Alcoholism Treatment Programs
Alcoholism treatment programs come in many different shapes and sizes, just as there are many different levels, severities, and reasons for abusing alcohol. One person might occasionally abuse alcohol with minor life consequences while another person may be entirely physically and mentally dependent upon it. What makes matters more difficult is that there isn’t any scientific consensus on what treatment method or length of treatment works best and for whom.
Here is a short list of types of alcoholism treatment program methods:
• Hospital detox
• Residential programs
• Outpatient programs
• Day-treatment programs
• Intensive outpatient programs
• 12-step programs
• Non-12 step programs
• Harm Reduction
• Insight-oriented programs
• Behavior modification programs
Currently, there is great debate within the field of addiction treatment concerning which alcoholism treatment program methodology is most successful. There are many programs of very questionable merit, as well as programs that closely resemble cults.
There are many questions that arise when selecting an alcoholism treatment program:
• Is lifelong abstinence the only goal that can translate into success?
• Is there a cure or are you always recovering?
• Do families need to be involved?
• Is individual treatment better than group therapy?
• Are support groups necessary?
• Is medication helpful or harmful?
• Are 12-Step Programs the only effective treatment method?
These are just a few of the questions that are sure to surface when you begin considering the type of treatment method you prefer.
How successful are alcoholism treatment programs?
The success rate of treatment programs varies. Many experts put the success rate of AA and similar programs at about 5%. No other area of medicine or psychology would accept a 5% success rate as an effective treatment method. A 5% success rate could be accomplished by just having the subject of treatment sit on a bench.
Some research suggests there is little difference in success rates among treatment methods and other research tells us that a large percentage of people return to non-problematic drinking even after undergoing treatment emphasizing abstinence. There is also research that indicates that AA is helpful for some but actually harmful to others.
There is no “one size fits all” method for alcoholism treatment programs. As an addiction specialist, I have seen the greatest success in treating each person as an individual and allowing individuals to define their own goals and success. For some people, remaining entirely abstinent is the ultimate goal. For others success may mean going out for drinks twice a week with friends instead of drinking alone every day at home after work.
How do you define success in an alcoholism treatment program?
Over the past 70 years or so, the 12-step program methodology has thoroughly dominated the addiction treatment industry. The 12-step program philosophy defines success as abstinence for life.. This is the only criterion for success in most alcoholism treatment programs and self-help groups. However, this black and white idea of success is quickly losing favor due to recent longitudinal studies.
It has become clear that complete abstinence is not the only route to success. A very large percentage of people are able to alter their relationship to alcohol so that moderation becomes a viable option. Many individuals who have had issues with substance abuse in the past have been able to pull themselves out of self-destructive behavior and refine their choices and actions to cultivate a much healthier and more enjoyable lifestyle.
Success in this area is a self-defined objective. The wisest option is to seek out assistance from a qualified professional who is not an advocate of the “one size fits all” approach. Once you have found a guide, you can begin the process of defining your own success.
Which is the right alcoholism treatment program for you?
It’s not an easy decision. It’s not one you should make without carefully looking at all your options. Talking to the right person in the beginning can help you make the right choices and save you thousands of dollars. I can provide you with the tools, techniques resources, and insights that you need to make the best choice—for you. I can help you find the right method, the right treatment, and discover how much control over your circumstances you may actually have.
I have been where you are today. I have tried or studied most of the treatment approaches and found what worked for me and how to match people with methods that work for them. I can help you determine what will work for you.
If you’d like to learn more about how you can take control of your addiction problem and your life, please do not hesitate to contact me. Taking action at the right time and in the right way is crucial to modifying alcohol abuse or dependence. Please do not wait until your situation becomes much worse.