Alcohol Dependence Specialist

Unite Recovery

Addiction Medicine & Telehealth located in College Corner, OH

Nearly 30,000 Americans die each year from alcohol-related liver disease, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports. If you’re struggling to recover from alcohol dependence, board-certified addiction specialist Carlene Westfall, MD, provides comprehensive treatment at Unite Recovery in College Corner, Ohio. Call Unite Recovery or schedule an appointment online today to learn more about alcohol dependence treatment.

Alcohol Dependence Q & A

What is alcohol dependence?

Alcohol dependence, or alcohol use disorder, occurs when you feel reliant on alcohol consumption. Drinking excessively or continuing to consume alcohol despite negative consequences to your health, relationships, or career are telltale signs of alcohol dependence.

If alcohol consumption regularly interferes with your ability to function in your normal activities, early intervention can help prevent dependence from evolving into addiction.

What are the signs of alcohol dependence?

Alcohol dependence affects every individual differently. While some may function normally in their day-to-day lives, others may struggle to balance their continued alcohol use with their responsibilities.

Common signs of alcohol dependence include:

  • Strong alcohol cravings
  • Excessive drinking
  • Withdrawal from social activities
  • Difficulty meeting home, work, or school obligations
  • Binge-drinking (consuming more than five drinks in two hours for men or four for women)
  • Increased alcohol tolerance (increasing intake to achieve the same effects as before)
  • Struggling to cut back on drinking despite efforts to do so

Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you aren’t drinking is another important sign of alcohol dependence. These mental and physical symptoms — nausea and vomiting, chills, muscle aches, tremors, cold sweat, mood swings, etc. — can feel intense enough to interfere with your recovery.

What are the treatments for alcohol dependence?

Treating alcohol dependence requires a long-term, multimodality approach to care. At Unite Recovery, Dr. Westfall performs a comprehensive evaluation to diagnose alcohol dependence and assess the severity of your condition. Your complete evaluation may include:

  • A medical history review
  • Family history questions
  • A physical exam
  • Lab testing
  • Psychological evaluation

Dr. Westfall also uses the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) criteria, published by the American Psychiatric Association, to diagnose addiction and co-current mental health disorders. 

After an accurate diagnosis, Dr. Westfall can create your individualized treatment plan, which may include:

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT)

Medication-assisted treatment uses medication to minimize withdrawal symptoms while you recover from alcohol dependence. Depending on the severity of your dependence, Dr. Westfall may recommend Suboxone®, a combination of naloxone and buprenorphine, that can help relieve many of the physical symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.

Addiction counseling

Addiction counseling is an essential part of alcohol dependence treatment. Counseling helps you address the source of your alcohol dependence and gives you a safe, supportive space to discuss your addiction. 

Dr. Westfall is a compassionate addiction specialist who works with you to develop the right treatment plan. She may recommend psychotherapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), or another form of counseling to gradually reduce your reliance on alcohol.

To learn more about alcohol dependence, call Unite Recovery or schedule an appointment online today.