Alcohol Treatment – According to recent data, more than 16 million adults have an addiction to alcohol. Alcohol use is the 4th leading preventable cause of death in the U.S. and is responsible for the deaths of around 88,000 people per year. Indeed, more than 40% of all substance abuse treatment admissions in the U.S. are related to alcoholism.
The sad truth, however, is that very few people who need treatment ever receive it, and this problem is not due to a lack of treatment centers or available beds. In fact, alcohol abuse treatment options are more accessible to the general public than ever before. Unlike just a few decades ago, there are now thousands of programs that address a variety of addictions and treatment facilities that cater to many demographics.
The reasons why people do not seek or receive treatment vary, but often include one or more of the following:
1. Affordability – People without insurance, inadequate insurance, or with high deductibles are likely unable to afford care. Furthermore, many alcoholics still hold down jobs and cannot take time off of work.
2. Motivation – Some people are simply not motivated to quit drinking.
3. Stigma – There is still a stigma associated with addiction, and coming forward and admitting that one needs help can result in a backlash from loved ones who contend that alcoholism is a problem of morals or willpower, and not related to mental illness or disease.
One of the most challenging hurdles to overcome is getting a person into a treatment program in the first place, and if treatment is not available at the exact time they decide to seek help, the opportunity for recovery may be lost indefinitely.
Principles for Effective Alcohol Treatment
No two alcohol abuse treatment centers are the same. Although most programs combine some form of therapy and education, and perhaps a detox program, the way in which they are conducted may be very different from one facility to the next.
Specialized treatment for alcohol use disorder can be performed in either an inpatient, partial-hospitalization, or outpatient format. Inpatient treatment lengths vary, but they typically last between one to three months and may have the potential to continue for longer if necessary.
Cost is an important concern with inpatient treatment because the cost of these programs are usually more than outpatient, and this is because they provide 24/7 supervision and a higher level of care. Treatment centers that customized their programs to patient needs and goals have the highest rates of success. Each patient is unique, and an individualized treatment plan should reflect these differences.
Effective alcohol treatment programs address a wide variety of physical, emotional, psychological, and social issues. People that solicit help for alcohol abuse tend to have many underlying problems that also need to be addressed. Without attention to all elements of a person’s life, the chance of long-lasting success diminishes significantly.
Alcohol treatment of any length has the potential to help a person achieve a recovery. According to research, however, patients that participate in treatment for more prolonged periods display higher success rates than those who receive shorter periods of treatment. To motivate patients to stay in treatment for an adequate amount of time, program facilitators must employ tools that engage and encourage patients to participate actively in the program.
Alcohol treatment facilities that do not include behavioral therapies and counseling services are unlikely to adequately provide patients with the tools and support they need to address the motivation behind their addiction, implement coping mechanisms, and develop problem-solving skills. These capacities become vitally important after patients complete treatment and wish to reestablish healthy and productive lives without the use of alcohol.
Many specialized addiction treatment centers, such as Recovery in Tune, combine behavioral therapies with other evidence-based services and medication. Pharmacotherapy may be even more essential for those with a drug or alcohol abuse problem and a co-occurring mental health condition. In most cases, the integration of several diverse treatments is needed to facilitate successful outcomes.
As with any chronic condition, the potential for relapse exists, especially during the initial rehab period. Alcohol treatment programs monitor their patients closely, allowing addiction professionals to identify what is or is not working effectively for a patient and adjust treatment if necessary.
Pharmacotherapy for Alcohol Treatment
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is a therapeutic approach increasingly incorporated into the management of alcoholism as well as other substance use disorders. To reduce cravings or withdrawal symptoms during detox, patients may be administered certain medications and be monitored by a health provider or trained addiction professional. Medications that are indicated for the treatment of alcohol abuse include the following:
- Acamprosate (Campral)
- Disulfiram (Antabuse)
- Naltrexone (ReVia, Vivitrol)
Getting Alcohol Abuse Treatment
Recovery in Tune is dedicated to helping clients by providing them with the tools and support they need to achieve abstinence and experience long-lasting sobriety and wellness. If you or someone you love has an alcohol use disorder, please contact us today to discuss treatment options and begin the journey to recovery!