Alcohol Addiction

Treatment Options

Overcoming an alcohol addiction will normally require proper treatment which will ensure a long-lasting recovery. The process of recovery is not always an easy one but it is very much worth it. Once an alcoholic has accepted that they are struggling with an addiction and need help the process of recovery can begin.

  • Detox

    If individuals are physically addicted to alcohol, then they must go through the detoxification process prior to starting higher levels of treatment. This will address the physical withdrawal symptoms (e.g. nausea or intense anxiety) and prepare the alcoholic for further treatment in which the mental, social and behavioral changes will be addressed. Once the detox process is over the individual can fully focus on their recovery and learning to deal with their addiction. Detox can take place in a person’s personal residence, a hospital or a sober living home.

  • Treatment

    There are many types of treatment that someone suffering from alcohol addiction can seek. The right path is dependent on the individual’s needs. The most common types of treatment include outpatient, inpatient and residential. Outpatient treatment is when an individual regularly goes to a mental health clinic, psychologist, psychiatrist or hospital on a daily or near-daily basis. Inpatient treatment is when the patient stays at the facility (health clinic, hospital, etc.) and has treatment during the day or evening. Similar to inpatient is residential treatment, which is a residential environment where the patient lives while in recovery. This option is ideal if the individual has a triggering or problematic home life or has little social support. Those who participate in inpatient or residential treatment typically progress to outpatient treatment after weeks or months, depending on the individual.

    Treatment can include many different kinds of therapy and counseling services. As with the type of treatment one seeks, the style of therapy and its effectiveness vary depending on the individual. Individual and group therapy are standards in substance abuse facilities and both provide unique benefits.

  • Therapy

    Individual therapy is beneficial to address personal issues that the addict might not be comfortable speaking about in a group setting. Group sessions provide a unique opportunity for individuals in rehabilitation to help each other and realize they are not alone. It can be helpful for addicts to share their struggles and hear feedback from others who are in the same boat.

    Cognitive behavioral therapy is a form of psychotherapy that focuses on examining the relationship between one’s thoughts, feelings and behaviors. The therapist and addict are able to work together to explore patterns of thinking that lead to self-destructive actions. They analyze the beliefs that direct these patterns of thinking, so they can modify these patterns and change the addict’s thoughts and actions while improving coping skills. This form of therapy is goal-oriented and can actually change an individual’s brain activity, making it extremely effective in preventing relapse.

    Motivational interviewing is another type of therapy explored in treatment facilities. It is aimed at resolving an addict’s mixed feelings about quitting alcohol and getting treatment. The primary goal of this form of therapy is to help the individual find the personal motivation to change and recover. Motivational interviewing is essential for an individual to maintain a strong sense of purpose when traversing the road of recovery.

    Couples therapy and family therapy are important in improving an addict’s interpersonal relationships. Addiction can wreak havoc on families and other relationships. Therapy sessions incorporating the very people who have been hurt by their loved one’s addiction can often serve as a foundation on which to rebuild these relationships.

  • Medication

    In combination with therapy, there are certain FDA-approved medications that can be beneficial to those recovering from alcohol addiction. These medications can reduce cravings for alcohol or make individuals nauseous when alcohol is consumed, among other effects.

Treatment programs and support groups

A recovering alcoholic is most likely to relapse three to six months into recovery, which is why the maintenance phase of treatment is essential to maintain sobriety and prevent relapse. A 12-step program is often helpful to those who have recently come out of an inpatient or other highly structured treatment program. Alcoholics Anonymous is perhaps the most well known 12-step self-help program. Alcoholics Anonymous amongst other similar programs are available to anyone suffering from alcohol addiction regardless of age, gender or ethnicity. These sessions primarily involve group therapy led by fellow recovering addicts and provide a sense of community for attendees. The 12 steps include actions that need to be taken, such as making a list of all persons harmed and making direct amends to all on the list.

Education is important for recovering alcohol addicts and their loved ones. Individuals should educate themselves on their own personal triggers and reasons for using alcohol as a coping mechanism. Knowledge is power, so the more an addict knows about their condition and potential triggers, the less likely he or she is to relapse.

To learn more about finding help for alcohol addiction,you can call the Florida Alcohol Addiction Helpline at 866-220-5381 for more information.