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Alcohol Addiction Treatment
Getting the Treatment You Need
If you or someone you know suffers from an alcoholic addiction, the most reliable approach to dealing with it is through addiction treatment. Alcohol, like other chemically addictive substances, alters your body and mind in severe ways, and detoxification and treatment can have serious consequences. A well-planned, well-supervised program can provide the best statistical chance of recovery available.
Addiction and Therapy:
- Is alcohol addiction different from other drug addictions?
- What happens when I go into a treatment program?
- What are my chances for recovery after a long alcohol addiction?
Alcoholic Addiction Still an Addiction
Every type of addiction is unique, and each individual endures a unique addiction tailored to his or her body. In spite of that fundamental fact, addiction remains addiction, whether to cocaine, tobacco or alcohol. Addictions make long-term changes in the chemistry of the body and brain, and alter behavior by usurping normal physical responses to maintain the addiction. The most powerful element of addiction is the way in which the chemical misuses the body’s systems, rewarding damaging behavior using biochemistry intended to reward survival oriented choices, and punishing the very actions that would most benefit the addict.
Alcohol is special in that the addiction is often sustained over decades, causing long, slow damage that many less sustainable drugs never get a chance to do. From brain damage to the slow destruction of the kidneys and liver, there is virtually no aspect of physical existence that isn’t injured by a long alcohol addiction.
What Happens in Alcohol Addiction Therapy?
The first thing an alcoholic, like any other addict, will experience is detoxification. This is the withdrawal period that follows when alcohol is completely denied and no further doses are permitted. During that time, the body flushes the alcohol and the many biological chemicals that are the result of metabolic processing. Withdrawal is more than unpleasant and can be actively dangerous in some people with long-standing addiction or physical complications. A reliable and trained medical staff can best supervise a severe addict, and even then, there are severe risks for some patients.
Risk aside, withdrawal lives up to its reputation for dreadfulness, and sometimes exceeds it. Symptoms can include convulsions, delusions, pain, nausea, cramps, fever, chills, and more; severe mood swings are common as well. After detox, a patient will be entered into a continuing program of behavioral therapy, personal counseling, group counseling, and in some cases physical therapy. These in-clinic programs generally run for three to six weeks, though in some instances shorter or longer periods will be recommended.
Permanent recovery from any addiction is uncertain. In programs without follow-up therapy, or in instances in which patients refuse to stick with follow-up therapy, success rates can be 20% or lower. Recidivism is common for many reasons, including social pressure and environmental access. The good news is that commitment to follow-up programs such as AA or other 12-steps, and continued therapy through a counselor or through the clinic, can raise the odds to 40% or more, with personal dedication and discipline combined with strong support providing the best outcomes.
For the best results, you want to find a respected, accessible program with a solid trained staff and a well administered program that can offer documented success. The best way to find such a program is through referrals: either through local medical professionals, support services, or through referral services.