Alternative Treatments for Alcoholism

Learn about alternative treatments for alcoholism in this Howcast video featuring addictions specialist Paul J. Rinaldi, Ph.D.


We often are asked by people what kinds of treatments are available for alcohol problems. The standard treatments are either in rehab facilities or 12 step, meaning Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous for people who use other drugs. Alcoholics Anonymous is widely known but people often want to know what else can they do? What are alternative treatments to the standard kinds of either hospital based rehabs or 12 step Alcoholics Anonymous meetings? The one thing I always tell people is that there's not one way to get clean from alcohol and to say clean from alcohol. So for some people, they want to pursue alternative treatments. I have to caution people that we don't have any very good evidence in research that support the alternative treatments as stand alone treatments so what I usually refer to alternative treatments as, I refer to alternative treatments as adjunctive treatments that they're often added onto other kinds of treatment for people. And those might include hypnotherapy. Those might include yoga or other kind of mindfulness exercises, meaning meditation. People really sometimes find that very very helpful but there are people who does those kinds of things who really do meditation well, for an example, and other people who just don't meditate well so you have to look at different kinds of things. There are treatment facilities that use, what's called equine therapy. They use horses therapeutically and people will talk to, there's not again a good research base that shows that those have positive effects but anecdotally from people's experiences, people find those things very powerful and so as a treatment provider and as a researcher, although there's not an evidence base, I always tell people to try different things and to use what works for them. So there are many alternative treatments. Again, I often, my recommendation is that people see those as rather than alternative, as adjunctive treatment to more standard treatments that we do know work from research.

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