Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) can range from risky drinking to alcohol abuse and dependence. It can impact a person’s job, relationships, and health. It can damage the liver, brain, pancreas, and stomach.
There is no cure, but treatments can help manage AUD. Treatment depends on the severity of AUD. It always requires avoiding alcohol. The cause is often complex, so a mix of medical, social, psychological, and behavioral therapies is needed. Setbacks occur. A stay at a substance abuse center may be needed.
Some people look to natural treatments to manage symptoms, but no treatment has been shown to be helpful.
Herbs and Supplements to Be Used With Caution
Talk to your doctor about all herbs or supplements you are taking. Some may interact with your treatment plan or health conditions.
Milk thistle may cause stomach upset. Since it may lower blood sugar levels, caution is advised with diabetes.
A1. Bullock ML, Kiresuk TJ, Sherman RE, et al. A large, randomized, placebo-controlled study of auricular acupuncture for alcohol dependence. J Subst Abuse Treat. 2002;22:71-77.
A2. Sapir-Weise R, Berglund M, Frank A, et al. Acupuncture in alcoholism treatment: a randomized out-patient study. Alcohol Alcohol. 1999;34:629-635.
A3. Worner TM, Zeller B, Schwarz H, et al. Acupuncture fails to improve treatment outcome in alcoholics. Drug Alcohol Depend. 1992;30:169-173.
A4. Bullock ML, Umen AJ, Culliton PD, et al. Acupuncture treatment of alcoholic recidivism: a pilot study. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 1987;11:292-295.
A5. Bullock ML, Culliton PD, Olander RT. Controlled trial of acupuncture for severe recidivist alcoholism. Lancet. 1989;1:1435-1439.
A6. Trumpler F, Oez S, Stahli P, et al. Acupuncture for alcohol withdrawal: a randomized controlled trial. Alcohol Alcohol. 2003;38:369-375.
A7. Kunz S, Schulz M, Lewitzky M, et al. Ear acupuncture for alcohol withdrawal in comparison with aromatherapy: a randomized-controlled trial. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2007;31:436-442.
B1. Trinchet JC, Coste T, Levy VG, et al. Treatment of alcoholic hepatitis with silymarin. A double-blind comparative study in 116 patients [translated from French]. Gastroenterol Clin Biol. 1989;13:120-124.
B2. Bunout D, Hirsch SB, Petermann MT, et al. Controlled study of the effect of silymarin on alcoholic liver disease [translated from Spanish]. Rev Med Chil. 1992;120:1370-1375.
B3. Ferenci P, Dragosics B, Dittrich H, et al. Randomized controlled trial of silymarin treatment in patients with cirrhosis of the liver. J Hepatol. 1989;9:105-113.
B4. Benda L, Dittrich H, Ferenzi P, et al. The influence of therapy with silymarin on the survival rate of patients with liver cirrhosis [translated from German]. Wien Klin Wochenschr. 1980;92:678-683.
B5. Pares A, Planas R, Torres M, et al. Effects of silymarin in alcoholic patients with cirrhosis of the liver: results of a controlled, double-blind, randomized and multicenter trial. J Hepatol. 1998;28:615-621.
B6. Lang I, et al. Hepatoprotective and immunological effects of antioxidant drugs. Tokai J Exp Clin Med. 1990;15:123-127.
B7. Lang I, et al. Immunomodulatory and hepatoprotective effects of in vivo treatment with free radical scavengers. Ital J Gastroenterol. 1990;22:283-287.
B8. Saller R, Meier R, et al. The use of silymarin in the treatment of liver diseases. Drugs. 2001;61(14):2035-2063.
B9. Rambaldi A, Jacobs BP, Gluud C. Milk thistle for alcoholic and/or hepatitis B or C virus liver diseases. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2007 Oct 17;(4):CD003620.
C1. Rambaldi A, Gluud C. S-adenosyl-L-methionine for alcoholic liver diseases. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2006 Apr 19;(2):CD002235.
C2. Mato JM, Camara J, Fernandez de Paz J, et al. S-adenosylmethionine in alcoholic cirrhosis: a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, multicenter clinical trial. J Hepatol. 1999;30:1081-1089.
Last reviewed February 2019 by EBSCO NAT Review Board
Richard Glickman-Simon, MD
Last Updated: 2/22/2019