Components of Effective Alcohol Treatment Programs

How are you able to tell if an alcohol treatment program is effective? What are the components of programs that are able to get the best results? A research based project at George Washington University Medical Center reviewed literature and consulted with professionals in the industry to identify 13 of the active components of effective alcohol treatments.

The earlier the treatment for the alcoholism is able to begin, the better chance there is that success is going to occur. Treatment for alcoholism and drug abuse is not a one-size-fits-all proposition for everyone. Not all of the patients require the acute care approach but not all of them require a lesser approach either. The importance is to be able to find the right median for those who need it. Treatment programs should be managed every step of the way and should involve family members and friends. This is from the initial assessment and up towards the follow up and the intervention programs.

Several interventions can be effective in reducing alcohol consumption depending on the patient's severity of dependence, gender, and motivation for change. Effective treatment programs usually offer more than one approach. Contracting with patients rewards good behavior and punishes bad behavior, which can improve the treatment outcomes. Social skills training is another important factor. People with alcohol problems can be taught to recognize stressful situations where their drinking has been a problem in the past and provide them with skills that they can use to help cope within these situations. Medical treatments cannot cure drinking problems but they can be combined with other interventions and therapies to produce treatment that would be more effective.

Specialized services need to be targeted at the individual needs of the patient through matching services to ensure that they get the best results. Most people who enter treatment will have at least one relapse. Therefore, having continuing care programs and support groups can be a great way to improve the long term treatment outcomes. Having a strong bond with their therapist or counselor can also be helpful. How long a patient is able to stay within the treatment matters more than if a patient has been treated in an outpatient or inpatient setting, showing that outpatient treatment that lasted less than 90 days provides poorer results. Support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous can also be an active ingredient of treatment, during and after a professional intervention.

Beyond all of these elements, having strong patient motivation for recovery is very important. The approaches towards alcoholism recovery depend on the desire of the individual to get and remain sober throughout their life. Good treatment programs will be able to enhance motivation with intervention and therapy. Having family members, friends, and other loved ones that can be supportive of the motivation, even if the individual has experienced a relapse is also a very important aspect because it encourages the individual to continue with their goals towards recovery even when times are more challenging and difficult.

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