The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that there are 22,073 reported alcohol-induced deaths (not including homicides and accidents) in the United States. It is clear that alcoholism is a societal and personal problem; one that can be treated by utilizing a variety of treatment methods.
Detoxification is an effective lead-in to the actual treatment process. It involves ridding the body of the alcohol it has become dependent on. Depending on the severity of abuse, it generally lasts for 1-5 days. Symptoms include irritability, nausea, vomiting, trembling hands, heart palpitations, high blood pressure and in extreme cases, hallucinations and seizures. If an alcoholic plans to undergo alcohol withdrawal, he should visit his physician who can prescribe him with a medication, such as benzodiazepines to increase his comfort level. Detoxification may include outpatient care, which requires the patient to check in with the medical facility at regulated intervals so they can monitor his progress. Depending on the severity of his symptoms and if he has underlying health issues, his physician may recommend inpatient care, where he would receive consistent monitoring and care at a treatment facility.
By fusing psychotherapy with vocational and social training, psychosocial therapy can help the alcoholic to overcome his addiction.
Brief Motivational Intervention encourages the patient to reduce her alcohol consumption, instead of practicing abstinence. She is required to undergo 1-4 10-60 minute sessions with a treatment provider, who teaches her the risks of excessive alcohol drinking. This program is more appropriate for alcohol abusers rather than those who are dependent on it.
Motivational Interviewing supports psychologist, Carl Rogers’ theories regarding people changing through self-actualization rather than being coerced into changing. Taking a passive approach, it allows the patient to make the decision to stop drinking on her own. The therapist assumes a quiet role, so the patient understands she is being listened to. She is encouraged to express statements regarding self-concern and learns how to realize her problem.
Behavioral couples therapy promotes abstinence, encourages the family to support the alcoholic’s decision to change, and fixes the break down in interactions resulting from alcohol abuse. This program is for married and cohabiting couples where one individual is alcohol dependent. Couples cannot participate in the program if their relationship is destructive to either of them or if physical violence is present.
The 12-Step program Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) gives the recovering alcohol a chance to connect with others in a similar situation. Alcoholics can partake in the program before receiving professional treatment, in addition to it, or after receiving it. However, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) states that a study confirmed that 12-Step programs are more effective when coupled with inpatient care and professional treatment.
Drinkers battling alcoholism with a sincere desire to quit should visit a physician who can recommend the appropriate drug and/or behavioral treatment. They can also contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services’ (SAMHSA) website to locate a treatment center near them; many of these treatment centers are publicly funded.
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