So you’re looking for effective alcohol treatment. Well I can tell you, no matter what your demographic location, addiction strikes all the same. Understanding this attacker is really the first step in overcoming and effectively treating alcohol dependence or alcohol problems, and this attacker is one that is cunning, baffling, and powerful as some wise individuals often say. A good fighter is going to extensively study and understands their opponent; and so too must you understand what you are up against to maximize your potential for success. Many individuals do improve their quality of living but many also run through the gauntlet of treatment center to do so.
While it can be argued why individuals complete and/or attend multiple programs efficiency wins in all ways. Either it takes a series of trials to find the one program that works, or treatment is sometimes a slow process and many treatments occur within that time. Regardless, finding effective treatment will limit either of these processes. So what is effective treatment?
The program you are looking for should be evidenced based. There are many programs that might have you stare at goats with the hope of keeping you sober. While this might work for some, research has yet to validate this technique. Addiction is a complex disease; it fits the conceptual model for a disease, and so must be treated as such. Note that while this is a complex disease it is not an excuse; it is an individual’s choice to receive treatment for something such as diabetes and not doing so is simply irresponsible. Addiction is a disease of the brain. There are physiological adaptations to chemical abuse in various systems in the body but the brain is the focus of treatment while also treatment of symptoms to promote a return to homeostasis. In fact, looking at a line graph of medical versus therapeutic treatment you will see an emphasis on physiological treatment initially with a gradual decline and an increasing emphasis on psychological treatment with a growth of effectiveness due to pre-frontal cortex functioning.
This program should be one that is very malleable to the individual. No single treatment works for everyone and therefore a program should treat every client individually and use all known therapies which are proven effective. The program should not only adapt its treatment to the client initially but also throughout the duration of treatment. If a client is not having success with current treatment then only the same can be expected throughout the duration. The treatment needs to have a well-developed continuum of care with the ability to rapidly adapt and maneuver; treating the client where they are at in their recovery. For example, while detoxification is an initial stage relapse sometimes occurs and requires a rapid shift in this continuum.
Research has shown the effectiveness of treatment in directly proportionate to the amount of time in said treatment. Therefore a quality program will have tools in place to promote this duration of care. Many programs will offer aftercare programs and even lifetime counseling for the client and their families. This is a vital tool that should be sought and utilized by individuals in recovery. This is often differentiated from 12-step programs which, in this author’s opinion, should be utilized in conjunction if appropriate for the individual.
Medically assisted treatment has been shown to be very effective especially when combined with counseling and psychiatric care. A quality program recognizes this need and understands that while medications are an effective tool they are just that; a tool. Medications can make withdrawal a comfortable process and help the client transition into non-medicated state. Other medications can help limit cravings, block euphoria, and even prevent certain illicit drugs from having any effect on the client at all. A combination can be used to aid clients during the initial stages of treatment, as well as, promote brain healing and a return to homeostasis.
Overall a quality program is going to be one that maintains a comprehensive treatment atmosphere and is structured in such a way that the needs of the client are met at the beginning of treatment and throughout its duration by maintaining a rapidly dynamic model. When searching for treatments ask questions. A good program should be able to answer any of these concerns and explain to you exactly how their program addresses each one.