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Alcoholism Treatment: Alcohol Rehab Guide

Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) is a chronic, relapsing disease characterized by a loss of control over drinking. Alcohol Use Disorder causes people to become dependent on alcohol where they continue to drink regardless of the consequences, and also experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop drinking. Alcoholism has short-term and long-term effects on both mental health and physical health.

Alcoholism is a treatable disease that is accessible through health insurance. The most common alcohol treatments include:

  • Alcohol rehab treatment facilities
  • Alcohol detoxification
  • Pharmaceutical treatment for alcoholism
  • Alcoholism support groups

What Are The Different Stages Of Alcoholism That May Require Rehab?

The disorder can progress through three stages referred to as:

  • Binge-drinking
  • High-Risk Drinking
  • Alcohol dependence

If this continues for an extended period it can lead to the development of severe complications and diseases. Such as cancer, brain damage, or heart disease.

When AUD is identified in a person, that is probably the time for treatment. The earlier it is identified, the better the chance of getting through it successfully. Knowing the signs of alcoholism is also an important factor in identifying AUD and whether it has developed into a dependence.

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What Types Of Medications Are Used In Alcohol Rehab?

Naltrexone, Acamprosate, and Disulfiram are medications approved to treat AUD.

  • Naltrexone (brand name: ReVia) is a non-addictive opioid antagonist that blocks the rewarding effects of alcohol and reduces cravings for it.
  • Acamprosate (brand name: Campral) reduces symptoms of withdrawal and helps maintain abstinence from alcohol in patients with AUD. It works by interfering with the excitatory neurotransmitter system in the brain.
  • Disulfiram (brand name: Antabuse) is also an antagonist medication but acts as a deterrent for alcohol consumption. It is effective when combined with counseling or therapies. At first, it will produce unpleasant symptoms that are said to deter drinking behavior, but after some time, it will produce a tolerable response that can help reduce cravings for alcohol.

Medications when used in combination with therapies and support groups such as AA, can be an effective way to help wean alcoholics off their addiction.

How Do You Choose An Alcohol Rehab?

The following tips can help guide an individual during treatment:

Licenses and accreditations

A reputable rehab facility will have an addiction specialist that can help you taper off your drug intake, provide medication to help with the withdrawal symptoms, and do individual counseling.

Individualized Treatment Plan

It is important to have a treatment plan that is catered specifically to your needs. The facility should be able to accommodate the issue at hand and provide an effective solution for it.

For example, if a person has a child suffering from AUD or drug addiction, then specific family programs should be provided by the rehab center to help the family heal.

Treatment Setting And Schedules

When selecting an alcohol treatment program, consider the specific details such as where it is located and if transportation will be needed after admission. Will there be any time restrictions? Is there a curfew or minimum hours of participation?

Does The Rehab Accept Insurance?

Some rehabs are fully cash pay but others accept most major PPO and HMO insurance plans, as well as Medicare and Medicaid. It’s important to ask what insurance if any the rehab accepts and if they will accept your insurance.

Helping A Loved One Get Into Rehab

If you have someone you care about that is struggling with alcohol use disorder, here are some ways that you can help them.

  • It’s important to understand where they are coming from. Learn as much as you can about alcohol use disorder on a deeper level so you can be mindful of what they are going through.
  • Let the person know you care by creating a safe place for them to share, while also setting boundaries. Compassion is important.
  • Don’t be confrontational, but pick an appropriate time and place to have a conversation about their well-being.
  • Remember, your loved one may be in denial about their alcohol dependency. Do not take it personally if they have a negative reaction to the idea of seeking help.
  • Sometimes just meeting someone who knows what’s going on brings all parties closer together so do everything possible to stand strong against any negativity coming from within yourself!

What Are The Types Of Treatment For Alcohol?

Alcohol rehab starts with a thorough evaluation followed by medical detox and residential treatment and maintenance. The different steps and levels of care in rehab include the following:

Medical Detox

Going through detoxification when treating alcoholism is a challenging process. Withdrawal symptoms can be severe and should be managed under professional medical care, often with the assistance of medication to help alleviate discomfort while focusing on getting better. Once complete, you’re able to move ahead into other forms of therapy which form the basis for lasting recovery from alcohol addiction.

