Assessment and treatment for alcohol abuse and dependence.
Alcoholism is best considered to be a disease which has the following characteristics:
- Drinking gets progressively worse over time.
- There is a compulsion or irresistible need to have a drink.
- There is increased tolerance as characterized by needing more alcohol to get the same effect.
- There is withdrawal when there is not a sufficient amount of alcohol in the body.
- There are persistent unsuccessful attempts to cut down or stop drinking.
- A great amount of time is spent in activities to obtain alcohol, worrying over the amount of drinking or recovering from a hangover.
- While there is no cure, the disease can be controlled and arrested.
The first decision in the treatment of alcohol dependence is whether the individual can stop drinking as an outpatient of requires an inpatient facility. This decision is addressed by the assessment of the severity of the alcoholism and the individuals overall health.
Outpatient treatment typically includes an educational component where the patient can understand the true nature of this disorder. The individual gains insight on the possible triggers leading to a drink and alternative strategies to avoid picking up a drink. Sobriety is maintained one day at a time and referral for group support, including AA, is often beneficial.
It is not uncommon for the individual to have co-existing emotional disorders. Anxiety and mood disorders along with the alcoholism are common. These disorders are usually addressed after the individual has maintained sobriety for a period of time.
Please contact us for more information on assessment and treatment of alcohol dependence.