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Types of Alcohol Addiction Therapy

An older man in need of alcohol addiction therapy

The number of alcohol use disorders is growing, with seven percent of the American population affected. It is rare for a person only to have an alcohol use disorder. Some may be addicted to multiple substances, and some may have an alcohol use disorder with a co-occurring mental health disorder. It’s variations like this that lead to improvements in alcohol addiction therapy.

Today, there are more options for treatment than ever before, and they are adaptable to meet your needs, not the other way around. Below are the types of alcohol addiction therapy at the inpatient and outpatient levels.

Inpatient Alcohol Addiction Treatment

Inpatient levels of treatment are the most intensive models. Inpatient refers to a hospital setting with 24-hour medical supervision.

Inpatient detox provides services like medication-assisted treatment (MAT), in which you can receive medications to ease withdrawal symptoms and curb cravings as alcohol leaves your system.

Inpatient detox typically lasts one week or less, depending on the severity of your symptoms.

Inpatient rehab is a great place to transition to after detox. You continue to have 24-hour medical supervision and medication management, but you also start learning the skills necessary to prevent a relapse. Inpatient rehab is recommended for between thirty and ninety days.

Residential Alcohol Addiction Treatment

Residential alcohol addiction treatment centers provide all the benefits of inpatient rehab but in a non-hospital environment. Long-term residential treatment can last between six and twelve months. Some programs are called therapeutic communities (TCs). All areas of a person’s life become the focus of improvements, including personal, professional, and social.

Outpatient Alcohol Addiction Treatment

Some outpatient treatment programs are structured and intensive, like partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient programs.

Partial hospitalization programs (PHPs) are the most restrictive. While you do not reside at the treatment facility, you attend twenty or more hours each week, usually during the daytime. PHPs have specific schedules filled with therapeutic activities designed to help you maintain abstinence from alcohol.

Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) are like partial hospitalization but fewer hours each week. IOPs provide at least nine hours of therapies each week. You can fulfill personal, professional, and social responsibilities when not in treatment. IOPs offer flexibility by providing evening and some weekend activities.

Low-Intensity Alcohol Addiction Treatment

Individual outpatient counseling is one-on-one talk therapy between you and a licensed professional counselor weekly. Individual counseling can occur if you are in an intensive outpatient or partial hospitalization program, or it can be a solo treatment.

Today, alcohol addiction treatments are advancing to meet the needs of busy schedules, pandemics, and more. Low-intensity treatments are outpatient services with flexible meeting times and locations. Telehealth addiction treatment is gaining popularity because you can log in to your therapy session from anywhere in the world.

Telehealth services can be completed using video or phone services. Insurance companies see the benefits, too, and most agree to pay for telehealth services. Online treatment services can include:

  • Individual counseling
  • Self-guided programs
  • Digital self-help groups
  • Interactive cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Online Alcoholics Anonymous and 12 Step facilitation

Beneficial Components of Alcohol Addiction Treatment

Some elements improve recovery outcomes at all levels of alcohol addiction treatment based on evidence-based research. In your search for the right type of alcohol addiction treatment, look for the following:

Behavioral Therapies

Whether you enter inpatient or outpatient treatment, behavioral therapies are vital. They are the methods used by therapists in individual and group counseling that teach you how to change addictive behaviors to recovery behaviors. Behavioral therapies used in addiction treatment include:

Behavioral therapies teach you the skills necessary to maintain recovery, skills like relapse prevention, self-care, communication, conflict resolution, and relationship building.

Family Therapies

Family therapy helps you and your loved ones who are affected by your addiction. Family members can hinder or help recovery. However, sometimes they must first heal and learn new skills also. Some family members need to know boundaries, and others must stop enabling.

Family therapy incorporates the behavioral therapies listed above to teach the same skills to all members. They can also participate in psychoeducation groups to learn more about the disease of addiction. They get an understanding of how drugs and alcohol hijack the brain and make it impossible to “just quit.”

12 Step Facilitation and Social Support

Support groups led by either a therapist or peers are beneficial because you get feedback from people who completely understand what you are going through and can relate to you no matter what stage of recovery you are in at the time.

12 Step facilitation groups have been studied for years. Results show that those who work the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous maintain abstinence and long-term recovery at higher rates than those who do not follow the steps. This may be because the 12 steps are structured guidelines that help you transform spiritually.

Alternative and Holistic Therapies

Integrative treatment, or treating the whole person, focuses on most addiction treatment centers today. They recognize that if any area of your life struggles during recovery, it could trigger a relapse. Alternative and holistic therapies help heal the whole person. They are assigned based on individual needs. Examples of alternative and holistic treatments include:

Not every treatment center can provide on-site services like these, but they have formed relationships with providers in the community and can refer you for services.

Alternative and holistic therapies help you focus on self-care, learn how to recognize what your body and mind need, and then meet those needs using the resources and skills you have learned in treatment. Because the physical and psychological parts of the body are interconnected, a lack of self-care makes it more challenging to avoid relapse triggers.

If you are searching for alcohol addiction therapy or have questions about the different types and levels, reach out today. We are eager to help you.