Treating Alcohol Abuse and Addiction

Alcohol is the most abused drug in the United States simply because, being legal to produce and sell, it is the most available. This is a main reason why alcohol addiction treatment is so common.

Alcohol abuse is not only greatly tolerated, it is sometimes even encouraged. College campuses have “hazings” for those going to fraternities or sororities that often include abusive consumption of alcohol and the liquor industry spends $2 billion annually to encourage people to drink.

Thanks to organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving the problem of alcohol abuse has been paid more attention and dealt alcohol related crimes like drunk driving have stiffer penalties. But alcohol abuse may be only an occasional thing and doesn’t necessarily determine an addiction to alcohol.

Alcohol Addiction Treatment Options

There are many different layers to alcohol addiction treatment, and the options vary depending on the severity and root of the problem.

Some people may use alcohol to self-medicate for a temporary issues, such as stress, similar to marijuana or while going through divorce or in instances of job loss. These temporary situations of alcohol abuse may require some form of treatment or attention, such as seeing a therapist, but they don’t always necessitate treatment for alcohol addiction. In many of these cases, once the primary driver of the “self-medicating” behavior is dealt with the desire to drink has also abated.

In cases where there is true alcohol addiction, treatment for it is advised. This treatment can take many forms. Certainly, starting with seeing a therapist or psychologist is a good idea. A therapist and perhaps attendance at some Alcoholics Anonymous meetings may be all that’s needed. In other cases, an outpatient program may be more appropriate.

In cases where the problem is more serious residential care may be called for, beginning with a supervised detoxification.

The Best Alcohol Abuse Treatment

It is sometimes difficult to tell the difference between when alcohol abuse treatment is needed and treatment for alcohol addiction. Again, alcohol abuse may not necessarily indicate alcohol addiction and may be the result of a temporary problem. In other words, it may be a symptom rather than the problem itself.

In the case of ongoing alcohol abuse it is best to see a psychologist to assess the situation and work on discovering the underlying problems that are causing the alcohol abuse. However, alcohol abuse that has gone on for a long period of time may also result in a dependency on alcohol, both physically and psychologically, and alcohol abuse treatment may be in needed.

If you suspect, or a family member, have an alcohol problem requiring alcoholism treatment, you should seek help from a qualified treatment specialist like those you’ll find when you contact Recovery Channel.

Are You an Alcoholic?

Man struggling with alcoholism
It is sometimes difficult to tell the difference between excessive drinking, when it becomes a drinking problem, and actual. That being said, problem drinking also requires treatment, it just depend on what kind of treatment.

There are several different types of treatment that someone with a drinking problem or alcoholism can get. First, there are independent therapists and psychiatrists. Keep in mind that therapists (usually psychologists) perform the one-on-one talk therapy, usually lasting a clinical hour (45 to 50 minutes), while psychiatrists, these days, mainly have 20 minutes sessions and prescribe medication. Most do not do talk, or do cognitive therapy.

Treatment for Alcoholism

Alcoholism requires more specific treatment. Many alcoholics will start by seeing a therapist, but the therapist may suggest actual treatment for alcoholism just as they would for more serious drugs such as opiates.

Treatment for alcohol addiction can take many forms depending on the severity of the problem. There are intensive outpatient programs (IOP), which usually take place in an office environment and consist of “classes” in which you learn about alcoholism, as well as have group therapy and usually some one-on-one cognitive sessions.

Intensive outpatient programs usually consist of three hour session three or more times a week. Depending on the outpatient program you find, they may also offer additional therapies such as neurofeedback, EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing), Somatic Experiencing™, yoga and other forms of therapy and exercise. Many programs will also offer you nutritional recommendations.

The next level of treatment is called a partial hospitalization program (PHP). In this form of treatment you attend an IOP and live in a sober living home, with others undergoing the same course of treatment or who have completed the treatment and are living there until they re-acclimate to life without alcohol.

Residential Treatment for Alcohol Addiction

Many people are familiar with residential treatment facilities through seeing Hollywood stars and other celebrities who go to them for alcohol addiction or cocaine addiction treatment, which is another very common drug causing celebrities to seek treatment.

Generally, these programs last from 30 to 90 days or more. It requires the alcoholic to live in a house or other building that has been set up as a treatment center. There are small residential treatment centers that treat only six patients at a time, and large ones that treat 100 or more patients at a time.

The price for residential treatment varies greatly from a few thousand dollars up to $100,000 or more per month, depending on where you get treatment and how luxurious the treatment is. Generally speaking, people who attend the more Spartan types of treatment centers have success rates every bit as good as those at the high-end, luxury treatment centers.

In the latter, you are generally paying a premium for location, accommodations, a nicer menu, and other luxuries. The basics of treatment are usually the same.

That being said, ask what the treatment program is. Some are based on 12-steps, some are not, some have more science based therapies, some more spiritual. Make sure it’s a alcohol addiction treatment program that fits your needs.

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