Therapy for Alcohol Addiction Near Me

Alcoholism is a serious problem in the United States. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), nearly 15 million adults suffer from alcohol use disorder (AUD). This figure represents 5.3% of this age group. According to the 2019 National Survey on  Drug Use and Health, about 7% of individuals older than 12 struggling with AUD received some form of treatment in the past year.1

AUD is a condition that can lead to a wide range of problems. It can cause damage to the liver and other organs, it can increase the risk of developing cancer, and it can lead to problems with relationships, work, and finances.2

Fortunately, AUD can be treated with professional help. Still, a lot of struggling individuals don’t seek treatment due to the stigma attached to the condition. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcoholism, it’s important to seek help from a mental health professional or a rehabilitation center. With treatment, you or your loved one can increase the chances of recovery from alcoholism and lead a healthy and productive life.3

What is the importance of Therapy in Addiction Treatment?  

While there are many important elements of addiction treatment, therapy plays a central role. Therapy provides an opportunity for treatment-seeking individuals to explore the underlying causes of their AUD, identify unhealthy coping mechanisms and develop more positive and productive ways of dealing with difficult emotions and situations.4,5,7

Some treatment programs may focus solely on the physical aspects of addiction, such as detoxification and withdrawal management. While the physical aspects are very important, taking care of them may not be enough for the treatment-seeking individual to recover in the long term.6

The reason for this is that none of the other elements of AUD treatment besides psychotherapy address the underlying causes of addiction or the associated mental health problems. As a result, patients who only receive help with withdrawal and go back to their usual lives may be at a high risk of relapse.6

Psychotherapy, on the other hand, is a more comprehensive form of treatment that addresses both the physical and psychological aspects of addiction. In addition to helping patients overcome withdrawal and cravings, psychotherapy also helps them to identify and change the thought patterns and behaviors that lead to addiction. As a result, patients who receive psychotherapy are more likely to recover from addiction and maintain their sobriety in the long term.4,5,7

Types of Therapy for Alcoholism  

There are many different types of psychotherapy that may work for different types of individuals struggling with AUD, but all share the goal of helping struggling individuals change their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors in order to improve their mental health.4,5

Psychotherapy/Talk Therapy  

Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy, is a form of treatment for mental health conditions and addiction that involves talking with a therapist to identify and work through symptoms and underlying causes of the condition.4,5,7

Therapy may be helpful for the struggling individual regardless of the stage of their condition. The process of psychotherapy typically begins with an assessment to determine the needs of the individual. Then, the therapist works with the individual to establish goals for treatment. During treatment, the therapist will help the individual explore thoughts and emotions related to drinking, develop new coping mechanisms, and practice making changes in the struggling individual’s behavior.7

There are various subtypes of talk therapy, including CBT, DBT, counseling and more. Some struggling individuals can show significant improvement with the help of talk therapy, while some prefer other kinds of therapy that involve physical movement or artistic activities.7

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)  

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, is a type of therapy that’s used to treat a variety of mental health conditions, including alcoholism. CBT is conducted in a series of sessions, typically lasting around an hour each. The number of sessions required depends on the individual, but most treatment-seeking individuals require at least 10-12 sessions to see significant results.8

CBT therapists focus on helping struggling individuals change negative thought patterns and behaviors. CBT sessions typically include a discussion of the patient’s current situation, identification of negative thought patterns, and development of a plan to change those patterns. The therapist may also use techniques such as journaling and role-playing to help the patient practice new behaviors.8

It’s important to note that many mental health professionals believe that psychotherapy should be viewed as a long-term commitment and that it’s important not to rush it. Since mental health issues are complex and multi-layered, it can take time to understand all of the factors that contribute to an individual’s mental health.8,9

In addition, change is often a slow process. It can take weeks, months, or even years to see significant changes in someone’s mental health, especially if they have a dual diagnosis of AUD and another mental condition.8,9

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)  

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, or DBT, is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy that was originally developed to treat borderline personality disorder. However, it has since been adapted for use with other populations, including those struggling with substance abuse.10,11

The underlying philosophy of DBT is that humans are inherently dialectical beings, meaning that we exist in a constant state of tension between opposites. For example, we may simultaneously want to be close to others and maintain our independence, or we may value both order and chaos. Rather than viewing these contradictions as problematic, DBT posits that they are simply a normal part of human existence.10

