Medical Alcohol Treatment

Recovering from an alcohol addiction, also known as alcoholism and alcohol use disorder may involve the completion of various medications and therapies. Whilst some of those treatment options will be personally recommended, others will be essential, standing as the core steps of rehab.

Will I Need Medication For Alcohol Addiction?

When a person seeks to recover from an alcohol addiction, they go through a process known as alcohol detox. This involves removing the alcohol from your body and its harmful toxins

Understandably, as alcohol leaves the body, it is very common to encounter withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms indicate that a change is occurring, breaking the regular cycle and build-up of consumption. Withdrawal symptoms are unpredictable, can range in severity, and can display physical and psychological side effects.

For some people with an alcohol dependency, alcohol treatment medications must be incorporated within the detoxification process. Used to ease withdrawal symptoms, stabilise the body and protect wellbeing, and prevent relapse, there are a number of key medications which are specifically prescribed throughout detoxification.

Here’s some insight into the detox process and how alcohol treatment medications fit in and benefit withdrawal and long-term recovery. Additional treatments and therapies will also be used to treat alcohol use disorders. Yet here at Asana Lodge, an alcohol detox will help to set the scene.


What Medications Are Used Treating Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol treatment medications are highly effective and safe for use. They must however be professionally prescribed, as not all medications will be suitable for each client. Some will in fact be dangerous depending on existing health, further prescribed medications, and the level of alcohol that’s in the body. Others will only be prescribed as short-term relief, due to their strength. Whilst others will help throughout the entire rehabilitation process, to reduce relapse.

There are four medications that are mostly used as treatment for alcohol dependency, yet further supplements and prescriptions can also be used to manage co-occurring disorders and to improve health. Medications are recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).


Disulfiram is a prescribed medication that helps to reduce the risks of relapse post-withdrawal. It’s recommended for those who are high risk or those who have previously relapsed.

It works by causing unpleasant and unbearable physical symptoms if alcohol is consumed. It helps to associate alcohol consumption with negative effects, rather than its positive effects. It is ultimately a deterrent to alcohol exposure.

Symptoms include nausea, dizziness, vomiting, and hangover-like side effects.

Due to its intentions, all products and substances which include alcohol must be avoided, as the smallest trace can trigger symptoms. An inpatient alcohol rehab clinic will be the safest space to appropriately consume Disulfiram, followed by regular check-ins on a post-rehab basis.


Nalmefene is an alcohol treatment medication that helps to lower the amount of alcohol that a person can drink. It is recommended for slow withdrawal or for people who have alcohol problems that need to be reduced.

It helps to control cravings by blocking the opioid receptors in the brain, reducing the reward of consumption.

Nalmefene isn’t prescribed for clients who are aiming for full sobriety yet is suitable for clients who require some form of medical support with managing their alcohol misuse.


Acamprosate is a medication that can help with initial alcohol withdrawal, and also be used to manage relapse risks. It’s prescribed to reduce the strength of withdrawal symptoms, making it easier for clients to remain on track and reach full sobriety.

It is also used to stabilise the brain and help to reduce the cognitive effects of alcoholism. The medication interacts with the brain chemical of Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA), which helps to reduce alcohol cravings and emotional distress.

Acamprosate is an effective alcohol treatment medication whilst taken alongside therapy and further preventive measures.


Naltrexone helps to block opioid receptors, which will ultimately reduce/stop the effects of alcohol. It blocks the highs which are commonly craved, helping to manage short-term and long-term withdrawal.

Alcohol consumption, for someone with an addiction, will activate the internal reward system. By taking Naltrexone, such reward will be blocked, disassociating alcohol with its positive effects.

Naltrexone can help to reduce cravings, ease withdrawal, and support long-term sobriety. Yet regular observations and assessments must be completed, as it can cause unpleasant side effects and can also block out other medications.

A Medical Detox

If you need medication to help you through detox, this is known as a medical detox. Not every person will need medication through this period, but if you have been a heavy drinker for many years it may be necessary to alleviate the worst of the withdrawal symptoms.

Withdrawal symptoms are a normal response to alcohol absence. Such absence may be down to a break in alcohol consumption, the attempt to get clean or the aim to reduce alcohol consumption levels.

Symptoms are expected for someone who regularly consumes alcohol, which will display as soon as blood alcohol levels begin to reduce. Symptoms can increase the urge to consume further alcohol, to block out their unpleasant effects, churning the addiction cycle.

In some cases, withdrawal symptoms can be mild, yet in others, they can be unshakable and life-threatening. They can also display physical and psychological side effects, impacting the health and functioning of the body and brain.

Symptoms are especially expected whilst attempting to get clean, whether that’s through a cold turkey approach or by detoxing. The difference is, is that alcohol treatment medications will be used through a detox process, to ease and control symptoms.

