What Is a Harm-Reduction Approach to Alcoholism?

image showing a person needing help for addictionAlcohol rehab clinics have to use a variety of treatment methods in order to offer patients the best chance of recovering from their addictions. One of the options on the table is a harm-reduction approach. It is a less common type of treatment method because the vast majority of patients choose to quit alcohol entirely and go cold turkey.

In this article, we are going to delve into the harm-reduction approach to alcohol rehab. It will provide more information on this treatment option and what it can do.

How Does Harm-Reduction Work?

The primary principle behind a harm-reduction approach is that the person will not quit alcohol straight away. Instead, they will attend drug rehab clinics as an inpatient. They will still drink alcohol, but it will be administered in the same way as medication. Over time, the amount of alcohol given will start to decline, until the patient is ready to stop drinking entirely.

This process can take a long time. Alongside the administering of alcohol, the patient will still participate in talking therapies and other activities with their fellow patients.

Why Do This?

In some cases, the patient has absolutely no choice in the matter. An addiction works by making the body dependent on the substance in question. In the case of alcohol, the body becomes used to having a certain amount of alcohol in the blood. It begins to think that it requires alcohol to function from day-to-day. If the flow of alcohol dries up, it starts to panic. This is where withdrawal symptoms start to appear. In many cases, these withdrawal symptoms can be fatal.

A doctor will make a decision as to whether it is too dangerous to simply go cold turkey. Long-term addicts are more likely to take the harm-reduction approach.

Is the Harm-Reduction Approach Easier?

There is no evidence to say that this is an easier way to quit alcohol than removing it in one swoop. In fact, rehab centres have reported that it can prove much more difficult because of the longer recovery periods expected. It is not uncommon to see people spending a longer period in rehab because they have to reduce the alcohol flow at a slower rate.

A harm-reduction approach merely protects people from the worst of the withdrawal symptoms. The body will still crave an additional amount of alcohol. Patients will still want to feel the buzz they have always felt in the past.

Do not assume that being able to drink alcohol for longer is an easier way to recover. Short-term addicts find that they cannot quit alcohol in this way. They need to completely remove alcohol from their lives or they will become too tempted to start drinking again when they come out of rehab.

Overall, harm-reduction is an effective method of treatment in certain situations. Speak to a doctor before deciding on the best option. They will perform a medical examination and consult other professionals on the right treatment choice. By going through the proper channels, patients will increase their chances of a successful recovery.

We believe alcohol rehab clinics need to offer a harm-reduction approach to long-term addicts. They know about the dangers of forcing an alcoholic to go cold turkey in rehab centres when their bodies are not ready.

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