While the prognosis for chronic, excessive use of alcohol is troublesome there are many treatments available to help those struggling with their addiction. During the last half of the 20th century scientists and health care workers have found significant efficacy in a variety of different treatments for Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD).
Researchers have found that the most efficacious treatment for AUD is a combination of psychosocial therapy/support and pharmacological intervention. For AUD, psychosocial therapy generally includes several different types:
Support Therapy → the individual struggling with AUD is counseled on abstinence and provided with deep supportive structures to help them maintain it (Think AA)!
Coping Skills Therapy → the individual struggling with AUD works on overcoming triggers and preventing relapse.
Standard Therapy → This can include talk-therapy or any combination of the previous 2 therapies.
In addition to these treatments, medical professionals may prescribe naltrexone, a drug that is thought to block some of the neurological pathways active in addiction (Johnson, 2008). Research has shown that combinations of psychosocial treatment and naltrexone lead to significantly lower rates of relapse in newly sober individuals (Levitt, 2002; Krentzman et al., 2011; Kelly, 2016; Humphreys, Blodgett, & Wagner, 2014).
As you can see there are a variety of different methods for treating AUD. There is no “one-size fits all” approach to addiction. With help from friends, family, and healthcare workers there is always a path towards recovery!