The first step in treatment is brief intervention. The physician states unequivocally that the patient has a problem with alcohol and emphasizes that this determination stems from the consequences of alcohol in that patient's life, not from the quantity of alcohol consumed. Emphasizing the effects on family, friends, and occupation, as well as any physical manifestations, is important. Pointing out that loss of control and compulsive use indicate alcohol dependence also is important.
Treatments at inpatient centers may include behavioral therapies, the most popular of which is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). These therapies encourage participants to change the way they react to stressful external stimuli (like failing a test or losing a job) by promoting healthy ways of coping. Many centers also offer group and individual counseling, experiential therapies and training on proper nutrition and health.
The patient's response determines the physician's next step. If the patient denies the problem, recommending joining AA will not work. Involving the family and/or suggesting a trial of abstinence is useful, and, importantly, the physician should follow up with the patient in a few weeks. The patient might be angry initially and storm out of the office, but then the patient might recall the physician's warning months or years later and stop drinking. For patients who recognize a problem and will consider referral, the cheapest (free) and most accessible option is AA.
Research the history of the Treatment Center or facility. What is their success rate? Can you find any medical recommendations for them online from members of the established rehab or medical community? How long has the Center been in operation? Is their leadership on solid ground? Are there any signs of financial corruption associated with the Center that is readily visible on the Internet? It is your responsibility to dig for this information. If you cannot find any information about a given Treatment Center online or at your local library, move on to the next Center on your list! 3 Stages of Drug Alcohol Rehab-How It Works