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Treatments for alcohol addiction

Personalized treatment is best…but what can you expect?

The treatment of alcohol addiction is a multi-faceted process that involves:

…usually through a residential programme followed up with ongoing outpatient therapy, depending on what is best suited to the patient at the time of their referral. Personalised programmes, tailored to individuals, are the best way to ensure a person gets the right kind of help. Just as all people are different, symptoms and how they manifest differ from patient-to-patient too.

But, what is alcohol addiction treatment like? What can you expect during your alcoholism treatment process? Continue reading, as we answer these and many other questions in this article. In the end, we invite you to post your questions in the comments section and we will try to answer all legitimate inquiries as soon as possible.

Alcohol treatment initiation and assessment

When considering treatment for a drinking problem, a person can self-refer or be referred by their GP and receive a free addiction assessment with one of our experienced addiction therapists. These initial assessments are an important opportunity to discuss the treatment options available.

Leading Addictions Consultant Dr. Niall Campbell of Priory Hospital Roehampton says by, ‘Taking history, looking at the background and making a diagnosis’ we can identify with the patient what will prove the most effective treatment for them, reflecting both their medical and therapeutic needs. Priory’s registered hospitals allow the patient to benefit from specialist clinical expertise alongside traditional talking therapies.

Alcoholism treatment options

There are three main options in which addiction therapy can be carried out, with varying intensities. These are:

  • OPTION 1: Residential Rehabilitation – Provides safe and personal inpatient therapy with a 24 hour support team. Input comes from a range of experts, and is regarded as the most effective way to recover from alcohol addiction, away from a pressured or risky environment. It’s extremely difficult to give up alcohol without a residential support programme.
  • OPTION 2: Day Therapy – Where a patient continues to identify triggers and can work around their personal schedule. This is a step-down from residential rehab, but a step-up from outpatient therapy.
  • OPTION 3: Outpatient Therapy – offers even greater flexibility, with consultant and therapist assessment and treatment plan.

The aim is to help identify the patient’s triggers for alcohol addiction and talk about all the issues surrounding their alcohol abuse, including the impact on people around them.

Recovery is designed to help rebuild the patient’s self-esteem, strength, confidence and knowledge, meaning they can then come out of their recovery journey alcohol-free with a sense of wellbeing and a commitment to remain abstinent. In accepting residential rehabilitation, there’s an opportunity to meet other patients who are experiencing the same issues. Through group therapy sessions patients get to know each other and create a sense of camaraderie. Often, people make friends for life, and this is borne of their successful recovery from alcoholism.

Alcohol treatment stages

In terms of what a person can expect from treatment, the methods as broadly termed are as follows:

  • Detoxification – In order to combat the withdrawal symptoms a patient may exhibit, they need to detox. This can involve replacement drugs to ease these symptoms which can usually be reduced after seven (7) days. Dealing with the physical symptoms of alcohol addiction first allows the psychological recovery to begin
  • Abstinence – This is a structured treatment program, much like Alcoholics Anonymous, which advocates not just reducing the amount a person drinks, but stopping altogether.
  • Rehabilitation – From self-help groups to a stay in a rehab facility, the therapy focuses on finding out why you drink, developing alternatives to and finding fulfillment outside of drinking. The rehabilitation process covers all bases to ensure a physical and psychological recovery, with the aid of therapists in one-to-one and group therapy sessions, as well as family therapy and ongoing support sessions upon completion of the treatment programme.

There are also many different therapy types utilized during the recovery process, relevant to each individual. These therapies include; a range of talking therapies such as:

… and many others.

By providing an extensive range of specialised treatment packages it is possible to prepare for the wide-ranging needs of successful treatment of alcohol addicts. As of the old adage:

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.

The treatments for alcohol addiction are extensive because of the focus on the individual. Treatment should always be carried out in a supportive, safe environment with the input and expertise of professionals. With the appropriate care and treatment an alcoholic can navigate their journey of recovery in the safest and most effective way to maximise positive outcomes.

Methods and related mental health issues

Approaching the treatment of alcohol addiction involves working with patients on an individual basis to ensure positive outcomes from their treatment. It is not always just the alcohol addiction that requires treating. Alcohol addiction can derive from or lead to other related mental health problems, such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Eating disorders
  • Post traumatic stress disorder

Priory has experienced specialists on site who can also help to treat these related conditions. Dr Campbell adds ‘Looking at the reasons behind the drinking, the emotions, the things that triggered it,’ are crucial to aid understanding and minimize the chances of relapse.

If you’d like to learn more about Priory’s addiction services, please visit our addiction pages.

Alcoholism treatment questions

If you still have questions about alcohol addiction treatment, we urge you to leave them in the comments section below. We strive to help our readers during every step of their journey and will try to answer your questions personally and promptly.

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10 Responses to “Treatments for alcohol addiction
5:39 pm June 14th, 2016

I am from a family of alcoholics, my father was probably the worst out of his 3 brothers, He beat his addiction. went to rehab 5 times , the first experience was the most positive he stayed sober for 5 years but when he was diagnosed with cancer started drinking again. He was also diagnosed with bipolar disorder. My question is I have been drinking for 40 years I am 57 I have always kept a job and functioned . Lately my drinking is getting worse , I do not drink every day but I binge on weekends , the anxiety lasts for days in between weekends and the melancholies as well. Is there a possibility I am bipolar manic also like my father, I seem to reach highs and lows but I have never thought of suicide and neither did my father. Is rehab an option for someone like who does not drink everyday but binges hard on weekends?
Thank you

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
1:39 pm June 29th, 2016

Hi Dann. If you are concerned about being bipolar, I suggest you consult a doctor and make some medical examinations.

5:06 pm June 25th, 2016

It is so important, as you mentioned, to recognize that each individual requires a personalized plan for recovery because each person who struggles with alcoholism brings a unique personality and set of circumstances with them into their treatment. There is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Every good treatment center will recognize this fact.

1:01 am July 22nd, 2016

I am UK based and my question is do recovery companions or sober buddies work ?
has anyone had any experience good ro bad ?
I have found a UK site – they charge money to have someone shadow you for a period of time. Is this useful ? Is it worth the money ?
And what happens when my money runs out – will I be better equipped or in danger again ?

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
3:10 pm July 28th, 2016

Hi Kevin. I did some research and I think that these don’t charge money:

– Alcoholic Anonymous-
– SMART Recovery-
– LifeRing Canada-
– Sunshine Coast Healthcare Centre-

7:55 am August 2nd, 2016

Hi. Is it best to not leave a person on their own? We live a good distance apart, but I think his daily solo routine doesn’t help. He’s functions well, work does not suffer at all, but has a minimum of 6 beers a day…every day. He’s pretty much solo other than when we see each other weekly on days off.

1:04 pm September 24th, 2016

Nice Blog! This blog helps us for how we get Treatments for alcohol addiction.There is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Every good treatment center will recognize this fact.

4:40 pm October 17th, 2016

Sir/Ma’am: I just started taking Antabuse after not drinking for 36 hours. I was clean and dry for 9 years but picked up again. How long are we looking at me taking this?

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
3:28 pm October 28th, 2016

Hi John. It all depends from you… if you need alcohol treatment option, call the number you see on the website to speak with a trusted treatment consultant.

5:38 am February 26th, 2017

Getting the help you need for alcohol addiction is critically important. It’s so beneficial that there are so many different treatment options available.

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About Priory Group

Priory is the leading provider of behavioural care in the UK including mental healthcare, education and children’s services, adult care and older people’s care. As the UK’s leading independent provider of addiction treatment services, Priory provides professional, specialist treatment programmes for a wide range of addictive substances and behaviours.