How To Stop Drinking, the Ria Health Way
There are new solutions for alcohol use disorder, and some may surprise you.
Ria Health’s mission is simple: To make alcohol treatment easier and more accessible, so that more people get the help they need.
How do we do this?
We use telemedicine, medications for alcoholism, recovery coaching, medical counseling, support groups, and even digital tools—including an app and a mobile breathalyzer. It’s an all-of-the-above approach, and it’s customizable to each individual.
Best of all, everything is done from the comfort of home. No doctor’s office visits required. Ria Health is even in-network with several major insurance providers, making it easier than ever to access care affordably.
Why do we do things this way?
Because with so many people struggling with alcohol abuse, and so few getting help, we know new solutions are needed. And because, though great strides have been made in alcohol addiction treatment, surprisingly few people know about them.
Our goal is to make this knowledge accessible, and give people new ways to make use of it—without having to put their lives on hold.
In short, we are working to revolutionize treatment for alcoholism, or alcohol use disorder.
On this page, you can learn about our philosophy on treating alcohol addiction, why we do things the way we do, and why it’s proven to be an effective solution for many people. Even if you decide that our approach isn’t right for you, you may find new perspectives here that suggest a different path forward.
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Speak with a Ria Health team member about how medication-assisted treatment can help you.
Part of the reason so few people are getting help for alcohol addiction is that the process seems intimidating.
Although great strides have been made in evidence-based alcohol treatment, many people still believe that the options are limited. Below are some common assumptions about fighting alcohol addiction, which have actually been disproven by recent research:
4 Common Misconceptions About Quitting Alcohol
1. You need to go to rehab
If you’ve heard this before, you may have assumed it was based on scientific evidence. But it turns out there are many treatments more effective than those offered in rehabilitation facilities, at a fraction of the cost. You don’t need to turn your life upside down or empty your wallet to quit drinking alcohol.
2. You need to believe in a higher power
While finding a good spiritual or mindfulness practice can be of great assistance, it shouldn’t be a requirement to get help. Many of the affordable alternatives to rehab encourage a faith-based approach. If that isn’t your world view, you should know that there are other options.
3. Abstinence is the only choice
It turns out that moderation is possible for many people with the right tools and support system. Approaches like the Sinclair Method have proven that, with the aid of medication, it’s possible to reset your brain chemistry around alcohol. The occasional beer may still be an option.
4. Addiction is a moral failing
It’s not. There are many reasons that people become dependent on substances. At the end of the day, addiction should be seen as a health problem to fix, not a flaw in a person’s character. The less shame and stigma are attached to it, the more easily people can ask for help, and recover.
Dr. Paul Linde, Ria Psychiatrist, discusses the different options people have to reduce or stop drinking alcohol.
New Solutions For Alcohol Addiction Treatment
Ria Health believes that help for alcohol addiction should be easy to access, and based in scientific research. The fewer barriers that exist, and the more flexible the solutions are, the more people will get the assistance they need.
Treatment should be evidence-based, and customized to the individual
Below are six elements of an up-to-date approach to alcohol use disorder that can be mixed and matched for each person’s needs. Each is supported by the evidence. When combined, we believe they offer a stronger support system for those who want to reduce or stop drinking.
There are several medications that can help reduce alcohol cravings:
- Naltrexone, which works by blocking the pleasurable effects of alcohol. Over time, many people find that this reduces or eliminates their desire to drink.
- Acamprosate, which helps correct the chemical imbalance that motivates a person to drink. This can be especially helpful in maintaining long-term abstinence.
- Gabapentin, Baclofen, and Topiramate. All three were originally approved to treat other conditions, and have been found safe and effective for treating alcohol use disorder.
One, or even several of these can help you overcome the symptoms of physical addiction, giving you a major head start.
Access to personal support can be key in overcoming alcohol dependency. Recovery coaches can help you set goals, change old behaviors, and start new habits. They can also support you when you experience setbacks.
Recovery coaching is a relatively new profession, but it’s expanding rapidly and already showing promising results. In our program, we’ve seen strong evidence that this kind of one-on-one support is crucial. Having an experienced ally to help you through the process can keep you on track in the most pivotal moments.
3. Digital Tracking Tools
When people have objective tools to measure their progress it can help boost their motivation. One way Ria Health does this is by giving a digital Bluetooth breathalyzer to all members. This lets them record their blood alcohol content every day, and send it to their phones via our secure, HIPAA-compliant app. This helps in several ways:
- First, it gives members a graph of how much they've been drinking, which helps them stay objective about their progress.
