For example, there is considerable heterogeneity in treatment response to naltrexone, which may vary in efficacy in some individuals. Recent studies conducted to determine whether certain patients may benefit more from naltrexone have yielded mixed findings (95). Initial evidence suggests that naltrexone may be more effective in reducing heavy drinking among smokers (101) and among those with a larger number of heavy drinkers in their social networks (102). With can alcoholism be cured respect to reinforcement typologies, recent work has found that naltrexone may be more effective among those who tend to drink alcohol for rewarding effects (103), and acamprosate may also be more effective for individuals who drink to relieve negative affect (104). A wide range of behavioral and psychological treatments are available for alcohol use disorder, and many treatments are equally effective in supporting abstinence or drinking reduction goals (71–74).

Many inmates have started asking to talk with him week to week, which allows him to help even more people, he said. Sorrells knows what it’s like to be in a situation where it feels as if there is no hope and nowhere to turn for help. He said he was homeless most of the time from age 11 to 23 and is a recovering addict. The Salem Police Department homelessness services team estimates 80-90% of unhoused individuals are under the influence of fentanyl, Det. Scotty Nowning said in a November legislative committee meeting. Sorrells’ job also involves outreach to the homeless community, helping those who are interested get started with treatment.

Chemical Dependency (Addictions)

Alcohol-related problems—which result from drinking too much, too fast, or too often—are among the most significant public health issues in the United States. The self-help support group message is that addiction is an ongoing disorder with a danger of relapse. Self-help support groups can decrease the sense of shame and isolation that can lead to relapse. You nor your loved one are under any obligation to commit to an Ark Behavioral Health treatment program when calling our helpline.

  • When an alcohol addiction is present, the brain is physically altered by the act of chronic alcohol abuse; certain pathways in the brain are altered or damaged.
  • When addressing drinking problems, it’s important to also seek treatment for any accompanying medical and mental health issues.
  • Others may need admission to a hospital or a residential treatment center.
  • The Twelve Steps of Dual Recovery Anonymous and the support of Dual Recovery Anonymous meetings offer believable hope and practical ongoing peer support to those seeking help and healing with dual disorders.
  • Ideal Option prescribes Suboxone to patients in jail who are ready to begin medication-assisted treatment.
  • The tendency for individuals to have a good treatment response when assigned to placebo medication reflects both the high probability of recovery without treatment and the heterogeneity in the disorder itself.

Some people drink heavily all day, while others binge drink and then stay sober for a while. Long-term use and abuse of alcohol can lead to even more challenges, including alcoholism, as the person is unable to control alcohol use despite negative consequences. Stopping drug use is just one part of a long and complex recovery process.


Conversely, treating the addiction will not cure the psychiatric illness. There are two distinct primary illnesses and each requires specific concurrent treatment. The Twelve Steps of Dual Recovery Anonymous and the support of Dual Recovery Anonymous meetings offer believable hope and practical ongoing peer support to those seeking help and healing with dual disorders. When a person is chemically dependent, they have lost the power of choice over using mood-altering chemicals. They may be able to stop for awhile, but they will return to its use again and again despite their best intentions and exertions of logic and willpower. For these reasons, chemical dependence (alcoholism and drug addiction) is said to be a cunning, baffling, and powerful disease.

It should also be followed up with aftercare support and ongoing relapse prevention techniques. Those with moderate to severe alcohol use disorders generally require outside help to stop drinking. This could include detoxification, medical treatment, professional rehab or counseling, and/or self-help group support.

What are resources for treating alcoholism?

However, even with this great accomplishment, it’s also important to remember that this is just the beginning. Having consistent accountability and support can make all the difference when it comes to abstaining from alcohol long-term. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and other 12-step programs provide peer support for people quitting or cutting back on their drinking. Combined with treatment led by health professionals, mutual-support groups can offer a valuable added layer of support.

Although few of the symptoms and signs of alcohol abuse are diagnostic (Table 1), each should alert the family physician to the possibility of alcohol misuse. Elevated blood test results (Table 2) suggest chronic, heavy drinking. Alcoholism is familial; an important risk factor for developing the disease is to have an alcoholic parent. Although environmental and interpersonal factors are important, a genetic predisposition underlies alcoholism, particularly in the more severe forms of the disease.

Ways to Prevent Relapse

The goal of detoxification, also called “detox” or withdrawal therapy, is to enable you to stop taking the addicting drug as quickly and safely as possible. For some people, it may be safe to undergo withdrawal therapy on an outpatient basis. Others may need admission to a hospital or a residential treatment center.

can alcoholism and chemical dependency be cured

It is not our intention to give a full or scientific explanation of any of these terms. Chemical dependency, addiction, and denial, are very complex subjects upon which countless books have been written and many views are held. Our information is a general overview given primarily for the lay person to help clarify terms used in the context of this web site and their own dual recovery. An individual is in dual recovery when they are actively following a program that focuses on their recovery needs for both their chemical dependency and their psychiatric illness. Medication-assisted treatment is available to anyone who is opioid dependent and tests positive after a drug test.


When people enter treatment, addiction has often caused serious consequences in their lives, possibly disrupting their health and how they function in their family lives, at work, and in the community. Different types of medications may be useful at different stages of treatment to help a patient stop abusing drugs, stay in treatment, and avoid relapse. Additionally, medications are used to help people detoxify from drugs, although detoxification is not the same as treatment and is not sufficient to help a person recover. Detoxification alone without subsequent treatment generally leads to resumption of drug use. Continuing care for alcoholism keeps recovering individuals in touch with counselors who can help them work out any emotional issues that could potentially trigger a relapse. Cognitive behavioral therapy, medications to help correct chemical imbalances in the brain, and peer-support networks have all been shown to be useful for this purpose.

  • When you or your loved one completes an inpatient or outpatient alcohol treatment program, this is a time for celebration.
  • For our purposes, the term chemical dependency, refers to a primary illness or disease which is characterized by addiction to a mood-altering chemical.
  • Many of the signs and symptoms of alcoholism occur because of a condition called Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome.
  • Here’s some information to help you get ready for your appointment, and what to expect from your health care provider or mental health provider.
  • Many, though not all, self-help support groups use the 12-step model first developed by Alcoholics Anonymous.

The NHS standard is to seek treatment if you are at all concerned about your own drinking habits. Treatment can be as minimal as brief intervention counselling or as extensive as residential rehab. In an alcoholic, the inability to cope with a situation or feelings often becomes too great and unmanageable; alcohol becomes a way to deal with things that are difficult or uncomfortable. Other reasons for these destructive addictions are the craving for the high — the need for the feeling of happiness the addict has when they are consuming both drugs and alcohol.