When someone says they’re trying to cut back on their drinking or getting treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD) (also called alcoholism or alcohol addiction), the worst may come to mind. Do you need weeks in a rehabilitation center away from family and work? Would you endure crazy withdrawal symptoms that will make you a shell of yourself? In the past, your options were solely inpatient rehab or confessional group meetings, like Alcoholics Anonymous. Now, if you search for “alcohol treatment near me” online, you can get help from the comfort of your own home.
Based on your level of alcohol dependence, there are outpatient programs, virtual programs, talk therapies, and strategies like The Sinclair Method. These methods may help you safely reduce your alcohol use, help you detox, or reach alcohol use disorder extinction.
Why would you need help with alcohol use?
The calming effect from drinking is one of the main qualities that attract people to alcohol. Alcohol stimulates a cascading release of various neurochemicals, including GABA activity, endorphin and dopamine release. Dopamine can be especially problematic since it’s the body’s original, natural way to reward and motivate base-level biological behaviors that allow us to survive and thrive. As you become more motivated to drink, you end up in a downward spiral of increasing alcohol use chasing more endorphin and dopamine hits. Soon, the habit makes you physically dependent on alcohol and unable to control your alcohol use, a hallmark sign of alcohol use disorder (AUD).
If you don’t treat AUD, it can lead to severe long-term consequences to your health and relationships. These issues include:
- Liver damage, including cirrhosis of the liver
- Heart complications, including heart disease
- Increased risk of certain cancers
- Increased risk of neurological diseases
- Broken family and business relationships
- A shortened lifespan
You or a loved one must point out the red flags. For instance, if you’re saying, “I need this to cope,” or “I need this to feel good,” there is an issue. If you’re isolating yourself or avoiding social situations to drink, or the cravings are just too much, you may need treatment. There is a degree of judgment and taboo thinking when someone decides to get help, which is why less than 10% do it. However, this overwhelming first step can lead to a healthier, more fulfilling life not controlled by alcohol.
Types of alcohol treatment
Alcohol abuse affects everyone differently, so there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. AUD, for instance, can be classified as mild, moderate, or severe. There are also other factors like additional drug use, relapse on previous treatment, or preexisting health conditions. Based on the status of your disease, you may benefit from one (or more) of these options:
Inpatient alcohol treatment
Some people require 24-hour monitoring and care due to the risk of severe withdrawal symptoms. The patient moves into an alcohol-free space for 30-90 days, receiving a combination of counseling, medication, and relapse prevention. More importantly, the medical team can monitor the patient for severe withdrawal symptoms, providing medicine to mitigate its effects. Some inpatient services have a hybrid approach, where the patient receives treatment during the day and heads home at night.
Outpatient alcohol treatment
For people with mild to moderate AUD, outpatient treatment may be best. These are private or public facilities where the patient enters for a short period, receives treatment, then leaves. Most follow a step-by-step program over several months and can still work or see their families. Over time, facilities have developed inpatient and outpatient services with varying intensity levels.
Both inpatient and outpatient treatment may benefit from medical detoxification. This is a controlled period where the person has no access to alcohol, and the substance slowly leaves the body. This period can cause unpleasant, severe, or even life-threatening symptoms. Detoxification can happen at home. However, most medical professionals recommend medical supervision.
All of these options may be combined with psychological counseling. These sessions can help patients to understand the underlying reason for alcohol abuse, coping mechanisms, and other lifestyle changes. Some behavioral therapies happen in group format or include loved ones affected by drinking.
The recent COVID-19 pandemic brought a demand for virtual healthcare and support. This shift in behavior has accelerated virtual and telehealth treatment. This is neither inpatient or outpatient but a self-directed protocol with virtual resources for added support. Telehealth therapies have proven effective for treating all levels of AUD ranging from mild, to moderate and severe. Others simply want to reduce their drinking before it becomes a problem. Some telehealth services involve prescription medication to help manage drinking levels or control cravings. What makes virtual programs so appealing is that you can get the best treatment in your state without traveling for hours and you get excellent treatment at a fraction of the cost.
How do I get alcohol treatment without leaving home?
If you’re looking to cut back on your drinking or find a healthy, long-term way to get sober, you can do so from the comfort of your own home.
1. Search for online alcohol treatment near me.
It starts with a simple online search of alcohol treatment near me on Google, social media, and other forums. These spaces have details on services that can help you control your alcohol cravings.
Almost all states require patients of telehealth services to reside in the state where the medical provider is licensed, so narrow your search to your state. We provide online rehab in California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Texas, and others. Once you find a certified partner, go through their initial assessment to determine if it is a good fit.
2. Receive a video chat assessment from a medical professional.
The next step is a virtual chat with a medical provider. The provider will find out more about you, your struggles, and what you hope to achieve. The medical provider will also outline the process to help you reduce your drinking.
For instance, we use The Sinclair Method (TSM) to help you manage your alcohol use. TSM uses naltrexone to help disrupt the neurochemical reaction in the brain, crippling its reinforcing effects and permitting an easy decline in drinking. Some reasonable effort is required, but the naltrexone turbocharges the reduction process because it acts on the biological effects alcohol has on the brain, safely blocking neurochemicals that would otherwise act as a biological reinforcement to the act of drinking. TSM allows you to walk right out of an alcohol use disorder.
3. Get a prescription for medication to help reduce alcohol cravings.
You will receive your naltrexone prescription, pick up your tablets at your local pharmacy and start right away. With the TSM route, you only use naltrexone as needed, that is before each drinking session and you’ll avoid it at all other times. It is convenient and easy to implement.
4. Continue with guided, virtual assistance
Virtual treatment also involves continued medical provider guidance, coaching, tutorial training, and for some 1:1 counseling with a therapist. While naltrexone works on the chemical and physical links to alcohol, these sessions target the psychological triggers and work to manage them effectively.
5. Track your progress
As the treatment progresses, your alcohol intake – and feelings toward alcohol – will decline. All alcohol treatment programs have some form of tracking, and virtual treatment is no different. It is essential to track this progress to keep you motivated, so you can adhere to the medication dosing protocol and see your success in reducing alcohol intake.
6. Repeat the process as needed
Over time, virtual sessions using strategies like The Sinclair Method will result in reduced drinking, sobriety, and even extinction of alcohol use disorder, meaning the cravings or strong desire to drink are gone.
At your earliest convenience
There are several ways to treat AUD, but you may be interested in a more convenient approach. This desire is understandable, as inpatient (and some outpatient) facilities can be challenging. Finding the best alcohol treatment near me is more than a Google search. It is the first step to transforming your life for the better. If you need a proven yet convenient way to get your drinking under control, try our assessment, then experience how The Sinclair Method has changed thousands of lives.