Types Of Therapy For Alcoholism (2024)

What Are My Alcoholism Therapy Options?

An inpatient or outpatient rehab program for alcoholism will offer a variety of treatment therapy options. The following is an overview of the most popular methods for treatment which you may encounter at a rehab facility.

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Talk Therapy

Psychotherapy is the classic approach of having a conversation. During psychotherapy, a patienttalks to a trained psychologist about their problems and experiences. A talk therapy session could take place in a one-to-one, group, or family setting. A patient and their psychologist might discuss daily challenges, long-standing issues, and past traumas. Psychotherapy allows a psychologist to formulate a mental health diagnosis on the basis of psychoanalysis. A psychiatrist who conducts psychotherapy can prescribe patients medication.

In cases of psychotherapy for alcoholism, a psychologist might help a patient better understand and manage their cravings and stay motivated to achieve their sobriety goals. Psychotherapy sessions can last for severals weeks or span many months. During psychotherapy, the psychologist and patient develop a relationship on the basis of trust, openness, and confidentiality.

Psychotherapy acts as a roadmap for clinicians. It guides them though the process of understanding their clients and developing solutions. There are multiple approaches to psychotherapy, such as psychoanalysis, behavioral therapy, cognitive therapy, and integrative or holistic therapy.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a proven method for alleviating the burdens of alcoholism. The basic premise of CBT is the importance of identifying negative thoughts and behaviors and replacing them with positive thoughts and behaviors. A CBT session will be a conversation between a patient and a psychologist. CBT is a solutions-oriented approach to treatment which focuses less on diagnosis and more on constructive action, such as challenging harmful beliefs, confronting fears, role playing to improve social interactions, and crafting strategies to stop drinking alcohol or using drugs. CBT is often effective with as few as five sessions.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is another type of evidence-based talk therapy. The DBT method operates from the assumptions that everything is connected, the world constantly changes, and opposite elements (thesis and antithesis) may synthesize into a better element or a greater truth. These assumptions comprise the basis of the philosophical system of dialectics. In practice, an individual or group DBT session will involve learning to live in the present instead of dwelling on the past, managing emotions and distress, and practicing honest communication. Ultimately, DBT is designed to help patients find emotional balance and embrace positive change. The method is dialectical because the practitioner who developed it wanted patients to be able to synthesize change and acceptance of the past to create a better life. Research has shown that DBT is effective for people who struggle with alcoholism and other substance abuse disorders.

DBT has four main strategies that are taught by the clinician to the client.

• Core Mindfulness
• Distress Tolerance
• Interpersonal Effectiveness
• Emotion Regulation

Motivational Interviewing

In counseling, motivational interviewing (MI) is a method for encouraging a patient to overcome ambivalence, set direct goals for self-improvement, and stay motivated to realize them. MI is a popular technique for treating substance abuse disorders because many people feel powerless against addiction and benefit from an infusion of willpower to decide to take action against it. In a motivational interview, a therapist will encourage a patient to commit to change, such as quitting alcohol.

Motivational interviewing is a brief, client-centered, semi-directive psychological treatment approach that concentrates on improving and strengthening a client’s motivations for change. MI aims to increase a client’s perspective on the importance of change. MI is useful for clients who are less motivated or ready for change. The practice involves a form of supportive and empathetic counseling style that rolls with resistance. MI is a brief intervention, where the counselor and client will meet for an average of 1 to 4 sessions. MI incorporates four basic principles in therapy:

  • Expressing empathy
  • Rolling with resistance
  • Developing self-efficacy
  • Developing discrepancy

MI is usually implemented with other therapy modalities.

12-Step Facilitation

A 12-Step Program is a supportive community where people openly discuss their struggles with substance abuse. The most famous 12-Step Program is Alcoholics Anonymous, but there are 12-Step Programs for addictions to Marijuana, Cocaine, Heroin, and even gambling as well. A 12-Step Program provides mutual help to everyone in the group, helping them feel connected, important, and accountable to others for staying sober. A 12-Step Program supplements other forms of therapy and gives patients something to discuss with their psychologists. The 12-Step approach is demonstrably effective at helping people to achieve sobriety long-term. For this reason, therapists sometimes facilitate the process of joining a 12-Step group for their patients and incorporate 12-Step material and their patients’ experiences at meetings into their sessions.

