Alcoholism is an insidious disease, and one that affects every man and woman differently.
Alcohol is available in most restaurants, on every other street corner, in grocery stores, drug stores, and is kept in the homes of most Americans, both for cooking and for drinking. Because it is so commonplace, many mistakenly believe that it is harmless. Almost everyone has had an alcoholic beverage and most have had a binge drinking experience – drinking to excess – on multiple occasions. Can this behavior be harmful if it’s so prevalent? Absolutely. The fact is that alcoholism causes death, injuries, prolonged health issues and serious emotional problems, and it affects many more people than just the alcoholic.
Each one subscribes to a distinct treatment module or style of treatment with different foundations of belief based on their mission statement and goals for their patient.
For that reason, a number of different types of alcohol addiction options exist – inpatient alcohol detox, outpatient addiction treatment, comprehensive residential alcohol rehab and sober living are the most common.
It’s important that those living with an alcohol addiction take the time to explore their options before choosing a treatment option. Though it may seem that all alcohol rehab programs offer the same services and that one is as good as the next, each has different methods of providing that treatment and one method may be more effective for you than others. Take a moment to assess what you want and need out of alcohol addiction treatment and make a list.
Do you need:
- Residential care that will protect you from relapse?
- 12-step meetings so you can more easily continue your care after treatment?
- Holistic therapy options that provide you with interesting methods of psychological care and healing?
- Outpatient addiction treatment that will allow you to continue to attend school, go to work or care for family?
- Detox and medical care to attend to withdrawal symptoms?
- A sober environment to continue recovery after treatment?
If you need help determining what it is that you need from an addiction treatment program or if you know what you want but don’t know where to find it, contact us at the phone number listed above. Let us match you with a program that can meet your needs and help you create a brighter future for yourself in recovery.
Evaluation and Diagnostic Care
A good alcohol rehab treatment facility will provide patients with a complete psychiatric evaluation as well as a thorough physical in order to make sure that the individual receives care that matches his or her needs, according to the Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment published by the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s NIDAMED. Many who have been living with alcohol addiction or chronic alcohol abuse have physical issues and health problems as a result. A physical will help to pinpoint areas of concern and lay the groundwork for creating a medical plan for treatment to address those issues.
The psychiatric evaluation will determine if there is a co-occurring mental health disorder. Anything from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia to grief and depression can coexist with alcohol abuse and addiction. In some cases, the mental health disorder is caused by alcohol use. In other cases, the mental health issue existed first and was exacerbated by alcohol abuse. No matter how it began, if both alcoholism and a psychiatric disorder are in evidence, a dual treatment plan will be formulated, giving the patient a better chance of success in the long term.
According to a study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association 1990 Nov 21;264(19):2511-8, about 37 percent of those living with an alcohol abuse or addiction disorder were also diagnosed with a co-occurring mental health disorder. This is significant because the presence of a mental health issue like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, schizophrenia and other issues can make recovery from alcoholism much more difficult. In fact, symptoms of co-occurring psychiatric problems can interfere with treatment as early as the detox period, disrupting the recovery process throughout treatment and increasing the risk of relapse.
It is important to identify a Dual Diagnosis early on so that patients can choose a Dual Diagnosis rehab program
that provides simultaneous treatment for both disorders.
Medication may be necessary for one or both issues and specialists trained in the treatment of psychological disorders and substance abuse are a must. Both disorders will require psychotherapeutic assistance and ongoing treatment with regular follow-ups and aftercare for an effective recovery.
Steps of Alcohol Rehab
In any alcohol rehabilitation treatment program, the main concern will be the prevention of relapse. The patient will need intensive focus on skill sets to help prevent relapses from happening. These skills help to ensure their recovery for the long term and give them tools to use when they feel tempted or triggered to get high or drunk. The most successful recoveries focus on relapse prevention.
Recovery planning plays a big part in the prevention of relapse both during and after alcohol rehab.
An alcoholic can’t expect to leave rehab and keep it all in their head or manage their life just with their wits. Emotions are put in charge when a person lives by their addiction. Recovery planning takes the emotion out of the picture and replaces it with good decision-making and planning, thus improving the chances that he or she will be able to remain clean and sober when temptation strikes.
A good recovery plan can include both maintenance activities and crisis management. Maintenance activities might include doing regular exercise and attending weekly AA meetings. Crisis management might include specific activities when cravings hit and what to do if the alcoholic actually relapses and drinks alcohol or takes another drug.
Abruptly stopping the abuse of alcohol after a long period of use can be uncomfortable and defined by physical and emotional withdrawal symptoms. The detox portion of any alcohol addiction treatment program is dedicated to helping the patient through this experience, often providing medication as a form of support to mitigate symptoms and make the patient more comfortable.
According to MedLine Plus, some common alcohol withdrawal symptoms include tremors, mood swings, difficulty thinking clearly, fatigue, stomach upset and heart palpitations. Cravings for alcohol, paranoia, hallucinations, insomnia, irritability and even violent responses to stimuli may also be a part of the experience.
