Alcohol Rehab Guide
Due to the wide availability of alcohol in stores, restaurants and homes throughout the country, this substance is often mistaken as a harmless additive to drinks and meals alike. Just about every adult in the country has had at least a single episode of drinking alcohol and most of those have been the victim of a binge drinking experience at least once in their lifetime. Because alcohol is so widely available, it is safe, right?
The truth is, alcohol is a dangerous substance when abused and can lead to deadly consequences. Many people who drink wind up addicted to alcohol and require long term rehabilitation in order to completely overcome the negative effects that this addiction has on them. From long term health issues such as liver and kidney damage to short term consequences that can happen at the blink of an eye such as a DUI, or fatal car accident, alcoholism affects more than just those who drink – it affects everyone around them too!
Fortunately, there is hope for recovery. Even those who suffer from the worst alcohol addiction, alcoholism, can make a full recovery from this deadly disease. With the help of inpatient alcohol detox, outpatient addiction treatment, residential treatment programs and a series of community support groups, alcohol addiction can be overcome and many of the negative effects of drinking can become a thing of the past.
Alcohol rehab is a necessary treatment option for those who become addicted to the substance. It is important to understand the treatment and rehab options associated with alcoholism in order to choose the best alternative for your particular needs. If you or someone you love is in need of help, call 800-895-1695 (Who Answers?) today to be matched with beneficial rehab centers for your current situation.
Do you Need Treatment for Alcohol Addiction?
- alcohol is more important to me than spending time with my family
- alcohol is the first thing that I think about each day
- alcohol is the last thing that I think about each night
- alcohol is on my mind when I am at work, home, school or social events
- drinking makes it easier for me to be social and without alcohol I don’t want to be social
- drinking takes away my sorrow and pain
- without a drink I can’t go to sleep at night
Many factors go into assessing an individual’s need for alcohol addiction treatment and they can range from social factors to actual health factors. For instance, some people only drink socially but when they do drink they forget things, black out, over-drink, get aggressive or otherwise have problems. These people are not good candidates for social drinking and should seek help. Others drink to mask certain health conditions such as pain. In these cases, alcohol is not the answer and proper treatment can lead to a better diagnosis and method of care for an underlying problem such as chronic illness, chronic pain or other conditions.
Those who need alcohol rehab are often individuals who have been drinking too much, too often, and for a very long time. In general, individuals suffering from alcoholism are especially in need of professional rehab treatment, as it is often necessary for them to “completely stop” drinking altogether, according to the National Library of Medicine. However, even those who merely abuse the substance or exhibit problematic drinking may need to attend professional treatment in order to recover safely and effectively from this type of substance abuse disorder.
Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse
Some of the signs and symptoms associated with alcohol abuse and addiction are very similar to those commonly caused by drug abuse. For example, many individuals experience
- An inability to control their alcohol intake
- A building tolerance of the effects of the substance
- A strong craving to drink
- Problems in their professional and personal lives caused by their frequent drinking
- A tendency toward hostile behavior when confronted with the issue of their drinking
- Physical dependence and withdrawal symptoms
- The withdrawal syndrome associated with alcohol can be deadly in some cases, which is why one must be extremely careful with this disorder and seek help as soon as possible.
- According to the NLM, the most severe form of alcohol withdrawal, delirium tremens, is considered “a medical emergency.”
However, other health risks and issues associated with alcohol abuse can include
- The development of certain cancers, including
- Liver damage
- Pancreatic damage
- Nutrition problems
- Bleeding from the stomach
- Heart problems
A person who begins experiencing any of the behavioral or physical side effects of caused by an alcohol use disorder (AUD) should absolutely seek treatment in a professional rehab facility in order to cut back, or in many cases, put an end to their drinking altogether.
