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Alcohol Problems and Solutions. Part Two

In the first part of our article on alcohol problems and solutions we discussed the benefits of an eclectic approach that mixes professional detoxification services with therapies like CBT & MET as well as using 12 step support groups as one element of an aftercare program that offers longer term support.
If you or a loved one is suffering from the effects of alcohol abuse and is looking for a practical solution in the form of admission to an alcoholism treatment centre, please call one of our rehab counsellors right now and they will assess your needs and make the appropriate referral.
Couples Therapy
Research shows that nonalcoholic spouses are negatively effected by their partners drinking problems and should be included in the alcoholic treatment and solutions. Alcoholics participate more in the program and move more effectively towards recovery when their family is involved in the rehabilitation process.
Brief Interventions
Brief interventions are for those who are at risk of becoming addicted to alcohol. They receive counselling from health care professionals in five consultations or less. These sessions are generally informative in nature and focus on the negative effects of drinking as well as giving practical advice on ways to reach moderation or abstinence. Alcohol-addicted patients need to take it a step further and enter specialised addiction treatment centres.
The brief intervention approach has also been successful outside the primary care setting. Many trauma patients are found to be addicted to alcohol. Gentilello and colleagues performed a randomized controlled study with patients at a trauma center who were proven to have measurable blood alcohol levels when admitted. One motivational interview before discharge seemed to decrease drinking and re-admission for trauma during 6 months of follow-up.
Alcohol and Nicotine Treatment
It is possible that nicotine and alcohol cause dependence on each other. Therefore, it is possible that treating both addictions at the same time may be effective in reducing addiction to both drugs. A study by Hurt and colleagues suggested that treating nicotine addiction need not interfere with alcohol or drug abstinence and recovery.
Pharmacotherapy
Medications have recently been developed to block alcohol-brain connections that may encourage alcoholism. In 1995 the use of naltrexone was approved in the United States as a support in preventing relapse in recovering alcoholics who are participating regularly in therapy. Naltrexone is only successful when taken regularly and it is known to have side effects.
Acamprosate was used in various randomized controlled European tests with over 3,000 alcoholics who were attending rehabilitation and counselling. The results showed that double the patients taking acamprosate remained abstinent for a year, compared to those who were only receiving therapy. Studies show that the use of medications together with a alcohol problems treatment is a more effective solution.
Progress in Alcoholism Treatment.
Alcohol Problems and Solutions are more accessible today with a vast range of treatment options. Some treatments, like the self-help programs, have a long history while others, like brief intervention and therapies, such as motivational enhancement therapy and couples therapy, are more modern and are effective in decreasing the danger for alcohol-related problems.
The main change that has taken place is the initiation of alcoholism clinical research. Consistent and continued research on alcohol and its effects in the brain and on behavior should help medical professionals in the development of medications to decrease craving and improve the chance for alcohol abuse solutions that promote alcoholism recovery when used with therapy.

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