Yoga And Meditation

Yoga and meditation can be beneficial techniques for managing cravings and staying focused during recovery. Some rehab centers even offer their own yoga and meditation courses. Broadly speaking, yoga is a collection of physical and mental exercises. A yoga practice does not necessarily have to involve a spiritual or religious dimension. Meditation is any method of relaxation which helps a person maintain calm, emotional peace, and clarity. Studies have indicated that yoga and meditation can function as therapy for people with substance use disorders, especially if the sessions are led by a mental health professional and supplement other treatment.

Art And Music Therapy

Art and music are mediums of creative expression which can enhance the recovery process. As such, rehab centers sometimes offer art and music therapy to their patients. In the rehab setting, art and music therapy is more than just painting a picture or playing a song. Art and music therapy sessions are taught by therapists specifically to help people with alcoholism. The purpose of art and music therapy is to help people relax, express how they feel, and stay occupied with a positive activity. Art and music also help alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety, two common mental health condition which afflict people struggling with alcoholism.

Art and music therapy are thought to help patients tap into emotions and needs that may be difficult to express through more traditional forms of communication. Music therapy also provides clients with increased motivation for treatment. Physically, artistic expression connects us to our emotions. It is a tangible way to reconcile emotional conflicts. This connection can help fill the void that drugs and alcohol leave in a substance abuser. It also helps build new insights.

Artistic expression, whether through visual or musical creation or appreciation, touches people in their core. Music affects mood. That is what makes this beneficial in therapy.

Online Therapy

Online therapy has grown tremendously in popularity since the COVID-19 pandemic, and is now considered to be an effective way to treat a host of conditions, including alcoholism. Alcoholism has many physical, emotional, and social impacts on a person’s life, and online therapy can be a great way to work through the underlying causes of alcohol abuse without significantly disrupting their life.

Online therapy for alcoholism can involve several techniques and approaches, which some people may find adapt better to a virtual format. Things like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), motivational interviewing, and even eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy can all be adjusted to work via the phone, computer, or web-based platforms.

It’s important to note that online therapy may not be a suitable option for some people with alcoholism. This includes those who may be battling severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms, or who may be struggling with a co-occurring metal health disorder such as depression or anxiety. Furthermore, it is always recommended that detoxing be done under medical supervision, as alcohol withdrawal can have potentially life-threatening side effects.

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for Alcohol Addiction

Online Counseling for Alcohol Addiction

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Find Alcoholism Treatment Therapy Today

With so many therapy options, there is hope for anyone with an addiction to recover. If you or someone you know has a problem with drugs and alcohol, take action today and contact a treatment provider to learn more about treatment options.

Types Of Therapy For Alcoholism (2024)


What are five types of therapy that can be used to treat alcoholism? ›

What Are My Alcoholism Therapy Options?
  • Talk Therapy. Psychotherapy is the classic approach of having a conversation. ...
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) ...
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) ...
  • Motivational Interviewing. ...
  • 12-Step Facilitation. ...
  • Yoga And Meditation. ...
  • Art And Music Therapy. ...
  • Online Therapy.
Jan 3, 2023

Which of the following is a type of therapy for alcoholism? ›

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) helps you identify the feelings and situations that can lead to heavy drinking. It teaches you coping skills, including how to manage stress and how to change the thoughts that cause you to want to drink. You may get CBT one-on-one with a therapist or in small groups.

Which is the most successful type of treatment for alcoholism? ›

AA shines. Most of the studies that measured abstinence found AA was significantly better than other interventions or no intervention. In one study, it was found to be 60% more effective.

What's the best treatment for alcoholic? ›

Treatment may involve a brief intervention, individual or group counseling, an outpatient program, or a residential inpatient stay. Working to stop alcohol use to improve quality of life is the main treatment goal. Treatment for alcohol use disorder may include: Detox and withdrawal.

What are four strategies for treating alcoholism? ›

Behavioral Treatments
  • Developing the skills needed to stop or reduce drinking.
  • Helping to build a strong social support system.
  • Working to set reachable goals.
  • Coping with or avoiding the triggers that might cause relapse.