Inpatient Rehab

During inpatient rehab, the patient lives in the facility for approximately four weeks, undergoing detox and therapy. They follow a schedule of group therapies, individual therapy sessions, and family programs. Sometimes these treatments are combined with alternative methods like acupuncture or massage therapy. Many patients find it helpful to recover by adding this with traditional rehab.

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment for alcoholism can be an effective way to help individuals who struggle with alcohol misuse to begin their journey toward recovery. By utilizing evidence-based strategies such as cognitive behavioral therapy, motivation enhancement therapy, and relapse prevention techniques, outpatient treatment can offer a supportive environment that helps individuals build confidence in their ability to make positive changes in their lives. Through the combination of support services and practical guidance, individuals in an outpatient program for alcoholism can work to achieve lasting sobriety and improved quality of life.

Outpatient Treatment

Counseling is a vital part of the recovery process for those struggling with alcohol addiction. Working closely with an experienced counselor opens up channels of communication and provides guidance when navigating both victories, as well as times of difficulty during this journey. In addition to addressing drinking habits, individuals have the chance to get clear on any underlying issues that could be triggering their addictive behaviors such as peer pressure or family tensions in order to better understand themselves from within–ultimately benefiting physical health along the way.

Aftercare And Maintenance

Aftercare and maintenance includes relapse prevention and is usually found in peer recovery groups. Peer recovery groups include 12-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) are free self-supporting groups for those who suffer from alcohol addiction. Members support each other in their sobriety, provide resources, and spread the message of hope.

Frequently Asked Questions: Alcohol Rehab

What is a good relapse prevention plan for alcoholics?

The secret to safeguarding the new life you have fought so hard to create when it comes to successfully recovering from substance addiction is to foresee potential dangers. The first doable step to take to support recovery after inpatient treatment is to develop a relapse prevention plan.
  • Set objectives for your recovery:  Make a list of your own recovery objectives to keep your eyes on a promising new future. These could be rediscovering previous interests or hobbies, setting career goals, strengthening important relationships, making amends, or maturing spiritually.
  • Find your triggers: A thorough inventory of recognized triggers is the foundation of any effective relapse prevention strategy. Look hard to find each one and identify them all. Consider them your foe.
  • Think critically: Plan your strategy with an offensive mentality. Create self-accountability measures, abide by medication-supported recovery (MSR), maintain outpatient therapy, and restore health and fitness through regular exercise and a balanced diet.
  • Recognize the red flag: The culmination of a series of warning indicators that were disregarded is relapse. Learn the warning signs of a potential return to substance abuse.
  • Define your recovery tools: Recovery strategies were taught during inpatient therapy, however, they haven't yet been used. Name them. Acquaint yourself with them and start putting them into practice right away: tactics for resolving disputes, improved communication abilities, self-affirming thought patterns, and relaxation methods. Many people fine AA and the 12 steps extremely helpful and a place where accountability is easily found.
  • Decide what steps to take: Each person will specify their own particular tactics for preventing relapse. Provide a list of several offensive measures to use when warning signs flash.

What is the cost of an alcohol rehab?

Each institution has a different price for addiction treatment. While some programs are free, others have daily fees in the thousands of dollars. There is a center available for each budget. Anyone who is aware of the resources available to them has the chance to heal. reported in 2021 that the price of rehab can range between, viz:
  • 30 day drug detox: $240-850 per day
  • 3 months of outpatient therapy: $1,450 to $10,000
  • 30 day intensive outpatient program: $3,100 to $10,000
  • Residential Therapy: $5,100 to $80,000

What should an alcoholic be expected to do in treatment?

