Alcoholism is a potentially fatal disease that is progressive in nature which means as time goes on the disease becomes worse and worse if left untreated. Although alcoholism can cause major side effects and consequences in an individual’s life, there are treatment options that work. Treating alcoholism typically involves detoxification, psychiatric counseling, behavioral therapy & aftercare.
While every alcohol treatment center is different, most use similar strategies to help patients get past the physical dependence and begin to heal psychologically from the effects of alcohol addiction. The process by which an individual is treated will depend on a variety of factors including lifestyle, gender, overall health, severity of addiction and various other factors.
Treating alcoholism is a difficult process mainly because there are so many elements involved with alcohol dependence. First, the patient must be treated for physical dependence. This may include being supplied with medications such as buprenorphine or naltrexone which will curb cravings and ease withdrawal symptoms. Following alcohol detox, treatment for psychological factors pertaining to the addiction will commence.
Psychiatric counseling and behavioral therapy are the primary means of psychiatric treatment for alcohol addiction. Many programs utilize individual and group counseling as well as various types of behavioral therapy including cognitive-behavioral therapy to help patients heal from past traumatic experiences, overcome behavioral problems that lead to their alcohol abuse and learn how to interact socially with others who are also in recovery from alcoholism.
The final phase of alcoholism treatment takes place once the recovering addict is released from residential care. This is the time when aftercare programs such as sober living placement, follow-up counseling and relapse prevention methods take place. Treating alcoholism is a step-by-step, day-by-day process that does not just end when the individual leaves rehab. Ongoing treatment and care is often necessary to facilitate long-term recovery and sustained sobriety.
Every individual responds differently to the treatment modalities that are used in effective rehabilitation programs. Most alcohol treatment programs are individual tailored to meet the unique needs of each patient from the early days of recovery when detoxification is the primary concern on through the aftercare phase during which plans are made for relapse prevention. Many programs utilize twelve-step methods such as Alcoholics Anonymous as the foundation for treating alcoholism while others use more patient centered approaches to treatment. Each program has its own benefits.