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Recovery Addiction Methods and Therapies

Abstract: Types of therapies for alcohol drug abuse treatment, including medicines used to aid withdrawal.

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Recovery Addiction Methods and Therapies

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Written by: Wendy Moelker, Psychologist in charge, tutor, Emergis center for mental health care, Goes, the Netherlands.
First version: 22 Jul 2008.
Latest revision: 06 Oct 2008.

What kind of therapies exists for alcohol and drug recovery addiction?


There are different types of therapies that can support the treatment of the dependence. Cognitive behavioural therapy is a therapy in which a specially trained therapist tries to change the thoughts, feelings and conduct of the dependent person that lead to relapse, use or undesired behaviour. The therapist also tries, together with the client, to teach certain behaviour to prevent the person from relapsing: for example learning how to reject drinks or drugs that are being offered. The client learns how to deal with his intense need to use.

The therapy also teaches clients how to deal with life without the dependence. Other forms of therapy are psychodynamic psychotherapy, group therapy, family therapy, and self-help groups. Every experienced and well-trained therapist can conduct these therapies, but they are often conducted in clinics that are specialized in addictions. Often a combination of different treatments in a certain order is used, for example first a (poly)clinical detoxification and physical recovery supported by medication, and afterwards treatment aimed at the remaining problems.

Since addicts often use drugs to suppress unpleasant feelings, one goal of therapy often is to teach people to learn to accept unpleasant feelings, and to handle them in constructive ways.

Medicines for alcohol abuse treatment


Many tranquializers are addiction forming. Such tranquilizers are not suitable for the treatment of Alcohol addiction, because of the risk of simply exchanging one addiction with another addiction. They can be used short-term for in-patients. Non-addictive tranquilizers which are used as an aid in getting rid of alcohol addiction are hyrixoizin (Atarax), buspiron (Buspar), alimenmazin (Theralen) and proemtazin (Lergigan).

Insomnia medication

Propiomazin (Propavan) can be used for insomnia problems while withdrawing from alcohol addiction. More information.

SSRI medication

Depression is common for alcoholics and for withdrawal from drugs. SSRI medicines can help. More information

Other medication

Naltrexone takes away the effect of many addictive drugs, including some of the effects of alcohol. Antabus (disulfiram) causes unpleasant symptoms if taken with alcohol.

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