Are you struggling with alcohol addiction? Or is your loved one pinned down by alcoholism, and you don’t know what to do? Do not worry; there is a way out. Most cities in the US have rehab facilities equipped to handle alcohol addiction, along with its related health problems. The trick is to find the best alcohol rehab facility for you or your loved one.
We stress on picking the right rehab facility so that you emerge fully recovered. Also, you will build a social network and skills to help them to maintain sobriety. In this guide, we shall take you through the process of making the right choice for you or your loved one.
- 1 What is alcoholism?
- 2 How is alcoholism treated?
- 3 Detoxification
- 4 Partial hospitalization or inpatient treatment
- 5 Intensive outpatient
- 6 Outpatient treatment
- 7 Recovery maintenance stage
- 8 Tips on avoiding a relapse
- 9 Take the next step into your future
- 10 FAQs
What is alcoholism?
Before we dive deep into the guide, you should note that someone struggling with alcohol addiction cannot stop on their own. Unfortunately, a strong will is not enough to wiggle out from the grasp of alcohol addiction. And with the severe withdrawal symptoms that kick in, it’s not a good idea to try to do so without help.
Alcoholism is categorized as a disease. As such, heavy drinkers need a daily dose of alcohol to function normally. When they are not drinking, they feel sickly and miserable. Usually, alcohol causes brain impairment, which in the long run, causes long term mental health problems. Moreover, the body develops a tolerance against alcohol, meaning someone has to take more alcohol to get drunk.
How is alcoholism treated?
When the reality of the adverse health effects alcohol sinks in, many decide to get sober. Despite it being an ‘in-the-moment’ decision, the treatment occurs in stages. Active addiction is one of three pre-stages most alcohol addicts go through before finally checking into a rehab facility. The other two stages are;
- The life-altering moment.
- The investigative stage.
Active Alcohol addiction
In this stage, it is close to impossible to help the alcoholic. This is because family and friends might not even know that one is even drinking. Usually, the individual will go out of their way to get their hands on alcohol while keeping it a secret. And even when family members get a whiff of the situation, they cannot help because the affected individual is in denial. Many family members have tried to force treatment on their loved ones, but it rarely sticks without a commitment from the individual.
In this stage, alcohol is everything to the alcoholic. It is the fuel that keeps the alcoholic going. Moreover, alcohol seems to be the perfect solution to all their problems. And crazy enough, they will do everything to ensure there is enough supply at all times.
Note: in the active alcoholism stage, alcoholics will put on a mask even to their closest friends. They do all this to keep up their lifestyle for as long as they can. They get so good at it that they deceive themselves as well.
Though the nitty-gritty of their behaviors varies, below are the general characteristics. The alcoholic may:
- Find themselves obsessed with drinking without knowing it.
- Make drinking the center of their life. In the long run, they cannot make it through 24 hours without drinking.
- Start experiencing trouble in their lives, including complications in their places of work, and they are always behind on bills.
- Spend a lot of energy and time to hide their drinking habits from everyone else.
- Lie to others and themselves. In some instances, they might even steel to fund their addiction.
- Experience temporary memory loss while they are drunk.
- Be overwhelmed with fear of family and friends discovering their addiction.
- Feel dehydrated, dizziness, and headaches after a drinking session.
- Start hating themselves for the addiction.
- Become angry and defensive when the truth is pointed out to them.
- Want to quit drinking, but they cannot stop.
The life-defining moment
For many alcoholics, the decision to enroll in an alcohol addiction treatment program comes after a big life-changing event. It might be a car accident that happens when someone is under the influence or personal injury, like falling down the stairs. For others, it could be making a serious mistake at work that results in termination. Whatever the case, the experience is always significant and slaps the addict to reality.
Usually, during these situations, the addict:
- Will have a strong determination to turn their life around.
- Experiences immense clarity. They realize their continuance on their current path may lead to even more severe consequences, including death.
- Will reach out to friends and family for help. In some cases, they will call an AA hotline for alcohol addiction treatment and recovery resources in their area.
