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Alcohol Counseling: What Therapies Are Good for Alcoholics?

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Alcoholism is an issue that affects not only American society but cultures around the world. Alcoholism doesn’t discriminate by gender or race, and the legal drug can harm anyone. One of the primary issues pertaining to alcohol is its legality and easy access. For someone whp may be overcome with cravings, all they have to do is turn on the radio, TV, or walk outside and get bombarded with advertisements. It’s not easy to stop drinking with all of the reminders.

Alcohol is the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 85.6 percent of people age 18 or older admitted to drinking alcohol at some point in their life. Although it’s natural for young adults to experiment, some of them may be predisposed to alcoholism through their genetics. A majority won’t ever experience issues, but others may need alcohol counseling at some point to stop. 

What Is Alcohol Counseling?

Alcohol counseling is an essential and valuable piece of treating alcohol use disorder (AUD). Counselors will offer you guidance and support your journey toward a life free from alcohol. No matter how long you’ve struggled to overcome your drinking problem or alcoholism, alcohol counseling will be the tool that helps make a significant difference in your recovery.

Most alcohol rehab centers will use comprehensive treatment plans during the treatment process. Comprehensive treatment plans are developed to treat the person as a whole, and it usually includes physical treatments like exercise, nutrition, withdrawal management, mental, emotional, and spiritual treatment.

It will consist of various care levels, including inpatient or outpatient rehab, counseling sessions, medication-assisted treatment (MAT), support groups, and other treatment types. Support groups and counseling sessions are vital during and after treatment to develop a recovery plan for long-term sobriety. 

You shouldn’t let alcoholism define you, and by seeking out the help of a counselor, you can learn how to manage and prevent triggers, deal with cravings, and live an overall healthier lifestyle. 

What Do Alcohol Counselors Offer?

We can’t definitively say what an alcohol counselor will offer you because each process is different for everyone. In most cases, you’ll meet your alcohol counselor often individually and during group sessions in the earlier stages of recovery. Depending on your progression, you’ll start attending fewer meetings. However, you might schedule a meeting with your counselor between sessions if you’re having a challenging week or might relapse. 

An alcohol counselor may also help with the following:

  • Help you to uncover underlying issues or triggers that push you to drink
  • Provide you with information about alcoholism and thoroughly discuss the recovery process
  • Provide you with techniques and tips to help you recover successfully in the long-term
  • Put together a realistic and structured treatment and recovery plan tailored around your needs
  • Do regular assessments to determine where you’ve progressed
  • Encourage you and support you emotionally during each stage of the recovery process
counselling-for-alcoholics

How Do I Choose an Alcohol Counselor?

Before you start alcohol counseling, you must find a counselor that you feel comfortable being around. You need to find a counselor you can be honest with when you talk to because you’ll be able to open up tremendously, which helps with the recovery process. However, it’s important to understand that your counselor can only guide you on your recovery journey. It’ll be up to you to remain active in treatment and apply what you’ve learned toward your recovery.

You need to take your time when researching alcohol counselors. A person who worked for someone else may not work with you. Once you find a few that fit your needs, talk with them and ask questions about your concerns. It will help you choose the right counselor. 

Keep the following tips in mind when you research an alcohol counselor:

  • Find someone who specializes in treating AUD: There are several conditions that a counselor might treat, and you should narrow your search by seeking a counselor who specializes in helping people with AUDs. Once you find someone, you can organize the list based on how many years of experience they have treating AUD, location, types of therapy they provide, and costs. Keep your list of questions to ask, so you find the best fit. 
  • Always check for proper licensing: A degree in psychology doesn’t necessarily translate to a counselor having the proper licensing in the field. You should research your state’s requirements for licenses and other certified alcohol counselors to ensure they’re credentialed. It will also be an excellent time to see if they have any complaints against them, as well as patient reviews.
  • Ask about the therapies they use: Counselors will use different therapies relevant to the conditions they treat. The most common forms of therapy for alcoholism include holistic therapy, biofeedback, and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). A counselor may use several types of therapies in their sessions, which depends on existing co-occurring conditions and their progress during recovery.
  • Confirm that your insurance is accepted: You must always check your insurance policy to see if the cost of counseling is covered. The insurance provider will provide you with a list of counselors within your network. However, although some insurance plans will cover some or all of the costs, others might only cover the expenses for a specific number of sessions. 
  • Listen to your instincts: Make sure to listen to your instincts when you decide on an alcohol counselor. At the end of the day, only you can know if it feels like the right fit. If you feel any reluctance after speaking with a counselor, you should remove them from your options. You must be able to have an open dialogue with a counselor and trust them, so don’t second guess how you feel. 

The Benefits of Alcohol Counseling

Alcohol counseling offers many benefits that will help you get sober and stay there. The techniques and tools you learn during your time with a counselor can be applied to situations you face at school, work, or even in your personal life. Although some parts of it may be challenging, you’ll uncover the underlying issues that pushed you into drinking and learn to overcome them. Without digging into the problem, you’ll only be putting a band-aid on it in the short-term.

Other benefits include setting up benchmarks and goals, managing and preventing triggers, conquering obstacles, and finding new hobbies. During counseling, you’ll be exposed to new things that you may have never thought of otherwise, which in turn helps you stay sober. You won’t know unless you try it, so maybe it’s time to look into an alcohol counselor and overcome alcoholism. 

Sources

CDC (January 2021) Alcohol and Public Health. from https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/index.htm

NIAAA (January 2021) Alcohol Facts and Statistics. from https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/alcohol-facts-and-statistics

NCBI (September 2016) Cognitive-behavioral therapy. from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279297/

SAMHSA (January 2021) MAT. from https://www.samhsa.gov/medication-assisted-treatment

NIAAA (January 2021) Understanding Alcohol Use Disorder. from https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/understanding-alcohol-use-disorder

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