Alcoholism is a significant contributor to liver disease globally, with abstinence being the primary goal for individuals affected by this condition. Various treatment modalities are available, including participation in a 12-step program such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), where individuals can find support from others with the same goal. In addition to AA, other options include brief interventions such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to address any distorted thinking patterns, motivational enhancement therapy (MET), and the use of FDA-approved medications to reduce alcohol cravings (Leggio & Lee, 2017).
When treating individuals with alcohol use disorder (AUD), it is crucial to address the potentially dangerous symptoms of withdrawal. These symptoms can range from nausea, vomiting, and tremors to anxiety, insomnia, delirium, and seizures in severe cases. Withdrawal protocols commonly incorporate the use of benzodiazepines to alleviate these symptoms and prevent seizures (Leggio & Lee, 2017).
Currently, there are three medications approved for the treatment of AUD: disulfiram, acamprosate, and naltrexone. These medications can be effective in reducing cravings and discouraging alcohol consumption. However, it is important to note that for meaningful recovery, psychiatric treatment must also address any underlying mental health issues (Witkiewitz, Litten, & Leggio, 2019).
This response aimed to provide a brief overview of the treatment options available for individuals with alcoholism, focusing on the goal of abstinence. It highlighted the importance of addressing withdrawal symptoms, which can be life-threatening, and discussed the three FDA-approved medications commonly used to reduce alcohol cravings and discourage consumption. Additionally, it emphasized the necessity of psychiatric treatment to address underlying mental health concerns.
Two relevant references have been provided to support the information provided. The first reference, Leggio and Lee (2017), discusses the treatment of alcohol use disorder in patients with alcoholic liver disease, while the second reference, Witkiewitz, Litten, and Leggio (2019), explores recent advances in the science and treatment of alcohol use disorder.
Together, this information provides a solid foundation for understanding the treatment options available for individuals with alcoholism and the need for comprehensive care to address both physical and mental health aspects. Further research and clinical evaluation are needed to continuously improve and refine these treatment modalities, ultimately leading to increased rates of successful recovery.