The goal of DBT is to help struggling individuals learn how to regulate their emotions, cope with stress, and engage in healthy behaviors. The therapy focuses on four key areas: mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, emotion regulation, and distress tolerance.10


Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention to the present moment with curiosity and without judgment. It can be used as a tool to help people stay in the moment and be aware of their surroundings and thoughts. This practice can help people become more present in their lives and less focused on past experiences or future worries.10

Interpersonal effectiveness

Interpersonal effectiveness is the ability to successfully navigate relationships with others. This includes being able to communicate effectively, empathize with others, handle difficult emotions, set and maintain healthy boundaries and resolve conflict.10

Emotion regulation

The goal of emotion regulation is to help struggling individuals become more aware of and better able to manage their emotions. While emotions can be complex, struggling individuals may learn to identify and label them with time and practice, enabling themselves to gain a deeper understanding of how their emotions affect their thoughts and behaviors. The DBT therapist works with the struggling individual to teach them a variety of healthy coping mechanisms and skills to deal with these emotions in a more balanced way, without the harmful effects of alcohol.10

Distress tolerance

Distress tolerance is the ability to cope with and manage difficult situations and emotions. It involves accepting that things are not always going to be perfect and learning how to cope with difficult times in a healthy way. Distress tolerance skills can help treatment-seeking individuals to better manage stressful situations, reduce their reactivity and make more positive choices when faced with challenging circumstances.10

In contrast to traditional approaches that focus on changing thoughts and behaviors, DBT emphasizes the importance of accepting both positive and negative aspects of oneself. For individuals struggling with AUD, this approach can be particularly helpful. Accepting that one has a problem with alcohol is a key step in recovery.11

Without this acknowledgment, it’s difficult to make the necessary changes to achieve sobriety. In addition, DBT can help individuals to cope with the emotional distress that often leads to drinking. By teaching skills such as mindfulness and emotional regulation, DBT can help struggling individuals to better manage their emotions and reduce their reliance on alcohol.11


Both counseling and psychotherapy involve meeting with a trained therapist on a regular basis to discuss problems and find ways to improve mental well-being. However, there are some key differences between these two types of treatment.7

Counseling is a short-term, focused approach to problem-solving. It is designed to help struggling individuals resolve specific issues or problems so that they can move forward in their lives. Counseling is different from therapy in that it is not focused on the past or on long-term mental health issues. Instead, it is geared toward helping people deal with current problems causing them distress, such as a recent divorce or coping with grief after a loved one’s passing.7

In contrast, psychotherapy tends to treat a broader range of issues and more complex problems. It can be a long-term treatment, lasting for months or even years. The goal of psychotherapy is not only to address immediate concerns but also to help the person develop skills and insight that will promote long-term mental health and well-being. As such, it may be more appropriate than counseling for most individuals struggling with AUD.7

Support Groups

Support groups provide a forum for discussion and shared experiences among struggling individuals who are facing similar challenges with their AUDs. While the format and approach of these groups may vary, most sessions typically include a period of open discussion, followed by a period of sharing and reflection.12

The most prominent type of support group for AUD is Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). AA meetings are open to anyone who wants to stop drinking, and they are typically held in local churches or community centers. During the meetings, members share their experiences with alcoholism and provide support for each other. The meetings usually last for about an hour, and they often include readings from the AA Big Book or other literature.12

The benefits of AA are well-documented. Studies have shown that members of AA are more likely to stay sober than those who do not receive treatment and that AA may be effective for people of all ages and backgrounds. In addition, AA provides a supportive community for its members, which can be an important factor in maintaining sobriety.12

While AA meetings have been shown to be beneficial for some individuals struggling with addiction, there are a few key ways in which they differ from traditional group therapy. One key difference is that AA meetings do not have psychotherapists leading them.12

Instead, they are peer-led, meaning that they are typically run by individuals who are in recovery themselves. While the individuals leading AA meetings are well-trained, they’re still not psychotherapists, which can be an issue for some struggling individuals who would prefer a therapeutic approach to treatment.12

In addition, AA meetings tend to focus primarily on abstinence, while group therapy sessions may explore other aspects of recovery such as managing triggers and developing healthy coping mechanisms. As a result, some struggling individuals may benefit from group therapy led by a psychotherapist instead of AA.12

