Alcohol Addiction Treatment

What is an Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) or Alcohol Addiction?

Alcohol Use disorder (AUD) is another term for alcohol addiction. Individuals with alcohol addiction may be unable to manage their drinking habits, and feel as if they are unable to function normally without alcohol. Such abuse of alcohol may impact family life, personal matters, relationships and health over time. Alcohol Use Disorder is a disease that causes changes to the brain and neurochemistry, and those with AUD may thus be incapable of managing this disorder without medication and behavioural support.

Symptoms of Alcohol Addiction

DSM-IV previously outlined two separate conditions: alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence, each defined by specific criteria. In the revised chapter of “Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders” of the DSM-5, these two distinct disorders, alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence, have been merged into a unified disorder termed Alcohol Use Disorder, categorised into mild, moderate, and severe classifications. As such, AUD may vary in severity and sometimes be difficult to recognise.

Some symptoms of alcohol addiction include an increased frequency or quantity of use, a higher tolerance for alcohol, drinking secretly or at inappropriate times, changes in personality, increased aggression, depression, lethargy or problems with daily life. AUD may also cause sexual problems, suppressed immune function, ulcers, vision problems and ultimately, heart and liver disease.

In many cases, some people with AUD may have a binge and repair cycle. In other words, while they may not be daily drinkers, there is still a significant impact on their life, be it emotionally, psychologically or physically. These individuals may be the most difficult drinkers to treat as they are under the illusion that they have some semblance of control, despite evidence proving otherwise.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), alcohol addiction is characterised by the presence of two or more of the symptoms below:

  • Drinking greater quantities or for a longer duration than intended
  • Strong cravings for alcohol
  • Attempted to quit drinking but to no avail
  • Lack of interest in other activities due to drinking
  • Time spent recovering from the effects of alcohol and hangovers
  • Placing oneself in risky situations under the influence (e.g. driving whilst drunk, risky sexual practices etc.)
  • Difficulties at home, work or school due to drinking or hangovers
  • Continued drinking despite negative consequences to home, family, professional or educational life
  • Drinking despite feeling anxious or sad
  • Increased tolerance of alcohol
  • Signs of withdrawal such as shaking, restlessness, nausea, hallucinations

Risk Factors for Alcohol Addiction

  • A family history of alcohol addictions
  • High stress levels
  • Co-existing mental health and other disorders such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and trauma
  • Peer pressure to drink or a drinking culture
  • Binge drinking
  • Mixing alcohol with other drugs
  • Previous history of substance use

What is the Alcohol Treatment Process Like?

Reaching out for support and embarking on the transformative journey to conquer alcohol addiction entails a series of vital steps. This carefully orchestrated process is meticulously crafted to offer holistic care and guidance, catering to the intricate interplay of both your physical and psychological well-being.

In general, treatment for alcohol addiction may entail:

  • Medications
  • Behavioural therapies (e.g. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy)
  • Marital and Family Counselling
  • One-to-one or small group counselling

1. Initial Assessment

Embarking on your journey towards recovery begins with reaching out to Visions. The initial assessment is where we delve into your physical and mental well-being, as well as environmental factors, to gain a comprehensive understanding of your situation. This evaluation helps us determine the most suitable level of care for you. During your detailed in-person assessment, we may also suggest therapeutic and psychiatric interventions to guide your alcohol treatment journey. This assessment will encompass a comprehensive evaluation of your biological, psychological, social, and spiritual aspects.

2. Medical Detoxification Treatment (If Required)

Detoxification is a medication-assisted treatment process that might be recommended to purge the body of those with severe alcohol dependence from all harmful substances. This stage, carried out as a short hospital detox as part of our Medical Services, entails the safe and gradual withdrawal from alcohol, often alleviating a client’s distress when suffering from severe withdrawal symptoms. This process lays the foundation for your subsequent treatment journey.

3. Alcohol Treatment Planning

Your recovery is as unique as you are. Following detoxification, we collaboratively design a personalised treatment plan to help with the recovery process — both in terms of the short and long term. This plan may encompass a range of evidence-based therapies, medication-assisted treatments, and counselling.

4. Therapy and Counselling

Alcohol addiction therapeutic interventions play a rehabilitative role for those with mild or moderate AUD. You’ll engage in various psychotherapies, including cognitive-behavioural coping skills treatment, individual counselling sessions (the therapeutic hour), and/or group therapy under our Vision Family Programme — approaches developed by psychologists to empower you. During therapy sessions, a counsellor will educate you on your drinking and potential risks, working with you to set goals and change your behaviour patterns. Additionally, we offer 12-Step Facilitation (TSF) approaches, which integrate self-help programmes like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) into your treatment journey.

