I’ve been convicted of an OWI/DUI. What are my options for treatment?
When dealing with the conviction of an OWI/DUI it is imperative that all of the steps which are engaged deal with getting one’s life back on track. There are many different approaches which may be taken into consideration when dealing with treatment options following the conviction of an OWI/DUI. Overall these decisions can be made on an individual voluntary basis, or as a part of a sanction imposed by the court in which the case was decided. Some examples of possible treatments range anywhere from participating in drug/alcohol classes such as AA programs to seeking the professional help of a psychologist. While it may not always be necessary to seek the help of a professional evaluation, it shows the courts that you are actively seeking treatment. Also upon conclusion of any such evaluation the opportunity to show the courts that an individual is not a danger to themselves or to the public is presented.
Effectively Pursuing OWI/DUI Treatment through Professional Evaluation
While AA classes can demonstrate an individuals desire to cooperate with the state in order to have their license reinstated, it does not show the courts that the individual no longer has an alcohol problem. This is one of the main stigmatizations made through the conviction of a court when dealing with OWI is that the individual has an “alcohol problem”. However, this is not always the case. It is for this reason professional evaluation is useful when convincing the courts you have no alcohol related problems and if in fact there was one present it is being addressed. The problem faced here is the classification of all alcohol related problems into one broad category, when in fact this is not the case.
Generally speaking, when dealing with alcohol there are a few categories, ranging from alcohol abuse to alcohol dependency, with many variations in between. Through the use of effective Psychological Evaluation it is possible for the individual to be placed with one of these broader categories. When participating with a Psychological evaluation it is important to be up front and honest. There are many reasons for this all of which directly affect the integrity of the evaluation. Once a successful diagnosis has been formed, further steps may be taken in the direction of rehabilitation programs.
Differences between Alcohol Abuse and Alcohol Dependency
When examining the differences between alcohol abuse and alcohol dependency we can discover many of the same basic guidelines. Alcohol abuse is defined as any “harmful use” of alcohol. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV alcohol abusers are “those who drink despite recurrent social, interpersonal, and legal problems as a result of alcohol abuse.” The word “harmful” here refers to the consumption of alcohol whereby physical or mental harm is a result.
Alcohol abuse can be prevalent of occasional drinkers with financial or other personal problems if it takes the form of Binge drinking. Binge drinking used to be referred to as the heavy consumption of alcohol over the period of a few days; however in more recent history it has been defined as the consumption of a large amount of alcohol with the intention of becoming intoxicated. Those with an alcohol dependency follow similar guidelines to those exhibiting alcohol abuse, however there are a few additional behaviors exhibited.
- Sticking to only one brand of alcohol
- Needing to consume increasing amounts to reach previous effects
- Going through withdrawal symptoms after only a short time w/o alcohol
- Only going to social event where there will be drinking
- Drinking to avoid withdrawal symptoms
- Awareness of the desire to drink and the inability to stop
Once the individual has been diagnosed with either an alcohol abuse problem or an alcohol dependency problem appropriate action may be taken.
I’ve finished with My Professional evaluation. Now What?
Many individuals who are participate in alcohol abuse do not have severe problems and are often able to be helped through a small intervention or some type of AA meeting. There are those who can not be as easily helped. For those exhibiting alcohol dependency problems there are different options which can be a bit more extensive. Such options include programs such as In-Patient alcohol treatment programs and Out-Patient alcohol treatment programs. In more recent years there have actually been adolescent programs implemented throughout the country. Each program is designed to help efficiently treat any patient who meets the criteria.
In-Patient Alcohol treatment Programs – These programs are designed specifically for those individuals who have had alcohol abuse problems for years. The ideal candidate here would have already tried in past years to sober up through a variety of opportunities, yet despite their efforts have failed to do so and maintain the mentality. These individuals also feel as if they would not physically and/or mentally be able to complete a successful out-patient program.
Out-Patient Alcohol Treatment Programs – These programs are designed more for those who exhibit lesser signs of alcohol abuse. These candidates feel they have the support emotionally and physically to maintain a positive mental state while participating in out-patient programs. Also those who have completed in-patient programs may then join out-patient programs to maintain a healthy mentality/ support system.
Overall it is important, even if not always necessary, to follow through with a professional psychological evaluation. The evaluation will exhibit to the court/state that you have an interest in whether or not you have a problem with alcohol and also that you are taking the proper steps to ensure personal and public safety. Your evaluation cannot hurt your cause, but it can make all the difference when regarding your case. The professional conducting the evaluation is then able to effectively advise you as to what type of treatment – if any – would benefit you’re specific situation.