Substance Use

The Best Ways to Get Rid of Alcohol Cravings

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alcoholic man reaching hand for wine glass

When people develop an alcohol addiction, they also have cravings for alcohol when they aren’t drinking. Even some people who aren’t alcoholics still have cravings for the substance depending on various factors. Dealing with alcohol cravings is one problem that makes recovery tricky.

Most times, alcohol cravings are a psychological response to certain situations or from exposure to a trigger. For example, being in certain social conditions will cause people to crave alcohol. In these instances, craving alcohol is related to social anxiety or fitting into the group. Overcoming this issue is necessary to help keep your life on track and prevent the desire to drink in certain situations.

Cravings

It’s considered a trigger when you want to drink alcohol upon entering a situation or being at a particular place. Keep in mind that not everyone has the same triggers related to alcohol cravings. They usually relate to the person’s experiences. They desire to control their feelings and behaviors associated with these places or people. 

When people find themselves in these situations, they crave alcohol because there’s a mental or physical change in their surroundings. The psychological factor triggers anticipation or excitement. You may remember a time when you had fun or enjoyed drinking. The memories and experiences from drinking and enjoying yourself can create a deep desire to drink to recreate the feeling. 

There aren’t just psychological changes when a person craves alcohol. They also have a physical response. These physical responses can include: 

  • Sweating
  • Increased heart rate
  • Higher blood pressure

These responses differ from person to person. You might only experience one or two of these responses, or you may have them all. The strength of the urge also varies depending on the person and the situation.

Medically Assisted Treatment

Most people who experience cravings find it difficult to control on their own. One of the ways to control alcohol cravings is through medically assisted treatment. However, there are medication-assisted strategies that reduce the physical responses when experiencing alcohol cravings. These treatments can curb cravings and make walking away from the situation more manageable.

Medications

Using medication that helps reduce the urge to drink can be really helpful for some people. One of the most common medications to help reduce alcohol cravings is ReVia, also known as naltrexone.

This medication was created to help people with opioid cravings, but experts realized that it helps with alcohol cravings too. This medication provides relief. It’s essential to know details about its side effects. Consideration for current medical issues is also imperative. The usual dose for treating alcohol cravings is 50 milligrams once per day.

Another medication used to curb alcohol cravings is Campral. This drug also goes by the name acamprosate. This treatment works differently because it helps reduce the amount the drinker ingests. So, it works to prevent the person from drinking too much rather than reducing the desire to drink.

This might be an excellent treatment for someone who wants to still drink socially without going overboard and becoming intoxicated in the process. This medication doesn’t treat alcohol withdrawal symptoms. It’s worth mentioning that this drug can create impairment, and it shouldn’t be taken while working or driving. Campral is taken with each meal and the average dose is 666 mg per day (taken as two 333-mg tablets, three times daily). 

While not common, some anticonvulsant drugs such as Topamax or topiramate also work to reduce the cravings for alcohol. There’s also a muscle relaxer called Gablofen or baclofen that helps some people with alcohol cravings. Another approach is taking a medication that makes the person violently ill when they drink. This drug is called Antabuse or disulfiram. The treatment helps the person not crave alcohol because of the unpleasant experience.  

Behavioral Therapy

While using medication to help reduce the cravings for alcohol can help, there’s also a need for managing the psychological aspect. The need to address the specific triggers that cause cravings is essential for recovery and helps make the process more effective.

If done correctly, therapy or counseling can reduce the number of triggers and urges a person has when trying to quit drinking. The goal is to identify the trigger and analyze the feeling the person gets from that trigger and how it relates to their drinking. Part of the therapy is also providing the patient with coping skills and other valuable strategies to help them overcome the desire for alcohol. 

Some methods used to treat the psychological aspect of alcohol cravings include:

  • Pointing out triggers and situations that make the individual crave alcohol can make it easier for the person to identify future situations that have a high potential for causing them to crave alcohol.
  • Helping the person identify their specific triggers and how to overcome them.
  • Pointing out that, while in recovery, it’s not uncommon for individuals to crave a substance they’re addicted to and that it’s not a sign of failure in recovery to crave alcohol.
  • Behavioral therapy that points out the negative aspects of consuming alcohol, allowing the drinker to quit focusing on the good parts of drinking and keep the unfavorable aspects in mind. Eventually, the person will avoid alcohol to prevent a negative experience.
  • Teaching coping skills and strategies that make it easier not to drink.
  • Showing the person how to use mindfulness meditation to explore their feelings about alcohol but not act on urges.
  • Showing the patient how to get support from friends and family so they can get past tough times.

