What Is the Best Therapy for Alcoholism?

What is the best therapy for alcoholism? This in-depth guide provides insights into various therapies, their unique approaches, and their effectiveness.

what is the best therapy for alcoholism?: treatment approaches

Alcoholism and alcohol use disorder can cause many struggles for individuals. These can include physical, emotional, and social repercussions. 

However, what is the best therapy for alcoholism? This article can help you answer that question and get the support you need during recovery.

what is the best therapy for alcoholism

Definition and Stages of Alcoholism

Alcoholism, also known as alcohol use disorder (AUD), is a disease. It is characterized by a preoccupation with drinking, an inability to control how much is consumed, and the development of physical alcohol dependence.

Alcoholism comes in stages, which can be simplified into three parts:

  • Early stage: You may start drinking more than usual, or you might drink to solve problems or to cope with stress.
  • Middle stage: You start drinking to feel good. Skipping alcohol makes you uncomfortable or sick. You start to hide your drinking from others.
  • Late stage: Your health often worsens drastically in this stage. You might lose your job or relationships because of your drinking.

In all stages, it can be difficult to heal by yourself, especially if withdrawal symptoms start. 

However, getting help from a recovery center like Choice House can give you the support and care you need.

Addressing the Underlying Causes of Alcoholism

Addressing the question, “What is the best therapy for alcoholism?” requires understanding the potential underlying causes of alcoholism.

Alcoholism isn’t just about drinking too much. It can be linked to other things in your life as well, such as stress, anxiety, or depression. Sometimes, people with alcoholism also have other health issues, like insomnia or pain.

For treatment to work, it’s good to know if you have any underlying causes that are contributing to your substance use. When you’re trying to find what is the best therapy for alcoholism, addressing the root causes can make therapy more effective.

Role of Therapy in the Treatment of Alcoholism

Therapy plays a big part in treating alcoholism. It can help give you tools to manage your drinking. You can also learn healthy ways to manage stress and cope with difficult emotions.

Therapy can also help you work on underlying issues. For example, if anxiety may be contributing to your substance use, then therapy can help you manage side effects from both co-occurring disorders.

In the end, there isn’t one “best” therapy for alcoholism. What works best for you depends on your unique situation. By understanding the root of your symptoms, as well as looking into any underlying issues and needs, you can determine what is the best therapy for alcoholism for you.

what is the best therapy for alcoholism?: exploring evidence-based treatment

Evidence-based therapies are a set of treatments that have proven effective in treating alcoholism. Remember, what is the best therapy for alcoholism depends on your needs, your goals, and your situation.

Some evidence-based treatments for alcoholism include:

Brief Interventions (BI)

Brief interventions are short, focused discussions aimed at understanding and changing your drinking behaviors.

The goal is to help you find ways to drink less or stop drinking altogether. Studies show that brief interventions can help reduce alcohol use-related problems.1

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy, often called talk therapy, is a treatment method where you talk with a therapist about your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. 

Psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), has been proven to reduce drinking and prevent relapses in many people.2

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) combines medication with therapy. Some medications can help reduce cravings or the pleasure you get from drinking. 

This can make it easier for you to focus on your therapy and recovery. However, MAT should not be the only form of treatment for alcoholism.

Main Types of Psychotherapy for Alcoholism

In addressing what is the best therapy for alcoholism, it helps to know the different types of therapy available. These can include:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

When considering what is the best therapy for alcoholism, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) often comes to mind. It helps you understand how your thoughts, feelings, and actions are connected.

CBT gives you tools to change harmful thoughts and actions. You learn to avoid situations where you might drink and to cope with stress in healthier ways.

CBT is different from other treatments. It focuses on changing how you think and act right now instead of looking at past events. This makes it a good choice if you want to learn new skills to control your drinking.

Motivational Interviewing (MI)

In motivational interviewing (MI), a therapist helps you explore your feelings about change. The idea is to build your motivation to change your substance use symptoms. You and the therapist work as a team.

