When Drinking Is a Problem, Treatment May Help

One in 16 — that’s how many adults in the U.S. struggle with an alcohol use disorder.* So the first thing to know if you think you might have a problem is that you’re not alone.

The second thing? There’s no shame in asking for help.

As part of your UnitedHealthcare benefits, you may have access to treatments designed to help you overcome problem drinking.**

Only you can decide to get help. But getting treatment — and staying the course — may help you be healthier and happier in the long run.

More than one way to beat the bottle

Your primary doctor can tell you about your treatment options. You may find that a combination works best for you. They could include:

Behavioral treatments. Counseling may help you pinpoint and change habits that contribute to your drinking. For example, you might learn techniques to help you cope with stress without using alcohol. And it’s flexible. You could see a therapist on your own — or try group sessions.

Medicines. Prescription medicines may also help treat an alcohol use disorder. Some may help reduce the urge to drink. Others make it harder to tolerate alcohol, which may help you avoid drinking again.

Peer support groups. With programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous, people who are on their way to recovery support one another. Many use a 12-step approach. Support groups may work best alongside other treatments.

Making your treatment work

Remember: It takes time to overcome a drinking problem. You might have setbacks along the way. But if you slip up, don’t give up. Try to see any relapse as a short setback — not a failure.

You may be able to boost your chances of staying sober by:

  • Checking in with a doctor or therapist regularly
  • Steering clear of people and places that you associate with drinking
  • Building a support network of loved ones and friends

Often, people who beat alcohol problems have to try more than once. So keep at it — and know that help is waiting when you’re ready.

What to do next

If you think you might have an alcohol-related problem, talk with your doctor about what treatments might help you.

*Source: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

**Check your benefit plan to see what services may be covered.

The information provided here is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be nor should be construed as medical or other advice. Talk to an appropriate health care professional to determine what may be right for you.

Last reviewed December 2016

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