Every individual is different and will require a somewhat uniquely structured alcohol treatment plan.

There are several types of alcohol treatment programs available. Typically, the longer an individual has abused alcohol and the higher the volume of alcohol abused, the more intense the treatment plan he or she may require. A successful treatment plan will enable the individual to address his or her drinking problem, explore the emotional pain that comes with addictions, and process some of the other life problems that may contribute to one’s drinking. Regardless of a treatment program’s length, subsequent maintenance support and long-term follow-ups are crucial to one’s recovery success.


Since drinking alcohol is widely accepted in many cultures, it is not uncommon for individual’s social use to turn into abuse or addiction. The lines between what is socially acceptable and what is healthy for a specific individual will vary, as social norms shift between differing locations and each individual is unique. In order to tell if an individual suffers from alcoholism or alcohol abuse will depend on a myriad of factors. Some of the interconnected factors include, but are not limited to:

  • Genetics
  • Emotional health
  • Social environment
  • How one was raised

Individuals who have substance addiction and/or alcoholism in his or her family history will have a higher predisposition to developing drinking problems. Furthermore, individuals who suffer from other mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder are also at risk, as alcohol may be used to self-medicate. The simplest way to tell whether or not an individual is abusing alcohol or is an alcoholic is if one’s drinking is causing problems in one’s life. If the answer is yes, then he or she is most likely abusing alcohol or is an alcoholic.

Effects of Alcoholism

Alcohol abuse and alcoholism can affect all aspects of one’s life. It can cause detrimental and irrefutable physiological damages for the abuser, and it can significantly harm one’s personal relationships and professional life. Long-term alcohol abuse can affect almost every organ in one’s body, including one’s brain.

The potentially lethal damage that heavy drinking can cause in one’s body can manifest in ailments such as cancer, heart problems, and liver disease. The social consequences that come with alcoholism can be devastating. Alcohol abusers and alcoholics are much more likely to struggle with unemployment, live in poverty, and have problems with domestic violence.

Alcoholics and individuals who struggle with alcohol abuse put an enormous strain on his or her closest network of people. Often times, family members and close friends of alcoholics feel obligated to cover for the individual with the drinking problem. They will take it upon themselves to clean up the messes created by the alcoholic, lie for them, and/or financially overcompensate for the alcoholic. Continuing to live the façade that all is well will only increase the amount of resentments experienced by those surrounding the alcoholic. Children of individuals who abuse alcohol or are alcoholics can suffer long-lasting emotional trauma, as they are especially sensitive.


Before attendance of an outpatient treatment program an individual will have to go through the detoxification process. The detoxification from alcohol can be dangerous. It is recommended for individuals struggling with alcohol abuse to seek professional medical guidance to help with the adverse effect that can accompany withdrawal symptoms. This will allow the individual access to physiological assistance should it be needed.

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient rehabilitation programs can be beneficial for individuals who are unable to take extended absences from work or personal obligations. It allows its participants to continue to live at home during his or her drug or alcohol rehabilitation. Outpatient programs also tend to be less expensive than residential or inpatient treatment programs. These treatment programs run in clinics, community mental health clinics, hospitals, and residential facilities with outpatient clinics. The length of attendance requirements will vary depending on the program. There are a couple of different types of outpatient treatment programs that are currently available. The three most common types are intensive outpatient, partial hospitalization, and therapy and counseling. The type that will be most appropriate for the individual will depend on the level of one’s addictions and his or her personal needs.

Intensive Outpatient

The intensive outpatient programs are similar to inpatient residential treatment programs, with the primary focus being relapse prevention. Intensive outpatient programs typically meet for at least two to four hours per day, for a minimum of three days per week. Often intensive outpatient programs are catered to work around an individual’s school or work schedule. They can run anywhere from two to twelve months of in length.

Partial hospitalization:

Partial hospitalization treatment programs are especially helpful for individuals who have stable living environments, but require ongoing medical monitoring. This is a more rigorous treatment option, as individuals will meet at a hospital three to five times per week, for at least four to six hours each day. They typically run for three months.

Therapy and counseling

Therapy and counseling can be used in combination with other treatment plans. They can also be utilized as a form of follow-up support after an inpatient rehabilitation stay. Therapy and counseling can be beneficial in helping an individual identify one’s root cause of his or her drug use, learning healthier life coping skills and guidance as to how to repair relationships affected by one’s alcoholism. Group or individual therapy, behavioral therapies, family counseling and community based self-help programs all fall under the category of outpatient therapy and counseling treatment.

Payment and Further Information

The cost of alcohol abuse treatment can be vary significantly and will depend on one’s insurance, an individual’s treatment needs and the facility he or she selects. Many possible treatment programs offer a sliding scale when it comes to payment. If an individual has health insurance, it is not uncommon for some portion of drug rehabilitation treatment to be, at least partially covered, depending on the type of insurance. SAMHSA (The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) continuously update an extensive listing of licensed, certified drug and alcohol treatment facilities.