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Understanding And Treatment of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse

Getting Started First, the alcoholic must overcome denial and distorted thinking and develop the willingness to begin treatment—what Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) calls “the desire” to stop drinking. At this stage, it is important to obtain the help of someone knowledgeable about treatment and the options available. When getting started, some people have lost control over alcohol to such an extent that they will only be able to make immediate decisions and set the most basic goal of quitting drinking. Development of a detailed treatment plan with goals and choices may have to wait until after detoxification. On the other hand, “getting started” is exactly the place where some people with alcohol problems “get stuck.” In being stuck, denial is always a problem, but complete denial is not universal; people have various levels of awareness of their alcohol use problems, which means they are in different stages of readiness to change their drinking behavior. Professionals have taken advantage of this insight about alcoholism to develop treatment approaches that are matched to a person’s readiness to change. To understand treatment and make the right treatment choices, it helps to have an overview. The second phase of treatment is stopping use, which can be done on either an inpatient or outpatient basis. Medical evaluation and treatment are particularly important at this stage. In the third phase of treatment, a person typically gains the motivation necessary to maintain a commitment to sobriety, the knowledge and skills necessary to stay sober, and the support systems necessary to cope with the problems of daily life—the problems that everyone has to face—without resorting to the old “solution” of drinking. This is where the help of a treatment professional is important. A professional will help you better understand how alcohol has affected your health and your life, so that you can set goals and develop a plan to stay sober and choose the treatments that are right for you

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