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Alcohol Addiction Treatment

Alcohol Addiction Treatment

People in all cultures across time have used psychoactive substances as part of their social and religious rituals. In North America, people use a variety of substances to commune with others, celebrate, relax, recreate, and de-stress. Consuming alcohol is a legal and socially acceptable way to socialize and unwind.

Moderate alcohol use is generally not a problem; it becomes a problem when it results in a pattern of impaired control of substance use, social impairment, and risky use.

Signs of impaired control of alcohol use include:

  • Drinking in larger amounts or use over a longer period than initially intended;
  • Repeated failed attempts to decrease or stop drinking;
  • Spending a lot of time and effort seeking, obtaining and consuming alcohol;
  • Spending a lot of time recovering from binge drinking; and
  • Intense craving or desire to drink.

Signs of social impairment include:

  • Failure to fulfill major roles or obligations at school, work or home;
  • Continued drinking despite serious social or relationship problems caused by it; and
  • Withdrawing from others or dropping out of activities.

Signs of risky use include:

  • Drinking in dangerous situations; and
  • Continuing to drink despite physical damage and/or negative health effects.

In addition to the behaviours, alcohol addiction is associated with changes in brain chemistry and physiology that result in tolerance and withdrawal. Tolerance is observed when a person requires more and more alcohol to achieve the same effect. Withdrawal is what happens when people drink a lot over a long period of time and then stop. As the alcohol leaves the body, people experience a variety of distressing physical symptoms that often drive them to drink again.

Controlled withdrawal from serious alcohol use (detoxification) often requires medical management in an inpatient setting. An important feature of serious long-term alcohol addiction is a variety of changes in brain chemistry and physiology that can persist beyond detoxification. These changes in physiology result in repeated relapse and intense craving. Understanding these long-term effects is important in effectively managing alcohol addiction in the long-term.

Alcohol use problems are very common. People often drink in an attempt to cope with a mood, anxiety or relationship problem. In fact, it is estimated that approximately 25% of people seeking treatment for a mood or anxiety problem also have a significant substance use problem. Alcohol use is very treatable and, for many, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is an important part of the solution. However, because it often masks an underlying mood or anxiety problem and requires intense intervention including medically-managed withdrawal in an inpatient setting, the first step towards appropriate and effective treatment is a thorough and proper diagnostic assessment from a physician or psychologist.

Why choose CBT Associates?

CBT Associates is a large, well-established and rapidly-growing network of clinics that provides evidence-based psychological services to children, adolescents, adults of all ages, and couples.

We are a highly-qualified group of over 50 psychologists and psychological associates who provide personalized, compassionate, respectful and discreet treatment with the highest level of... Read More

What is the policy for cancelled or missed appointments?

To help us reliably meet the needs of all our clients, we must ask you to provide 24 hours’ notice when cancelling or rescheduling an appointment. Appointments without sufficient notice will be charged the full fee.

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What is a psychologist?


  • Are registered healthcare professionals who are regulated like physicians, surgeons, and dentists.
  • Work with individuals, groups and organizations to promote positive change by assessing and treating psychological problems.
  • Are trained to assess problems accurately using psychological tests and semi-structured interviews.... Read More
What is the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist?

Psychologists are closely aligned with psychiatrists as both are highly-trained professionals. Psychiatrists are oriented toward pharmaceutical solutions (some illnesses in fact lend themselves to medication versus talk therapy, such as severe depression or schizophrenia); while psychologists are oriented toward talk therapy as a solution.

Psychologists and psychiatrists both undertake... Read More

What is the difference between a psychotherapist and a psychologist?

The first important difference between psychotherapists and psychologists is the number of years of education and training required to register by each college. The College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario requires members to complete any recognized training program in psychotherapy, with 450 hours of direct client contact, and 100 hours of clinical supervision. In contrast, to... Read More

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