Decreasing cravings for alcohol is an important part of the successful treatment for alcohol addiction, according to professionals at Bright Eye Counseling Services. Many alcoholics experience cravings for alcohol for months or even years after they stop drinking and many relapse if they cannot cope with the cravings.
There are numerous techniques you can use to decrease cravings for alcohol. Many people find that a combination of methods works best for them, but you may need to experiment to find what works best for you.
Professionals at Bright Eye Counseling Services encourage clients to develop techniques to distract themselves from thoughts of drinking. It may sound overly simplistic, but sometimes it works. Go for a walk or to a movie or shopping, anywhere for a change of scenery. Talk to someone. It doesn’t matter if you talk about your cravings for alcohol or not. Just have a conversation with a friend. Try an activity that requires you to focus on something, like a video game or crossword puzzle.
Medicine Net reports that regular exercise may decrease alcohol cravings. One study found that hamsters that exercised frequently consumed less alcohol than those that seldom exercised, and researchers suggest the results may apply to people as well as animals. In addition, exercise can serve as a distraction from thoughts of alcohol, making it even more effective as a way to reduce cravings.
In a televised report on WCHS in 2004, Dr. Joan Matthews-Larson reported that eating a healthful diet can decrease alcohol cravings in as little as one week. She recommends a diet that contains plenty of protein as well as omega-3 fatty acids. Protein is found in a wide variety of foods including meat, eggs, milk and other dairy products, beans and tofu. Foods like fish, walnuts and cold pressed oils are rich in omega-2 fatty acids.
Alcoholics often suffer from vitamin deficiencies, including deficiencies in vitamin B1 (thiamin) and vitamin B12, which may contribute to cravings for alcohol. Of course, vitamin deficiencies can lead to many other health problems, so alcoholics should be evaluated for deficiencies and receive treatment as needed.
According to professionals at Tarzana Treatment Centers, numerous medications can be used to reduce cravings for alcohol. Medications used for this purpose include Campral ( acamprosate) and Vivitrol (naltrexone). Medication may not reduce or eliminate cravings for all patients and they can cause troubling side effects in some patients, so medication may not be the right choice for you. Talk to your doctor about it. If you do get a prescription, make sure you take it exactly was instructed and don’t miss any doses. Let your doctor know if you experience any bothersome side effects.
Withdrawing from alcohol can lead to serious medical problems, especially for heavy drinkers. If you’ve been drinking large amounts of alcohol, talk to your doctor or contact an alcoholism treatment center and ask about the safest way to stop drinking.
Bright Eye Counseling Services. http://www.brighteyecounselling.co.uk/alcohol-drugs/coping-with-drugs-alcohol-cravings/ . Coping With Alcohol Cravings.
Medicine Net. http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=117444 . Exercise May Combat Alcohol Cravings, Animal Study Suggests.
WCHS Eyewitness News. http://www.wchstv.com/newsroom/healthyforlife/2256.shtml . Nutrition Combats Alcoholism.
Tarzana Treatment Centers. http://www.tarzanatc.org/services/alcoholcravings.aspx . Alcohol Cravings.
Family Doctor. http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/common/addictions/alcohol/007.html . Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome.