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When you or someone you love is dealing with an addiction to alcohol or drug addiction, it can be very isolating. Addiction to alcohol and drugs can lead people to feel lonely and stigmatized, as well as helpless. These are effects that can end up worsening the cycle of addiction. What’s important to note is that social services help for alcoholics and addicts is available.

Whether you go to a treatment center or connect with local community resources like a support group, family counseling, detoxification services, individual treatment provider, or a state-funded rehab program, understanding what’s available to you is critical to getting help changing your life.

Addiction is one of the most significant public health issues we face in the United States right now. Understanding that mental health services and addiction services for individuals exist can be life-saving. Among the numerous resources available, all can help you improve your quality of life. 

The following is a general overview of some of the available social services help for alcoholics.

Understanding Alcoholism

Before you can get substance use disorder treatment, you have to recognize a problem exists.

Alcoholism is considered the most severe type of alcohol abuse. When someone has substance abuse issues, they can’t manage their drinking habits and lose control over alcohol. Alcoholism is also known as an alcohol use disorder.

A doctor can diagnose an alcohol use disorder as mild, moderate, or severe. Substance abuse may occur with another mental illness, known as a co-occurring disorder. 

Typically, since an alcohol use disorder is considered a chronic disease, it worsens with time if untreated. The effects will become more evident and impactful.

If someone is an alcoholic, they can’t function without drinking, or at least they feel they can’t. There are so many effects of alcohol and alcoholism. Being addicted to alcohol can affect your career, relationships, finances, and health.

When someone has alcohol addiction, they will usually need help in a professional treatment program. These programs can all vary from one another, but they should be evidence-based and provide an individualized treatment plan at their core. Many times, treatment requires a multidisciplinary team. 

The steps in treatment might look like the following:

  • Detoxification: Addiction often leads to physical dependence. When you’re physically dependent on alcohol and stop heavy drinking suddenly or cold turkey, it can lead to withdrawal symptoms. A medical detox means you have medical help as you go through withdrawal.
  • Rehab: Detox isn’t an addiction treatment. A detoxification program is only to help you with the physiological symptoms of addiction. The next stage in the process should be a rehab program. Rehab can be inpatient or residential rehabilitation, meaning you live onsite, or outpatient treatment, meaning you return home after treatment. Alcohol treatment services can last 30-90 days most often, but sometimes they last longer, depending on your individual needs in the treatment process. 
  • Maintenance: The maintenance phase of your recovery process is when you work on avoiding alcohol for the long term. This is when you may connect with more social services such as counseling or support groups to maintain your recovery. The maintenance phase can last for years after treatment in rehab. Addiction treatment for alcohol abuse is often known as a continuum of care. 

The Role of Social Services in Addiction

One source of social services help for alcoholics and people with addictions to other substances is to connect with a social worker. Social workers can help people with substance use disorder in various ways.

For example, they can help in diagnosing the disorder and its severity. Working with a local social worker can also include counseling services to individuals, groups, or families. 

Social workers are also helpful to connect you with community resources, from formal facilities and support groups to financial, legal, and vocational help. That’s one of the many strengths of a social worker or a social services provider—they’re very connected with community safety nets.

Specifically, some of the things a social worker can do for you or a loved one who’s dealing with addiction include:

  • Performing intake and assessment to help figure out the severity of an addiction, which is important for treatment.
  • Developing behavioral treatment plans. 
  • Facilitating individual and group therapy or support sessions.
  • Helping connect you with services for your physical and emotional health and treatment for other mental health disorders. 
  • Connecting loved ones with family services. 
  • Referral to other social services organizations and public health agencies, including for specific populations such as pregnant women. 
  • A social services worker might help you find recovery homes to return to after treatment, or they can help homeless families and individuals identify housing. 

Support Groups for Alcoholics

Suppose you’re struggling with active addiction, or you’ve completed a treatment program, and you’re preparing for the maintenance phase of your recovery. In that case, support groups are a great type of social services help for alcoholics to add to their life. Support groups give you structure and accountability. Participating in these groups also helps you stay focused on recovery and avoid isolation or loneliness, often relapse triggers.

There is a wide range of support groups for alcoholics in communities around the country, but some of the more well-known groups include:

  • Alcoholics Anonymous: AA is a 12-step program that’s the most well-known of all the addiction treatment support groups. Often rehab programs will use a 12-step framework so that it’s familiar to you after treatment when you return home. This is the largest and oldest support group for alcoholism. When you participate in AA, you are encouraged to go through a spiritual awakening to guide your recovery and maintain sobriety.
  • SMART Recovery: If you don’t like the spiritual component of AA, you might prefer SMART Recovery. SMART Recovery is a self-help group based on scientific principles. The SMART Recovery 4-Point program gives you tools for recovery, and it has a significant online presence with forums and support groups if there’s not a chapter that meets near you.
  • Celebrate Recovery: This is a spiritual program often used in churches worldwide. The program is based on the Bible, and you can learn how to overcome negative habits.
  • LifeRing: LifeRing Secular Recovery helps people who are in recovery from alcohol and drugs. Peer support is used to help foster personal growth as you develop your own strategies to maintain recovery.

If you have a loved one dealing with alcoholism or another form of addiction, there are also support groups for you. 

Al-Anon is one option. Al-Anon is for friends and family members of people with an alcohol problem or addiction and families of individuals in recovery. During these meetings, which are based on modified 12 steps, you share how someone else’s drinking affects you. You develop your own coping mechanisms through participation.

Other groups like Co-Dependents Anonymous and the Adult Children of Alcoholics Groups are available, which is not a 12-step group. 

Local Community Social Services Help for Alcoholics

If you need immediate help or help to connect with a free or low-cost treatment program or some other type of resources, you can also get in touch with your local government. Often, city and county governments and state governments can connect you with resources to help you when you’re dealing with an addiction.

There are so many programs out there, but people tend not to take advantage of them because they don’t know they exist. 

If you’d like to learn more about services for individuals with alcoholism or other forms of substance abuse, Covenant Hills Treatment can help; we can also help you connect with resources and qualified providers. Reach out today by calling 844-268-8412 for information and answers to questions you may have about substance addiction treatment services.