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Why Alcohol Recovery Programs Should Not Be “One Size Fits All”

Alcohol use is best considered as existing on a spectrum rather than in terms of distinct categories.

In the past, many health professionals have viewed alcohol use in two distinct categories:  You’re an either an alcoholic or you’re not an alcoholic.

Fortunately, that view has shifted in recent years as the American Psychiatric Association has been taking a new approach to diagnosis.  This is an important paradigm shift in the way we view disorders such as mental illness and substance use.

The main idea of this shift is these conditions might be better thought of as existing on a spectrum.

While there are still many whose alcohol use has progressed to the point where they cannot function and need immediate help, there are others whose use falls in a mid-range where their drinking has negatively affected their lives but they are still able to function.  However, negative consequences such as DUI’s, declining job performance, relationship problems, and declining health can still be an issue.

Signs that drinking may have moved out of the normal social drinking spectrum and into the abuse zone.

  • Drinking to relieve stress.
  • Looking forward to drinking.
  • Drinking in social situations to relieve anxiety or shyness.
  • Drinking alone.
  • Experiencing health problems due to drinking.
  • Drinking to relieve boredom or loneliness.
  • Driving after drinking.

Why Alcohol Recovery Programs Should Not Be “One Size Fits All”

Most rehab programs offer the same cookie cutter treatments and the results have often been of either no benefit or with negative effects.  This is not to say that programs such as AA’s 12-step aren’t helpful, but there can be many paths to recovery because each individual is unique.

This paradigm shift is good news as it will allow for people to spot problems earlier and to seek more tailored solutions without the stigma of labels.

Where do you fall on the spectrum?  Read here:  https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/where-do-you-fall-on-spectrum-of-alcohol-use-1024174

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