Unlike other treatments, MI doesn’t tell you what to do. Instead, it helps you find your reasons to change. This can be helpful if you’re unsure about changing your drinking patterns.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

In dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), you learn skills to handle difficult emotions. These skills can help you work through stressors or other aspects that may cause you to turn to alcohol. You also learn to deal with conflict and to improve your relationships.

DBT is different because it focuses on emotions. Research shows that DBT can help people with alcohol use disorder. It can help you handle stress and emotions without turning to alcohol.3

Contingency Management (CM)

Contingency management is a type of treatment that gives you rewards for reaching your goals. The idea is to make change more attractive. You set goals related to drinking and then get rewards when you reach them.

There is evidence CM greatly reduces drinking.4 This type of treatment can be a good choice if you need extra motivation to stick with your goals.

Medication-Assisted Therapies (MAT) for Alcoholism

When considering what is the best therapy for alcoholism, medication-assisted therapy (MAT) is also a great option to consider.

Commonly Used Medications

Some medications can reduce the craving for alcohol. Others can make you feel sick if you drink alcohol while taking them. 

Common medications for MAT include:

  • Naltrexone (Vivitrol): Blocks the feeling of pleasure that comes with drinking.
  • Acamprosate (Campral): Restores the balance in your brain that alcohol disrupts.
  • Disulfiram (Antabuse): Causes unpleasant reactions that can discourage drinking.

Many people who take these medications drink less and improve their mental health. MAT can increase the chances of staying sober.5

Combining MAT With Other Therapeutic Approaches

Combining MAT with counseling or psychotherapy can help you get the best results. A professional can advise you on how to combine different treatments for effective alcohol recovery.

MAT also works better when used in conjunction with support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART) Recovery. This way, you can get the medical help you need along with social support.

So, what is the best therapy for alcoholism? There are many options. You might use a combination of therapies for the best chance to be free from alcohol.

Group Therapy and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)

When exploring what is the best therapy for alcoholism, group therapy emerges as a significant treatment option, where you meet with others who also want to stop drinking.

The group sessions let you share experiences and support each other. It can help to know you’re not alone in your struggle. You can also learn healthy coping skills and gain insights from others in similar circumstances.

Role and Structure of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a well-known group therapy. It’s a global community of people who want to stop drinking. In AA, you follow 12 steps to help you stay sober. You also have a sponsor, who can guide you through the process.

Benefits and Limitations

AA and other group therapies have helped many people. Sharing with others can provide comfort and reduce feelings of isolation. 

Yet, it might not work for everyone. Some may find the group setting uncomfortable, or the 12-step approach not fitting their beliefs.

Integrating Group Therapy into a Comprehensive Treatment Plan

Group therapy can be part of a bigger plan to help you stop drinking. For example, you might take medicine to reduce cravings, see a therapist for one-on-one sessions, and also attend group meetings.

In this way, what is the best therapy for alcoholism might involve a mix of treatments that can help you gain more control over your drinking and sustain sobriety.

Emerging and Alternative Therapies for Alcoholism

As we continue to explore what is the best therapy for alcoholism, other types of therapy have also proven useful for some individuals.

Family Therapy

Alcoholism often affects family members. Family therapy can help you and your loved ones work together to support your recovery. In family therapy, you all learn how to communicate and express your feelings positively.

Family therapy focuses on both the individual and the group as a whole. It helps build trust between family members and teaches them how to support each other. This can be especially helpful if there are hurt feelings or unresolved issues that could lead to drinking.

Mindfulness-Based Therapies

Asking what is the best therapy for alcoholism leads us to explore innovative therapies like mindfulness, which can help you notice your thoughts and feelings without judgment.
Mindfulness is about paying attention to the present moment. It can also help you better handle stress and cravings.

Studies show mindfulness therapies can help reduce heavy drinking. They can also decrease stress and improve mental well-being, making it easier for you to cope without alcohol.