5. Alcohol Addiction Rehab and Intensive Programmes (If Required)

For those with more severe cases of AUD, our rehab programmes provide a structured environment conducive to healing. Through outpatient options, our intensive programmes offer group therapy sessions, individual counselling sessions and activities aimed at accelerating your progress and fostering a supportive community.

6. Aftercare Programmes

Upon completing your initial alcohol treatment programme, our commitment to your well-being continues through aftercare. This phase involves ongoing support and follow-up sessions that reinforce your progress and help you thrive in your newfound sober life.

7. Relapse Prevention Programmes

Overcoming an Alcohol Use Disorder (or any addiction) with an alcohol addiction treatment programme or rehab is an ongoing process and can often involve relapse (a return to drinking). Relapse is considered a temporary setback, and it is important to return to the alcohol addiction treatment programme right away in order to identify triggers and improve coping skills. Therefore, throughout your treatment, you will acquire a toolkit of coping skills and relapse prevention strategies. These valuable resources empower you to navigate life’s challenges and maintain your sobriety beyond the treatment setting.

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Aftercare Services at Visions by Promises

At Visions, our commitment to your well-being doesn’t end when your initial alcohol treatment concludes. Our comprehensive aftercare services are thoughtfully designed to support your ongoing recovery and help you maintain the positive changes you’ve achieved. Through a range of tailored aftercare options, including follow-up individual counselling sessions, ongoing therapy, support groups, and access to resources, we provide a strong foundation for your continued success. Our dedicated team is here to ensure you have the tools, guidance, and community you need as you transition back into everyday life.

How Does Visions Make an Assessment for Alcohol Addiction?

At Visions, our journey with you begins with a comprehensive and individualised assessment process that forms the cornerstone of your recovery roadmap. Through a holistic approach, we ensure a deep understanding of your unique circumstances, enabling us to tailor a treatment plan that best addresses your needs. The first visit will include a detailed medical and psychological history, in order to assess the patients physical, mental and environmental health. This will allow our experts to ascertain immediate treatment requirements. Medical referrals will be made should inpatient or more comprehensive medical support be required.

Medical Health Assessment

During your initial visit, we conduct a detailed medical assessment to gain insights into your physical well-being. This assessment helps us understand any potential health complications related to your alcohol use and guides us in determining the appropriate treatment path.

Mental Health Assessment

Our mental health assessment delves into your emotional and psychological state. By exploring your thoughts, feelings, and behavioural patterns, we identify any underlying mental health conditions that may contribute to your alcohol addiction. This in-depth analysis aids us in devising a personalised treatment plan that addresses both the addiction and any co-occurring mental health challenges.

Environmental and Social Assessment

Understanding the environmental and social factors surrounding your alcohol use is crucial. We assess your living situation, relationships, and support network to tailor interventions that consider your unique circumstances. This assessment helps us identify potential triggers and develop strategies to navigate challenging situations.

Spiritual Assessment

At Visions, we recognise the significance of the spiritual dimension in recovery. Our assessment explores your spiritual beliefs and practices, providing valuable insights into your values, motivations, and sources of strength.

Diagnostic Tools and Tests

Depending on your individual needs, our assessments may include specialised diagnostic tools and tests. These may encompass psychological assessments, cognitive screenings, and addiction severity evaluations.

Meet Our Alcohol Addiction Specialists

Dr. Sean David Vanniasingham

Consultant Psychiatrist, Visions

  • Dr. David specialises in various areas, including Depression, Anxiety, OCD, ADHD, Alcohol Treatment, and Rehabilitation.
  • Graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) from the National University of Singapore and holds certifications like MRCPsych from the Royal College of Psychiatrists, United Kingdom.
  • With extensive experience, he practised psychiatry at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) and the National Addictions Management Service (NAMS).
  • Dr. David is passionate about a holistic approach and is a fellow at the Academy of Medicine Singapore.

Andy Leach

Principal Addictions Therapist & Director, Visions

  • Andy Leach specialises in Substance Use Disorder, Alcohol Use Disorder, Group Therapy, and more.
  • He holds a Master of Arts in Counselling and Psychotherapy Practice, a Bachelor of Arts (First Class) in English and Creative Writing and a Certificate in Counselling Skills from Westminster Pastoral Foundation (UK)
  • A Certified Master Addiction Therapist (APCB) with over 15 years of experience, Andy worked as the Clinical Lead Asia for the Cabin Group and set up various addiction treatment programmes.

