Alcohol Treatment Tools
We’ve assembled several helpful tools to help people understand their current relationship with alcohol and to help them make informed decisions about changes they might like to make going forward. By the time people find their way to our website, they’re likely questioning the severity of their drinking and whether their current use is even considered a problem. The simplest answer to the question “Do I have an alcohol problem?” is this one: Alcohol is a problem in your life if it’s creating problems for you. Notice how that response focuses on the individual and not judgment by other people. While anyone’s alcohol use may cause other people problems, it’s not a problem for them until they decide that the consequences of their drinking on others, creates problems for them.
A simple, four question tool to determine if alcohol abuse exists and needs to be addressed.
AUDIT is a simple and effective method of screening for unhealthy or risky alcohol use.
CAGE Assessment Tool
This assessment is called the CAGE Screening Tool For Alcoholism. It is a simple, four question tool to determine if alcohol abuse exists and needs to be addressed. CAGE is derived from the four questions of the tool: Cut down, Annoyed, Guilty and Eye-opener. Complete the questionnaire yourself. There’s always power in understanding
Standard Drink Equivalents
In the United States, one “standard” drink (or one alcoholic drink equivalent) contains roughly 14 grams of pure alcohol, which is found in:
- 12 ounces of regular beer, which is usually about 5% alcohol
- 5 ounces of wine, which is typically about 12% alcohol
- 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits, which is about 40% alcohol
Even though they come in different sizes, the drinks below are each examples of one standard drink:
AUDIT Assessment Tool
This assessment digs a little deeper. It’s called the Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test or simply AUDIT. AUDIT is a simple and effective method of screening for unhealthy or risky alcohol use. It is the most widely used alcohol screening tool in the world. Importantly, it provides a framework for further investigation to help people at risk, cease their alcohol consumption and avoid harmful consequences. The AUDIT score is broken into 3 categories which range from Low-risk or no action required all the way to Alcohol Dependent where detox and treatment are recommended. It’s a very helpful assessment that can be completed quickly and privately. Based on score, we offer suggestions for easy follow up.
Before taking this assessment, reference the Standard Drink Equivalents chart to help you submit your answers.
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Treatment Program Comparison Table
The following table shows the different types of alcohol treatment programs available and illustrates some of the key tradeoffs of each. It clearly shows why some programs are less effective than others based on treatment type
Overnight facility where people go to temporarily stop drinking and get through acute, physical withdrawal symptoms
Controlled environment facility where individuals go for multiple weeks to stop drinking and attempt to learn news ways to cope with alcoholism.
Programs where individuals talk with contemporaries or professionals and attempt to work on identifying changes they can make in their lives to help stop drinking. Examples of talk programs are: AA, Counseling , Intensive Outpatient, Group therapy and Self-Help including prayer, meditation, reading books, podcasts, etc.
Medication Assisted Treatment programs (MAT) are programs where medications are dispensed to try to help an individual not drink. They are generally not stand alone but are typically offered in combination with other types of programs
Evidence based program using medications and behavior science to treat the underlying cause for repetitive, unwanted drinking. Program also helps develop new routines for improving overall quality of life
Length of Program
Length of stay is generally overnight but may be up to one week. Humans metabolize alcohol completely within 72-78 hours after the last intake. Physical withdrawal symptoms may occur as soon as 1 hour after consumption and may include vomiting, anxiety, profuse sweating, heart palpitations, and even seizures. Seizures typically occur 2-3 days after last consumption.
Stays range from one week to 90 days. Typically stays last 28 days
May be short-term or long term depending upon need, type and philosophy
May be short-term or long term depending upon specific medication and prescribed use
Detox medications are taken for less than one week. Treatment medications are taken for about 60 days. The total program duration is about 75 days
Detox typically includes supervised care, hydration, medications and nutrients to manage acute withdrawal symptoms. Medications frequently include benzodiazepines to reduce anxiety and prevent seizures. Detox does NOT treat the underlying condition causing repeat, unwanted drinking
May dispense medications but typically, only for detox to manage withdrawal symptoms. Activities are group-based, rather than personalized and generally include discussion, counseling, nutritional education, physical activities, massage, role playing and participation in 12-step or AA meetings. Rehabs generally endorse conceptual practices such as harm reduction and relapse prevention.
Individual or group counseling, CBT, motivational interviewing, DBT, EMDR, tapping, stress management including breathing exercises, meditation, yoga etc.
Medications are often prescribed to treat symptoms of drinking like: anxiety, difficulty sleeping, depression and high blood pressure. They do little or nothing to treat the downregulated reward response causing unwanted thinking about drinking
FDA approved medications and supplements to restore and maintain the brain reward response coupled with behavior changes to improve life skills and capacity for enjoyment through counseling, health & wellness coaching and life coaching
Many detox facilities require a release to an "approved" treatment facility or sober living environment for ongoing, supervised behavior.
Recommend ongoing participation in active "recovery" such as AA or 12-step based programs
Recommend ongoing participation in active "recovery" including having a relapse prevention plan. Outlook is typically one day at a time
Take all medications as prescribed. Recommend ongoing participation in active "recovery" program
Continue to implement recommendations from 3-year plan for healthy lifestyle as developed in conjunction with Go Sober professional Coaches & Counselors
Detox is limited to managing withdrawal symptoms and does not restore the brain reward response. Therefore, the likelihood of returning to drinking remains very high.
Requires individuals to take up to several weeks off from work and be away from their families. Often cater to individuals with other substance issues besides alcohol which can make it difficult for individuals to relate to each other. Most activity is group based not individualized. Many have trouble participating in groups. Rehab does NOT restore the brain reward response. Therefore, the likelihood of returning to drinking remains very high.
Talking does NOT restore the brain reward response. Therefore, the likelihood of returning to drinking remains high. Also, may be difficult to incorporate recommended changes while distracted with thoughts about drinking. Support may come from "sponsors" whose long-term sobriety may be similarly tenuous. May require acceptance of spirituality or "higher power"
Must be prescribed by a licensed medical professional. In many cases, medications are prescribed without blood tests to determine physical health risk as in the case of low liver or kidney function or pregnancy. Most medications prescribed to treat alcohol are relatively ineffective at restoring the brain reward response and therefore, the likelihood of returning to drinking remains high
One of the medications used in the Go Sober protocol is administered locally via injection and therefore, currently, clients must travel to a Go Sober location for treatment (1 hour on 3 consecutive days). However, because Go Sober DOES restore the brain reward response, thoughts about alcohol and anxiety suddenly diminish and the likelihood of returning to drinking is low.
Go Sober™ Medically-Based Outpatient Alcohol Treatment Program
At Go Sober, we have helped more than 2,000 clients quit alcohol permanently! Go Sober is a multidisciplinary, medically-based outpatient alcohol treatment program incorporating the latest in neuroscience, pharmacology, and behavioral science to treat alcoholism.
Unlike detox, rehab, or 12-step programs, we treat the condition that causes underlying thoughts about alcohol throughout the day. It’s those thoughts fueled by anxiety, irritability, and the anticipation of relief that cause the problem. Imagine going through the entire day without thinking about alcohol at all.
That’s what’s different about Go Sober and that’s what makes our success rates so much higher. Schedule your free consultation to get started today!