What are the 7 steps to overcome alcoholism? ›

  • How do I stop drinking?
  • Set goals and prepare for change.
  • Cutting back vs. quitting alcohol altogether.
  • Alcohol addiction treatment options.
  • Withdrawing from alcohol safely.
  • Get support.
  • Find new meaning in life.
  • Plan for triggers and cravings.
Mar 1, 2023

How do psychologists treat alcoholism? ›

Using one or more of several types of psychological therapies, psychologists can help people address psychological issues involved in their problem drinking. A number of these therapies, including cognitive-behavioral coping skills treatment and motivational enhancement therapy, were developed by psychologists.

What is the first line therapy for alcohol dependence? ›

Naltrexone — For most newly diagnosed patients with moderate or severe alcohol use disorder, we suggest initial treatment with naltrexone. Naltrexone is our preferred choice due to its preferable dosing schedule and the ability to begin treatment for alcohol use disorder while the individual is still drinking.

What is the most effective type of therapy? ›

Cognitive behavioral therapy is considered the gold standard in psychotherapy. Numerous clinical trials have found CBT to be effective for a spectrum of emotional health challenges, from anxiety and depression to addiction and schizophrenia.

What is the most severe form of alcoholism? ›

Delirium tremens (DTs) is the most severe form of ethanol withdrawal, manifested by altered mental status (global confusion) and sympathetic overdrive (autonomic hyperactivity), which can progress to cardiovascular collapse. Minor alcohol withdrawal is characterized by tremor, anxiety, nausea, vomiting, and insomnia.

Which behavior is most likely to indicate alcohol abuse? ›

Behavioral Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Misuse
  • Impaired judgment.
  • Inappropriate sexual behavior.
  • Aggressiveness.
  • Mood changes.
  • Depression.
  • Anxiety.
  • Poor social functioning.
  • Problems driving or operating machinery.
Apr 4, 2023

Which alcohol use disorder is most highly comorbid with? ›

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), three mental disorders most commonly comorbid with alcoholism are major depression, bipolar disorder and anxiety disorder. Less frequently co-diagnosed with alcoholism is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), dependent personality disorder and conduct disorder.

How do you stop someone from being an alcoholic? ›

Behavioral treatments include individual, group, and family therapy sessions. These can help your loved one identify the root causes of their alcohol use, repair damaged relationships, develop skills to stop or reduce their drinking, and learn how to deal with the drinking triggers that could cause them to relapse.

Does CBT work for alcoholism? ›

CBT is highly effective. Not only is it universally recognized as being evidence-based by most clinical guidelines and backed by a sizable amount of scientific data, CBT is also considered the gold standard of psychotherapy, especially for treating addictions such as alcohol use disorder.

Which 3 medications are used to treat alcohol use disorder severe? ›

  • There are 3 FDA-approved medications for.
  • the treatment of AUD:
  • disulfiram, acamprosate, naltrexone.

What are 3 resources someone could use to help with alcoholism? ›

Numerous resources are available for people struggling with alcohol abuse issues, some of which include:
  • The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration's nationwide treatment directory.
  • Alcoholics Anonymous.
  • Al-Anon Family Groups.
  • Women for Sobriety.
  • National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
Mar 20, 2023

What are 3 things a person can do to help an alcoholic? ›

How To Help Someone You Know Who Drinks Too Much
  • Step 1: Talk. Talk about your worries when the person is sober. ...
  • Step 2: Offer your help. Suggest activities that don't include drinking alcohol. ...
  • Step 3: Take care of yourself. Caring for someone with alcohol misuse or use disorder can be stressful.

What are the 4 C's of the addiction cycle? ›

These four factors, compulsion, craving, consequences and control, are unique to addiction alone and are classified as the 4 C's. The behaviors of most addicts are very similar.

What happens on day 4 of no alcohol? ›

However, by day 4 without alcohol, most people will have got beyond any initial withdrawal symptoms. All the alcohol will have left your system by now, and your body will begin to bounce back. If you're not as focused on alcohol, you may be eating better, drinking water, moving more, and perhaps sleeping more deeply.

