Alcoholism is a common disorder that can have adverse effects on the abuser themselves and also their loved ones. Alcoholism is a potentially life-threatening condition that can rip families and relationships apart and lead to many health-related issues, including mental illness and liver disease.
Fortunately, however, in addition to professional treatment, people have access to various alcohol alternatives to help promote recovery. Some of these include the following:
- Nutritional counseling
- Light therapy
Detox and sustained recovery from alcohol require an enormous amount of self-discipline. Because people often perceive alcohol as an escape from daily stresses, they are forced to find other coping mechanisms and ways of occupying their time. One of these possible methods is meditation.
Meditation can be an effective way to free oneself from anxiety and stressors that adversely impact one’s life. A meditation session can be as brief as ten minutes or up to an hour. In a nutshell, meditation helps people manage alcohol cravings and concentrate on positive or neutral thoughts.
One popular form of meditation is called visualization. It involves thinking about how the individual will feel and behave once goals have been reached. There are several books on alcohol addiction that provide detailed guides on how to enact appropriate meditation techniques.
Alcohol dependency causes people to feel imbalanced, and for this reason, yoga is one of the most common alternatives to alcohol use. Yoga helps individuals take their mind off drinking alcohol and instead helps them feel more centered and relaxed.
There are several forms of yoga, including the slow-paced Hatha yoga and Power yoga. These exercises have been designed to foster the mind-body connection and improve mental, physical, and spiritual awareness. Yoga routines are available online and at many gyms and rehab centers.
While acupuncture’s therapeutic effects have not yet been scientifically proven beneficial for treating alcoholism, many individuals swear by it. By inserting small needles into specific areas of the body, acupuncture is purported to help restore balance and allow the person to take his or her mind off alcohol. This ancient Chinese practice is said to help detoxify the liver, but more scientific evidence is required to support this claim fully.
Nutritional counseling can help individuals make their health and priority and get it back on the right track. Many alcoholics are severely hydrated and suffer from malnutrition, especially those who consume high-alcohol drinks such as wine and liquor. This condition causes them to feel weak and impairs their ability to perform various mental and physical tasks.
Proper nutrition is among the critical components in a person’s capacity to stand against alcohol use triggers. Physicians and nutritionists can help patients devise a healthy diet plan that can restore energy levels and help those in recovery resist the urge to return to alcohol abuse.
Light therapy exposes individuals to bright artificial lights during waking hours. Among the main benefits of light exposure are decreased levels of depression and improved sleep. Many alcoholics experience insomnia and resort to drinking in an effort to help them fall asleep. Moreover, light therapy can effectively dissuade alcoholics from taking a nighttime visit to the refrigerator or bar and instead receive the quality sleep they need without alcohol use.
A study from 2013 revealed that light therapy, specifically optogenetics, was found to have significant and enduring effects in rats. Optogenetics is a technique that utilizes light to stimulate specific neurons. When scientists stimulated dopamine neurons in certain patterns, rats trained to behave like binge-drinking humans promptly stopped drinking. Even after the treatments were discontinued, the rats continued to avoid accessible alcohol.
Treatment for Alcoholism
Many individuals have found that alternatives to alcohol, such as those outlined here, can help them overcome their addiction and sustain long-term sobriety. However, medical professionals often caution their patients that there is little or no conclusive scientific evidence proving that these methods will be beneficial, for whom they would be helpful, and to what extent.
Instead, many health providers and addiction specials acknowledge that these various practices may supplement recovery when used in combination with a specialized treatment program that includes psychotherapy, individual and group counseling, group support, experiential activities, and aftercare planning.
Moreover, with this in mind, some alcohol alternatives may be great additions to a person’s recovery and journey towards a healthier, more satisfying life but should not be used to replace comprehensive, professional care entirely.
Just Believe Detox and Just Believe Recovery offer an integrated approach to addiction treatment that includes the above-mentioned therapeutic approach in partial-hospitalization and inpatient formats. Our caring and highly-skilled, licensed staff are dedicated to ensuring that every individual we treat receives the very best modern treatment in a safe, comfortable environment.