Richmond: 804.354.1996
Midlothian: 804.419.0492
Fredericksburg: 540.735.9350

Alcohol Abuse Treatment

Helping you and your loved ones reclaim your grasp on life through our Alcohol Abuse Treatment Program

The Alcohol Abuse Treatment Program is offered during the day and in the evening to accommodate individual schedules.

PHASE I – An intensive eight-week, 24 session program designed to build each client’s personal understanding of the physical, emotional and social aspects of their addiction and recovery. Clients are encouraged to engage friends and family in their process of developing a plan for early recovery and support. The focus of treatment is gaining an understanding of the nature of addiction and developing a support system. Educating the client and their family about addiction and recovery will allow for the start of the healing process within the family system. A willingness to become abstinent from all mood-altering chemicals is a requirement for this group. The groups are designed to provide clients with the skills and support they need to begin the recovery process.

PHASE II – These groups meet once a week for twelve weeks. Topic areas include relapse prevention, stress management, communication skills, anger management and spirituality. Clients work with the treatment team and concerned others to develop a long-term recovery plan. Clients will work to develop the ability to appropriately identify and express emotions that contribute to their addictive process. Completion of this five month program will provide clients and their families with a solid start in their recovery.

What Is an Alcohol Use Disorder?

When the problematic use of alcohol becomes severe and leads to a number of negative consequences and dysfunctional behaviors, the person is given the medical diagnosis of an alcohol use disorder. This is a formal diagnosis that describes a series of dysfunctional issues associated with alcohol use.

Because it is a formal diagnosis, there are symptoms that need to be met in order for a diagnosis to be made. The issues and symptoms that lead into a formal diagnosis include the following:

  • The person often drinks larger amounts of alcohol, or drinks for a longer period of time, than intended.
  • The person spends a great deal of time drinking alcohol, recovering from the effects of alcohol use, or seeking out alcoholic beverages.
  • The person repeatedly has cravings for alcohol.
  • The person unsuccessfully tries to control alcohol use.
  • The person continues to use alcohol despite having personal, career, or financial issues related to its use.
  • The person’s alcohol usage results in them not completing major obligations in their personal life, at work, at school, and so forth.
  • The person repeatedly uses alcohol in situations where it is dangerous to do so.
  • The person gives up or reduces participation in important activities in life as a result of alcohol use.
  • The person develops symptoms of physical dependence on alcohol.

There are 11 formal diagnostic criteria for an alcohol use disorder. In order to qualify for diagnosis of an alcohol use disorder, the individual has to consistently display two or more of these formal diagnostic criteria over a period of one year. Of course, individuals can display more than two symptoms. The severity of the alcohol use disorder is defined by the number of symptoms that the person consistently displays over the course of a year. This combination of symptoms results in the designation of the severity associated with an alcohol use disorder:

  • Someone with a mild alcohol use disorder displays 2-3 symptoms consistently over the course of one year. This is consistent with the older notion of a substance abuse or alcohol abuse problem.
  • Someone with a moderate alcohol use disorder consistently displays 4-5 symptoms over the course of one year. This category is transitional between abuse and addiction, depending on the severity of the symptoms.
  • Individuals displaying 6 or more of the symptoms consistently over the course of one year fall into the severe alcohol use disorder These individuals would fall into the older conceptualization of an actual formal addiction or alcoholism.
Signs of a Problem

A diagnosis of an alcohol use disorder can only be reliably given by a trained mental health professional. Because individuals with substance use disorders will typically try to hide their behaviors, deny their substance use, and justify for the ramifications of their substance use issues, most individuals are unable to even realize the extent of the problem. However, there are some qualitative and quantitative changes in behavior that may signify the need to engage in formal treatment.

  • Moderate drinking consists of up to one drink a day for women and up to two drinks a day for men.
  • Heavy drinking consists of having five or more drinks on the same occasion at least five days out of the month.
  • Binge drinking refers to having five or more alcoholic drinks on the same occasion at least one day out of the month.

People who are engaging in binge drinking and heavy drinking are at high risk for symptoms associated with alcohol use disorders. In addition, even individuals who drink according to the above definition of moderate drinking may also experience issues related to an alcohol use disorder.

Some more practical symptoms that can signal a potential problem with alcohol use include:

  • Changes in one’s overall disposition or personality, such as irritability, resentfulness, impatience, being overly sensitive to criticism, isolating oneself, and so forth
  • Repeated signs of the person being physically ill, such as flulike symptoms, headaches, nausea, vomiting, nervousness, lack of appetite, etc.
  • Sudden change in peer relationships
  • Change in physical appearance, such as no longer attending to hygiene issues or dressing differently
  • Drinking alcohol in situations where it is prohibited or dangerous, such as drinking alcohol at work, during lunch, coming into work hungover, driving while intoxicated, etc.
  • Cravings to drink
  • Using alcohol to cope with normal life pressures
  • Obvious signs, such as slurring words, difficulties with motor coordination, continually smelling alcohol the breath, and so forth
Alcohol Addiction Medications

Abusing alcohol on a regular basis for a long time can prolong withdrawal symptoms, lasting anywhere from weeks to months. This phenomenon is called prolonged or post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS).

