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Online Therapy for Alcohol Addiction

Phi Atratus
  • Dec 09, 2021
  • 6 min read
Guy in his 30s/40s holding a bottle of hard liquor, looking like he’s questioning his life choices

Alcohol is one of the most common things people can easily get addicted to. Addiction negatively influences people's well-being. People with alcohol addiction usually find it challenging to go about their regular activities, such as work, social activities, and leisure.

They usually spend their time doing everything they can to get alcohol and seem unable to stay away from it even when they know the danger it poses to them. 

According to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics, 95,000 Americans die from the effects of alcohol misuse each year. 

A lot of these deaths can be prevented with alcohol addiction therapy, even through online addiction counseling. And yet, most alcohol addicts are not aware of its effectiveness.

When Is Alcohol Addiction Therapy Needed?

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a real and serious medical condition that necessitates alcohol addiction therapy. It is mainly characterized by the inability to stop or control alcohol usage, regardless of occupational, health, or social consequences.

Other names for AUD include alcohol dependence, alcohol addiction, and alcohol abuse. This disorder can be categorized as mild, moderate, or severe. 

People at risk of having AUD are those who engage in heavy alcohol consumption or binge drinking, those who’ve grown a tolerance for alcohol usage, and those who started drinking alcohol early in life (especially women).

Similarly to drug-related disorders, the influence of genetics on the development of AUD cannot be undermined. Genetics are estimated to be 45–65% liable in determining whether someone is prone to this disorder. 

Other factors that may determine the development of AUD include trauma, environmental factors, and mental conditions like PTSD, depression, and ADHD. These disorders can coincide with AUD.

Given all of that, you might be wondering if you have this disorder or not and whether alcohol addiction therapy is right for you. This is where knowing the symptoms of AUD is very important.

Is Alcohol Addiction Therapy Right for Me?

To assess whether you have AUD and are in need of alcohol addiction treatment, ask yourself whether you’ve experienced any of the following in the past year:

  • Drinking more than you intended to
  • Trying to reduce the amount of alcohol you drink, but finding it difficult
  • Getting sick when staying away from alcohol
  • Spending a lot of time trying to get alcohol
  • Realizing that drinking alcohol is interfering with your relationships and work
  • Losing interest in activities you previously enjoyed in order to drink alcohol
  • Getting into risky situations after alcohol consumption, such as driving or engaging in unprotected sex
  • Continuing to drink alcohol even though you noticed your physical and mental health getting worse
  • Needing more alcohol than before to get the same effect
  • Realizing that you experience withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, sweating, increased heart rate, and panic.

If you’ve experienced most of these in the past year, there is cause for alarm. You should reach out for alcohol addiction therapy.

Can I Deal With Alcohol Use Disorder by Myself?

Some people believe that there’s no difference between consulting a professional and using these therapeutic techniques by themselves. However, this is a fallacy. Trying to enact therapy methods by yourself is less effective and increases relapse

An alliance between therapist and client, called the therapeutic relationship, needs to be formed for any substance abuse counseling to be effective. This bond allows for trust, empathy, and effective relations between both individuals to take place. 

Your therapist will be able to tell you when you have a tendency to fall back to abusing alcohol, as well as the best ways to avoid relapse. They are also very important for ensuring that you achieve your treatment goals.

What Is Alcohol Addiction Therapy Like?

You may have come across the subject of therapy for addiction before, but perhaps you just didn’t think it was necessary. Perhaps you’ve tried other options that didn't work out, so you expect the same from therapy as well.

But therapy is different.

So what exactly is alcohol addiction therapy? Just as all other therapies used for modifying behavior, alcohol addiction therapy uses diverse therapeutic approaches to modify alcohol misuse. 

Therapy generally encompasses using scientifically-approved techniques to modify behavior. In this case, to modify alcohol misuse.

Such techniques include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), motivational enhancement therapy (MET), and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT).

Cognitive behavioral therapy

CBT follows the idea that your thoughts and behaviors influence the way you feel. Therefore, changing the way you think about a particular situation can help you cope with it. 

Research shows that CBT is effective as a psychotherapy technique for addictions, especially when combined with other treatment plans. It works by helping you identify your in-depth thoughts and feelings whenever the need to drink comes up.

For example, CBT can help you realize that the bottle you are depending on and thinking you cannot do without is actually of no help to you at all. It can then help transform such incorrect beliefs and establish a way for you to cope with triggers, thus preventing relapse. 

Motivational enhancement therapy

MET is an effective client-based intervention strategy. It uses feedback and plans for the future to alter all drinking behaviors in the long run. Together with your therapist, you will draft out plans to change your behavior, build up your confidence, and adapt to a new lifestyle that’s free from alcohol use.

MET does not directly bring change in your alcohol use. Instead, it serves to motivate you into continuing your treatment plan and going along with what your therapist encourages you to do. For example, your therapist may utilize MET if you're falling back to your old ways during therapy.

Dialectical behavioral therapy

DBT is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy, and research has shown that it’s effective in treating substance use disorders. It functions by improving your ability to develop skills that would help you regulate your emotions. 

This therapy method relies on mindfulness skills and encourages you to be in the present. If you drink because you’re worried about the future or struggle with past traumatic events, DBT will help you focus on the present moment. 

It will teach you to live with the pain you are going through instead of pushing it away or repressing it with the aid of alcohol. 

This may involve exposing you to certain triggers that would make you want to use alcohol while providing you with more adaptive skills to resolve these triggers instead of resorting to alcohol.

Can Online Addiction Counseling Help Me?

Many people wonder about the effectiveness of online counseling. It may surprise you to know that online therapy is as effective as in-person therapy. The advent of the pandemic only further illustrated the effectiveness of online therapy. 

The advantages of online therapy include affordability, not being restricted by the narrow selection of therapists around you, more flexibility in scheduling your sessions, and being able to do it all from the comfort of your own home.

If you are an alcohol addict with self-esteem issues or social anxiety, you might not want to come face to face with your counselor. It will inevitably be more difficult for you to open up this way. But doing addiction therapy online means that extra pressure is taken off your shoulders.

In Conclusion About Alcohol Addiction Therapy

Alcohol use disorder can be treated with the help of alcohol addiction therapy, and that includes online addiction counseling. You really don’t have to struggle with your addiction all by yourself. 

Remember that there’s no judgment from the therapist’s side. At DoMental, our licensed therapists are professionals you can completely open up to and get help with overcoming your addiction.

The first step is to accept that you have a problem and open yourself to accepting help.