How can I control and stop drinking? ›

11 ways to curb your drinking
  1. Put it in writing. ...
  2. Set a drinking goal. ...
  3. Keep a diary of your drinking. ...
  4. Don't keep alcohol in your house. ...
  5. Drink slowly. ...
  6. Choose alcohol-free days. ...
  7. Watch for peer pressure. ...
  8. Keep busy.

What is the progression of alcoholic? ›

Despite the variation in specific causes and timeframes from person to person, the disease itself follows a pattern. If you or your loved ones need help to identify the signs of problem drinking, four stages of alcoholism have been identified: pre-alcoholic, early alcoholic, chronic alcoholic, and end-stage alcoholism.

Is alcoholism a psychological issue? ›

Yes. Since 1956, the American Medical Association (AMA) has identified alcoholism as a disease characterized by compulsive decision-making, impulsive behavior and relapse.

What is a psychological factor of alcoholism? ›

International research showed that common mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, social anxiety, stress, alexithymia and having insecure attachment styles are risk factors for alcohol use disorder (AUD).

How does alcohol abuse differ from alcoholism? ›

Answer: In short, alcohol abuse is too much, too often and alcohol dependence is the inability to quit.

What is the most common defense mechanism used by alcoholics? ›

The three most common defense mechanisms used by those suffering from substance use disorders are denial, rationalization, and projection.

What is the most common medication for alcohol dependence? ›

Disulfiram (Antabuse®): This medicine was approved by the FDA to treat alcohol dependence*. If you drink alcohol, this medicine causes unpleasant effects, such as nausea, vomiting, headache, flushing (reddening of the face, neck, or chest), sweating, and chest pain. These effects can last for an hour or longer.

Who Cannot take naltrexone? ›

Naltrexone use should be avoided in people who are currently using opioids, in people with certain types of liver disease or with chronic pain who rely on opioids for pain control. Never give or sell naltrexone to anyone else, especially someone who is using opioids.

What are the 4 major types of therapy? ›

4 Types of Therapy for Mental Health and Well-Being
  • Cognitive.
  • Behavioral.
  • Humanistic.
  • Integrative/holistic.

Which therapy has the highest success rate? ›

1. Inpatient treatment. Inpatient treatment is one of the most effective mental health treatment options available. This type of treatment involves staying in a hospital or other facility where you can receive 24-hour care and supervision.

What is the most intense therapy? ›

Psychodynamic therapy

Psychoanalysis is a more intense type of psychodynamic therapy. According to the American Psychiatric Association, therapy sessions generally take place three or more times a week.

What are the 3 types of alcoholic? ›

Alcohols bind with other atoms to create secondary alcohols. These secondary alcohols are the three types of alcohol that humans use every day: methanol, isopropanol, and ethanol.

What are the 4 types of alcoholic? ›

The four types of alcohol are ethyl, denatured, isopropyl and rubbing. The one that we know and love the best is ethyl alcohol, also called ethanol or grain alcohol. It's made by fermenting sugar and yeast, and is used in beer, wine, and liquor.

What are the 4 types of drinker? ›

There are four types of drinker – which one are you?
  • Social drinking. To date, nearly all the research on drinking motives has been done on teens and young adults. ...
  • Drinking to conform. ...
  • Drinking for enhancement. ...
  • Drinking to cope.

What are 3 symptoms of an alcoholic? ›

Signs and symptoms may include:
  • Being unable to limit the amount of alcohol you drink.
  • Wanting to cut down on how much you drink or making unsuccessful attempts to do so.
  • Spending a lot of time drinking, getting alcohol or recovering from alcohol use.
  • Feeling a strong craving or urge to drink alcohol.
May 18, 2022

What is Type 1 alcoholism? ›

Type I alcoholism developed during adulthood and generally was characterized by binge drinking (i.e., prolonged drinking bouts with default of responsibilities), interspersed with prolonged periods of abstinence; loss of control over drinking; excessive guilt about drinking; and rapid progression from mild to severe ...

What mental and behavioral disorder is due to use of alcohol? ›

Alcohol abuse can cause signs and symptoms of depression, anxiety, psychosis, and antisocial behavior, both during intoxication and during withdrawal. At times, these symptoms and signs cluster, last for weeks, and mimic frank psychiatric disorders (i.e., are alcohol–induced syndromes).

