It can come in various forms which are usually broken down into biological, psychological and social forms. A comprehensive plan will include elements from all the forms of alcohol help.
It involves the prescription of medication. Alcohol detox is the commonest form of biological alcohol help. This involves the prescription of sedative medication to prevent and control alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Although often unrealized, alcohol withdrawal may be fatal if not treated with detox medication. Other biological options include the prescription of medication to prevent relapse to alcohol use. Two medicines are commonly used in this context in the UK disulfiram (Antabuse) and acamprosate (Campral). Increasingly naltrexone is used as a form of treatment, as is topiramate.
Psychological alcohol help involves the provision of various forms of counselling to help the individual reduce harm or maintain abstinence from alcohol. The most proven forms of effective counselling are cognitive-behavioural help and motivational interviewing. However 12 steps (alcoholics anonymous model) is increasingly evidenced as highly effective, especially in a residential setting. Residential 12 step program is probably the most effective form of therapy to help an individual achieve and maintain long-term abstinence from alcohol.
It is usually considered vital that the social circumstances of the individual are taken into account when planning a return to normal life after a period of residential treatment. An unplanned return to the same situation as existed for the individual before admission for addiction may be responsible for relapse. Various forms of assistance have been devised around this theme, aimed at modifying the alcohol user´s social network, employment opportunities or financial situation for example.