Detoxification is the best initial step toward recovering from AUD (Alcohol Use Disorder), but it rarely works by itself to enable long-term sobriety. Prior to a patient entering a detox center, a doctor must thoroughly analyze their history of alcohol misuse, any prior withdrawal symptoms, and their medical and psychiatric history to determine their risk of withdrawal. Patients may also have blood work done and be screened for any co-occurring mental or physical health conditions as part of this examination. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recommends detox in an inpatient setting, such as a hospital or other acute care facility, for anyone at risk of severe, life-threatening withdrawal symptoms, which include seizures and delirium tremens (DTs). Patients may be given drugs to aid in a safe withdrawal from alcohol during the detoxification process. Some of these meds could be, viz: Benzodiazepines, Anticonvulsants, Antipsychotics. A patient may move on to an appropriate substance abuse treatment program when detox is finished. Following detoxification and withdrawal management, patients may receive inpatient or outpatient treatment for a AUD, depending on the extent of their addiction, the level of social support they receive at home, and other considerations.

How Long Does Alcohol Rehab Last?

It's difficult to pick the best alcohol treatment facility. There are several considerations to make when choosing the best program for you, whether you're seeking for assistance for yourself or a loved one. How long alcohol rehab lasts should be one of your considerations when looking for a local treatment program. However, it's crucial to understand that everyone is unique and has distinct needs, which means that no two people will have the same experience in treatment. The following three lengths of rehabilitation programs are common:
  • 30-day initiatives
  • Sixty-day courses
  • 91-day courses
Nonetheless, a large number of people will opt to take part in lengthy programs that include inpatient treatment, outpatient therapy, and follow-up initiatives like sober life.

Can You Stop Drinking on Your Own Without Going To Rehab?

The answer is yes, millions of people have stopped drinking without going to rehab through resources like Alcoholics Anonymous and therapy. However, every individual is different and there isn’t anything wrong (or stigmas attached) to go to rehab for alcoholism. es, you can stop drinking on your own.

People that suffer from alcoholism can quit and maintain a sober lifestyle by deciding not to drink alcohol anymore. The initial withdrawal symptoms can be extremely dangerous to get through and cravings are extremely strong. Going to detox for alcohol withdrawal and seeking professional inpatient rehab is much safer than going cold turkey.

If you decide to go to rehab or that you want to quit on your own, it’s important to have a strong support system. AA, NA, Smart Recovery, and even Oxford groups are really important as well as friends and family that know you are trying to achieve sobriety. Having a support system is one of the best relapse prevention techniques that will help you in the long run and increase your chances of success.

Final Thoughts On Rehab For Alcohol Use Disorder

At Magnified Health Systems, our team aids patients in becoming responsible for assessing and healthily getting their needs met in all 8 dimensions of wellness: physical, emotional, mental, social, environmental, spiritual, occupational, and financial.

We offer a variety of therapies to help our patients deal with the effects of alcohol addiction and sobriety. Our experiential programs include yoga, song healing circles, or art groups for those who want more than just talk therapy in their journey toward wellness.

As well as psychotherapy sessions that can provide lasting relief from mental health issues such as depression through counseling at one on under-qualified professionals.

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Ottonello, M., Fiabane, E., Pistarini, C., Spigno, P., & Torselli, E. (2019). Difficulties in emotion regulation during rehabilitation for alcohol addiction: correlations with metacognitive beliefs about alcohol use and relapse risk. Neuropsychiatric disease and treatment, 15, 2917.

Pang, T. Y., Hannan, A. J., & Lawrence, A. J. (2019). Novel approaches to alcohol rehabilitation: modification of stress-responsive brain regions through environmental enrichment. Neuropharmacology, 145, 25-36.

Prangley, T., Pit, S. W., Rees, T., & Nealon, J. (2018). Factors influencing early withdrawal from a drug and alcohol treatment program and client perceptions of successful recovery and employment: a qualitative study. BMC psychiatry, 18(1), 1-11.

Medical Advice Disclaimer

Magnified Health Systems aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.

This content is verified and moderated by Dr. Brendan Bickley

This content is verified and moderated by Dr. Brendan Bickley

Dr. Bickley graduated from U.C. Irvine with honors: Phi Beta Kappa, Golden Key International Honor Society, Cum Laude. He has been featured on national radio and print media. He is also a frequent lecturer at National Conferences. He holds an A.S. degree in Drug & Alcohol Studies, and two B.A. degrees in Criminology & Psychology, and masters and doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology. He is a licensed California Drug & Alcohol Counselor Level II, a licensed Clinical Supervisor and is certified in treating Eating Disorders.

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