7 Evidence-based Therapies for Alcohol Rehab

Rehabilitation centers select from the many available treatment options for alcoholism. The choice largely depends on the availability of resource persons and the patient’s response. It is common for a patient to undergo more than one therapy simultaneously to treat his/her alcohol abuse disorder. Get yourself acquainted with the commonly used evidence-based therapies for alcohol rehab.

1. Psychotherapy

The time-tested psychotherapy has helped many patients recover from their alcohol dependence. In psychotherapy, patients freely talk to a trained psychologist about their life issues, thoughts, and emotions. They can openly share their other experiences that are not related to their alcohol abuse.

In addressing alcoholism, psychologists help patients understand the underlying reasons for their cravings and guide them on how to be sober for good. It is through the patient’s shared stories that psychologists are able to discern patterns, spot hidden self-destructive behaviors, and identify emotional triggers.

The sessions can be undertaken individually, with peers, or with a family. They can last for a month or a year, depending on the patient’s progress.

2. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is another form of talk therapy that is more action-oriented, as it focuses not only on identifying negative thoughts and behaviors, but also on correcting them. Patients are taught how to challenge their self-sabotaging thoughts, respond to stress constructively, and avoid risky behaviors.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is used to treat alcoholism and other mental disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety. Cognitive-behavioral therapy can effectively treat alcoholism even for as few as five sessions.

3. Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy is another type of talk therapy that aims to teach patients how to regulate their emotions to avoid self-destructive behaviors like alcohol abuse or suicide. The premise here is that everyone can improve and embrace positive change. Alcoholic patients are encouraged to accept their past and move forward with a positive mindset.

Studies show that dialectic behavioral therapy is effective for treating alcoholism. Its four core foundations are emotional balance, interpersonal effectiveness, distress tolerance, and mindfulness.

4. Music and Art Therapy

Depression and anxiety are two mental disorders commonly associated with alcoholism. Through music and arts, patients are able to creatively express their deep-seated thoughts and alleviate their emotional tensions. Painting, drawing, playing an instrument, or dancing are also constructive ways of keeping their minds occupied, away from drinking alcohol.

Some people find it hard to verbalize their thoughts and emotions. Music and arts allow them to connect to their core and acknowledge whatever it is that words cannot show. The less tension there is, the better a person is able to achieve emotional and mental balance, free from the influence of alcohol or drugs.

5. 12-Step Facilitation

The 12-Step Program, also known as Alcoholics Anonymous, is a community-based therapy that allows patients to learn from each other’s personal struggles and success stories. It is proven effective in helping patients achieve long-term sobriety. It is also helpful in treating other forms of addiction, such as drug addiction and recurring infidelity.

There are 12 basic tenets of the facilitation therapy that include recognition of one’s powerlessness over alcohol and deliberate decision to turn the way around.  Apart from allowing them to recognize their past mistakes, this group therapy also encourages them to purposefully take action. For instance, steps 8 to 10 focus on keeping an inventory of the people they have hurt and thinking of ways to make amends.

The last steps of the Alcoholic Anonymous program focus on keeping a meditative mind and connecting the members back to their faith.

6. Meditation

Meditation is a powerful technique in calming the mind and managing emotions. A troubled mind, coupled with wavering emotions, is one of the leading triggers of alcoholism. Mental health professionals advocate for yoga and meditation and run courses to effectively curtail alcohol or drug cravings.

Yoga exercises can be therapeutic for alcoholics, too. It allows patients to get their daily exercise in a slow, rhythmic manner, and encourages them to meditate as they go from one position to another. It’s an effective way to relax and start the day right.

7. Motivational Interviews

Some people feel that they lack the power to change or quit alcohol addiction. Motivational interviews are especially designed for such alcoholic patients who want to recover but do not feel confident and motivated.

A trained psychologist conducts motivational interviews and focuses on strengthening the willpower of the patients who feel powerless over alcohol. This client-centered approach is effective in moving a person towards action. It can be undertaken in short bursts or whenever feelings of inadequacy resurface at any point in the recovery phase.

Your mental health coach or licensed psychologist helps determine the right program for you. You can freely communicate your interest in trying music and art therapy or in shifting to cognitive-behavioral therapy. Alongside these evidence-based therapies, you will likely undergo wellness programs, sports, and even community services, as a holistic approach to alcohol abuse recovery.

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