When the addict accepts that they have the problem, they embark on a journey to get help and treatment. It is at this point that money problems surface. The type of treatment one gets into depends on the cost and whether they can afford it or not.
- If you have health insurance, it’s prudent to call the insurance company and confirm if your plan covers addiction treatment. Alternatively, you can call the treatment center of your choice and go over the payment options they have. Like regular a regular doctor’s office, quality addiction treatment centers will request your insurance details before registration. Also, bear in mind that most health insurance plans come with deductibles you should meet before covering medical expenses.
- If your health plan is through Medicare, your goal should be to locate a facility that accepts such insurances. Calling an AA hotline will prove to be invaluable in this.
- If the alcohol rehab facility doesn’t support insurance payments, find out what payment alternatives they have. You might benefit from partial scholarships or payments over time.
Whatever you do, you shouldn’t be afraid to let the alcohol rehab facility representative know your financial situation. They are there to help you get your treatment. And in many cases, the representatives go out of their way to refer you to treatment centers that will help you.
In this stage of alcohol addiction treatment:
- You search for help from professionals.
- Your loved ones take the responsibility of helping you find the right AA treatment facility.
- A good rapport is built with the treatment center and the staff
- Payment methods are researched
- Pre-screening is completed before admission into the facility
- A reporting date is set
Note: up to this point, it’s not yet clear how long the alcohol addiction treatment will take. It’s only after the treatment starts that the length of treatment gets clearer.
Now, let’s get into the actual alcohol addiction treatment you are likely to undergo in an alcohol rehab facility.
This is usually the first stage in the AA treatment. The process takes between five and seven days. If you have been binge drinking for a long time, you must take a time out. But withdrawing from alcohol use can have adverse withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms usually last up to a week, but they could take longer to subside. How long it takes to subside will depend on how much alcohol you were drinking.
To give you an idea of why detox is important, below is a quick breakdown of how alcohol behaves in the body.
Alcohol is a depressant. This means that with time, your body will develop a tolerance for it. Therefore, you will keep increasing the amount of alcohol intake to experience the same effect. How does this happen? Well, alcohol kills the gamma-aminobutyric acid receptors in the brain. With the reduced GABA receptors, when you stop drinking alcohol, the body is thrown into a hyper-aroused state, which causes withdrawal signs and symptoms.
- High blood pressure
Since there is a possibility that serious withdrawal symptoms may manifest as you detox, you should do so under professional supervision. The alcohol rehab facility should also have the equipment to handle the health complications that may arise.
Depending on the rehab facility you choose, you will either be weaned off alcohol or use detox medication. Before you enroll in a rehab facility, ask the facility which detox method and medication they will use.
Completing the detox stage is not a license to immerse yourself in normal life immediately. In the same way you cannot recover from a heart attack, get discharged from a hospital, and then go straight to eating junk; you cannot go back to your old life after detox. Without making changes to your life, you run the risk of relapsing. Your primary focus should be having a support system after this stage.
Partial hospitalization or inpatient treatment
This stage lasts between 30 and 60 days. Partial hospitalization or inpatient offers addicts the next step of treatment. With inpatient treatment, you will live in the rehab facility, while with partial hospitalization, you will live at home while getting treatment. You will make regular visits to the treatment facility throughout the treatment period.
Between the two, which option should you pursue? The choice depends on the situation.
Some individuals prefer partial hospitalization since they loathe the idea of being hospitalized. On the flip side, some individuals feel it would be more effective if they check into the facility for thirty days.
And once the inpatient program is complete, some individuals will opt to transition into partial hospitalization instead of intensive outpatient treatment. It’s not that they don’t trust themselves, but they feel it’s necessary for a successful recovery.
Regardless of the program you choose at this stage; you will receive both group and individual counseling. The focus at these stages is to increase your coping skills, your self-awareness, and treating co-occurring disorders. Treatment is all about getting you to function in your normal environment without taking alcohol.
