Advances in Alcoholism Rehab
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) has reported that more the 700,000 people in America receive treatment for alcoholism each day. Over the past few decades, researchers have studied the success rates of various alcoholism rehab treatment methods. Using their findings, the NIAAA recognizes these traditional and newer forms of alcohol treatment as effective.
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT): This form of therapy is based on the belief that people can change their thinking by changing their behavior. The goal of CBT in alcoholism rehab is to help recovering alcoholics recognize the triggers for drinking and to develop healthy habits that don’t involve alcohol. The therapist works with the patient to overcome negative thought patterns and learn how to think and behave in more positive ways.
- Twelve-Step Self-Help: The most commonly attempted form of self-help alcoholism rehab is through peer-to-peer groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). These programs, often referred to as 12-step because they are base on 12 activities that support recovery, have been found to be most effective when combined with inpatient treatment. Researchers have also found that the benefits of AA are due in large part to the fellowship that AA members are encouraged to develop. AA members who replace former drinking companions with fellow recovered alcoholics are the most likely to be successful.
- Couples Therapy: Studies have found that when a nonalcoholic spouse participates in alcohol treatment, it increases the chances that a recovered alcoholic will make permanent lifestyle changes following treatment. With this form of therapy, the non-addicted member of the couple will learn how to provide support and reinforcement for his or her addicted partner.
- Brief Interventions: Those who are at risk of developing alcohol addiction due to heavy alcohol consumption can benefit from five or fewer counseling sessions in the context of a doctor’s office visit. This type of treatment has been shown to be successful among college students who are at risk of developing alcohol-related problems.
- Medication: There is no magic pill that will cure alcoholism, but there are three medications that can help recovered alcoholics maintain alcohol abstinence when used in combination with therapy. Acamporsate is used to reduce the physical symptoms and psychological distress associated with alcohol detox. Antabuse causes an adverse reaction when alcohol is consumed, discouraging a recovered alcoholic from drinking. Naltrexone blocks the effects of alcohol on the brain, taking away the motivation for drinking.
As this list shows, alcoholism rehab facilities have a wide variety of treatment options to choose from. Some of these treatment methods, like AA, have been around for some time. Others, such as couples therapy, are newer forms of treatment that are proving to be effective. Thanks to research and evaluation of different treatment options by NIAAA and other organizations, those who are addicted to alcohol have a wider range of alcoholism rehab treatments to choose from.