What Are the Different Types of Outpatient Alcohol Rehab?

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  • Written By: A.E. Freeman
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 10 January 2020
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Types of outpatient alcohol rehab include therapy, medication, and support groups. Some people who struggle with alcoholism may work with specialists who help them change behaviors and set goals. Therapy options for outpatient alcohol rehab include individual sessions or therapy in a group setting. Treating alcoholism in an outpatient setting usually works best when the patient will not have to go through detox.

There are several different styles of therapy used in outpatient alcohol rehab. One type of therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, helps patients recognize the triggers that cause them to drink and learn to cope with and ignore those triggers. Motivational therapy helps patients find a motivation for quitting alcohol. A counselor works with patients to help them realize why they wish to quit drinking.

Other therapies revolve around families or couples. Some types of outpatient alcohol rehab help patients and their families reestablish relationships with each other. Family therapy also helps a patient work through alcoholism and stop or reduce drinking.

Some people may take prescription medication as part of outpatient alcohol rehab. There are several oral medicines that treat alcoholism. Disulfiram makes a person ill whenever he takes a drink of alcohol. Another medication, naltrexone, lessens the impact of alcohol so that a person doesn't feel elated or happy when drinking. Other medications, such as acamprosate, reduce cravings for alcohol. The medicationsa are usually taken orally, though naltrexone is available as an injection as well.


Support groups and group therapy can also help a patient recover from dependence on alcohol. Group therapy sessions help patients to work through their reasons for drinking with a therapist and with people who are going through the same process. Like individual and family therapy, attending group therapy helps a patient learn and cope with the psychological reasons for drinking.

As part of an outpatient alcohol rehab program, a person may choose to attend support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous. Family members may attend groups such as Al-Anon for support. Attending support groups can keep a person on track once he finishes counseling or be supplemental to any medical treatment a patient receives. Some patients use only the 12-step program developed by a support group to help get over alcoholism.

Outpatient alcohol rehab may also include treatment for other conditions exacerbated or caused by alcoholism. People who drink excessively may also need treatment for high blood pressure and liver problems. Certain psychological conditions, such as anxiety and depression, can trigger problem drinking and should be treated as well.


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