In addition to the above approaches, you also get help in the form of life skills. The fact that you’ve completed the detoxification stage doesn’t infer you are back to initial strength. You will still need nutritional counseling, hit the gym, and participate in yoga classes or sports. You may also receive a range of therapies, including chiropractic care and massage therapy, to improve your physical and mental well-being.
In both treatment programs, you get up to 40 hours of treatment and care every week.
After the partial hospitalization or inpatient programs, you get into the intensive outpatient treatment. In this stage, you spend several hours, usually 20 hours a week, receiving treatment. You will still get individual and group therapy. But with the free time you now have, you should get into the 12-step meetings and find some work to do.
Moreover, you can opt to live in a sober living home where you will be surrounded by individuals living sober. This kind of environment is important in helping you get your footing in the real world as you avoid drinking temptations.
This usually lasts for six months (but it can be longer). In this treatment stage, you get a maximum of three hours of counseling sessions in a week. In this stage, you can live on your own or with family and friends who support your new lifestyle. However, you can choose to continue living in a sober home for even a year after. This stage often overlaps with the recovery maintenance stage.
Recovery maintenance stage
This stage is lifelong. Whether you get the outpatient treatment or choose not to, one thing is constant, alcohol addiction recovery never ends. Through an alumni program by the treatment facility, you can attend weekly meetings, or alternatively, go to sober-friendly social and fun events. You also get 24-hour free access to the treatment center.
Tips on avoiding a relapse
The best alcohol rehab treatment facilities have aftercare programs that increase your chances of remaining sober. However, you still have a part to play in all this. Below are some important tips to follow to avoid a relapse.
Avoid people and situations that trigger an alcohol thirst
When you are in recovery, you are extremely vulnerable to former experiences or alcohol abuse. Being around alcohol is enough to trigger a strong craving. It is, therefore, important to stay away from any at home and in your environment. Even the smell and sight of alcohol can be damning.
Make drastic changes in your life, including:
- Not attending parties where alcohol is served.
- Avoid passing by a liquor store.
- Avoid spending time with people who drink.
Do not allow boredom to creep in
Before treatment, most of your time was spent thinking about alcohol and seeking it out. But after treatment, you should avoid thinking about it. One of the best ways to do this is by avoiding boredom. Always fill up your free time with productive activities. Examples of such activities include learning a new sport, taking classes, or volunteering in your community. Anything positive thing that uses your free time is a go.
Build a positive support network
It’s important to surround yourself with healthy people. Having a support network will help you through the low times and help you follow through with your treatment requirements. A decision to reconnect with sober friends can be the difference in leading a happy sober life.
Take the next step into your future
Think about it; when the rest of your life is hanging by a thread, taking a few months for treatment is nothing. Alcohol rehab treatment facilities are keen on setting a strong foundation for leading a sober life. And though you might think it to be expensive, it is an investment worth making into your future and that of your family.
When should I go into a rehab treatment facility?
Many people wait until things get too bad before they can seek help. Though treatment is possible at those times, it is slightly easier when you start the treatment program earlier. This way, you don’t have to deal with harsh withdrawal symptoms or adverse mental and physical health effects.
What is dual diagnosis?
This is where alcohol addicts are treated for alcoholism as well as the co-occurring health problems that may manifest. These may include anxiety, bipolar disorder, panic disorder, depression, anxiety, and postnatal depression. Quality alcohol rehab treatment facilities are equipped to handle these complications.
How will an AA hotline help me?
AA hotlines are set up to provide you will AA treatment information. Through these hotlines, you get to learn of rehab facilities in your area and other treatment resources you can use. The calls are confidential, and you do not get into trouble for reaching out.
Do alcohol rehab treatment centers work?
Yes, they do. There are lots of success stories from quality rehab treatment centers. They not only work to clear the alcohol from your system, but they also equip you with skills to help you remain sober and mend broken relationships. The best rehab facilities go the extra mile and offer aftercare services. They recommend the best support groups in your area, and sober living to ensure your transition to normal life is easier.