Alcohol Addiction Health Center

Treatment for alcohol addiction varies depending on your level of addiction and individual needs. No matter which treatment you undergo, you will likely have to complete detoxification (the process of letting the alcohol leave your body) and ongoing support like Alcoholics Anonymous.

Detoxification usually lasts for about a week. Patients detoxing from alcohol are often given medication to help them through the process, which can involve withdrawal symptoms like shaking and hallucinations.

After detoxing, patients can undergo a number of treatments, including counseling, medication or a combination of the two.

Counseling for alcohol addiction usually focuses on setting goals and developing new behavior patterns that do not trigger the desire for alcohol. You may also receive counseling with your family (known as family therapy).

Medications are available for recovering alcoholics. They usually reduce the desire for alcohol. For example, disulfiram (sold as Antabuse) causes you to feel physically ill if you drink while taking the medicine. Various other medicines block the mood-boosting effects of alcohol or reduce cravings.

Review Date: 
March 13, 2012
Last Updated:
August 22, 2014