Evaluation and Care for Alcohol Addiction
Many people who live with an alcohol addiction for a prolonged period of time will suffer from more than just the addiction itself. Some will have long term adverse effects as a result of their drinking that require evaluation and a regimen for care. Alcohol rehab facilities will provide patients with an intake evaluation that will address their physical and psychological character of the individual as well as the possible needs for additional psychological or medical care. Many alcoholics will require long term rehabilitation in order to provide them with the best chance of overcoming their physical and mental health problems to create a basis for their recovery efforts.
Dual Diagnosis and Alcohol Addiction Rehabilitation
According to recent studies that have been published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, nearly forty percent of those living with an alcohol addiction also suffer from a co-occurring mental health disorder such as anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, or another condition. Many times, these conditions are at the root of the alcohol addiction and were the reason whey the individual started drinking to begin with. In fact, a desire to self-medicate is one of the number one causes of alcohol addiction in adults.
Dual diagnosis must be discovered early on in order to detect and rectify co-occurring disorders. Patients who do suffer from a mental illness in addition to alcoholism or alcohol addiction must be treated for both conditions in order to have the best chance of making a full recovery. Medication is often provided for the treatment of anxiety, depression, or other mental illness and this can reduce the individual’s desire or craving to drink as a means of masking or covering up the mental illness. By treating both the psychological disorders and the substance abuse problems that an individual has, patients are able to focus on their recovery efforts without a co-occurring disorder hindering them from making the most of their treatment and rehabilitation.
Treatments for Alcohol Abuse and Addiction
The treatments for AUDs are similar in many ways to the treatments for drug abuse. However, there are several treatment options that are specific to alcoholics and problem drinkers. The methods below might be used in different combinations in order to treat alcohol abuse disorders.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Medications can be used to manage withdrawal symptoms, prevent relapse, and treat co-occurring disorders.” Some of the medications commonly used to treat alcohol addiction include:
- Naltrexone: Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist that works to block the opioid receptors in the brain. These receptors are responsible for the rewarding effects alcohol causes when abused and for the cravings associated with alcoholism.
- Acamprosate: Acamprosate can actually reduce the symptoms caused by withdrawal and is often given to those who are experiencing the long-term effects of this issue. Therefore, it is usually best for the treatment of those patients with severe AUDs.
- Disulfiram: Disulfiram interferes with the body’s ability to break down the substance. When a person on disulfiram drinks, they experience intense and sometimes painful side effects. This can help ensure that an individual doesn’t relapse, but it often works best when taken by those who are very motivated to quit drinking completely.
- Topiramate: Topiramate is a newer drug that is often used to treat seizures and less often used as a pharmacological treatment for an AUD (NLM). However, it has shown promising effects during clinical trials in the treatment of problem drinkers.
Behavioral therapies are the most commonly used treatment options in addiction rehab. Generally, these therapies can help patients change the way they view their substance abuse as well as learn better life skills for the future and learn to cope more easily with cravings and stress. Some of the behavioral therapies commonly used to treat AUDs include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy: CBT can be very helpful for changing dangerous beliefs and attitudes held by the individual and for the process of relearning positive coping mechanisms and life skills.
- Contingency management: CM allows patients to receive rewards for every drug test they pass. The treatment is often used on alcohol addicts as well, and it is focused on helping the individual reestablish positive associations with healthy and drug-free rewards.
- Motivational enhancement therapy: According to the NIDA, MET “is a counseling approach that helps individuals resolve their ambivalence about engaging in treatment” and putting an end to one’s use of drugs and alcohol.
- 12-step facilitation therapy: Another option for alcohol addiction therapy, this program encourages patients to join a 12-step support group like Alcoholics Anonymous and helps to educate the patient about these programs.
Of course, there are other treatment options as well that are often used in addition to these evidence-based approaches. For example, mutual help/support groups like AA are still “the most commonly sought source of help for AUDs in the United States,” according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. In addition, holistic treatment options such as
- Tai chi
- Spiritual methods and therapy
- Massage therapy
- Dance and art therapy
- Pet and animal therapy
- Nutritional counseling
- Exercise and recreational therapy
can often be very beneficial for recovering alcohol abusers, especially those who cannot open up easily in traditional therapy. In addition, the Journal of Addictions Nursing has also stated that these types of methods, especially art and music therapy, can be exceptionally beneficial for the treatment of adolescents.
