Alcoholism vs. Binge Drinking: Which one requires a drug recovery program?

The terms alcoholism and binge drinking are often used interchangeably, but they refer to two different things. Alcoholism is a chronic alcohol use disorder characterized by a solid and uncontrolled urge to drink alcohol, even when doing so causes negative consequences. On the other hand, binge drinking is defined as a pattern of alcohol consumption that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels to 0.08 g/dL or above. While both alcoholism and binge drinking can lead to serious health problems, only alcoholism is considered a disease that requires treatment in an alcohol recovery program. 

The 6 Features of an alcohol recovery program are;

1. Detoxification

This is when the body is cleansed of all alcohol and its toxins. It can be a difficult and dangerous process, so it is usually done in a medical setting where staff can closely monitor the individual and provide them with necessary medical care.

Detoxification befits include;

  • Medically monitored detoxification
  • Tapering off alcohol consumption
  • Withdrawal management 

2. Rehabilitation

After detoxification, the next step in an alcohol recovery program is usually rehabilitation. This is when the alcohol addicts receive counseling and therapy to help them understand their alcoholism and learn how to cope with triggers and cravings.

The benefits include;

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Group counseling
  • Individual counseling
  • Family counseling

3. The 12-Step Program

The 12-step program is a common component of recovery programs. This program encourages the alcoholic to admit that they are powerless over their alcoholism and need help from a higher power to recover. The 12 steps also guide the alcoholic through the process of making amends for their past actions and learning to live a sober life.

Some of its benefits include;

  • Providing support and structure
  • Helping the alcoholic take responsibility for their actions
  • Teaching the alcoholic how to live a sober life

4. Medication-Assisted Treatment

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is a type of treatment that uses medication to help treat alcoholism. MAT can be used in conjunction with other forms of treatment, such as counseling and therapy.

MAT benefits include;

  • Reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms
  • Helping the alcoholic abstain from drinking
  • Improving the success of other forms of treatment

5. Sober Living House

Many alcoholics choose to live in a sober living house after they leave treatment. These houses provide a structured and supportive environment for recovering alcoholics. Residents are typically required to follow certain rules, such as abstaining from alcohol and drugs, attending AA meetings, and participating in weekly house meetings.

Sober living houses benefits include;

  • Keeping the alcoholic accountable
  • Providing support and structure
  • Helping the alcoholic transition back to everyday life
  • Access to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and other resources

6. Aftercare

Aftercare is a type of care provided in an alcohol recovery center to recovering alcoholics after they leave treatment. A long-term plan for continued sobriety includes regular counseling, therapy, and 12-step meetings. It is essential for preventing relapse and maintaining sobriety in the long term.

The benefits include;

  • Continued support and accountability
  • Help prevent relapse
  • Access to resources for maintaining sobriety

Bottom Line

While both alcoholism and binge drinking can lead to serious health problems, only alcoholism is considered a disease that requires treatment in an alcohol recovery program. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcoholism, seek professional help to get the treatment and support you need.