Addiction

Alcohol Addiction Counselling

Addiction Involving Alcohol

Addiction is a chronic brain disease and is influenced by both genetics and environment similar to other chronic diseases such as diabetes. Addiction can manifest in many ways including use of alcohol and the focus at HUM is to address Addiction is Addiction. This means that whether a person uses alcohol, drugs, or engages in compulsive behaviors, such as gambling, shopping etc., these are not mutually exclusive and represent different manifestations of the same disease. 

Addiction involving alcohol is a chronic medical condition that requires assessment and treatment, as manifestations of it vary in different individuals. With Addiction involving alcohol, the ability to make healthy choices regarding alcohol is impaired. Alcohol begins to start controlling one’s life, making life more unmanageable. With Addiction, the problematic alcohol use is a symptom of what is happening in the brain and the person is seeking escape, relief or reward. Unfortunately there is no off switch and there is an ever increasing desire for more. It is critical to understand what is happening in the brain as our brain is involved in everything we do, including our thoughts, feelings, perceptions and behaviors as well as how we view ourselves and we get along with others.

You may have Addiction involving alcohol if you:

  • Have an overpowering feeling to keep using alcohol despite negative consequences
  • Use alcohol to escape, numb or cope with stress and other uncomfortable feeling
  • Use alcohol as a reward and have difficulty stopping at one or two drinks
  • Use alcohol more often or in larger amounts than intended
  • Use alcohol as an eye-opener to get going in the morning
  • Feel you need to control or cut down your alcohol use
  • Feel annoyed by others criticizing your alcohol use
  • Feel guilty about your alcohol use
  • You hide or lie about your alcohol use
Doctor treating a patient

How we treat this issue:

At HUM, we provide outpatient assessment and treatment for Addiction involved alcohol. Treatment is tailored to your needs and based on the knowledge that Addiction is a primary, chronic brain disease and requires holistic recovery for health. Once a person is a patient at HUM, there is no end point to the services and individuals can access services indefinitely based on their needs. Continuing care/treatment includes a range of services to optimize health and wellbeing of individuals who have Addiction involving alcohol. Following the assessment, treatment options will vary but can include individual psychotherapy, group therapy, intensive outpatient program, medical detoxification/withdrawal management, and medication management. Social and peer support is important and participation in 12-step groups such as AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) is encouraged. In addition, other recovery actions such as meditation and journaling are recommended as part of a holistic bio-psycho-social-spiritual framework of recovery.

The Available Services For This Issue:

If you are concerned about your alcohol use, it is recommended to start with the comprehensive assessment. The assessment includes 3 appointments and is designed to get to know you, determine the acuity of your issues and appropriate treatment recommendations that are individualized based on your needs. The 3 appointments include an initial nursing assessment, an assessment with a registered psychologist or social worker and thirdly with a medical doctor.

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At HUM, we use a range of techniques based on experiential relationship building, dialogue, communication and behavior change that are designed to improve the mental health of an individual,and improve relationships with others (eg. family). Our goal is to provide an open, supportive, and confidential environment for you to address the issues that are concerning you. These principles can also be provided through couples/family sessions.

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This provides the opportunity to clarify boundaries, identify what may be individual issues for people to work on, while addressing issues jointly without telling each other what to do.

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The recovery support groups are process oriented therefore the structure of each group is fluid and reflective of the needs and current issues raised by group members. Group members have an opportunity to process their life issues and reflect on their recovery including successes and challenges they are facing. Group therapy allows individuals to discuss issues with the support of others in recovery, provide and offer feedback, build a recovery network and increase accountability.

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The IOP is spread out over 3 Phases and 3 months with a weekend family/friends program included. The IOP is designed for those wanting more intensive treatment who have identified having an issue with Addiction, Mental Health and/or Chronic Pain.

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This is available to individuals who have completed the comprehensive assessment and are patients at HUM. The aim is to provide the appropriate level of support and minimize the risks associated with detoxification and withdrawal. Detoxification will be initiated during the day on an outpatient basis so it is necessary for the individual to have appropriate support overnight during the detoxification period. All patients are monitored by Dr Hajela during the detoxification/withdrawal management period. This is important as withdrawal is more tolerable and safer when there is an understanding of the pharmacology and physiology of withdrawal to determine appropriate use of medication to modify the withdrawal process.
All medications that an individual may be on including prescribed or over-the-counter are reviewed to determine their efficacy and interactions. Medications may be prescribed during withdrawal management, tapering or maintenance treatment. We consider symptom triggered withdrawal management that is individualized to be more beneficial than protocol driven prescriptions.