Types of Alcohol Rehab
There are usually two main types of alcohol rehab programs: inpatient and outpatient. Inpatient centers offer patients a place to stay while being treated for alcoholism and substance abuse, which means they will be able to benefit from being in a controlled environment with 24-hour care.
Outpatient programs, on the other hand, allow individuals to live at home while attending treatment, which means patients can work, see their families, and generally live their lives while in recovery. In either instance, though, it is usually recommended for someone who is experiencing alcohol withdrawal symptoms to seek professional detox treatment as a part of or before traditional addiction rehab. This is because of the severity of the symptoms associated with this particular withdrawal syndrome, which can come on suddenly and without warning.
Various methods of alcohol addiction treatment exist to provide patients with the best possible care for their individual needs. The most common methods of alcohol rehab include:
- Residential alcohol rehab – this method of alcohol addiction treatment places the patient into a controlled medical facility where he or she will receive intense counseling and therapy for a period of 90 days or more. Residential rehab centers provide housing, meals and all necessary support and care for the patient while they are in treatment and completely limit access to alcohol which will reduce the risk of relapse
- Outpatient alcohol rehab – this method of alcohol addiction treatment uses various community services and outpatient treatment methods such as counseling and medical care to help the patient cope with their alcohol addiction and cravings on a day to day basis. The patient will live at home or in a half-way house while they receive counseling, medical care and support from the treatment or rehabilitation center.
- Community support – this method of alcohol addiction treatment most often includes Alcoholics Anonymous groups that gather alcoholics together to discuss their recovery and reflect on the methods of coping with their addiction. Alcoholics Anonymous uses a series of twelve steps to help the addict come from a life of alcoholism and addiction to a new life where they can actually help others overcome their addiction and heal.
How Do I Choose the Right Alcohol Rehab Program?
Choosing the right program for your particular needs is important to your safe and effective recovery but it can be hard to determine which option will be best for you. In general, it works to follow these specific guidelines.
- If you are suffering from severe withdrawal symptoms or think you may experience delirium tremens, you should seek inpatient care right away. According to the NLM, some of the possible signs that you are likely to experience this syndrome include
- Experiencing a head injury
- Having gone through alcohol withdrawal before
- Drinking “4 to 5 pints of win, 7 to 8 pints of beer, or 1 pint of ‘hard’ alcohol every day for several months”
- Having abused alcohol for more than 10 years
- If you are suffering from a comorbid mental disorder or another severe psychological disorder associated with your alcohol abuse, you should seek inpatient care. According to a study from Psychiatric Quarterly, this is a much safer option for individuals with “high psychiatric severity.”
- If you have several beneficial social supports, such as a job, a strong group of friends and family members, or other responsibilities, outpatient care may be more beneficial to you. But don’t decline to seek inpatient care if you need it, as this option is necessary to many individuals going through alcohol addiction recovery.
You also may want to consult your doctor about the treatment options available for AUDs or ask yourself which options seem most appealing to your situation. If you want to find a rehab center that provides holistic treatments or that works closely with 12-step programs, this could be important to your recovery. In addition, it is also necessary to consider the other aspects of your situation (including your age, gender, ethnicity, etc.) and to make sure that you find a rehab program that can cater to them as well.
How Can I Find Alcohol Rehab Centers?
Finding the right rehab program for alcohol addiction takes work, but we are here to help. Call 800-895-1695 (Who Answers?) now to be matched with safe, reliable rehab centers that will cater to your needs and allow you to recover in the best way for your individual situation. Call today; our treatment advisors are standing by, ready to help you find the best rehab program for your recovery.