“Does the treatment of alcoholism really work?” is perhaps THE quintessential question of not only the modern times but of time immemorial. Right from the day that the Homo sapiens discovered the physical and psychological effects of alcohol it has always held a unique nuisance value in our society. Right from the heathen Gods and the more popular divine Avatars alcohol has held sway over the psyche of the mere mortals and those who were supposed to be a little less so. There have been those who have always consumed alcohol in moderation, and as the modern science testifies, have even reaped health benefits of the spirits.

However, contrary to the much-touted health benefits, the consumption of alcohol resulting in health-related and social problems is broadly grouped under the heading of alcoholism or alcohol dependence syndrome. The ill effects of this disorder on the individual and the society as a whole have never been hidden and there have always been sincere endeavors from the so-called custodians of our societal norms and the medical professionals to address this issue. Which brings us to the same question or one having the same undertones – is this issue addressable?

Various therapies in the treatment for alcoholism

Through the ages, numerous therapies have been tried to address this nuisance. These therapies are ranging from yoga to meditation, group counseling sessions to individual psychotherapy; self-help groups to alcoholics anonymous; and from physical ostracization from society to the administration of alcohol aversion drugs. The results, sadly, have been at variance in numerous scientific studies undertaken to study the disability.

What Works?

A fact which emerges as a common thread in all of these studies is that active participation of friends and loves ones of the affected individual has a major effect on the outcome of most of these therapies.

As an example, the esoteric art of Yoga needs to be taught to an uninitiated person in a slow and structured manner. If the commitment of the affected individual and his family and friends is suspicious then sticking to this type of rehab program becomes an issue resulting in the virtual failure of therapy.

Group therapy and one to one sessions are generally carried out in rehab centers where it is very important for the counselors and instructors to show a sympathetic attitude towards the attendees and not try to humiliate them. It has been seen that most of the dropouts from rehab centers are those who did not take too well to the group sessions and shied away from the same.

Radical measures like expunging an individual from the societal precinct don’t really work as these individuals may worsen by indulging in other forms of substance abuse as well.

Drugs causing alcohol aversion are given at an Alcohol Rehab Center, but the results are usually short-lived.

What is required is to address the needs of every individual separately and design programs based on the needs. One for all kind of rehab programs have a lower rate of success and higher relapses. It is paramount that the Intensive Outpatient Program incorporates the family and friends of the patient into the program because that gives him the much needed strength to overcome alcoholism.

In dealing with the treatment for the alcohol dependence syndrome, one has to realize that relapses are a part of the overall therapy and should never be taken as a failure of treatment. An individual may have several relapses before he or she remains free of the desire to consume alcohol for a long period of time. Stellar support from friends and family members is the cornerstone for the success of treatment of alcoholism.

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