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How Alcohol Counselling Can Help With A Speedy Recovery

Lisa Taylor
Lisa TaylorAddiction Counsellor

A person clinically diagnose as an alcoholic will almost always need to undergo a full rehabilitation programme that includes both medical detox and psychological counselling. When counselling is left out in favour of a quick detox-only rehab, the chances for a full and speedy recovery are significantly reduced. Why? Because alcoholism is more than just a physical problem. It also involves the mind, thoughts, and emotions. Alcohol counselling is necessary to address these additional issues.

Private rehab clinics throughout the UK use a variety of counselling therapies to help their patients. They have learned through both experience and a vast array of scientific literature that counselling can help with a speedy recovery when applied appropriately. The key is to use the right kind of counselling with individual patients.

We will use the occasion of this post to discuss different types of counselling and how these might be utilised in alcohol recovery. The important thing for you to understand is that you need alcohol counselling if you are a diagnosed alcohol. If you have been diagnosed as a problem drinker or alcohol abuser instead, you can still benefit from a well-developed counselling plan.

A Medical and Psychological Condition

It is commonly understood in the 21st century that alcoholism can be classified as a medical condition. Some would go so far as to call it disease or illness. Classifying alcoholism as a disease puts it on the same medical plane has other things such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. But alcoholism has one additional component that makes it unique when compared to these other diseases: personal choice.

For example, people suffering from both diabetes and alcoholism can receive medical treatments that include prescription medications and recommendations for diet and exercise. But the diabetic cannot choose to be cured. His/her body will do what it wants to do in response to the treatment provided. Alcoholism, like all addictions, is entirely different.

It has been said that the only true cure for alcoholism and other addictions is abstinence. Furthermore, there is only one sure way to make abstinence permanent, and that way is through individual choice. The recovering alcoholic can choose to never drink again. He or she can elect to take the steps necessary to avoid all future temptations to drink. This is what makes alcoholism and other forms of addiction so unique when compared to other kinds of diseases. It is also why counselling is so necessary.

How Counselling Can Help

The main thrust of alcohol counselling is to address the psychological aspects of addiction in the same way medical detox has already addressed the physical. Let us consider what happens with medical detox to further understand the benefits of counselling.

Medical detox is necessary because the body becomes accustomed to having alcohol in the system. Before the body's systems can return to normal function, it must be entirely rid of all alcohol. The only way to accomplish this is through medical detox. The mind works in a similar fashion.

The mind of an alcoholic is negatively affected in a number of ways. First, alcohol alters the way a person thinks. These altered thought patterns can become so severe that the alcoholic is convinced that he or she cannot survive without drinking. Alcoholics also tend to mistakenly believe that drinking is the solution to their problems rather than the cause of them. It is virtually impossible to reverse these thoughts without professional intervention.

Alcohol also creates chemical changes in the brain that can lead to mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety. Once one of these mental conditions sets in, prescription medications can only go so far in treating them. Most patients require additional counselling that seeks to get their thoughts back on track.

Alcohol counselling is designed to retrain the brain to a more rational way of thinking. Just as the body needs to be retrained to function without alcohol, so does the alcoholic's thought patterns. When good counselling is applied in a residential rehab programme, it leads to a speedier recovery that tends to be more thorough and reduces the likelihood of future relapse.

Examples of Counselling Therapies

Alcoholism treatments have matured significantly over the last several decades. The fact that we no longer view treatment for addiction as a one-size-fits-all operation has allowed those of us in the recovery community to look at every available option – including options for counselling.

Today there are just as many counselling therapies as there are counsellors. To give you an idea of some of therapies being used, here is a list of the most common ones found at private clinics throughout the UK:

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy – Also known as CBT, this counselling therapy was first developed to treat clinical depression. Therapists discovered it was so effective that they decided to adapt it to alcohol recovery. CBT is a goal-oriented counselling therapy that encourages the patient to reach measurable milestones throughout the course of treatment. By making it goal-oriented with a specific requirement for completion, patients are not allowed to continue endlessly without ever making progress.
  • Assertiveness Therapy – Assertiveness therapy is a kind of counselling that can be applied in the individual or group setting. It helps patients understand more about who they are as people, as well as why other people react to them in the ways they do. Assertiveness therapy focuses on taking personal responsibility for one's thoughts and actions.
  • Psychodynamic Therapy – The counselling typically associated with support groups is known as psychodynamic therapy. It encourages recovering alcoholics to express their thoughts and emotions with the idea of promoting mutual support and accountability.
  • Psychoeducational Therapy – This is another counselling therapy normally associated with support groups. It seeks to equip recovering alcoholics with practical knowledge relating to healthy lifestyles, healthy relationships, and so on. It is believed this sort of knowledge makes it easier for those in recovery to avoid future relapse.

As you can see, there are multiple ways of counselling alcoholics in recovery. The kinds of counselling therapies chosen for each person in recovery will depend on the analysis and recommendations of therapists. An experienced therapist can create a bespoke treatment plan that applies the appropriate kinds of counselling to each patient.

You should now understand, to some extent, the importance of alcohol counselling in a speedy and effective recovery from addiction. Counselling is offered by all of the private rehab clinics we work with throughout the UK, as well as private counsellors, alcohol charities, and support groups. Those who choose to be treated by the NHS may or may not be referred to counselling services.

If you or someone you love is suffering from a drinking problem, we invite you to contact us to learn more about alcohol counselling and medically supervised detox. We can connect you with a treatment programme right away. The sooner we can do that, the more quickly you can overcome your problem.

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