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Addiction to alcohol is typically referred to as alcoholism or alcohol use disorder. As a central nervous system depressant, alcohol works by slowing down vital functions in one’s body. After an individual consumes alcohol, it is absorbed from the small intestine and stomach into his or her bloodstream and is then metabolized in the liver. The liver, however, is only able to metabolize a small amount of alcohol at a time, which leaves excess alcohol to circulate throughout one’s body via the bloodstream. The amount of alcohol consumed directly relates to its effects on one’s body. When an individual habitually abuses alcohol, he or she will likely build a tolerance to the substance, which requires an individual to increase alcohol consumption to achieve the same effects. Once an individual develops a tolerance to alcohol, he or she is at increased risk for developing alcohol use disorder. Alcohol use disorder is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). It is defined as a chronic disease that is characterized by uncontrolled drinking and preoccupation with alcohol. Alcoholics will prioritize satisfying alcohol cravings above all else, regardless of the negative consequences.

Treatment

There are a variety of treatment options located in Los Angeles, California available for individuals struggling with alcohol addiction. With the help of a qualified mental health professional, the unique mental health needs of each individual will be considered and used to develop a customized treatment plan. Depending on the needs of the individual, alcohol addiction treatment plans created by professionals in Southern California could consist of one or more of the following components:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): this can help correct irrational, inaccurate, and/ or distorted thoughts as well as help an individual develop skills and healthy coping mechanisms for reducing anxiety and stress while remaining sober. 
  • Expressive arts therapy (e.g., play therapy, art therapy, music therapy, drama therapy, sand therapy, etc.): provides an alternative medium to express, process and integrate one’s thoughts and feelings surrounding the recovery process.
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy (EMDR): utilizes guided eye movement techniques to help process one’s memories, thoughts and emotional associations in relation abusing alcohol.
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT): is based on the principals of CBT, but places greater emphasis on the psychosocial aspects of treatment. Through DBT individuals can learn healthy coping mechanisms and useful techniques for managing stress, regulating emotions, and improving relationships with others. 

Treatment plans can also include improving one’s daily habits (e.g., practicing mindfulness techniques, exercising regularly, developing healthy sleeping habits, eating nutritiously, etc.) to further improve one’s overall health and wellbeing. It is important to note that every person is unique and will respond distinctly to various treatment options available.

Disclaimer: 

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health.  As such, please do not use any material provided above as a means to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.