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Alcoholism Drug Addiction Treatment; Alcohol Drug Abuse Treatment

Abstract: Overview of main ingredients in the treatment of alcoholism and addiction.

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Alcoholism Drug Addiction Treatment; Alcohol Drug Abuse Treatment

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Question(s): 
Written by: Wendy Moelker, Psychologist in charge, tutor, Emergis center for mental health care, Goes, the Netherlands.
First version: 22 Jul 2008.
Latest revision: 24 Jul 2008.

What does alcoholism and drug addiction treatment programs look like? Describe alcohol drug abuse treatment.

Answer:

There are many differences between people with addiction problems, which make it impossible to give a clear general answer to this question. Globally, the treatment of an addiction is as follows: In the first place, there is an interview on admission. In this conversation, the therapist determines what is going on and if there is really an addiction. This conversation usually takes an hour. However, sometimes more admission interviews need to take place to get a clear picture of the problems and the person. Additional research may be necessary after this conversation; this is usually done with questionnaires. An example of such a questionnaire is the EuropASI, which determines the severity of the addiction. Depending on the impression of the interviewer and the preference of the addict, a treatment plan is made. This treatment plan contains your data, the goals of the treatment and by which treatments these goals can be pursued.

Usually, the first step is a treatment aimed at detoxification (not using) and suppression of withdrawal symptoms. This can take place either in a clinic or in the home environment, depending on the circumstances of the person and his surroundings. In this phase, the person in charge of the treatment can chose to use medication to help the patient to get off the habit. The treatment can have different goals; one can be to reduce the use of the substance, and to limit damage to the body, but usually the goal is total detoxification. The addict has a major part in the treatment: if he or she doesn't agree with the proposal, it will not happen.

Nowadays, many experts say that some long-time addicts benefit more from stabilizing the addiction than from total detoxification.

After this, other treatment goals will be worked on; for example, preventing or reducing a relapse, and improving the mental and social condition of the person. Depending on the nature of the problems, this can be done either in a rehabilitation center (clinical) or in the home environment, in which case the patient goes for treatment during weekdays or a few days per week.

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