Alcohol Abuse Treatment


Resembling other medical conditions, alcohol abuse can be overcome with professional treatment, increased research efforts, more relevant educational programs, and prevention.

The good news, however, is this: as harmful as alcohol abuse is, fortunately it can be treated.

Alcohol abuse treatment commonly includes a mixture of doctor prescribed drugs, support, education, and counseling to help an individual either quit or significantly reduce his or her drinking.


Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

Many individuals think that alcohol abuse and alcoholism are the same. This is incorrect.

Alcohol abuse, unlike alcoholism, does not include an extremely strong craving for alcohol, physical dependence, or the loss of control due to drinking.

Alcohol abuse is defined as a pattern of drinking that results in one or more of the following circumstances in a twelve-month time frame:

  • Continued drinking in spite of ongoing relationship problems that are the result of drinking.

  • Experiencing recurring alcohol-related legal problems. Examples include getting arrested for damaging someone's property, driving under the influence of alcohol, or for physically hurting someone while drunk.

  • Failure to attend to important responsibilities at home, work, or school.

  • Drinking in situations that can result in physical injury. Examples include operating machinery or driving a vehicle.

Alcohol Abuse Treatment: A General Overview

Similar to other health problems, alcohol abuse can be overcome with increased research attempts, prevention, and proper alcohol treatment.

By providing more individuals with access to quality alcoholic treatment, the costly load on society and the physical, psychological, and financial burdens that alcohol abuse places on families can be drastically minimized.

Indeed, research studies present clear-cut evidence that effectual alcohol abuse and alcoholism treatment methods and prevention efforts lead to considerable reductions in child abuse, traffic fatalities, and crime.

Similarly, proficient treatment for alcoholism and alcohol abuse improves a person's quality of life, health, and job performance while at the same time minimizing drug abuse, family dysfunction, and involvement with the criminal justice system.

As menacing as alcohol abuse is, fortunately it can be treated. Treatment for alcohol abuse generally entails a blending of counseling and medical practitioner prescribed medications to help an individual refrain from or substantially reduce his or her alcoholic drinking.

Even though many people who abuse alcohol need help to recover from their sickness, scientific inquiry has established that with support and skillful treatment for alcohol abuse, numerous individuals are able to either refrain from or control their drinking and recapture their lives.

Alcohol Abuse Treatment: Traditional Approaches

There are a multiplicity of historical alcohol abuse treatment approaches that are considered "mainstream" therapies.

The following alcohol abuse treatment methods and therapies will be gone over: Outpatient alcohol Treatment and Counseling, Behavioral Treatment, Therapeutic Medications, Residential Alcohol Treatment methods and Inpatient Alcohol Rehab, and Family and Marital Counseling.

Outpatient alcohol dependency Treatment and Counseling. There are considerable approaches to counseling that reeducate people who abuse alcohol in ways to become mindful of the circumstantial and emotional "hot buttons" that trigger their drinking.

Armed with this information, people can accordingly learn about contrasting ways in which they can cope with circumstances that do not necessitate the drinking of alcohol.

Not surprisingly, therapies like these are frequently offered on an outpatient basis.

Behavioral Treatments. Behavioral treatments like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Motivation Enhancement Therapy, and Alcoholics Anonymous generally focus on helping the person change his or her drinking behavior.

It is interesting to note that according to a study administered by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), each of these three behavioral treatment therapies drastically reduced drinking in clients the year after treatment.

Even though all three of these approaches were considered "successful," none of them, though, could be categorized by the NIAAA as "the most effective" treatment for alcohol abuse.

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Alcoholics Anonymous is a mutual support program for recovering alcoholics and alcohol abusers that is rooted on the 12-steps of recovery that are requisite in order to stay sober.

Assistance and support are provided by the meetings that convene on a regular basis.

Is Alcoholics Anonymous the most productive approach for the treatment of alcoholism or alcohol abuse?

While Alcoholics Anonymous has proven to be an effective alcoholism and alcohol abuse treatment methodology, numerous practitioners outside of Alcoholics Anonymous, as well as many people within Alcoholics Anonymous, find that Alcoholics Anonymous works most effectively when integrated with other kinds of therapy, such as psychotherapy and medical care.

Motivation Enhancement Therapy (MET). MET is a systematic therapeutic tactic that is almost the total antithesis of Alcoholics Anonymous in that it uses motivational strategies to activate the client's own change mechanisms. Some of the key qualities of MET are the following:

  • Therapist empathy

  • Providing the client with a range of unconventional change options

  • Emphasis on taking individual responsibility for useful change

  • Receiving incontrovertible advice to make healthy changes

  • Helping the client achieve self-efficacy or a sense of optimism

  • Providing feedback on the subject of the individual risks or damage related to the abuse


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). There are many forms of cognitive behavior therapy. Most of them, despite this variety, have the following commonalties:

  • CBT approaches are established on the cognitive model of emotional response. To be precise, if people change the way they think, they can act and feel better, even if the circumstances do not change.

  • In CBT, a solid therapeutic relationship is necessary but not the primary focal point for helpful therapy.