Juliana Pang Siew Yun

Addictions Therapist, Individual and/or Couples

  • Juliana specialises in Substance and Behaviour Addictions, Relapse Prevention, and Recovery Support Groups.
  • She holds a Master of Counselling from Monash University, a Master in Management from Macquarie University, and a Bachelor of Laws from the National University of Singapore.
  • As an accredited therapist with the Singapore Association for Counselling (SAC) and the International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals (IITAP) in the United States with an array of certifications, Juliana has significant experience in addiction treatment, both in inpatient and outpatient settings.
  • At Promises, she leads addiction recovery treatments, including 1-to-1 and group therapy sessions, and facilitates relapse prevention support groups.

Frequently Asked Questions About Alcohol Addiction Treatment and Rehab Programmes in Singapore

1. What is considered the most effective treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder?

While there is no one-size-fits-all solution for Alcohol Use Disorder, there are a number of effective treatments and rehab programmes available. The most effective approach likely depends on the severity of the disorder, as well as the individual’s unique circumstances. For some people, abstinence may be the best option, while others may be able to drink in moderation with the help of medication and counselling.

The most successful addiction treatment programmes combine several different strategies, such as medication, behavioural therapies, and counselling. By working with a qualified treatment provider like Visions, individuals with Alcohol Use Disorder can engage in a customised alcohol addiction treatment programme that meets their unique needs and gives them the best chance of recovering from this debilitating condition.

2. Can you ever recover from being an alcoholic?

Yes, you can recover from being an alcoholic. Alcohol Use Disorder can be successfully treated. There are many resources available in Singapore to help you recover, such as alcohol addiction treatment and rehab programmes consisting of medication, behavioural therapies, and counselling.

The first step is admitting that you have a problem and seeking help. This can be difficult, but it is essential for recovery. Once you have made the decision to seek help, you will work with a treatment team to develop a plan that is right for you. You will have a support system, and participate in individual or group therapy in addition to the other treatment processes. Recovery is possible, but it takes time and effort. With commitment and dedication, you can overcome alcohol addiction and live a healthy and happy life.

3. What is the most effective treatment for alcohol dependence?

The most effective treatment for alcohol addiction is not a single approach, but rather a comprehensive plan that addresses both the physical and psychological aspects of addiction. For many people, this will require detoxification to rid the body of the harmful toxins that have built up over time. But detoxification is only the first step in a long journey towards recovery. Medication, behavioural therapies and counselling are also part of the process.

As part of your individual alcohol addiction treatment and rehab programme, it is important to address the underlying causes of alcohol addiction, such as depression, anxiety, or trauma. This can be done through therapy. The most important thing is to seek help from qualified professionals who can create a personalised treatment plan that meets your unique needs. With the right help, you can achieve sobriety and live a healthy and fulfilling life.

4. What kind of support can I expect from Visions by Promises?

As with other addictions we treat, like drug addiction treatments or gambling addiction treatments, you can expect comprehensive and personalised support throughout your alcohol addiction treatment journey. Our dedicated team of specialists will guide you through evidence-based therapies, medication options, and psychological interventions. We provide a supportive and confidential environment where you can address your challenges, develop coping strategies, and work towards a healthy life.

5. How is the treatment plan personalised to my needs?

Our treatment plans at Visions by Promises are carefully tailored to meet your unique needs and circumstances. Through thorough assessments and discussions, our experienced specialists collaborate with you to create a customised plan that addresses your specific challenges and goals. Your journey to recovery is guided by a personalised approach that maximises the effectiveness of your treatment.

6. How does Visions by Promises handle cases of relapse?

In the event of a relapse, Visions by Promises provides comprehensive support and guidance. Our dedicated team of experts collaborates closely with you to understand the underlying triggers and factors contributing to the relapse. We then work together to develop effective strategies to prevent future relapses, ensuring your continued progress towards recovery.

7. How does Visions by Promises ensure the privacy and confidentiality of patients?

At Visions by Promises, we prioritise and uphold the confidentiality of our patient’s information and treatment journey. Client privacy is strictly maintained, with exceptions limited to safety concerns. Confidentiality may be breached if there is a risk of harm to the individual or others, instances of abuse or assault, or as required by law. Our staff adheres to a need-to-know sharing principle for quality clinical care, and clients acknowledge that family involvement and relapse notification may be part of their treatment protocol.

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#11-15/16, Novena Medical Center, 10 Sinaran Drive,
Singapore 307608