July 23, 2015

Treating Alcoholism

For thousands of years, there have been those among us who have suffered from alcoholism. In times of old, alcoholics had been shunned, locked up, hanged, and treated as the dregs of society. Nowadays fortunately things are different. The fields of medicine and psychology have advanced a great deal over the past several generations, and alcoholics are no longer at risk of the gallows. Along with the advancements in medicine and psychology, the field of treating alcoholism has also made great strides over the last seventy five years.

At one time, alcoholism was considered simply a lack of willpower. Society understood those who drank alcohol habitually to be men and women of low moral fiber. That is no longer the case. The American Medical Association recognizes alcohol dependence as a disease, and it is treated as such. Men and women who are dependent on alcohol have access to a plethora of treatment options. The first step in treating alcoholism should always be a medically supervised detoxification process. Withdrawal from alcohol can be incredible uncomfortable, but more importantly it can actually be fatal. It is imperative that when making the decision to stop drinking alcoholically, one is supervised by a medical professional who specializes in the treatment of alcohol.

Once the detoxification process is complete, and the patient is no longer physically dependent on alcohol, there are a variety of treatment options and methodologies. Most commonly, individuals struggling with alcoholism are encouraged to attend an inpatient residential treatment program. This is a program wherein the client resides and undergoes a variety of therapy sessions, and other life skill building programs to aid in the prevention of relapse upon release. Inpatient residential treatment programs typically last from thirty to ninety days. Clients are encouraged to develop a strong support network including peers, family, mental health professionals, and in many cases integrate into a twelve step support group.

Twelve step groups have been prevalent for many years and the pioneer was Alcoholics Anonymous. Established over seventy five years ago, Alcoholics Anonymous’ only objective is to aid its members in staying sober from alcohol and helping others to do the same. Many inpatient residential treatment programs apply the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous to their methodology and provide transportation and supervision to clients at meetings of AA. The integration of AA meetings into the inpatient residential treatment program allows for clients to become acclimated to the culture of AA, encourages the building of relationships within the program of AA, and the development of a support system outside the treatment center.

Regardless of how the issue began, if you or someone you care about is suffering from alcoholism and looking for a solution, help is available. Please reach out to a professional for yourself or your loved one and begin the journey of recovery and freedom from alcoholism.

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