- Second, it serves as a daily ritual that reminds them of their goals.
- Finally, it gives our coaches and medical team something to look at, to see if they need to adjust treatment.
We've found that this, and other app-based tools, have a positive impact on members' long-term progress.
4. Online Support Groups
One major strength of programs like Alcoholics Anonymous is that they offer the chance to meet and empathize with like-minded others. This kind of mutual support can be essential for some people. Unfortunately, meetings can be hard to fit into some people’s schedules. And not everyone agrees with 12 step philosophy.
Online meetings can be a good alternative. You can join from anywhere, on a schedule that works for you. Having access to community support that is both secular and flexible can be game changing, and an important part of quitting alcohol.
This is the innovation that connects all of the above together. New technology is making it possible to access healthcare from the comfort of home.
In this case, it means you can chat with a medical professional, get prescriptions, meet with a coach, attend support groups, and even track your blood alcohol content—all from your phone.
The big advantage of telemedicine is that it allows people who are too busy or too far from treatment centers to get help for alcohol addiction. It also makes the process more convenient in general. And this is great news, because the easier it is to stop drinking, the more people will succeed at it.
Not everyone wants to stop drinking completely. Others may want to quit, but be intimidated by the idea of never drinking again. Having moderation as an option can make getting started much easier.
The medication naltrexone has a proven track record at helping people achieve moderation. So does the Sinclair Method, which makes use of this medication. So despite widespread beliefs that abstinence is the only way, moderation really is possible.
Ria Health supports this option, as well as abstinence. Whatever is going to work best for you is what you should be able to accomplish.
Beginning the Process
Any of these approaches can help you stop drinking alcohol, or reduce your alcohol consumption. Which ones you choose are up to you.
Ria’s mission is to remove the stigma from alcohol addiction, and make treatment more accessible. If any of these approaches sould like a good fit for you, get in touch with us to learn more about what we do, with no obligation. And if you are just looking for more information, learn more about our treatment approach.
New approaches to treating alcohol use disorder are not only possible, they are becoming more accessible every day. Our program is already available in most states, and has a strong success rate: Ria members reduce their drinking by an average of 75% in the first year. It is our hope that alcohol addiction will soon be seen as just another treatable illness, and that everyone who needs assistance will be able to get it.
Read some real-life Ria Health success stories here.
FAQs For Loved Ones
If you’re close with someone who is struggling with alcohol, it can be hard to know the best way to help them. We also hear many questions from loved ones about what to expect when someone begins medication-assisted treatment.
Here are some FAQs for friends and family of anyone considering an alternative approach to alcohol rehab:
Is it alright for my loved one to keep drinking alcohol?
While it depends on the person, in many cases the answer is yes. Ria Health uses prescription medications to help people control their cravings and cut back over time. Some eventually choose abstinence, while others are able to achieve moderation. Along the way, your loved one may continue to drink, but the goal is that they will drink less, and eventually regain control.
This can seem counterintuitive at first, especially for those used to 12-step philosophy. But evidence shows that this approach can really work. The Sinclair Method, which uses targeted doses of naltrexone to help people reduce their drinking, has a 78% long-term success rate. And at Ria, we’ve seen our members successfully reduce their drinking by an average of 75% in the first year.
What’s the best way to support someone on medication-assisted treatment (MAT)?
In many situations, supporting someone on MAT is similar to helping someone through an abstinence-based program. Your loved one will need moral support and understanding, and may need someone to help them stay on track. With medication-assisted treatment, this can mean helping them remember to take their medication, or helping them count their drinks.
In some cases, a person seeking moderation might want to set daily or weekly goals. You may be able to help them plan these, or provide accountability.
Overall, however, it’s also important to create personal agreements with your loved one about how you can help, and set fair boundaries. Supporting anyone through addiction recovery can be hard work, and it’s important to take care of yourself.
I know someone who might benefit from your program. How can I help them join?
If your loved one is interested in joining Ria Health, schedule a call with a member of our team, either together or individually. There’s no obligation to join, and we’ll be happy to answer any questions about our approach to treatment.
Keep in mind, however, that your loved one has to be ready to make a change. If you’re concerned about their drinking, and they haven’t decided to get help yet, approach them with openness and empathy. Let them know that there are many different options out there for changing their relationship with alcohol, and remember that whatever they decide is not a reflection on you. We’re here to help whenever your loved one is ready.
Read more: How to Help an Alcoholic