Mindfulness can be part of different therapies. It can be learned through guided sessions, exercises, and workshops. It can also be practiced on its own, with the help of books, online tools, and apps.

Art Therapy and Expressive Therapies

Art and expressive therapies are also answers to the question of what is the best therapy for alcoholism. These therapies can help you better understand your emotions and thoughts.

Expressive therapies include activities like music, art, writing, movement, or drama. They can help you express yourself in ways other than words. This can be helpful if talking about your struggles is challenging for you.

Outdoor Therapies

Outdoor therapies are not specifically designed to treat alcoholism. However, being in a natural environment often helps people feel more relaxed and connected to themselves. It can be an excellent way to reduce stress and cravings.

Activities like rock climbing, hiking, or camping can help you build confidence and break destructive patterns. They also give you time to reflect on your struggles in a peaceful setting.

These therapies are not the only answers to what is the best therapy for alcoholism, but they can be helpful tools for recovery.

Individualized Treatment Planning and Comprehensive Approaches

When determining what is the best therapy for alcoholism, it’s important to consider individualized treatment planning.

Everyone is different. So, it makes sense that therapy for alcoholism should fit you. A treatment plan just for you takes into account your needs, your life, and your relationship with alcohol.

Factors to Consider

One of the key factors in figuring out what is the best therapy for alcoholism is considering your goal. Some people want to stop drinking altogether, while others aim to drink less.

Second, what is your lifestyle? Your work schedule, family commitments, and hobbies can influence the kind of therapy that will work best.

Lastly, consider your mental and physical health. Do you have other health issues or mental health conditions that need to be addressed along with alcoholism?

The Role of a Comprehensive Approach in Addressing Alcoholism

A comprehensive approach means using more than one therapy. A comprehensive plan might include medicine, therapy sessions, and support groups. It could also include exercise, healthy eating, and good sleep habits.

With a mix of therapies, you have a better chance of finding what is the best therapy for alcoholism for you. This approach can be adjusted over time. It can change as your needs change. This way, your treatment stays effective.

Choice House: An Innovative Approach to Alcoholism Treatment

Choice House offers an answer to what is the best therapy for alcoholism by using a lot of different therapies and services. We offer many therapies, such as a 12-step model, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and motivational interviewing.

We also offer essential therapy like art therapy, outdoor adventure therapy, dual diagnosis treatment, and much more. We want to give you the tools and resources that you need to stay sober for life.

How Can Choice House Help People at Different Stages of Recovery?

We have different programs for people at different stages of recovery. We offer inpatient treatment for people who need more intensive care, and also have an intensive outpatient treatment plan and partial hospitalization offerings as well.

Plus, there are outpatient, day programs, and sober living options for those transitioning out of inpatient. We can treat people with different needs, not just those with alcoholism. Let us help you at every stage of your recovery.

what is the best therapy for alcoholism

How Choice House Helps men Struggling with Alcoholism

Choice House offers an answer to what is the best therapy for alcoholism by using a variation of different therapies and services. We offer many therapies, such as a 12-step model, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and motivational interviewing.

Choice House also doesn’t believe in a one-size-fits-all approach. We know that you are unique and that your treatment should be too. We look at every aspect of your life, not just the alcoholism. We work with you to get to the root of the problem and find solutions that work for you.

Contact Us Today

Choice House also provides family therapy to help support your loved ones who have been affected by your addiction. This helps everyone understand what is going on and how they can be part of the recovery process.

Ultimately, Choice House’s goal is to help you through every step of the process so you can heal holistically. We will provide you with all of the support that you need along the way. Contact us today!

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Questions About Treatment?

Choice House is your comprehensive guide to lasting sobriety and wellness. Reach out to us today to see how we can support you on your journey toward sustainable well-being.

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Don’t let addiction or co-occurring mental health conditions keep you from leading the happy, healthy, and empowered life you deserve. Contact Choice House today and embrace recovery.

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