Individual therapy is a tried-and-true intervention for alcoholism. In fact, it’s a leading treatment method used by addiction treatment providers like San Antonio Recovery Center. Individual therapy treats alcoholism by getting at the root causes behind an addiction and helping people modify thoughts and behaviors to better support sobriety. Self-understanding and self-acceptance are often lacking in people who struggle with addiction. Ongoing therapy sessions help disrupt faulty self-perception and provide space to work toward recovery goals in a safe, supportive environment.
What is Individual Therapy?
Before going into how alcoholism is treated using individual therapy, it’s worth explaining just what individual therapy entails. Individual therapy for alcoholism involves working one-on-one with a trained clinician during weekly therapy sessions. These sessions can last anywhere from one to two hours. A round of therapy runs from one month to a year or even longer. How long someone remains in therapy depends on their personal needs and how rapidly they make progress.
Ultimately, the goal of alcoholism individual therapy is to equip people with the coping mechanisms and skills they need to avoid drinking and repair any damage that addiction has caused in their lives. Doing so involves discussion, role-playing, practicing skills, and learning how to manage volatile emotions.
What is Alcoholism?
Alcoholism also goes by another name: alcohol use disorder. It is classified as a type of addiction. Note that alcohol abuse differs from alcoholism. Alcohol abuse doesn’t necessarily mean an addiction is present. Rather, someone who abuses alcohol is actively misusing it by drinking too much or too often or both. Alcohol abuse often serves as the precursor to alcoholism.
Simply defined, alcoholism is an addiction to alcohol where someone is unable to control their drinking behavior. This is often despite that behavior causing damage throughout their life. Many people with alcoholism feel as if they cannot function without drinking. Alcoholism commonly involves serious physical and mental side effects. It also disrupts lives by leading to:
- Broken relationships
- Financial trouble
- Job loss
- Worsening health
- Decreased quality of life
These life disruptions are often ignored by people suffering from alcoholism. All too often, their lives have to bottom out before they take action. Getting into addiction treatment can never come too soon.
Signs of Alcohol Withdrawal
Alcohol withdrawal occurs when a person suddenly stops drinking after prolonged or heavy alcohol use. Common signs of symptoms include:
- Increased heart rate
- Increased blood pressure
In severe cases of alcohol withdrawal syndrome (AWS), people may experience seizures, hallucinations, and delirium tremens (DTs), which can be life-threatening. If you or a loved one is experiencing severe symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, seek medical attention immediately. Professional medical treatment can help prevent serious complications and ensure a successful recovery. Keep in mind that everyone experiences different levels and symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, so it is important to be aware of the signs.
Addressing Alcoholism Through Individual Therapy
With an understanding of individual therapy and alcoholism, it’s time to turn to how alcoholism is treated using individual therapy. Individual therapy for alcoholism often uses one of four specific therapeutic interventions:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Motivational interviewing
- Contingency management
- Dialectical behavior therapy
Each approach tackles alcoholism in a slightly different way and can be customized to meet a person’s needs.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is an action-focused type of therapy that analyzes the patterns of thought and behavior that govern someone’s disorder. Once the psychological and behavioral roots of the addiction are identified, the patient is guided through a process of altering those negative patterns that keep them locked in addiction. Motivational interviewing is a type of alcoholism individual therapy that prioritizes increasing someone’s motivation to make lifestyle changes that promote and safeguard sobriety.
Contingency management is an approach that is all about positive reinforcement. It involves the patient receiving rewards for meeting certain goals during recovery. These are often vouchers for tangible things like bus passes or healthy snacks. Lastly, dialectical behavior therapy is similar to cognitive behavioral therapy. Layered on to that foundation is an added emphasis on managing extreme emotions and embracing mindfulness practices.
Individual Therapy for Alcohol Abuse at San Antonio Recovery Center
Individual therapy is an evidence-based method for overcoming alcoholism. Every day, individual therapy helps people reclaim their lives and meet their recovery goals. The comprehensive addiction treatment plans offered by San Antonio Recovery Center often incorporate one of the four behavioral therapies outlined above. Moreover, our expert clinicians help match you to the interventions that are likely to provide the biggest impact.
Find out how San Antonio Recovery Center deploys individual therapy to address alcoholism when you call 866.957.7885.