Treatment for Alcohol and Opioid Addiction

Woman thinking about her Alcohol and Opioid Addiction treatment

Alcohol and opioid addiction are a dangerous combination. Using alcohol while also taking opioids can cause deadly respiratory problems and has led to doctors in emergency rooms seeing more fatalities. [1]

The combination can cause short-term effects such as mental confusion, nausea or vomiting, poor memory and concentration, anxiety, or a slow rate of breathing. Longer-term effects include chronic constipation, irritability and mood swings, or put someone into a coma or cause permanent brain damage. [2]

Those who combine these substances need professional medical and therapeutic assistance if they are to recover. If you are considering treatment, here are several avenues of treatment and resources you should consider.


Treatment often begins with detoxification and medically managed withdrawal. Detoxification is the process by which the body clears itself of drugs and should always be done in the presence of a trained medical professional.

Residential Treatment

Another model of treatment that many people are familiar with because of film and television is a residential treatment center. Shows such as This is Us and movies like 28 Days portray characters doing a stint in rehab that lasts about a month.

A typical day in treatment will include all of the basics you would expect, such as meal times, psychiatric care, individual therapy, and therapeutic groups. It may also include things you would not expect, such as art and music therapy, yoga, meditation, biofeedback, and neurofeedback.

Long Term Residential Care

Lady sitting on bench at a lakeThese options are usually also available long term residential treatment settings, which include a therapeutic community. They are generally in non-hospital, residential settings with planned lengths of stay of 6-12 months.

Primary Care Physicians

You should always consult your primary care doctor when dealing with mental and medical issues. Recent research is also examining the feasibility of primary care clinics providing outpatient treatment for alcohol and opioid addiction. [3]

Alcoholics Anonymous

The well known 12 step program has meetings all over the country and has a strong history of helping people achieve and maintain sobriety. You can easily search the internet to find a meeting near you.

Narcotics Anonymous

Also, following the 12 step model created by AA, this organization will have local meetings where you can find support, sponsors, and help to overcome your addiction.


1. Preidt, R. (2017, February 8). Opioids and Alcohol a Dangerous Cocktail. Retrieved March 14, 2020, from

2. American Addiction Centers Editorial Staff. (2019, June 12). Drinking Alcohol While On Opiates: Signs and Effects. Retrieved March 14, 2020, from

3. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2020, January 21). AOUD Treatment in Primary Care Settings-Is it Feasible? Retrieved March 14, 2020, from

About the Author:

Travis StewartTravis Stewart, LPC has been mentoring others since 1992 and became a Licensed Professional Counselor in 2005. His counseling approach is relational and creative, helping people understand their story while also building hope for the future. Travis has experience with a wide variety of issues which might lead people to seek out professional counseling help. This includes a special interest in helping those with compulsive and addictive behaviors such as internet and screen addiction, eating disorders, anxiety, and perfectionism. Travis’ website is

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of addictions. These are not necessarily the views of Addiction Hope, but an effort to offer a discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Addiction Hope understand that addictions result from multiple physical, emotional, environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Reviewed and Approved by Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on April 21, 2020
Published April 21, 2020, on

About Baxter Ekern

Baxter Ekern is the Vice President of Ekern Enterprises, Inc. He contributed and helped write a major portion of Addiction Hope and is responsible for the operations of the website.