Treatment is necessary to overcome it. If at any point you think to yourself, “Maybe I should get help,” don’t be scared to reach out to loved ones to help you find treatment.


Common Treatment Options for Alcohol Addiction

If you or a loved one is suffering from alcoholism, you will need to undergo alcohol treatment to enter into recovery. Trying to overcome addiction on your own can be nearly impossible. The tools and resources available to you that treatment facilities and support groups offer make the journey a bit easier.


Now, that’s not to say that recovery will be easy if you seek treatment — because it often isn’t. It takes hard work and dedication to get the results that you want. You have to be committed to getting better; using these tools and resources is just meant to propel you along your journey.


Traditional treatment for alcohol addiction involves visiting a rehabilitation center, undergoing intensive therapy, and joining support groups.


Rehabilitation Centers

Rehabilitation centers offer a variety of different programs that fit your needs and work with your schedule. For people with alcoholism, going through the detoxification process is often essential. It helps you to empty your body of alcohol safely under medical supervision.


Afterward, you can enter into inpatient care which involves 24/7 care and staying on the facility's premises for the duration of your treatment. Rehabs often offer outpatient care, which can be useful for people who need more flexibility and can’t stay overnight for treatment.


Therapy

Rehabilitation centers often have therapy sessions that you’re required to take part in, but you can also seek therapy elsewhere. Having someone well-educated on your disease to talk to about your concerns and stressors makes the recovery process more comforting.


You know you’re not alone when you have an addiction therapist to talk to and develop coping skills together. Therapy can help you to better understand your addiction, your thoughts and feelings, and point you in the right direction of where to go next. Both individual and group therapy are available and may serve different purposes for your needs.


Support Groups

Joining a support group when battling alcohol addiction helps foster a sense of community you may otherwise feel lacking. Addiction can be isolating. You may feel that no one understands what you’re going through, which can be true to some extent.


When you join a support group where others are currently dealing with or have dealt with alcoholism, you realize that you’re not alone and that others can actually relate to you. Here you can discuss coping methods, share stories about your addiction, and motivate others to get better.


Alternative Treatment Options

Many people undergoing addiction treatment will seek alternative treatment options instead of the traditional ones. They might find that they need a more niche treatment program to get the desired results. Or they simply might be wondering what else is out there!


The following alternative treatment options help a person to find what is most important to them in a way that is accessible and enjoyable.


1. Meditation

Meditation is a form of self-control that helps you to maintain focus and overcome negative thoughts. Meditation works because it forces you to be present in your own head.


You may be feeling alcohol cravings and experiencing negative self-talk, making you doubt your strength and resilience towards alcohol. Meditating allows you to understand where those thoughts are coming from and help you reframe them in your mind.


When meditating, find a quiet, safe space to be alone with yourself. Relax your body and your mind by taking deep breaths and listening to the world around you. Instead of allowing your negative thoughts to take control, repeat a phrase to yourself that is uplifting and encouraging.


Many people will use meditation conjunctively with yoga. Stretching your body and exercising your mind at the same time can bring you a sense of peace and erase those negative thoughts from your brain. This is a great alternative treatment because you can essentially do this wherever you want and whenever you need it!


2. Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine practice that uses small needles to help relieve tension in your body and stimulate blood flow. This alternative medicine treatment is great for helping with mental health and anxiety, which can influence a person’s addiction behaviors.


It’s known that acupuncture can alleviate the pain associated with alcoholism, and some experts think that it can help detoxify the liver. Still, more research has to be done about that.


If you think that this kind of treatment could be beneficial to your alcoholism, make sure that you are working with a licensed and experienced acupuncturist. It would be even better if this acupuncturist knew something about working with alcoholism patients.


3. Light Therapy

People that struggle with alcoholism tend to experience a variety of other conditions alongside it. Insomnia and other sleep disorders can disrupt your nights and reduce the quality of your life. To succeed, you need to get enough good sleep each night.


Light therapy is often used to help treat people with seasonal affective disorder or seasonal depression. These people are introduced to phototherapy, which involves being exposed to artificial, bright light during waking hours.


This helps to reduce feelings of depression as well as promote a healthier sleep cycle. While it may seem alternative, light therapy can support you through withdrawal symptoms and the effects of detox from alcohol and drug abuse.


Researchers at Boston University found that when bright-light therapy was combined with the medication naltrexone to treat alcohol use disorder, it was just as effective as other addiction treatments. If you feel that your depression is worsening or you aren’t getting a healthy amount of sleep, this might be something to consider!


4. Music or Art Therapy

To express how we feel when it comes to alcoholism, we need to be able to feel safe and open. Both music and art naturally help people express their emotions and are known to be therapeutic for a variety of reasons.


Sometimes trying to express ourselves with words is difficult, but music and art allow for different avenues of self-expression. You may create your own musical pieces, learn to play a new instrument, find a new medium, or devise creative tasks to get your mind off your addiction.


Working with a musical therapist or art therapist can be very rewarding. Some even practice cognitive behavioral therapy in conjunction with art therapy. Not only do you work towards understanding your alcohol consumption better, but you let yourself free from the restraints of alcoholism to create new life.


Especially if you think of yourself as a creative person, art and music therapy can be very helpful for your overall well-being.


Seek Out Community

No one should go through addiction recovery alone. No matter what treatment method you choose, finding a community of sober-seeking individuals who want to support your journey can make all the difference. With Sober Sidekick, you gain access to a community like this at the tip of your fingers.


When you download the Sober Sidekick app today, you can be introduced to a variety of different treatment methods just by talking with the other members. Knowing what worked for others can help you to figure out what might work for you. Don’t wait another day, and join in on the Sober Sidekick app to continue your journey towards addiction recovery.


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