Some medications may be able to relieve PAWS and may also curb cravings or make the user unable to stomach alcohol. These medications usually come as a tablet that patients take each day.

Medications for alcohol addiction include:

  • Naltrexone (Vivitrol). Naltrexone blocks receptors in the brain that produce alcohol’s pleasurable effects. It also subdues the urge to drink. Naltrexone may cause some nausea or headaches. It may be given via injection every four weeks or it may be taken orally in a pill form
  • Acamprosate (Campral). This medication relieves emotional and physical distress caused by alcohol addiction. Recovering alcoholics can start taking acamprosate after completing detox. Acamprosate reduces the urge to drink by preventing negative feelings like anxiety and depression.
  • Disulfiram (Antabuse). Disulfiram was the first medication approved for alcoholism. If a person taking disulfiram drinks, the medication causes side effects such as nausea and vomiting. The idea is that those taking disulfiram won’t drink if it makes them sick.

The FCCR psychiatrists may also prescribe safe, non- addictive medications to assist with anxiety, depression, sleep disturbance or other issues that may arise during the early stages of recovery.

Intensive Outpatient Programs

Many people are able to quit drinking alcohol on their own, however, the chances for long-term recovery from alcohol use disorder are significantly increased if one engages in a treatment program. Many people believe they can just stop, and when they can’t, they rationalize the reasons they continue to use alcohol. It is not as easy to quit drinking as it is to think about quitting. Mark Twain, once said about smoking, “ Quitting is easy, I have done it a thousand times”  It is the staying quit that we focus on at FCCR.

In addition, individuals with more moderate to severe alcohol use disorders may suffer issues with physical dependence alcohol (the symptoms of tolerance and withdrawal), which complicate the process. In cases of severe alcohol abuse and addiction, withdrawal symptoms can be dangerous and even life-threatening; hence, professional assistance is needed to ensure safety and comfort throughout the detox process.

Our physicians are all active with local hospitals and we can refer client’s inpatient if this is medically necessary. The FCCR medical staff are able to provide a wide range of medications to assist our clients with any ongoing withdrawal symptoms, and cravings. As Psychiatrists they are able to provide care for any anxiety and depressive symptoms that may arise during the treatment process.

Long-term sobriety requires ongoing, intensive treatment and a strong support network. Family Counseling Centers for Recovery offer clients continued care and support through convenient yet powerful intensive outpatient programs. In our IOPs, clients develop the skills and relationships needed to sustain recovery from alcohol and other drug use while keeping up with job, school and family commitments.

Our intensive outpatient programs provide clients guidance from master’s level clinicians, addiction specialists, Addiction Psychiatrists and our  registered nursing staff. Clients learn a range of valuable recovery skills in intensive outpatient treatment. These include:

  • Coping with alcohol and drug cravings
  • Accepting and acting on feedback
  • Practicing effective communication
  • Finding healthy ways to reduce stress
  • Identifying triggers and learning healthy ways to deal with them
  • Improving decision-making abilities
  • Creating healthy relationships

Our intensive outpatient addiction treatment programs are open to people who need structure and support in their recovery process. Core components of intensive outpatient treatment generally include:

  • Master’s level clinicians and addiction specialists
  • Individualized education and recovery resources
  • Small group sizes
  • Individual counseling support
  • Collaboration with sober living residences and/or family
  • Drug screenings
  • Aftercare support

Please call for an intake assessment if you feel that IOP might be the right treatment choice for you or your family

Relapse Prevention

Relapse prevention is the primary focus of treatment at FCCR, and it should be the focus of anyone struggling with addiction. Relapse prevention generally consists of various therapies and treatments that are combined with a rigorous daily recovery program that the individual must develop. While each person’s triggers, stress management techniques, therapy needs and overall recovery program must be customized to the individual, the following components often comprise the most successful relapse prevention plans:

A strong support network is the backbone of any successful relapse prevention plan. This can include family members, spouses, partners, friends, and other people in recovery, groups, and communities that support recovery or a clean lifestyle, AA and NA sponsors, SMART Recovery, etc.

Many people in recovery fail to understand how important a proper diet and exercise is to a successful relapse prevention program. Beginning a program of exercise and proper nutrition will allow the body to heal from any damage caused by the substance abuse

In order to make a relapse prevention plan work, people in recovery must find meaningful things to do with their lives. Whether this consists of excelling at a career, taking classes, exploring artistic outlets, traveling or any other healthy preoccupation, staying mentally and physically active is critical for all people in recovery.

A successful relapse prevention program actively recognizes threats and seeks to neutralize them. Environmental threats can come in the form of poor living conditions, lack of suitable housing, lack of employment opportunities, constant associations with people who use drugs or drink, a stressful workplace or home life; all of these environmental stresses can be triggers that cause an addict to relapse.

Our Recovery Centers

Click one to call one of our treatment centers today. 

FCCR Rehabilitation Center Midlothian VA

905 C Southlake Blvd
Richmond, VA, 23236
Phone: (804) 419-0492

FCCR Rehabilitation Center Richmond VA

4906 Radford Ave
Richmond, VA, 23230
Phone: (804) 354-1996

FCCR Rehabilitation Center Fredericksburg VA

11720 Main Street #108
Fredericksburg, VA, 22408
Phone: (540) 735-9350