Addiction treatment professionals approach alcoholism in mostly the same way they would try to treat any other form of chemical dependency. However, there are a few techniques and approaches that are unique to the alcohol abuse treatment process.
Concentrated up-front treatment as well as long-term support to prevent relapse are two essential factors to an effective treatment program for alcohol abuse. Intervention services may also be necessary to help the individual see the need for, and commit to, entering rehab
What Should an Effective Alcohol Abuse Treatment Plan Include?
For alcoholism, we’ve identified 12 features a professional treatment plan should include. The presence of these features provides for the highest chances of successful recovery from alcohol abuse. Best practices for alcohol abuse treatment include:
1. Individual Commitment to Treatment
Although someone who is physically dependent on alcohol cannot simply choose to stop drinking, he or she can choose to seek out help. In fact, this commitment is critical: No one can force a person to change if the individual has yet to decide whether he or she is ready to commit to the change.
2. Professional Evaluation and an Personalized Plan
Each person turns to alcohol for their own reasons. Creating a treatment plan that is customized to the needs of the individual provides the best opportunity for long-term recovery.
At the start of a treatment program, a professional evaluation usually begins with a mental health assessment, medical history review and possibly a physical health examination. The staff should then work with the new client to create an alcohol treatment plan tailored to his or her needs.
This should include a plan for treating underlying issues such as depression, trauma or PTSD. The treatment plan should also accommodate for underlying physical issues, such as alcohol-induced heart and cardiovascular problems or severe damage to the liver.
3. Medically-Supervised Detox
The Detox Treatment at Reflections Recovery Center involves ridding the body of the harmful substance(s). This is the first step in getting the body back to normal functioning
Detox should be done under medical supervision. This is because, in many cases, the detoxification process can be dangerous if not done correctly–especially when alcohol is the substance being treated.
Additionally, medically-supervised alcohol detox treatment has two distinct advantages: 1) it prevents the probability of you experiencing dangerous symptoms of alcohol withdrawal (such as seizures or heart attack), and 2) it can lessen the severity of the post-acute withdrawal symptoms you may have in the first six months after detox.
4. Holistic Approach
Since mental, emotional and physical well-being all influence one another, a comprehensive treatment program will seek to heal the whole person–not just cure the physical ailments. Relapse is less likely to occur if the source of alcohol abuse is addressed and the person is taught new skills to build a stable life without the need for substances.
5. Emotional Healing
Individual and group therapy sessions led by professional counselors help recovering alcohol abusers address the emotional and psychological factors that led them to drink in the first place. These sessions can also help them heal from events that resulted from the addiction. This trauma-informed approach to substance abuse therapy can help an individual through the process of understanding what catalyzed their addiction and provide coping mechanisms to prevent relapse.
6. Healthy Physical Habits
In addition to emotional healing, establishing life-long, healthy habits helps a recovering alcohol user build strength and confidence. Balanced nutrition and health-promoting physical activity such as walking, hiking, sports, yoga, etc. are some of the best ways for a recoveree to both engage their body and connect with others. Alcohol is a poison that throws off the physical and nutritional balance in the body, and restoring this balance through nutritional therapy – coupled with creating a healthy exercise routine – will decrease the symptoms felt in early alcohol recovery.
7. Peer Support
Evidence suggests that a peer-supported community program can have a significant positive impact on recovery. The most effective rehabilitation programs will involve some level of interaction between those going through recovery together – usually in the form of discussion groups, social activities, group therapy, 12-step meetings, etc.
8. Groundedness and/or Spirituality
Addiction often stems from–and leads to–feelings of helplessness, insecurity and loss of control. Getting in touch with something that feels solid, reliable and imparts a sense of purpose is an essential piece of the foundation for a healthy life free from addiction.
Some people find this base through religious or spiritual practices, while others learn to mentally tap into an inner core of strength that they can rely on in any circumstance.
9. Education and Training
Clients often come into rehab with gaps in their knowledge about how to address the issues that led to addiction. Small-group educational sessions that offer time for questions and discussion give clients knowledge and skills they need to build the kind of life they want for themselves post-treatment.
10. Family Support and Healing
Addiction is especially taxing on relationships with loved ones. A worthwhile rehab program will support clients in mending relationships, and may even have education, support and therapy sessions for family members.
11. Legal and Professional Assistance
The kind of problems that come with alcoholism often lead to legal ramifications. To help clients stay focused on their treatment, the top rehab centers should help facilitate communication with legal representatives while clients are in residential treatment.
12. Long-Term Support
Because relapse into alcohol use is common, a robust aftercare support program is an important part of any long-term recovery program. Aftercare should include services such as ongoing counseling, support group and specialist referrals, access to alumni activities, and possibly even assistance with finding employment.
Alcohol treatment aftercare services should not only be proactive in helping the individual return to a life of sobriety, but should offer a clear addiction relapse prevention plan.
Where to Turn for Alcohol Abuse Solutions
With sound treatment and long-term support, there is hope for overcoming alcohol addiction. For anyone whose life has been impacted by alcoholism, the key to hope is reaching out to get professional help. No one should have to struggle with addiction alone. Contact us to find out about some of the tried-and-true practices Reflections uses to help you make recovery a real possibility.