Because medical issues and complications can also be a part of detox, it is not recommended that any patient who experiences withdrawal symptoms when they stop drinking attempt to go through the detox process alone. Instead, it is important to choose a professional detox facility that has the capability to provide round-the-clock medical care, medication and therapeutic support.
If alcohol addiction is a serious or long-term issue, choosing an alcohol rehab that includes an on-site alcohol detox can help keep the entire process of recovery simple and seamless.
The length of time spent in active detox is decided by the patient. Depending upon the length and severity of alcohol abuse, the patient’s experience in detox may be longer or shorter. It’s important to begin to address the psychological issues associated with alcohol addiction as soon as the patient is physically stabilized and prepared to move forward in treatment.
Outpatient Alcohol Addiction Treatment
Outpatient alcohol addiction treatment is recommended immediately after the successful completion of an alcohol detox when detox takes place at a dedicated facility as opposed to being integrated into a comprehensive alcohol rehab program.
It is also a viable opportunity for therapy and treatment of psychological dependence when withdrawal symptoms are not an issue but chronic alcohol abuse is. The best candidates for outpatient alcohol rehab include those who have only had a problem with alcohol for a short period of time, do not abuse other drugs while drinking, and have a stable and supportive home life. Those without mental health issues or those who are currently well-managed in terms of medical care for those issues may also do well with outpatient treatment. However, patients who do not believe that they can avoid relapse without constant supervision even if all the above characteristics apply should choose an inpatient program.
Inpatient Alcohol Addiction Treatment
Inpatient alcohol rehab is considered the gold standard in alcohol addiction treatment and care. Alcohol detox is available if necessary and, once the patient is physically stabilized, will provide an intensive and comprehensive psychological treatment plan designed to address the needs of each individual patient. Those who have experienced trauma during or prior to alcohol addiction can begin the process of healing by working through these issues. Cravings, too, are dealt with during an inpatient alcohol rehab program and patients learn to handle stresses and other strong emotions effectively in sobriety without depending upon alcohol to get them through the hard times.
Sober living is an excellent care option for those who have successfully completed their alcohol addiction treatment program, according to a study published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs
2010 December; 42(4): 425–433.
At Sober Homes, patients can continue to live in an environment that is protected just like a residential treatment program. Guidance and regular house meetings as well as other therapeutic requirements ensure that patients have the support they need to handle challenges that face them as they make the transition into their new sober lives. A bit more freedom in their schedule means that they have the opportunity to begin the process of heading out into the community. They can start the process of finding a new home and new job that will sustain them during sobriety.
The influence of an alcohol rehab center can and should continue past the patient’s stay in alcohol addiction treatment. Alumni groups provide recovering alcoholics with an extended connection to their newfound peers and recovery network, and improve the chances that the patient will continue to include healthy social interaction as a part of his or her sober lifestyle.
Some alumni associates have large-scale events with dozens of people. Other rehabs prefer to focus on more regular meetings and activities year-round. Each rehab center has its own style of networking with its alumni.
Regardless of how it’s done, a recovering addict doesn’t have to leave behind their good friends and important mentors once they leave alcohol rehab.
Therapeutic Treatment Options
Whether patients choose inpatient or outpatient alcohol rehab, there are a number of different types of treatments and therapies that are effective in both settings.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse
, some of the most common are:
- 12-step programs. AA support groups can be found in nearly every community across the United States, which is why it is so often incorporated into alcohol rehab programs. They not only provide a more seamless transition from rehab to home, 12-step meetings can offer recovering alcoholics the personal accountability, spiritual introspection, and peer support and guidance they need to remain dedicated to their recovery long after treatment ends.
- Holistic therapies. Holistic therapies like meditation and yoga can augment traditional alcohol rehab therapies and assist patients in finding inner peace and new tools to manage stress. Letting go and self-acceptance are two key elements of many holistic therapies – and very important to long-lasting recovery.
- Group counseling. Group therapy offers the patient a chance to learn from others who are experiencing the same struggles with alcohol and an opportunity to open up about struggles and hardships that may be inhibiting recovery. The connections made in group therapy can inform future friendships and empower those in recovery to learn how to create and maintain positive relationships.
- Individual counseling. A confidential, one-on-one relationship with a therapist can help patients to open up about trauma and other difficult experiences from the past that may be shackling them to alcohol. With personal guidance and skills practice, patients can learn how to work through their issues and make better choices going forward.
- Family counseling. The involvement of the family in counseling during alcohol rehab can be a crucial part of a patient’s recovery, especially if they live together. Dealing with issues of broken trust and painful incidents from the past while learning how to more effectively communicate and work through problems can help the whole family heal after alcoholism.
Get More Information About Alcohol Rehab
Finding an alcohol rehab that can provide all the treatment elements listed above as well as the therapies that you want and need to recover starts with a single phone call. Contact us today at the phone number listed above and take the first steps down your personal road to freedom from alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction. Call now.