The goal of Alcohol Treatment for alcoholism, alcohol dependence and/or alcohol addiction is total abstinence. Among alcoholics with otherwise good health, social support, and motivation, the likelihood of recovery is good.
Approximately 50% to 60% remain abstinent at the end of a year’s treatment and a majority of those stay sober permanently. Those with poor social support, poor motivation, or psychiatric disorders tend to relapse within a few years of treatment. For these people, success is measured by longer periods of abstinence, reduced use of alcohol, better health, and improved social functioning.
Some of the most common alcohol abuse treatment options include 12 step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).
These programs provide a faith based approach to the treatment of alcohol addiction that follows the guided principles that have been set forth in 12 easy to follow steps.
In addition to 12 step programs there are also many other alcohol abuse support groups and non-12 step programs that provide a range of alcohol abuse treatment options for individuals and the families or loved ones who have an alcohol abuse problem.
Alcohol Treatment can begin only when the alcoholic accepts that the problem exists and agrees to stop drinking. Typically treatment has three stages:
• Detoxification (detox): This may be needed immediately after discontinuing alcohol use and can be a medical emergency as detox can result in withdrawal seizures, hallucinations, and confusion of delirium tremens (DT) and in some cases can result in death.
• Rehabilitation: This involves counselling and medications to give the recovering alcoholic the skills needed for maintaining sobriety. This step in treatment can be done inpatient or outpatient. Both are equally effective.
• Maintenance of Sobriety: This step’s success requires an alcoholic to be self-driven. The key to maintenance is support, which often includes regular Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings and getting a sponsor.
The first two stages in this process are most effective if undertaken in an in-patient / residential treatment setting.