For a long time, conventional thought held that the ability to overcome a dependence on alcohol was an issue of self-control. This is one of the reasons those struggling with drinking problems were judged so harshly by society. However, research has shown that because of the physiological factors involved in alcohol addiction, as well as the genetic, environmental and social factors that may contribute to this issue, comprehensive treatment is essential. The idea that sobriety — or the lack thereof — is somehow a moral failing has given way to enhanced understanding of the brain chemistry that occurs with heavy drinking. Moreover, alcohol use disorder typically goes hand in hand with treating mental disorders as well.
In other words, it’s now clear that traditional approaches to alcoholism rehab haven’t worked for a very good reason. Modern treatment protocols focus on whole-person centered treatment, which has had much better success rates.
Signs of Alcohol Use Disorder
It helps to know the signs of an alcohol problem when choosing the right addiction treatment. Signs of alcohol use disorder include:
A desire to stop drinking without the ability to do so
Times when you may have drunk more or for longer than you intended
Engaging in risky or unsafe activities because of drinking
Drinking that interferes with your ability to enjoy other areas of your life
Cravings that make you want to consume alcohol
Spending a lot of time drinking or dealing with the aftereffects of alcohol use
Continuing to drink even though it negatively affects your relationships with family and friends
Giving up activities or enjoyable hobbies to continue drinking
Typically, a mild case of alcohol use disorder consists of two of these behaviors, with more extensive cases incorporating more and more of them. Once you’re displaying at least six of the most common symptoms of alcohol use disorder, it’s time to start alcohol rehab.
Most Effective Treatments for Alcohol Dependence
One of the biggest challenges many people have is finding the most effective treatments for alcohol dependence in Florida specific to their needs. After all, each treatment center and set of protocols is different, and you’ll likely find the most success by choosing one that aligns with your level of disease, your goals and your values. Evidence-based treatments — proven approaches backed by research — are best when it comes to dealing with alcohol use disorder.
Relapse is common among people dealing with alcohol use disorder. As such, those entering treatment are often fearful they won’t be able to overcome the rigors of relapsing. The right alcohol rehab center can help by giving you the necessary tools at the outset of treatment. Moreover, it will help prepare you to deal with potential pitfalls and remain encouraged even if you end up taking steps back in the process. Recovery is not linear, which is one of the first things you’ll learn when you begin down the path to wellness. It’s a curving path that winds in different ways for everyone, so it’s important to adjust your expectations accordingly
Behavioral treatments are aimed at helping you address your alcohol addiction through counseling (also known as talk therapy). This form of treatment is the hallmark of both inpatient and outpatient treatment protocols. These sessions help you to get to the root of your behavior, determining what other therapies might be necessary to help you stop drinking. They’re typically led by professional therapists and sometimes by those who’ve gone through addiction treatment themselves and come through the process successfully. Working with people who’ve been there can help those struggling to navigate recovery see that wellness is possible. Research has shown that behavioral interventions are highly effective methods of treating alcohol use disorder.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy is the most common form of behavioral intervention used for alcohol counseling. It can take place in a small group setting or in one-on-one sessions with a licensed therapist or counselor. The desire to drink alcohol, despite the presence of alcohol withdrawal symptoms, may still be present even after the detox process. Cognitive behavioral therapy helps you figure out why you may still have a strong desire to drink and what coping mechanisms to use to avoid relapse. This form of therapy will also help you determine why you began consuming alcohol in the first place and what might make you continue to want to drink. Even if genetics or family history is to blame, cognitive behavioral therapy can help you overcome some of the internal cues you may not have even realized you were struggling with in terms of alcoholism. The idea behind this behavioral strategy is to change the thoughts that contributed to your drinking in the first place so you’re less susceptible to relapsing after treatment.
Motivational Enhancement Therapy
This is a short-term form of therapy geared toward giving you the necessary motivation to change your behavior. If you have the desire to drink, this form of therapy helps you focus instead on making plans for a future without drinking. This form of therapy includes a great deal of skill building and is a good place to start for those who may not be ready to dig into some of the demons causing their alcohol use disorder. By looking forward to what you can accomplish once you stop drinking, you might be able to find something that inspires you to keep going, even on those days when it seems hard.
Family counseling is a multifaceted process. To start, it allows you to deal with any family issues that may have contributed to the development of your alcohol use disorder. If there are underlying issues that cause you stress, from childhood to now, you can address them with your family members directly in family counseling. This also includes marriage counseling. The other component of family counseling is the ability to work together to heal some of the wounds caused by your drinking. Family therapy is a good time for your family members to discuss what those hurts did to them and work under the guidance of a counselor to figure out how you can all heal and move forward together.
