Alcoholism: Treatment and Rehab

If you struggle with alcohol use disorder (AUD) or alcohol addiction, know that you are not alone. Although you may feel stuck where you are, there are numerous avenues of treatment for alcoholism, from alcohol therapy to medications, or both. 

Many of today’s alcohol addiction treatment programs take into consideration an individual’s needs, to create a plan that works best for you. You can feel guidance and support throughout the process of alcohol rehab, with a team of experts who will be present throughout every stage of recovery. 

Here’s a guide that can empower you or your loved ones to seek alcohol abuse help:

Quick Facts About Alcohol Treatment And Rehab

The numbers don’t lie. Here are some quick facts about alcohol treatment and rehab to help you better understand it.

  • People who suffer from AUD: Around 14.5 million aged 12 and above suffer from AUD.
  • Treatment for AUD: Roughly 7.2% of individuals aged 12 and above who suffered from AUD sought treatment. 
  • Demographic of those most in need of substance abuse treatment: The age group of those 26 and above, consisting of roughly 15.6 million individuals, needed substance abuse treatment in 2019.

Source: Alcohol.org, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism 

Types Of Treatment For Alcoholism

There is no singular path for alcohol treatment. There are actually a few different programs or types of treatment available that can be best addressed on the individual level. A mix of these will often be used in a treatment program.

Alcohol Detox

An alcohol detox is the first step in the treatment of alcoholism. This is when you cleanse all the alcohol from your system, which can be very difficult in the first couple of days due to symptoms of withdrawal. A team of medical experts must supervise this process, as they can also dispense medication to ease the pain and discomfort.

The process of alcohol detox can take days to weeks, as it is focused on ensuring your stability to proceed with the next steps of your treatment program.

Inpatient Rehab

Inpatient rehab is a treatment program where you are required to live in a facility. In some cases, you will have 24/7 supervision. These programs are usually very structured, and a team of professionals will create customized plans for every patient to aid them along their recovery process. Programs at an inpatient rehab may range from a few weeks to several months.

Individuals who seek inpatient rehab may have some more severe forms of AUD, but this treatment program is intensive enough to prepare and equip you for your life following the program.

Alcohol Counseling

Counseling is one of the most integral parts of recovery, even after seeking help at a treatment program. Regularly meeting with a counselor can help you feel supported as you are going through the motions of recovery. You will be able to receive advice and get to express your feelings — both the good and the bad. 

A counselor will also be able to help you work through some of your most serious triggers, and assist you in creating a healthy headspace during recovery.

Outpatient Rehab

Outpatient rehab allows its participants to live outside the facility, yet still receive treatment. At an outpatient rehab, you can still attend therapy and receive support but at your own convenience or time. You will normally have to spend around ten to twelve hours a week at your treatment center. 

Individuals who seek outpatient rehab may want help for mild forms of alcohol addiction, or may want a long-term solution to their AUD. At an outpatient program, you have freedom to be near your loved ones and maintain a regular schedule.

Alcohol Treatment Medications

Medications can actually be integral to easing withdrawal symptoms when you begin detoxing from alcohol. Here are some of the most common ones:

  • Naltrexone: Naltrexone is used for mitigating the high that users may experience when drinking alcohol. It can also help you deal with your cravings for the substance. Vivitrol is the extended-release version of Naltrexone that comes in monthly injections.
  • Disulfiram: Disulfiram can create adverse reactions in an individual when they drink alcohol. It makes users have an aversion to alcohol when they take it. 
  • Acamprosate: Acamprosate manages withdrawal symptoms while also lessening alcohol cravings and dependence that can lead to a relapse.

Stages Of Alcohol Recovery

The stages of alcohol recovery can look different for everyone, but there are a few general steps that a lot of treatment programs deploy to help you gauge where you are at. 

  1. Contemplation and Preparation: When you recognize you have a drinking problem and prepare yourself to look for a solution.
  2. Detoxification: When you decide to make strides towards sobriety and seek a treatment program to aid you with this.
  3. Rehabilitation: When you have gone through your detox and are working on equipping yourself mentally, physically, emotionally, and socially for a life after drinking, through various types of therapy.
  4. Maintenance: When you begin adjusting again to regular life and ease back into a routine with the help of a support system or counseling.

How To Choose The Best Alcohol Treatment Program For You

Your choice of alcohol treatment program may depend on several factors, namely: your age, sex, health history, cost of treatment and insurance coverage, and whatever support system you have in place. 

Choosing your program will also depend on the severity of your condition, and whether you want a rigid, highly supervised type of treatment or something that allows you to keep your own time. When deciding on a program, it is important that you are honest and transparent about your needs so that the team in charge can tell you how they can support you best.

Frequently Asked Questions

Still want to know about alcoholism treatment and rehab? Read on!

What is the most effective treatment for alcohol dependence?

There is no singular and best treatment for alcohol dependence. Instead, the most effective programs combine detoxification, medication, cognitive behavioral therapy, psychotherapy, group counseling, continued support, and more.

How long after stopping drinking does your body recover?

When you stop drinking alcohol, you may begin showing some symptoms of detox two to six hours following your last drink. This will usually hit its peak after a few days if your AUD is not so severe. If you were once a heavy drinker, the detox can take up to a week or more and withdrawal symptoms may last for about a month — although this is case-to-case.

What does the length of recovery depend on?

Recovery from alcohol dependence is actually a lifelong process. The length of your initial recovery from weaning off the substance and going through detoxification will depend on your age, sex, health history, severity of your alcohol use disorder, willingness to seek treatment, to name a few.

Finding and seeking help for your alcohol use disorder is very much possible. You should never have to feel like you are alone in the process. If you are looking for more support and information on the topic, check out some of our previous articles on alcoholism

Visit the rest of Radical Rehab today and learn more about the potential treatment avenues that are available to you!

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