Alcohol Addiction Treatment in Boca Raton: How to Get Help
Alcohol addiction treatment has come a long way since Alcoholics Anonymous was founded in the 1930s, but many programs still center group therapy and a treatment plan with set steps to follow.
In Boca Raton and across the country, medication-assisted treatment, supervision from medical professionals, science-based therapy practices, and some complementary treatments are now combined to help more people overcome addiction to alcohol.
What Is Alcohol Addiction?
Alcohol use disorder (AUD), also called alcoholism or alcohol addiction, is a chronic illness that involves consuming more alcohol than intended and being unable to stop. Drinking excessively can change the brain, so the person may become tolerant to alcohol. This means they do not feel the same effects until they drink more than before.
They may eventually become dependent on alcohol, so they feel like they need to be intoxicated to feel normal. Alcohol abuse escalates over time.
AUD affects over 14 million adults in the United States and as many as 414,000 adolescents between 12 and 17 years old. An estimated 10 to 20 percent of people who see their primary care doctors or go to the hospital have a diagnosable problem with excessive drinking.
There are many risk factors for developing alcohol use disorder, from genetics to environment to mental health. People who struggle with AUD need help from evidence-based treatment programs. Quitting “cold turkey” can lead to relapse, worsening symptoms, and even alcohol poisoning. Understanding treatment for AUD can help you make a good decision for yourself or your loved ones.
Levels of Alcohol Addiction Treatment
A continuum of care is important for overcoming all types of addiction, including to alcohol. Here are some of the approaches to treatment that may help:
- Outpatient Treatment: You’ll live at home, but attend regular doctors’ visits for prescription updates, physical checkups, and therapy.
- Intensive Outpatient Treatment: You spend much of your week attending therapy sessions and other medical appointments. It may be difficult to maintain a job while attending this type of treatment, but you will be able to live at home.
- Partial Hospitalization: This starts with an inpatient stay, often at a hospital or nursing program to manage detox. Once that is complete, higher level outpatient treatment focuses on therapy and physical health.
- Residential Treatment: This is the standard version of rehabilitation. You live on premises with medical staff and other individuals going through similar treatment, focus on detox first then therapy, and after one to three months, you are able to return home.
- Intensive Inpatient Treatment: This is a type of treatment required by those with severe physical and mental harm from high-level substance abuse. It involves managed withdrawal with constant supervision.
Types of Treatment You Might Find in an Alcohol Addiction Recovery Program
Alcohol use disorder can be mild, moderate, or severe, and treatment can vary based on how serious the condition is. There are also many complex reasons that a person may develop AUD.
There are many reasons that someone may struggle to overcome alcohol abuse, so there are many different approaches to treatment that are designed to help.
- Detox: The first step to overcoming addictions like AUD is to end the body’s dependence on the intoxicating substance. Detoxing from alcohol involves quitting drinking under medical supervision, which ensures that you do not develop conditions like delirium tremens, a dangerous group of withdrawal symptoms associated with high-volume, long-term alcohol abuse.Detox can take between one and two weeks. This is enough time so withdrawal symptoms are largely finished, so you can focus on the next phase of recovery.
- Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT): People with moderate or severe alcohol use disorder may benefit from certain medications during the detox process. Some doctors suggest that medications are not applied often enough to support people who are in the process of detoxing from alcohol.Two of the most important medications — naltrexone and acamprosate — reduce cravings for alcohol and block the pleasing effects in the event of a relapse. Acamprosate should be prescribed to people who intend to be totally abstinent from alcohol and have gone through the most intense stage of detox. Naltrexone, however, benefits people who are in the earliest stages of detox or still actively consuming alcohol. It can help people whose intention is to moderate their consumption rather than totally quit drinking.
These prescription medications have few side effects. When used appropriately, on their own, they do not cause any euphoria.
- Behavioral Treatment: The next stage of recovery, after detox (either standard or MAT), is rehabilitation, which involves different approaches to therapy. Treatment programs have built on the 12-step model, which focuses on group therapy, but many centers offer other options, including individual and family therapy.Here are some of the behavioral treatments that may be available in a recovery program:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): This is currently the most effective approach to behavioral therapy. It involves identifying difficult or problematic behaviors, like drinking too much. Then, CBT works to find the underlying causes and helps clients learn better behaviors, from recognizing the sensation and coping with it to acting in a different way.CBT works in both group and individual settings. Many rehabilitation programs offer both.
- Motivational Enhancement Therapy: This is a short-term approach to individual therapy that helps to build motivation to change drinking behaviors. Typically, this therapy is four sessions over a short time, starting with identifying the pros and cons of seeking treatment at all.Once those are identified, you and your therapist create a plan to make these changes. You’ll then build your confidence and develop skills to stick to this plan.
- Marital and Family Counseling: Loved ones, especially family members, often become involved in a person’s alcohol addiction in a complex way. Family members may accidentally enable their loved one to keep drinking; family history can be the root of trauma that triggers drinking; or a combination of factors may be present.Family counseling and marital counseling can help to restore relationships that have been harmed by abusing alcohol.
- Brief Intervention: These are short, motivational, one-on-one sessions between you and a medical professional like a therapist or a doctor. There may be between one and four sessions in a brief intervention. Like motivational enhancement therapy, brief intervention helps you set goals for treatment and focus on those.
- Alcoholics Anonymous (AA): This is one of the first groups founded to help people struggling with alcohol abuse manage the condition and become healthy. Now, with chapters worldwide and millions of people helped, AA has become the benchmark for most addiction treatment programs.Alcoholics Anonymous created the concept of the 12 steps, which are followed until the program is complete. In the event of a relapse, returning to the 12 steps as a guide is important.
- Other Mutual Support Groups: Since AA has been so helpful for so many people for nearly a century, other mutual support groups built on similar principles have developed. Some use a step system, some focus on CBT methods, and some simply offer discussion and mutual understanding.Social support is a huge component of overcoming an addiction like AUD. Finding the right mutual support group for you, both during rehabilitation and afterward, will help you stay on target.
- Complementary Treatments: Complementary and integrative health is based on alternative medicine, but treatments tend to center on those that have medical research backing their effectiveness. There is a range of potential treatments, including massage therapy, art therapy, equine and animal therapy, nutritional therapy, yoga and mindfulness, and many more.These treatments are called complementary and integrative because they support standard medical practices. They should not be used to replace standard treatment methods.
Recovering from alcohol addiction is a personal journey, but with so many evidence-based therapeutic options available, more people are able to get the customized treatment they need in a supportive setting that works for them.
Boca Recovery Center Offers Treatment for Alcohol Addiction
Boca Recovery Center offers a wide range of treatments to overcome alcohol addiction, including outpatient, residential, MAT, and intensive inpatient care. Understanding modern medicine and applying those findings to high-quality care is the best way to support people in Florida to end their substance abuse.
Although people with any kind of chronic illness, including asthma and heart disease, experience a relapse in symptoms, it is important to know that this does not mean treatment is not working. People who are overcoming addiction benefit from evidence-based treatment that is tailored to their needs, which is why there are so many options to choose from.
Recovery programs like Boca Recovery Center offer treatment rooted in science. They will help you create a program that focuses on the best combination of support for you.
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What Is A.A.? AA.org.
Complementary, Alternative, or Integrative Health: What’s In a Name? (April 2021). National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH).