Treatment Options For Alcohol Abuse And Addiction

You can find a variety of different types of programs offered when it comes to treatment for alcohol addiction or any other substance use disorder. The two main types of treatment are outpatient treatment and inpatient treatment.

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Making the decision to seek alcohol addiction treatment can be difficult, whether you or a loved one is seeking addiction recovery.

However, the decision to stop drinking and get help in doing so is only the first step in recovery.

From this point on, and with the help of family members, you can research and select an alcohol addiction treatment program that is right for you.

Why Does Alcohol Addiction Require Treatment?

Alcohol addiction and alcohol dependence can lead to many side effects, not the least of which is withdrawal syndrome.

Alcohol withdrawal is not just an uncomfortable and difficult experience, it can be life-threatening. It is not recommended to begin alcohol withdrawal suddenly without speaking to your healthcare provider first.

In addition, alcohol use disorder (AUD) at any level can lead to health complications, from effects on the heart to breathing and sleep cycles and much more.

Alcohol addiction comes in many forms and levels of severity, such as binge drinking and heavy drinking, and not all will require professional treatment.

For those situations that do require professional alcohol rehab, many levels and types of treatment plans are available.

Outpatient Alcohol Addiction Treatment

Outpatient alcohol addiction treatment offers the convenience that some people need in order to go through treatment while continuing with work, school, or family obligations.

Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP)

Partial hospitalization programs (PHP) offer the highest level of support that a person can receive in an outpatient setting. In one of these programs, treatment typically lasts four to six hours per session, three to five days per week.

Treatment services in a PHP treatment facility will generally include individual therapy, family therapy, group therapy, medication management, and medication-assisted treatment when required.

Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP)

Intensive outpatient programs (IOP) are less intensive than PHP but offer more support than a standard outpatient program. In one of these programs, treatment typically lasts three to four hours per session, three to five days per week.

Treatment options in an IOP will often include individual therapy, family therapy, group therapy, and medication-assisted treatment when needed.

Regular Outpatient Treatment

In a regular outpatient treatment program, a person will generally attend counseling, in either group or individual format, once or twice per week.

Some outpatient rehab centers will offer specialized types of behavioral health therapy for mental illness, such as cognitive behavioral therapy or dialectical behavior therapy.

Aftercare Services

Aftercare services take place after a person has successfully completed an inpatient or outpatient program and has achieved sobriety. One of the major goals of aftercare support is to prevent relapse from occurring.

Alcohol recovery is an ongoing process that continues long after a treatment program is completed.

For this reason, some people choose to live in a sober living environment with other people who have also recently recovered, so they can continue to support each other in their goals.

Inpatient Alcohol Addiction Treatment

Inpatient alcohol addiction treatment is highly structured and allows for people to stay and live onsite with other people who are also undergoing addiction treatment.

Detoxification Programs

Most alcohol addiction treatment centers require you to be a certain level of sober to begin treatment. Detoxing from alcohol can take up to two weeks for people who were previously heavy drinkers.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), alcohol detox happens in three stages:

  • Evaluation — This stage involves a thorough physical and psychological evaluation that includes blood testing to determine the level of alcohol addiction present.
  • Stabilization — This stage involves the treatment and monitoring of the person as they progress through withdrawal symptoms and cravings into a fully sober state.
  • Entry into treatment — Once the person is stabilized and sober, they will begin either an inpatient or outpatient treatment program to continue the recovery process.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Medication-assisted treatment for alcohol abuse allows for treating addiction with both therapy and the assistance of approved medications for additional support. These medications can help with the worst of the alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

Medications approved for the treatment of alcohol addiction include:

  • benzodiazepines
  • phenobarbital
  • antipsychotics
  • anticonvulsants
  • naltrexone (Vivitrol)

Some of these medications can be addictive, so it is important to only use them under the direction and supervision of your treatment provider.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

You may need a dual diagnosis program if you have co-occurring disorders, or a drinking problem alongside another substance use disorder or a mental health disorder.

Dual diagnoses require comprehensive treatment plans that address both the alcohol use disorder and the co-occurring substance abuse or mental health issue at the same time.

Treatment plans for a dual diagnosis may include behavioral therapy, detox, counseling, medication-assisted treatment, and others.

Find out more about dual diagnosis programs.

Group Therapy

While you will still have access to individual therapy while in residential treatment, you will find that much of the counseling is done in groups.

Some group sessions may be structured with a theme for discussion, while others will remain open in topic.

People in addiction recovery tend to find group therapy very beneficial, as it helps to create a sense of community and companionship and allows people with addiction to relate to each other through shared experiences.

12-Step Programs

12-Step Programs are a form of outpatient treatment as well, but most inpatient rehab centers will give you a good taste for the 12-step treatment style, too. The 12-step program for alcohol addiction is called Alcoholics Anonymous, or AA for short.

Things you can expect in a 12-step program include:

  • a step-by-step, guided path for recovery that often includes written materials and booklets
  • a spiritual component to recovery that you can choose to follow or not follow
  • structured/themed meetings with speakers and discussions that allow everyone to participate
  • a sponsor/mentor relationship with another person in recovery, typically with someone who is at a more advanced stage in the recovery process

Find out more about 12-step programs.

Alcohol Abuse Treatment For Teens

Alcohol addiction is sadly not something that only affects adults, but can also affect teens and adolescents as well.

Drinking alcohol, and developing an addiction as a result can be an especially complicated situation for a youth who is also trying to navigate through school at the same time.

Getting treatment for a teen with alcohol addiction can be incredibly important, as teens are especially likely to be facing co-occuring mental health disorders at the same time.

Teens also tend to be more peer-motivated than adults, and group therapy and peer support groups have proven to be very beneficial to young people with addiction.

Online Alcohol Addiction Counseling

With expanding technology and a growing need for online and telehealth medical services, it is now possible to find online programs for alcohol addiction counseling.

These types of programs can be beneficial to people who do not live near an alcohol rehab center or who need access to counseling on a flexible basis.

Online alcohol abuse counseling is also a great option for people who do not have access to reliable transportation.

However, online alcohol addiction counseling is not for everyone and is not recommended for people with severe alcoholism.

Find Addiction Treatment At Bedrock Recovery Center

Whether you are looking for outpatient treatment or inpatient treatment, Bedrock Recovery Center has alcohol rehab programs that can help you find lasting recovery.

Help for yourself or a loved one is just a phone call away. Please do not hesitate to reach out to our treatment specialists today to learn more about our accredited rehab center.

  1. National Institute on Drug Abuse — Treatment and Recovery
  2. National Institute on Drug Abuse — Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction
  3. National Institute on Drug Abuse — What is drug addiction treatment?

Written by Bedrock Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2023 Bedrock Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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