Treatment | Alcohol addiction diagnosis and treatment


The treatment of people suffering from alcoholism can and should take place on several levels. Possible therapy methods can be found in the areas of psychotherapy and drug treatment. Furthermore, participation in a self-help group for people suffering from alcoholism can be helpful, especially in the initial stages.

The first step in successful alcoholism therapy is detoxification or so-called alcohol withdrawal. As a rule, this should take place as an in-patient and be monitored by a doctor. Inpatient admission during alcohol withdrawal offers the advantage of the possibility of immediate treatment of possible (possibly life-threatening) withdrawal symptoms.

Furthermore, many affected patients describe detoxification under direct medical supervision as much easier and more promising. After the actual alcohol withdrawal, the now dry alcoholic should be promptly included in a psychotherapeutic treatment. The psychotherapy for people suffering from alcoholism can be carried out both as in-patient and out-patient treatment.

However, especially in the initial period, the relapse rates indicate that an inpatient admission in the sense of a long-term withdrawal therapy (10 to 16 weeks) promises significantly more success on average. In mild cases of alcoholism, short-term therapy can be considered as an alternative to long-term treatment. In the course of the psychotherapy, strategies are discussed with the affected patient, which help to rigorously reject a renewed exposure to alcohol. In addition, motivational talks are held at regular intervals to encourage the former alcoholic to continue on the path of alcohol-free living. Since there are in most cases deeply rooted triggers for the development of alcoholism, the psychotherapeutic support also deals with the recognition and treatment of these triggers.

Prognosis for alcoholism therapy

In general, it can be assumed that the prognosis and thus the success of alcoholism therapy is less dependent on the type and intensity of the treatment measures carried out. The patient’s motivation and understanding of the effects of his or her own behaviour significantly determine the risk of a relapse. A former alcoholic is in a battle with himself for the rest of his life, but this battle can be won with sufficient willpower.