Alcohol Rehab Medications
One of the common approaches to treating alcohol dependence is the use of alcohol treatment medications. These medications have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration and can help mitigate some of the common withdrawal symptoms. These include:
- Naltrexone: This medication is geared towards helping you to reduce any heavy drinking behaviors that might exacerbate your alcohol use disorder.
- Disulfiram: This is a powerful medication that makes it harder for the body to break down alcohol, causing an unpleasant feeling if you drink. This particular medication is used to help people avoid drinking entirely.
- Acamprosate: This medication makes it a bit easier to maintain abstinence from drinking alcohol once you’ve completed treatment and returned to your regular environment.
One of the important things to remember about using medications for this purpose is that they don’t necessarily work the same for everyone. Treating alcohol dependence is not an exact science, so medications that work for someone else may not affect you the same way. Moreover, some people may have side effects that make it harder for them to tolerate the use of medication to stop drinking. This is one reason it’s important to get help for alcoholism from professionals who understand the complexities of using medications in treatment and how to layer medication with other behavioral therapies to avoid a relapse.
Another common concern is that taking medication to deal with alcohol use disorder may simply be trading one addiction for another. However, the medications created for treating alcoholism are purposely structured to be nonaddictive and are similar to medications that treat chronic disease, such as a blood pressure medication.
Support groups are common components in treating alcoholism, as the peer support system has been proven to work well in this environment. The most well-known of these groups is Alcoholics Anonymous, which has meetings every day around the world. There are other mutual support groups that add an important layer of support to treatment, especially for those using outpatient services.
While behavioral counseling and alcohol treatment medications are effective, sometimes there’s no substitute for the support of your peers. Support groups allow you to share strategies on sobriety, get advice on stressors and lean on those who’ve been down a similar path. Environments where it’s possible to talk through some of the more challenging moments of sobriety are helpful for those learning to live without drinking as well. Finally, some groups encourage attendees to work together, as depending on one another to help maintain sobriety can be an important tool in recovery.
The Future of Alcohol Abuse Treatment
Future alcohol rehab is likely to center on finding the underlying causes of alcohol use disorder in the brain. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has begun working on identifying cellular structures that might help develop new medications to treat alcohol use disorder. A personalized approach to using medications to treat alcohol use disorder is more likely to help those who need it most.
Choosing Alcohol Abuse Treatment
Choosing alcohol use disorder treatment requires careful consideration. The right alcohol rehab center make a huge difference in your possible outcome.
Inpatient or Outpatient Treatment?
One of the first decisions you may need to make in dealing with your alcohol addiction is whether you need inpatient or outpatient treatment. The former is more intensive, while the latter allows you to continue living and working in your environment as you receive help with your alcohol use disorder. Sometimes this decision comes down to a matter of cost, though your insurance company may pick up the tab for either. Those in an unhealthy environment where substance abuse is prevalent might benefit from inpatient treatment, while those who have support for recovery may do well with outpatient services. The most important part is that you get treatment at all.
Another important aspect of getting treatment for an alcohol addiction is mental health services in the form of co-occurring treatment. Mental health disorders are common causes of alcohol addiction. Treating mental illness is key to dealing with the desire to drink in many instances. Therefore, when choosing treatment, ask about the role of mental health treatment in your recovery.
Another question to consider when choosing substance abuse treatment is the expectations your chosen alcohol treatment center may have of you as a patient. This is a good way to choose the option that best suits your needs. You know what you hope to gain from addiction treatment and what kind of approach you might best respond to.
When seeking professional help in dealing with everything from withdrawal symptoms to behavioral challenges, it’s imperative you feel respected, heard and understood. Take the time to find the program that will work best for you to avoid relapse due to a bad fit.
Inpatient Alcohol Rehab in Florida
Behavioral Health Centers is a top-tier treatment center located in Port St. Lucie, Florida. We specialize in alcoholism treatment for those dealing with all stages of alcohol use disorder, from mild to severe. We employ licensed staff members who’ve mastered cutting-edge techniques and the latest in mental health services administration to help with substance abuse issues of all types. This includes detoxification and treatment for drug abuse, alcohol use disorder and illicit substance abuse. We’ll not only help you uncover the root cause of your addiction but also help you manage the stress that may be contributing to your alcohol use disorder. Call 772-774-3872 today to find out how our Florida addiction treatment center can help you regain control of your life.