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Treatment of Alcohol Dependence

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For the individual who becomes hopelessly addicted to alcohol, suffering great physical and psychological stress and withdrawal symptoms when they stop drinking is just the beginning of a long and difficult journey to recovery—but there is hope! Treatment of alcohol dependence may take time, it definitely will take self-control and dedication and it will likely take a couple of instances of relapsing and picking up the pieces, but in the end, recovery is possible.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, many methods of treatment for alcohol dependence have been developed over the years to meet the very unique needs of patients who suffer from various levels of alcohol addiction including those cases of addiction that are relatively mild as well as the most severe instances of addiction in which the patient really feels like there’s no turning back. Medical care, psychiatric counseling, psychosocial therapy and behavioral therapy methods all come together to provide hope, support and most importantly help for those who suffer from alcohol dependence.

Medical Care

Alcoholism often requires medical monitoring and care to ensure the safety of the patient while in treatment. Most people who are heavily addicted to alcohol will require a hospital stay in order to safely detoxify and prepare for the subsequent phases of addiction treatment. Medical care may include simple patient monitoring to ensure safety from risks such as heart attack or stroke or it could include invasive measures such as intravenous medications and around-the-clock medical support.

Psychiatric Counseling

Once the patient safely overcome the physical battle with alcohol dependence, rehabilitation through psychiatric counseling will commence. The counseling will likely focus on situations that led to the alcoholism as well as the current situation and how changes can be made to prevent future relapse. Many methods of counseling may be used and the counseling could take place in an individual or group setting depending on the needs of the patient and various other factors.

Psychosocial Therapy

Psychosocial therapy is a means of teaching the patient how to reintegrate back into life and into society without the use of alcohol. Some of the more common means of psychosocial therapy focus on teaching patients how to listen and interact with others, how to form trusting relationships and how to gain back their social independence (this is often the first of many things to be given up when alcoholism becomes a factor in an individual’s life).

Behavioral Therapy

For some, the need to make major changes in behaviors is first and foremost on the list of things to do to get well. Behavioral therapy methods such as CBT and other behavioral treatments can be used to stop poor or eradicate behaviors from controlling an individual’s life and to teach them new, positive behaviors. Behavioral therapy takes time and a lot of effort on the part of both the patient and on the counselor or therapist but it tends to be a highly effective method of treatment for alcohol dependence.