For some drinkers, the only effective solution to a serious alcohol problem is to stop drinking completely. And stay stopped for good. Especially when drinking has already led to addiction, compulsion, and/or other serious consequences. But for other drinkers, the so-called “problem drinkers” – who by definition are not alcoholic and not physically addicted to alcohol – learning how to moderate alcohol consumption within safer limits can sometimes be realistic and attainable. Our moderate drinking program may be able to help you learn to cut down.
Studies have shown that many non-alcoholic problem drinkers can utilize self-control and “harm reduction” strategies to reduce their level of alcohol consumption and the risk that their drinking will cause harm to themselves and/or others. Generally speaking, people with shorter histories of alcohol abuse, less severe problems related to drinking, and higher levels of overall functioning are often better candidates for moderate drinking than lower-functioning individuals with more chronic and severe problems. Even so, it is often difficult to predict which “problem drinkers” will be able to successfully reduce their drinking to safer limits and keep it within these limits over the long term without gravitating back to harmful drinking patterns. Whereas some people learn to reliably moderate their drinking, others find that sustaining moderation is an elusive and frustrating goal that eventually leads them to a decision to quit drinking completely – at least for a while. After a thorough evaluation of your drinking patterns and related issues, Dr. Washton will help you decide whether moderate drinking or abstinence makes the most sense for you.
Learn effective strategies in our moderate drinking program
The moderate drinking strategies that Dr. Washton utilizes include such things as learning how to: (a) avoid or safely manage “high risk” situations that encourage overdrinking; (b) limit the number of drinks you have on a given occasion; and, (c) pace your drinking so you don’t lose your “off switch”. You will also learn new coping skills so you can deal more effectively with stress and negative emotions so you are less likely to resort to alcohol or other substances for self medication. (To see Dr. Washton’s handout “10 Tips for Managing Your Drinking,” click here.)
Personalized, confidential and discreet
If you want help learning to cut back on your drinking, Dr. Washton will customize the moderate drinking program to provide you with a combination of advice, guidance, education, and support– all designed to maximize your chances of success. He will meet with you individually in private one-on-one sessions, recommend suggested readings, and provide you with other helpful materials. You can also join one of his small private support groups that meet in the evenings so you can benefit from interacting with other high-functioning executives and professionals grappling with similar issues. To find out if moderation is a realistic goal for you, reach out to Dr. Washton today for a confidential and discreet consultation.
Can medication help?
Medication is not a cure for drinking problems, but sometimes can be very helpful, especially when combined with ongoing behavioral counseling and therapy. For example, recent studies show that an opioid-blocking drug can reduce the likelihood of heavy drinking and either make it easier to stop drinking completely or can reduce the intensity/frequency of heavy drinking episodes by offsetting changes in the brain caused by alcohol. Clients considering the use of medication to supplement their treatment here can be seen by one of our collaborating physicians (MDs) who can evaluate the appropriateness of medication for you and when indicated prescribe the medication that works best for you.