Yoga and Meditation

Yoga and meditation can be helpful tools during recovery from AUD. Studies have shown that mindfulness practices can help reduce cravings and prevent relapse. They can also help ease anxiety and promote relaxation. Both of these effects can be helpful in managing the challenges of early recovery.13

However, it is important to find a teacher who is experienced in working with people in recovery, as some poses and meditation practices may trigger difficult emotions. With the right guidance, both yoga and meditation can be powerful allies in the journey of recovery from AUD.13

Art and Music Therapy 

Another type of treatment that has been shown to be effective for alcoholism is art and music therapy. This type of therapy uses creative expression to help patients deal with the emotions and stress that come with addiction and recovery. It’s unlikely that art and music therapy may help the struggling individual as a primary source of treatment, but they may prove to be useful tools to aid the recovery.14,15

Art therapists are professionals who have completed a master’s level program in art therapy. They are trained in both psychology and art. That said, the treatment-seeking individual doesn’t need to be an artist to benefit from art therapy. Any form of creative expression can be therapeutic, whether it’s painting, drawing, sculpting, collaging or anything in between.14

The potential that art therapy has is explored in Clare Dickinson’s paper “An evaluation study of art therapy provision in a residential Addiction Treatment Programme”. Dickinson claims that “Art therapy provides a weekly window where patients can assimilate some of the feelings evoked by the intense cognitive input of the programme. Working from an experiential perspective fosters a holistic self-awareness, encouraging the exploration of often previously suppressed and unconscious emotions. Once externalized these feelings can be accessed, encouraging awareness of a more integrated ‘authentic self’.”14

Music therapy has also been shown to be beneficial. Music therapy is the use of music to address the physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of struggling individuals. Like art therapy, music therapy is led by a qualified professional who has completed a master’s level program. Music therapists use live music (e.g., playing an instrument or singing) or recorded music (e.g., listening to music) to achieve treatment goals.15

Music therapy can also offer numerous benefits for individuals in treatment for alcoholism, particularly due to the fact that a significant number of individuals suffering from SUDs value music and regularly listen to it.15

According to David Aldridge and Jörg Fachner in their book “Music Therapy and Addictions”, the therapeutic use of music with individuals suffering from SUDs can help with a variety of issues. It may reduce anxiety and stress in some individuals, improve sleep quality and increase motivation. The music may also provide an outlet for complex emotions experienced during the recovery process and promote relaxation. All of these effects together may prove to be very beneficial for individuals struggling with SUDs.15

Online Therapy

Though there are many treatment options available, some people may feel more comfortable seeking help from an online therapist. Online therapy offers a number of advantages, including increased anonymity, greater flexibility, and lower costs. In addition, online therapy may prove to be just as effective as in-person therapy for treating AUD.16

Studies have shown that people who receive treatment for alcoholism via the internet may be just as likely to achieve long-term sobriety as those who receive in-person treatment. Still, it’s important to note that the topic of online therapy is in its beginning stages of research and still has to be explored further for more precise findings.16

Family Therapy 

Family therapy can be another useful approach to AUD treatment. Family therapy can help to identify the roles that members of the family may play in contributing to addiction and work on any unhealthy relationship dynamics within the family system.17

It also provides a space for open and honest communication about how addiction has affected each person. The goal of this approach is to help everyone in the family learn new coping skills and establish healthy boundaries.17

How To Find Therapy For Alcohol Addiction Near Me?  

If you or your loved one are struggling with alcohol addiction, it’s important to get help as soon as possible. There are a number of resources available to help you or your loved one find the right treatment facility for your needs.

The treatment-seeking individual can begin by contacting American Addiction Centers (AAC) hotline, where they can discuss their situation with a trained rehab navigator and get the help they need. AAC has a network of private treatment facilities across the US where you or your loved one can begin the journey to recovery. There are different payment options available to treatment-seeking individuals, including insurance coverage for individuals who have the necessary coverage for the cost.

Once the treatment-seeking individual has admitted themselves into a treatment center, they will be under the care of dedicated medical professionals who will provide them with a diagnosis and come up with a treatment plan. If needed, the psychotherapy program will include the addition of medications that can help with the treatment of the condition.

AAC’s facilities offer treatment-seeking individuals a choice between a wide range of psychotherapeutic treatment approaches, including CBT, DBT, family therapy, counseling, as well as art therapy and yoga in some of the centers. Treatment-seeking individuals can discuss the options with the admissions navigator and make an informed decision.

Frequently Asked Questions