How many alcoholics have mental health issues? ›

Experiencing alcohol or other drug dependence with one or more diagnosed mental health condition(s) is common in the community. It has been estimated that at least 30-50% of people with an alcohol and/or other drug issue also have a mental health condition.

Which of the following is a symptom of alcohol induced brain damage? ›

Difficulty walking, blurred vision, slurred speech, slowed reaction times, impaired memory: Clearly, alcohol affects the brain. Some of these impairments are detectable after only one or two drinks and quickly resolve when drinking stops.

What is the lifetime prevalence of alcohol use disorder? ›

Alcohol use disorder as defined by a new diagnostic classification was widespread and often untreated in the United States, with a lifetime prevalence of 29.1 percent but only 19.8 percent of adults were ever treated, according to an article published online by JAMA Psychiatry.

What to say to someone who won't stop drinking? ›

Encourage the person to share how they are feeling, and react positively when they share. Acknowledge that what they are going through is difficult. Try to notice when things are going well for them and point this out. Ask the person what kinds of things they would like to do.

What do you not say to an alcoholic? ›

Avoid using labels like “alcoholic” or “addict.” Instead, focus on the person and their behavior instead of the label. People who are struggling with alcohol addiction can become upset or defensive when they're referred to by these labels.

How do you motivate someone to stop drinking? ›

Good communication and encouraging someone to talk about why they drink can help someone quit alcohol. Citing specific examples of the effects of someone's drinking are more effective than giving an ultimatum.

What is behavioral therapy for addiction? ›

Behavioral therapies focus on changing an individual's behaviors concerning substance misuse, in part by teaching life skills that help them to better cope with situations that may lead to substance misuse and relapse.

What is the best therapy theory for addiction? ›

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): CBT is a one-on-one therapy during which you meet privately with a therapist over a period of time. It's often considered the most effective therapy for drug and alcohol use disorders.

What is the 3 part disease alcoholism? ›

Alcoholics Anonymous describes alcoholism as a three-fold disease: a spiritual malady, and a physical allergy, brought on by a mental obsession.

Is there a pill that makes you not want to drink alcohol? ›

Naltrexone is a medicine used to treat alcoholism (addiction to alcohol). It reduces your desire for alcohol. It comes under the brand names ReVia or Vivitrol. After you quit drinking, naltrexone may help you stay sober for a long time.

What is the best anti anxiety medication for alcoholics? ›

Paroxetine was found to be effective in social anxiety patients with alcohol dependence. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), especially sertraline, showed effective results in posttraumatic stress disorder and in comorbid AnxD–AUD.

What therapy can be used for addiction? ›

Behavioral therapy is perhaps the most commonly utilized types of treatment for addiction that is frequently used during substance rehabilitation. A general behavioral therapeutic approach has been adapted into a variety of effective techniques.

How does vivitrol work for alcohol dependence? ›

Vivitrol blocks endorphins from attaching to brain cells. This may prevent the excessive release of dopamine. It is believed that this is how Vivitrol may block the excessive reward of alcohol.

What mental illness is associated with alcoholism? ›

Alcohol abuse can cause signs and symptoms of depression, anxiety, psychosis, and antisocial behavior, both during intoxication and during withdrawal. At times, these symptoms and signs cluster, last for weeks, and mimic frank psychiatric disorders (i.e., are alcohol–induced syndromes).

How do you help someone who doesn't want to stop drinking? ›

Steps on How to Help an Alcoholic Who Doesn't Want Help
  1. Educate Yourself. ...
  2. Learn to Be Patient. ...
  3. Create Healthy Boundaries. ...
  4. Let Your Loved One Face the Consequences. ...
  5. Join a Support Group. ...
  6. Move Out. ...
  7. Put Your Finances in Order. ...
  8. Stage an Intervention.
Jul 15, 2022

Which psychotherapy is most effective for addiction? ›

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): CBT is a one-on-one therapy during which you meet privately with a therapist over a period of time. It's often considered the most effective therapy for drug and alcohol use disorders.

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