Alcoholism is a complex disease which is characterized by many different components which need to be taken into account when trying to achieve recovery. Relapse is possible even after a significant amount of clean and sober time. This is why alcohol use is considered chronic, though it is a treatable disease. There is a method of treatment referred to as CBT- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. It states that one must change ones cognitions, or way of thinking in order to effectively change ones behaviors. This what one must do in order to change any negative behavior and since substance abuse is a lifestyle of poor choices, the first thing an alcoholic must change is his or her thinking patterns.

When engaging in such therapy the immediate goals are to stop alcohol use and improve the person’s ability to function in society, both in interpersonal relationships and in the world as a whole. A significant amount of substance abuse is going untreated. This is the first component of long term addiction recovery- getting those affected by drug use to recognize they have a problem and get those individuals help. Getting someone to recognize they have a problem is one of the hardest parts of drug use.

Treatments can be divided into two main groups, Inpatient/Residential treatments and Outpatient. Which one an individual chooses has to do with how severe the substance problem is, what the person can financially afford as well as time restraints. Residential Inpatient Treatments are often used by individuals who have a long history of alcohol use. The benefits to being in an inpatient community include constant supervision in a highly structured environment. Inpatient/Residential treatments and Outpatient are usually long term treatment ranging from six to twelve months of treatment. Inpatient however, can consist of a month or two of intense treatment. Whether it’s a month or twelve months, the purpose of inpatient treatment is to help these individuals change their behaviors and fit back into society.

With Outpatient Treatment, individuals visit a center on a regular basis and will typically go to both individual and group therapy. They attend classes and may also go to other groups including an Alcoholics Anonymous type support system. Types of treatments that these individuals use include Multidimensional Family Therapy, knowing if an individual is willing to change behavior and enter treatment, and positive reinforcement to stop individuals from using drugs.

Substance abuse that is not dealth with causes many costs to society including the following: prison expenses, court and criminal costs, emergency visits, child abuse and neglect among many other costs. As pointed out prior, everyone has different needs which must be addressed when developing a treatment program. It is up to the practitioner in charge to develop a program which will not only meet the needs of the individual in terms of use, but also in terms of personality. After treatment is over, it is best for the individual to keep up with maintenance therapy. Whether that means going to a sponsor, attending AA meetings, continuing to go to group or individual therapy.

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