Is FL Alcohol Rehab Accessible for Autistic Adults?

Most will agree that overcoming an alcohol use disorder is no easy task; however, for autistic adults, it can often be significantly harder. Fortunately, there is no shortage of rehab facilities across America that offer addiction recovery services that are tailored to meet the unique needs of these individuals. Of the 716 different rehab facilities in the state, a large number of them offer these services either in the form of inpatient or outpatient programs. As far as paying for treatments is concerned, many of these same facilities are willing to accept private medical insurance, private pay, military insurance, payment assistance, access to recovery vouchers, state welfare, family services funds, and several other methods of payment.


Because autistic adults often find interacting and communicating with others challenging, the standard approach to addiction recovery is not always a good fit. Although there are exceptions, this is a general rule. And the challenges do not end there as many of these same individuals tend to have inflexible patterns of thought as well as a propensity to continue repetitive actions, all of which can increase the likelihood of relapse. In most cases, these are the same factors that led to them abusing alcohol in the first place. For these same reasons, addiction among autistic adults is becoming more common in America. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Alcoholism and Drug Dependence shows that over 7 percent of individuals currently undergoing substance abuse treatments have been diagnosed with some form of autism.


Now that we have a basic understanding of the challenges associated with helping autistic adults overcome addiction, let\’s take a look at some of the available treatments. Most rehab facilities in Florida, not to mention those in other states, will place a strong emphasis on behavioral therapy, namely cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), as a way to help autistic adults finally break the cycle of addiction. While CBT can benefit anyone going through rehab, it is especially beneficial for autistic adults. To further illustrate this point, a study published by the National Institutes of Health revealed that 79 percent of individuals with autism who were given CBT showed clinical improvement in their symptoms, particularly anxiety, compared to 28.6 percent who didn\’t undergo this form of behavioral therapy.


Most therapists will agree that CBT is the best way to address the psychological aspects of addiction, especially when it comes to treating autistic adults. For those who may not be as familiar with CBT, it is a form of behavioral therapy that helps individuals understand the thoughts and feelings that drive their behaviors. For years, therapists have used CBT to treat a variety of disorders, such as anxiety and depression. And in recent years, it has become a standard treatment for combatting addiction for those who are struggling with most forms of autism. To further put this into context, a study published by the National Institutes of Health revealed that most U.S.-based therapists report using CBT as a standard treatment for autistic adults who have a problem with drugs or alcohol.


While CBT is an effective treatment for helping individuals overcome the psychological aspects of addiction, there is no such thing as a one size fits all approach. For patients to truly benefit from their CBT sessions, therapists will have to structure the CBT sessions around their unique needs. To accomplish this task, therapists will generally engage in the following:

  • Understanding the individual\’s strengths and weaknesses
  • Pacing sessions so that the individual can better absorb information
  • Creating tasks that the individual will likely find interesting
  • Creating an environment that encourages and supports sobriety

It is important to note that, along with CBT, autistic adults seeking to overcome an addiction to alcohol will still need to undergo detox, addiction education, and other traditional substance abuse treatments that will enable them to end their relationship with alcohol. The same applies to other substances as well.


All in all, the journey toward sobriety will be more challenging for autistic adults, but it doesn\’t mean that it is impossible. To learn more about how CBT can help you overcome addiction or to find a facility in your area, consider speaking with one of our friendly and compassionate representatives today at 833-846-5669.

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