Harm Reduction Strategies for Treating Alcohol Addiction

Harm Reduction Strategies for Treating Alcohol Addiction
November 19 07:33 2017 Print This Article

Alcohol abuse and addiction are pervasive in today’s society. With many types of alcohol addiction treatment in use for over 100 years, it might be time to consider a different approach. Due to the dangers of the quit “cold turkey” approach, simply stopping drinking may not be the best course of action. The medical withdrawal style is only slightly more effective but many people relapse quickly back into the alcohol addiction. One type of alcohol abuse treatment is proving more effective in helping those with this often deadly addiction. This type of treatment is called harm reduction.

Instead of forcing someone to quit without support or with only medical support, harm reduction seeks to reduce the harm that alcohol does to you and your family. There are a number of strategies that treatment centers can offer you if you choose a harm reduction program.


Although it seems simple, education about drinking and alcoholism often works to reduce drinking. When people truly begin to understand what they are doing to themselves and others, they realize exactly how harmful their drinking is. Sometimes this causes a reduction in drinking on its own.

Another education harm reduction strategy is to educate individuals on how to control their drinking. This includes educating them on the other harm reduction strategies.


Some harm reduction strategies involve teaching moderation. Moderation is drinking only a certain amount per day / week / month. Many people who do not have issues with alcohol practice moderation automatically but it can be taught. This form of harm reduction allows you to continue drinking but only under controlled circumstances. Sometimes this means that you only keep a certain amount of alcohol at any time and sometimes you have someone help you in moderation when you drink.


Mindfulness is the practice of being aware of yourself and your mind. Many people have learned to be mindful in what they are doing. When you are taught mindfulness, you learn to be aware of yourself, your surroundings, and most importantly your actions. Many people do not understand how this relates to alcohol. When you practice mindfulness as a alcohol addict, you make yourself very aware of how much and how often you are drinking. This helps you to keep to a moderation or tapering schedule and helps you keep your drinking under control.

Developing Safe Drinking Habits

When you are practicing any harm reduction strategy, you need to develop safe drinking habits. These habits differ from person to person and situation to situation. These habits are designed to make sure that you do not hurt yourself or your family when drinking. Many habits deal with timing of drinking such as not drinking when you have to work in the morning or when you have somewhere to be.

More and more rehab and treatment facilities are teaching harm reduction strategies rather than forcing people to quit without preparation. Often harm reduction leads to tapering and finally ending the alcohol addiction completely.

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Paul Petersen
Paul Petersen

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