Common alcohol withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Depression
  • Craving for alcohol
  • Anxiety
  • Panic
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sweating
  • Irrational behaviours
  • Poor decision making
  • High heart rate
  • The shakes
  • Disorientation
  • Mood swings
  • Hallucinations
  • Signs of alcohol withdrawal syndrome, such as delirium tremens

Withdrawal symptoms can begin after a few hours of alcohol absenteeism and will aggravate over the subsequent days. Without intervention and alcohol treatment medications, symptoms can become chronic, and increase the risks of alcohol withdrawal syndrome and relapse.

Asana Inpatient Alcohol Rehab Help

Detoxification and the use of alcohol treatment medications are highly effective steps of the rehab process. Yet in order to recover from alcoholism, further intervention is essential, including talking therapy, holistic therapies, and relapse prevention.

At Asana Lodge we offer inpatient alcohol rehab help and treatment, opting for the safest and most progressive forms of addiction treatment. Residing in our rehab clinic will be possible, whilst working through regular treatment sessions and therapies.

We offer comprehensive support to not only help our clients withdraw but also recover for the long term. Following a holistic approach, we will always consider your physical and mental health, whilst recommending treatments and long-term plans.

What Therapy do I get in rehab?

Whilst medication can help with the physical challenges your body goes through in rehab, we also need to consolidate this by working on the mental challenges you will face.

In our alcohol rehab program, each person has a tailored therapy course to help them through not only the days ahead, but to promote a long term recovery.

Therapies can include:

  • Personal One on One Therapy
  • Group Therapy
  • Satori Therapy
  • Family Therapy
  • Relapse Prevention
  • Self Help Sessions
  • Nutritionist Once a Week
  • Sauna Therapy

Therapy will be tailored based on each person and their specific needs. Our counselling team have many years of experience successfully treating alcohol addiction and therapy is a key part of this process.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Alcohol Addiction Treatment really work?

The right combination of addiction treatment will help to promote safe alcohol withdrawal, psychological recovery, and long-term sobriety. It is essential to complete the right combination, as every person will respond differently to addiction treatment.

Through the help of a specialist alcohol rehab, effective and safe treatments will be arranged, offering recovery success. It is also essential to work through each treatment, as the combination of detoxification, therapy and post-rehab planning works very well together.

Signs and symptoms of Alcohol Addiction

Signs and symptoms of alcoholism will show through physical, psychological, social, and behavioural changes. People who have alcohol problems will experience such changes whilst abusing alcohol on a consistent/heavy basis.

Due to consumption rates, lifestyle choices, wellbeing and genetics, signs and symptoms do vary. Yet the most common include the inability to stop consumption, withdrawal symptoms in between consumption, compulsive and irrational behaviour, physical signs of ill-health and intoxication, and neglect of everyday life/responsibilities/interests.

If changes are experienced, addiction treatment will be vital, starting with detox and the appropriate use of alcohol treatment medications.

How do Inpatient and Outpatient differ for alcohol rehab treatment?

Inpatient treatment is completed within a rehab setting, followed by a residential stay. It is a progressive process, offering daily treatment sessions and around the clock care. Outpatient treatment is also completed in a safe and private setting. Yet clients will return home post-treatment and may experience gaps within their programme. It is a longer process, which can take up to 6 months to complete.

At Asana Lodge, we deliver inpatient alcohol rehab treatment, due to its success rates and safety.


John Gillen - Author - Last Updated: 16 February 2022

John has travelled extensively around the world, culminating in 19 years’ experience looking at different models. He is the European pioneer of Nad+ (Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide) treatment to Europe in 2010; and recently back from the USA bringing state of the art Virtual Reality Relapse Prevention and stress reduction therapy. his passion extends to other metabolic disturbances and neurodegenerative diseases.

The journey continues, in recent times john has travelled to Russia to study and research into a new therapy photobiomudulation or systemic laser therapy working with Nad+ scientists and the very best of the medical profession in the UK and the USA, together with Nadcell, Bionad Clinics own select Doctors, nurses, dieticians and therapists, Johns’ passion continues to endeavour to bring to the UK and Europe new developments with Nad+ therapy in preventive and restorative medicine and Wellness. In 2017 John Gillen was made a visiting Professor at the John Naisbitt university in Belgrade Serbia.

Dr. Olalekan Otulana (Advanced Practitioner)

Dr. Olalekan Otulana (Advanced Practitioner) - Clinical Reviewer - Last Reviewed: 24/11/2023 11:00 am

Dr. Otulana is a highly skilled General Practitioner and Addiction Specialist. He possesses extensive expertise in the field of Substance Misuse Management and boasts a diverse background in evaluating, overseeing (including detox procedures), and overseeing the residential recovery of individuals grappling with various drug and substance addiction issues. His primary goal is to conduct thorough assessments of patients dealing with addiction issues and determine their medical detoxification and psychological treatment requirements. Dr. Otulana is well-versed in caring for patients who need dual drug and alcohol detoxification therapies.

In addition to his medical qualifications, Dr. Otulana is a proficient healthcare professional who holds a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) degree from the prestigious Cambridge University Judge Business School.