Getting professional help for difficulties with alcohol is an important step towards taking charge of your life. Most people do not decide to make this change to their drinking habits overnight, or even after they start to think they have a problem. The hesitation may be due to denial of the problem, the belief they can deal with it on their own, shame and embarrassment, or simply not wanting to face the inevitable consequences.
The first step is to determine whether or not you have a problem and to what extend the problem exists. This is something best done with the assistance of a trained professional. Most alcoholics or addicts struggle with denial, minimize the problem and make excuses–this is part of the problem itself.
People can have problems with alcohol due to overuse, abuse, binge drinking, or addiction. Many people try and convince themselves that they can cut back, and some of them do for a while. Problem drinkers rarely experience long-term success with this approach, because it’s not as simple as not drinking. To address a serious alcohol problem, the drinker needs to make fundamental changes to their social circle and activities. Few are willing to do this without professional support and encouragement.
There are various treatments and approaches that may help. Depending on the severity of the problem, an inpatient or outpatient detoxification program may be necessary. There are also residential programs, intensive outpatient programs, individual psychological counseling, and 12-step support groups.
I offer individualized psychotherapy to address alcohol problems. I can assist you with the first step of determining if you have a problem with alcohol and to what extend the problem exists. We will also determine if there is any co-occurring mental health problem like anxiety, depression, or a trauma disorder that might be adding to the problem. A high percentage of individuals with an alcohol problem have a co-occurring mental health condition as well. From there I make treatment recommendations, and together we will decide if individual psychotherapy or another method of treatment is appropriate and in your best interest. At discharge from a residential or inpatient program, it is recommended that individuals continue treatment through individual or group counseling. Learning how to live sober is extremely difficult for those who struggle with alcoholism. Aftercare counseling is an important part of relapse prevention and maintaining sobriety.
It is common for people struggling with alcohol problems to have damaged the relationships that mean the most to them. Often it can be beneficial to have professional assistance with addressing the impact on your relationship through couples or family therapy. Including family and loved ones in the treatment process also allows for additional support.
Other important parts of sobriety are to understand the psychological aspects to your alcoholism, learn healthier ways to deal with stress, develop sobriety supportive coping skills, and address adjustments in social interactions and social support systems.
Due to the damage caused by the alcohol to the body, it is important to learn about and develop healthier ways to take care of yourself physically and psychologically. If there is a co-occurring mental health problem, incorporating treatment to address both the alcoholism and the mental health problem is important as well.
When deciding whether or not to seek treatment for alcoholism, consider the cost benefit-ratio of drinking. Would the following things improve if you sought treatment?:
- Relationship with your partner
- Work or athletic performance