Outpatient Alcohol Abuse Treatment
While alcohol consumed in moderation is generally accepted for responsible adults, it can easily slip past the recreational activity category and into drinking problem realm. A dependence on alcohol not only causes problems for the drinker, but also has the potential to affect anyone they come into contact with while under the influence. Often times relationships, both personal and professional are negatively affected by alcohol abuse. Sometimes a drinking problem gets so severely out of hand that the long arm of the law has to swat the abuser back in line.
Outpatient treatment services are offered in many communities across the United States. Sometimes they are a court-ordered obligation, and sometimes they are an intervention that is encouraged by family and friends. For the alcohol abuser, they are an important tool that assists in reinstating a life free of poor choices made by a need to be intoxicated.
Outpatient treatment services may include an Intensive Rehabilitation Intervention in the form of a six-day-a-week, two-hour-a-day program for those outpatients needing intensive stabilization to become or remain drug-free, for example. There are around 60,000 outpatient-treatment visits every year. The General Clinic at the Erie County Medical Center (an affiliate of The University of Buffalo) offers services for chronic relapse, vocational rehabilitation and domestic violence. These clinics provide alcohol and chemical-dependency treatment for adolescents, and family counseling is offered as needed. The Downtown Alcoholism Clinic also has HIV testing as part of the treatment program.
Another avenue for treating alcohol abuse as an outpatient is offered at Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies which is affiliated with The UNC School of Medicine. In this model, appointments for individual assessments are made and the prospective patient will need to meet the certain criteria including:
- Admits to alcohol or drug use
- Displays a willingness to participate in an abstinence-based program
- Is not suffering suicidal, homicidal, nor psychotic thoughts/feelings
- Has acknowledged disruption of behavioral, social, psychological, relational, legal, and/or educational effectiveness due to the abuse of alcohol
- Family is expected to participate
- Is not in acute withdrawal or does not exhibit need for medical stabilization
Once the individual is assessed and accepted, the program centers on:
- Individual comprehensive assessment/evaluation
- Therapy for abuser, group, and family
- Intensive outpatient therapy groups (up to 4-5 times per week)
- Individualized treatment plan and goals are set
- Pharmacological assistance is available if needed
- Education, process, and multifamily groups attended
- Family participation and support is emphasized and encouraged
An essential facet to all intensive outpatient treatment (IOT) efforts is a set of core services that are a standard part of treatment for each individual. Enhanced services may be added in an effort to tweak the plan to suit the distinct needs of the client in question. These measures for treatment may be delivered either on site or through functional and formal linkages with community-based agencies or individual providers.