If you’re struggling with alcoholism and are looking for treatment and therapy, there are many options open to you. Addiction therapy for alcoholism offers many different formats through individual and group programs. Perhaps you haven’t admitted yet that you have alcoholism, but are wondering if you drink too much alcohol. Therapy can help here too. Alcohol is one of the more difficult substance abuse disorders when it comes to people seeking help. The main reason is that alcohol is such a socially-accepted drug compared to others. Many people may be struggling with alcoholism and not even realize it.
Why Is Addiction Therapy For Alcoholism Important?
Alcoholism is a brain disease that can change your brain chemistry and influence your behaviors and patterns of behavior. Because alcohol is a socially accepted substance, it’s not always easy to tell if your consumption of alcohol can be considered alcoholism. There are some key signs of alcohol addiction, including the following:
• Spending a lot of time during the day thinking about your next drink
• Having frequent hangovers that interfere with school or work
• Spending money on alcohol that you can’t really afford
• Losing interest in other activities or hobbies in order to drink more
• Switching social groups in order to spend more time with a group that drinks
If you find that your friends and family are questioning the amount of alcohol you drink or how often you drink, that alone might be a sign that you need help. Therapy for alcoholism can help you get to the root of what’s causing you to turn to alcohol. All types of addiction have an underlying cause, and alcoholism is no different.
What Is Addiction Therapy for Alcoholism?
Therapy for alcoholism can take a few different forms. Most often you will attend inpatient or outpatient alcoholism rehab and work with a therapist or therapists as you go through treatment. Behavioral therapy and psychotherapy (often called talk therapy) are among the most common treatments for alcoholism. You may also take part in other types of evidence-based and holistic therapy, depending on your treatment program. However, talk therapy and behavioral therapy are the most effective.
Types of Addiction Therapy for Alcoholism
There are several different types of counseling and behavioral therapies for alcoholism. Most fall into the talk therapy group. You may encounter any or all of these therapy types during your treatment for alcoholism.
The classic therapy type for treating alcoholism and other mental disorders is psychotherapy. The basic approach is where the patient talks to a professionally trained therapist about their feelings, thoughts, problems and experiences. A typical talk therapy session might take the form of one on one with the psychiatrist, or it could be in a peer group or with family members. The sessions allow the psychiatrist to formulate a diagnosis of the patient and proceed with further treatment strategies. In the case of alcoholism, a psychiatrist might help the patient formulate a strategy to cope with cravings and triggers as well as find the motivation to stay in treatment.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Another very common and effective therapy for alcohol addiction is cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT. The main focus of CBT is to identify negative behavior patterns and thoughts, and then work to replace them with positive thoughts and behavior patterns. A typical therapy session involves the patient talking to the psychiatrist, which is identical to psychotherapy. However, CBT is more about exploring solutions versus making a diagnosis. Some of the things covered by CBT include the following:
• Constructive action
• Challenging negative and harmful beliefs
• Confronting fears
• Role-playing to analyze and improve social interaction
• Exploring strategies to stop using drugs or alcohol
Dialectical Behavior Therapy
Also known as DBT, this type of therapy also falls into the talk therapy group. The main premise of DBT is that change is constant, everything is connected and opposites may combine for a bigger truth. The point of DBT is for patients to balance their emotions and fully embrace positive change. DBT tends to be very effective for those struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. The four main strategies of DBT are as follows:
• Core mindfulness
• Distress tolerance
• Emotion regulation
• Interpersonal effectiveness
This is another type of therapy that encourages patients to set goals and be motivated to achieve them. Motivational interviewing is a popular therapy for alcoholism because many patients feel as if they lack the willpower to overcome their addiction. During a motivational interview session, the psychiatrist will motivate the patient to prioritize a commitment to change. The change is usually quitting alcohol or staying in treatment for addiction. This is a very client-centered psychological therapy that focuses on strengthening the motivation to change. This type of therapy is of most use to patients who are afraid of change or who are not very motivated to change. The main principles of motivational interviewing are as follows:
• Expressing empathy
• Developing discrepancy
• Building self-efficacy
• Adapting to resistance
Motivational interviewing is usually conducted alongside other primary forms of therapy like CBT and psychotherapy.
Along with CBT, the 12-Step Program is probably one of the most common treatments for alcoholism and other addictions. In fact, the most famous version of it is Alcoholics Anonymous. 12-Step is a form of group therapy in that it always takes place among a group of people who openly talk about their personal struggles with alcoholism or other substance abuse disorder. This allows everyone to provide help to each other, which encourages connection, self-confidence and accountability among the members. Because of the proven effectiveness of 12-Step, it’s very common for therapists to incorporate the material into therapy sessions or encourage patients to join a 12-Step group.
Holistic and Alternative Therapies
These types of therapy are always used alongside more prominent therapy forms like CBT. However, they can be very useful for resisting cravings and staying focused during treatment for alcoholism. One of the hardest parts of recovering from alcohol addiction is finding something else to fill your life besides drinking. If you are struggling with addiction to alcohol or drugs, you know that the substance was a major part of your life. If you decide to take part in holistic therapy, it’s very possible that you will continue the activity or interest through recovery.
Some examples of holistic and alternative therapy for alcohol addiction include the following:
• Art therapy
• Music therapy
• Exercise therapy
Find Therapy for Alcohol Abuse in Los Angeles
Dr. Howard Samuels is an addiction Therapist in Los Angeles who specializes in alcoholism therapy. If you’re looking for a compassionate therapist who knows what it’s like to struggle with addiction, then Dr. Samuels is the perfect fit. Contact Dr. Samuels today to find out more about available counseling and behavioral therapy for alcoholism and addiction.