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Alcoholism Treatment: Facts about Alcohol Addiction

Although there is no cure for alcoholism and addiction, there are a number of treatments that help to manage the condition. Those who are affected by addiction will need to be vigilant for the rest of their lives as they will always be at risk of relapse. The good news, however, is that there are many effective forms of alcoholism treatment that can allow those affected to get sober and stay sober going forward.

With the right help and support and a carefully created plan of care, alcoholics can overcome their addictions and live healthy, happy and sober lives. At Recovery.org.uk, we work with an extensive network of treatment providers in both the private and public sectors to ensure that all of our clients are given the most suitable care plans based on their particular requirements.

We work with private residential clinics, charity organisations, local support groups and the NHS, and we offer free referrals to those who need them. It is our aim to ensure that everyone who needs help for illnesses such as alcoholism can easily access treatment that will suit their requirements and circumstances.

Types of Alcoholism Treatment

Those who want to conquer an alcohol addiction have some options regarding treatment. Residential treatment offers a comprehensive and concentrated approach, which allows the patient to focus entirely on getting better in an environment where there are no distractions. It is generally accepted that residential treatment programmes are the best choice for those with the most severe alcohol addictions.

However, as residential care is not feasible for everyone, there are alternatives, including outpatient care. Outpatient treatment does not require an overnight stay, so is less expensive. It is ideal for those with a strong support network at home and those who are limited by their budget or other commitments such as family or work.

Regardless of whether you choose inpatient or outpatient care, you can expect to receive some of the following treatments:

  • Detox – Most substance addictions require patients to undergo a programme of detoxification before rehabilitation can begin. This is best carried out in a supervised facility as there is a risk of serious complications due to withdrawal symptoms. It is impossible to tell who will experience the most severe withdrawal symptoms, so having a medical professional on hand at all times is advisable.
  • Counselling – Whether you are attending an inpatient or outpatient facility, you will probably be given one-to-one counselling, which is designed to help patients identify the cause of their addictive behaviour and to show them how to change this behaviour. Group therapy sessions are also provided.
  • Contingency management – Contingency management uses rewards and consequences to encourage recovering addicts to change their maladaptive behaviour. Patients are rewarded for showing good behaviour, or may face consequences for negative actions. Contingency management is regularly used for younger patients who may not yet see that staying sober is a reward in itself. Teenage addicts often need additional incentive to stay away from alcohol or drugs.
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy – The aim of cognitive behavioural therapy is to make the patient aware of his or her dysfunctional behaviour. Once the patient recognises the ‘negative’ behaviour, he or she can work alongside the counsellor or therapist to find more positive ways to deal with certain situations. Cognitive behavioural therapy works on the basis of reinforcing this positive behaviour until it becomes the new ‘normal’ way to react.
  • Skills development – Those who have been dealing with alcoholism for a long time may lack certain skills such as assertiveness and decision-making. Skills development often encompasses stress management, and relaxation, which are skills those with alcoholism and addiction never learned as they grew up. It is often a lack of social and cognitive skills that leads people to turn to substances such as alcohol or drugs in the first place.
  • Dialectic behavioural therapy – Dialectic behavioural therapy is used by counsellors and therapists to help patients regain control of their emotions. It is often used alongside cognitive behavioural therapy and other treatments such as mindfulness. This method is designed to help patients make positive decisions when faced with specific life situations.
  • Motivational interviewing – Denial is a common occurrence in addiction, and it can be a significant barrier to recovery, especially for those with alcoholism. Since alcohol is a legally and widely available substance, many are still of the opinion that it is not harmful. It is difficult for many individuals with alcohol addiction to recognise the signs of alcoholism within themselves. That is where motivational interviewing comes in. Counsellors and therapists use motivational interviewing to help patients overcome their denial and recognise that they have a problem. They are encouraged to take a look at their own behaviour through a series of questions and answer sessions. The questions posed by an experienced counsellor or therapist are designed to get the patient to see where he or she needs to make changes and to motivate this individual to want to change.
  • 12 step work – Most rehabilitation clinics use elements of 12-step work alongside other treatments to help those with alcoholism conquer their demons. The twelve steps are the foundation of fellowship support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and have been helping people overcome their addictions since the 1930s. Those who are attending either inpatient or outpatient treatment programmes will usually be advised to join a fellowship support programme as part of their aftercare and maintenance.
  • Family therapy – Alcoholism treatment often includes other family members and not just the person with the illness. The reason for this is that illnesses such as alcoholism affect more than just the individual. It is important for rehabilitation to address other issues, rather than just the addiction. There may be conflict within the family and children, in particular, need support to deal with parental addiction. Experienced counsellors can help all family members to learn as much as possible about the illness so that relationships can be repaired going forward and so that all members of the family know what to expect from recovery.

If you would like to learn more about alcoholism treatment, contact us here at Recovery.org.uk today.