Alcohol addiction is highly common in Canada, in fact it’s the most abused drug.
However, with motivation, a good support system and otherwise good health it can be treated.
Half of those who complete a year of treatment remain abstinent – sometimes even 60 percent.
Some of the benefits of treatment include taking the person away from their daily triggers that led them to alcohol abuse in the past and assistance in recognizing there is a problem and developing a plan of action.
A successful program goes beyond curbing the addiction, however. A successful program aims at helping a person return to a productive lifestyle; meaning they can function in their family, workplace and community.
Alcohol addiction treatment often improves a person’s social and occupational skills, and psychological functioning.
People often think of the traditional forms of alcohol addiction treatment – the 12-step program or 28-day inpatient rehab, thanks to large advances in the field in the past 60 years there are many options nowadays.
When it comes to alcohol addiction treatment there is no “one size fits all.”
Understanding the different options is vital.
Approaches that involve heavy confrontation are always discouraged. An approach that involves empathy, motivational support and changing behaviour is recommended.
Alcohol addiction treatment programs available include behavioural treatments, medications, mutual-support groups and starting with a primary care doctor.
Behavioural treatment, led by health professionals, focus on changing the behaviours that led to drinking through counselling. This involves building a strong social support system, developing skills required to stop or reduce drinking, working to reach goals and how to cope with or avoid things that could cause a relapse.
Types of behavioural treatment include: cognitive-behavioural therapy, motivational-enhancement therapy, marital and family counselling and brief interventions.
Medications – that help stop or reduce drinking – are prescribed by health professionals and can be used alongside counselling. Mutual-support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) offer peer support from others who are going through something similar.
In Canada there are three legal drugs that can be used for alcohol addiction treatment: Naltrexone, Acamprosate (Campral) and Disulfiram (Antabuse).
Starting with a primary care doctor is recommended for anyone thinking about alcohol addiction as they can offer referrals and medications. A primary care doctor can also evaluate drinking patterns and overall health, and help develop a plan of action.
Sometimes simply choosing alcohol addiction treatment is more important than the approach.
Aftercare is highly recommended in order to successfully stay sober. Aftercare can be involvement with a group or individual counselling.
When a relapse does occur people often mistake that as a failure. Alcoholism should be treated as a chronic disease – when an approach does not work it should be re-evaluated or an alternate approach should be tried.
An alcohol addiction treatment program should continually be re-evaluated, and the patient should have the opportunity to provide feedback.
Some of the most prominent resources available in Canada, for those seeking alcohol addiction treatment include The Centre of Addiction and Mental Health, Alcoholics Anonymous and The Alcohol and Drug Information Service.