  • CBT theory and techniques rely on the Inductive Method. This method has clients look at their thoughts as hypotheses (or suggested explanations) that can be tested and questioned. If clients discover that their hypotheses are off-base, they can then change their thoughts and feelings to be more in line with reality.

  • Homework is a central feature of CBT.

  • CBT is a mutually shared attempt between the therapist and the client.

  • CBT uses the Socratic Method To be precise centered on the asking of questions for insight.

  • CBT is structured and directive.

  • CBT usually has therapeutic sessions that are briefer and fewer in variety than most other modes of therapy.

  • CBT is centered on stoic philosophy. CBT does not tell patients how they should encounter. More accurately, this style of therapy focuses on helping patients learn how to think more logically and effectually.

  • CBT is centered on an educational model that views most emotions and behavioral reactions as learned responses. Thus, the therapeutic goal in to Assistance the client unlearn undesirable reactions and emotions and supplant them with new and more productive ways of experiencing and reacting.

Therapeutic Medications. In this treatment approach, the individual takes doctor-prescribed medications such as disulfiram (Antabuse) or naltrexone (ReViaT) in an attempt to help prevent the person from returning to drinking after he or she has ingested alcohol.

With this approach, doctors prescribe medications (drugs) to treat alcohol problems.

For example, antabuse is a drug given to alcoholics that brings out negative effects such as vomiting, dizziness, nausea, or flushing if alcohol is ingested. It is quite clear that antabuse is effective basically because it is a persuasive deterrent.

Naltrexone (ReViaT), to the contrary, effects the brain's reward circuits and is successful because it reduces the craving the individual has for alcohol.

Residential Alcohol Treatment methodologies and Inpatient Alcohol Rehab. If a individual needs alcohol poisoning treatment, if the person experiences withdrawal symptoms and these symptoms are severe, if outpatient approaches or support-oriented methodologies such as Alcoholics Anonymous have proven to be ineffective, or if there's a need for drug AND alcohol abuse treatment, the person typically has to enroll into a hospital or a residential alcohol treatment facility and receive inpatient alcohol rehab treatment.

Methodologies such as these are targeted for problem drinkers who need inpatient status and often entail doctor-prescribed medications to help the person get through detoxification, if necessary, and through the withdrawal treatment process in a safe and sound manner if the person exhibits alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

Family and Marital Counseling. Due to the fact that the recovery protocol is so intimately tied to the support the client receives from his or her family, a variety of alcohol abuse methodologies include family therapy and marital counseling as key characteristics in the treatment procedure.

Such therapeutic methodologies, what's more, also provide the person with essential community resources, such as legal assistance, parenting classes, job training, childcare courses, and financial management classes.

It can be noted that a variety of family-oriented interventions have been utilized to help prevent alcohol abuse.

These interventions include the following: family therapy, in-home family crisis services, family preservation programs, family education programs, family services, and family skills training programs.

Alcohol Abuse Treatment: Nontraditional Therapies

Although the research findings are not definitive, there is a multiplicity of nontraditional treatment methods for alcohol abuse and alcohol dependency that are becoming more conventional, available, and more researched.

Illustrations include the following therapies that have been proposed as "natural" kinds of alcohol abuse treatment: various vitamin and supplement therapies, "Drumming out Drugs" (a kind of therapy that employs the use of drumming by clients), and the naturalistic and holistic therapeutic methodologies used by Traditional Chinese Medicine.

As promising as these unconventional methodologies are, more research, however, is essential to establish their effectiveness and to determine if these methods of treatment for alcohol abuse offer long-standing success.

Teen Alcohol Abuse

Learning about alcohol abuse treatment is especially important concerning teenagers.

More particularly, if a teenager or a parent of a teenager can read about and understand some of the facts and statistics about teenage alcohol abuse and teen alcoholism, they might be able to forestall the destroying consequences that are associated with teenage alcohol abuse and teen alcohol dependency in the workplace, school, or in higher education.

More exposure to relevant information also means that our youth may be able to avoid adolescent alcohol abuse treatment entirely.

Conclusion: Alcohol Abuse Treatment

Even though alcohol abuse is not the same as alcohol dependency, alcohol abuse is a serious issue in the United States. In fact, approximately 14 million Americans currently abuse alcohol or are alcoholic.

Not only this, but several million more American adults engage in risky drinking patterns that could lead to alcoholism or to alcohol abuse.

Based on the significance of this condition, there are multiple alcohol abuse therapeutic methodologies and approaches that help those who abuse alcohol either significantly reduce the frequency and amount that they drink or help them refrain from their alcoholic drinking behavior.

Not surprisingly, there is a lot of alcohol abuse treatment information that is available offline and on the Internet.


Due to the importance of alcohol abuse, some people are sure to ask the following question: "What is the most effective type of alcohol abuse treatment"?

Although there are many effective alcohol abuse treatment approaches, people who abuse alcohol have to first realize that they have a drinking problem before they can get the help they need.

Once engaged in treatment, moreover, individuals with a drinking problem need to "buy into" and follow through with the treatment plan if they are to overcome their drinking difficulties.