The most commonly used treatment is substance use disorder therapy. This type of treatment uses varied approaches that treat each individual uniquely. Treating alcohol addiction with treatment and medication helps reduce the instance of relapse.

Some treatment techniques include diaphragmatic breathing, distractions, and education about each person’s triggers. It also involves showing them how to recognize these instances and use the methods and strategies they learn.

Relapses

Many times people relapse when trying to quit using a substance such as alcohol. Certain signs point to a person experiencing a relapse. One of the most common indicators is when a person romanticizes their previous alcohol use.

This can mean thinking about drinking with others or good times that happened while the person was under the influence of alcohol. If you notice someone romanticizing their alcohol use, it would be a good time to ask them if they need support avoiding their drinking habits. Another sign that someone is relapsing is if they admit to using alcohol and feel that putting limitations on their drinking is right.

For example, they may feel having a few drinks per day is okay. They might think it won’t cause them to experience the negative aspects of their alcohol cravings. Another sign of relapse is when the person acts like they did when they were drinking before. They may also hang out at bars and reconnect with people they considered a drinking buddy before they quit. When a person is surrounded by individuals who drink or go to places where alcohol is readily available, it is an overwhelming temptation. It usually means that a person has begun drinking again.

Strategies

If a person wants to control alcohol cravings successfully, they usually need to quit drinking altogether. To quit drinking, the person will need either treatment, counseling, or medication. These make the process easier and more manageable.

Sometimes the person may need a combination of these methods to help them overcome the desire to drink. It’s important to remember that individuals who decide to drink regularly or binge drink will eventually experience a wide range of adverse effects on their health. Some common problems can include the following:

  • Liver cirrhosis
  • Heart disease
  • Kidney disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke

The sooner a person quits drinking, the sooner they can heal or stop developing diseases or conditions. The coping skills taught in treatment are very effective for helping someone reduce or control alcohol cravings.

Medication may help the person initially break the desire to drink but isn’t a long-term solution. The person needs to learn how to deal with certain situations and avoid them completely to get the results they want.

Anyone trying to avoid alcohol or break an addiction to this substance should seek professional help. Call Zinnia Healing at (855) 430-9439 for the support and help you need to overcome alcohol cravings and addiction.

Reaching Out for Help

Reaching out for help with alcohol addiction is never easy. Whether it’s you or someone you care about who has alcohol addiction, it’s essential to know that recovery is a process that begins with deciding to get help. If you’re attempting to help someone who has alcohol addiction, approach them with compassion and understanding.

To feel comfortable speaking with someone about their addiction, the person must feel like they can discuss their problems without judgment. It’s also important to go to the person with the correct information and provide them with details about recovery programs, treatment centers, and support programs.

One of the major concerns a person with an addiction has is fear of not knowing how the treatment process works. This is especially true with someone who’s never attempted recovery or has never been to a treatment facility.

Knowing more about what to expect will help the person overcome some of their fears about seeking help. If you’re gathering information for someone else, learn more about how the process works so you can provide them with those details. If it’s you looking for help, the process begins with calling Zinnia Health at (855) 430-9439. 

Help With Alcohol Cravings

The first step in the recovery process is deciding to have a better life and making the initial phone call for help. Many people fear this process. They think the person on the other end of the phone will ask too many deeply personal questions about their current addiction. However, that’s not the case.

Treatment specialists are highly trained to approach this subject in a caring manner. Their goal is to collect only the essential information they need to begin the admissions process. They collect details such as medical history, a description of the addiction, and other relevant information. The process is quick and easy, so the person seeking admission doesn’t feel overwhelmed or intimidated.

Once the treatment center has all the information, they create a tailored plan, ensuring the person gets the specific treatments they need to recover effectively.

Let us help you navigate the process of curbing alcohol cravings and get you on the road to recovery. Call Zinnia Healing at (855) 430-9439 today to find out more about how you can reclaim your life.