Alcoholism Treatment in Connecticut

Our Approach to treating Alcoholism

Initial Contact

A call to one of our direct appointment lines will initiate a brief screening interview with one of our patient coordinators.  An initial visit with one of our providers/physician or APRN, either in person or remotely by telemedicine will then be scheduled within 48 hours.  Alternatively, you may walk into any of our offices to be seen by a provider the same day.

Alcohol Detoxification

Some patients with a history of chronic heavy drinking require medical treatment to minimize withdrawal symptoms.  This can commonly be accomplished as an outpatient utilizing medications and close individual follow up.  Alternatively, if the provider anticipates that the withdrawal will be severe, then a prompt referral for inpatient detoxification will be made.

Individual Counseling and Therapy

For the first month, patients are followed at least weekly by their provider.  With demonstrated consistent sobriety, follow up visits are progressively spaced out, up to once monthly.  Patients are given guidance, education, and support pertaining to every aspect of their disease.

Urine Toxicology Testing

Our practice has a state-of-the-art toxicology lab for urine testing.  Urines are monitored frequently for the alcohol metabolite EtG to document that the patient is not drinking.  It is not uncommon for a urine to test positive for alcohol in the setting of the patient denying recent drinking.  This allows the provider to address the importance of honesty in recovery and to process the recent relapse.

General Health

A myriad of medical problems may result from alcohol abuse.  All new patients receive a detailed laboratory profile (blood tests), including liver function tests.  Performance of a physical examination is optional.  Patients are encouraged to receive care from a primary care physician, and referrals for primary care can be made.

Psychosocial Treatment

All new patients receive a psychosocial evaluation, with the option for continued counseling.  This individual therapy by a counselor helps improve anxiety and depression, restore relationships, address financial and occupational stresses, assist with basic needs, and provide guidance toward a healthy lifestyle.

Psychiatric Evaluation

At least half of patients entering a treatment program for alcohol use disorder have a significant psychiatric co-morbidity.  To achieve successful long-term recovery, a patient’s psychiatric needs must be met, in addition to achieving sobriety from alcohol.

Our psychiatric providers can perform a complete psychiatric evaluation followed by psychotherapy and prescription of any necessary psychiatric medications.

Alcoholic Support Groups and Group Therapy

All patients attend a one-hour relapse prevention group weekly.  Many groups are available, including evenings and weekends.  They are facilitated by our providers.    Relapse prevention groups, which commonly utilize Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, have consistently been shown to be of great value and correlate strongly with long-term success in recovery. They are an excellent opportunity to lean what has worked for others, especially regarding management of triggers and developing coping skills.

Twelve-Step Recovery (e.g. Alcoholics Anonymous Program)

Participation in a 12-step anonymous program (e.g. Alcoholics Anonymous) correlates with long-term successful recovery.  This time-honored treatment incudes attendance at outside 12-step meetings and working the steps with a sponsor.  Patients are directed to these meetings, and discussion of the steps is commonly a part of both individual and group therapy.

Options for Higher Level of Care ( Detox Centers)

Occasionally the severity of alcohol use disorder requires either more intense outpatient treatment or treatment in a hospital or residential program. Our practice has close working relationships with these programs, including inpatient detox, intensive outpatient programs (IOPs), partial hospital programs (PHPs), residential programs (28, 45, or 90 days), and therapeutic communities (longer than 90 days). Typically, after completing one of these programs, the patient continues in our outpatient program.

Medication Management

The primary medication for treating alcoholism is naltrexone.  This may be taken as a daily tablet (Revia) or, more commonly, received as a monthly injection (Vivitrol).  Extensive peer-reviewed medical literature has consistently demonstrated both the efficacy and safety of this medication.  Naltrexone works by decreasing (and sometimes eliminating) cravings and by blocking the pleasant effects from alcohol.

Acamprosate (Compral) helps some patients maintain sobriety by eliminating symptoms after the initial withdrawal has passed.  In these patients, cravings are decreased, and the medication helps restore the altered brain chemistry associated with chronic drinking.

Disulfiram (Antabuse) is occasionally prescribed for those patients with a chronic relapsing course.  It was the first medication approved by the FDA for treatment of alcohol use disorder.  Patients who drink while taking disulfiram will experience negative adverse effects including nausea and vomiting, flushing, sweating, headache, palpitations, low blood pressure, and respiratory difficulty.

Gabapentin (Neurontin) is an antiseizure medication that is used as an adjuvant for treating delayed withdrawal symptoms.  Longer term use helps with anxiety, mood, and sleep.

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