A Guide to Alcoholism and Rehabilitation
In cultures around the world millions of people have seen alcohol being passed around in their homes or restaurants at meals, during special events, or in celebration of something or someone. It is one of the most commonly used substances in the world. It is not out of the ordinary for children to grow up seeing alcohol consumed on a daily basis. Alcohol pervades our minds in our homes, in commercials, and in general, in public. Thus, it should come as no shock that alcohol is one of the most prevalently used mind-altering substances in America, according to the NIAAA with 86.4 % of people over the age of 18 reporting use at some point in their lifetime. The general population consumes alcohol for a multitude of reasons because of the effects it has on the human brain, producing euphoria as it floods the brain with dopamine. Want to have a good time? Society tells us that alcohol is the answer, and for many, drinking is a pleasurable experience. However, given that 15.1 million Americans over the age of 18 suffer with alcohol use disorders according to the National institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) , it clearly isn’t always what it has been made out to be.
As society has taught us, alcohol consumption is acceptable and legal, as long as the consuming party is over the age of 21. Unfortunately, the widely accepted use of alcohol can actually create problems for a certain percentage of the population. For many years, because alcohol is legal and socially acceptable, those who developed problems with it were seen as having problems with self-control or will. A stigma was attached to alcoholics as being weak. Today, alcoholism has come to be recognized as a disease, not a weakness. Alcoholism, also commonly known as Alcohol use disorder or Alcohol dependence disorder, is a disease affecting millions of people around the world. Alcoholism is, moreover, an affliction of the mind, body and often the spirit. Common characteristics of Alcoholism involve a pattern of frequent alcohol usage where the user has little to no control over how much alcohol he or she consumes, a growing tolerance for alcohol in which the user has to consume more and more alcohol to receive the same effects of alcohol, an obsession and compulsion to consume more alcohol despite consequences associated with his or her usage, and finally withdrawal symptoms when attempting to abstain from drinking alcohol. Sadly, according to the NIAAA, an estimated 88,000 people die every year from alcohol related causes. It can be a fatal disease that affects people of different socioeconomic, racial, and geographical backgrounds.
Although alcoholism is incurable, it is treatable. Unfortunately, it is often untreated and can become fatal when taken to extremes.
There are several different options to treat someone who has acquired Alcohol Dependence, all varying in length of treatment, treatment procedures, costs and more. Depending on the level of dependence on alcohol, sometimes admission to an alcohol detox program is necessary as withdrawals from alcohol dependence are often extremely uncomfortable and can be life-threatening. For some patients, medical detox and inpatient treatment for alcoholism is necessary. It is a structured treatment environment, often involving different forms of therapy. The aim of inpatient treatment is to help rehabilitate patients from their problem behaviors in a way that prepares them for life and sobriety and its challenges.
Symptoms of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse – How do I know if I’m an Alcoholic?
Seeing early symptoms of alcohol abuse could really make the difference in getting help before it is too late. Although most cases of alcoholism get progressively worse over time, it is possible to see early warning signs and address them before they become problematic.
Drinking for Self- Medication
Drinking to alleviate one’s emotions can be a sign of alcoholism.
Many people who develop abuse issues with alcohol use also have issues with mental health. Depression and anxiety are frequently linked with problem drinkers.
Part of the allure of alcohol is that lessens our inhibitions thus alleviating some of the stress and cares of this world. The phenomenon of euphoria, the “buzz” that one experiences when drinking, can trick people into thinking that it is a solution to depression and anxiety.
The euphoria, or feelings of carelessness and happiness, associated with drinking explain why many choose to drink in order to deal with powerful emotions that are accompanied with life. Unfortunately, drinking is not a solution to problems, and when overdone can develop into uncontrollable binges and blackouts, health problems, and consequences in one’s life. Many times, treatment requires alcohol rehab.
Excessive drinking can lead to partial or complete loss of memory during occasions when one is partaking in heavy drinking. One may wake up following a night of binge drinking and have no recollection of large portions of the previous night.
Blackouts can be especially harmful because the drinker has little self-control in this state of mind and might do or say something harmful and have no recollection of the fact the morning after.
An example of this could be someone who has drank themselves into a stupor and drives their car under the influence. The following morning, he or she might find their car in a different place than they parked it while sober and have no recollection whatsoever of even driving.
Someone who might be developing a potential AUD (Alcohol Use Disorder) should pay attention to blackouts, especially when frequent, as they are a sign of a problem drinker.
Often problem drinkers find that their issues with alcohol bleed into other areas of their life, affecting relationships, jobs, mental health, and physical health.
Because of the laws surrounding alcohol consumption and the way it affects the functioning of the brain, people with problem drinking behaviors can find themselves in handcuffs after a night of drinking. Alcohol affects the logical reasoning functionality of the human brain, significantly impacting decision making. One sign of a problem drinker is run-ins with the law; public intoxication and DUI arrests on more than one occasion are a sign of problem drinking.
Someone who has experienced tangible consequences in their romantic and family relationships but continues to drink despite these consequences could be developing a problem with alcohol. One might make promises to loved ones to limit their drinking or to not drink at all but end up breaking that promise, often times more than once.
Signs to watch out for in a problem drinker include
- Drinking alone or hiding drinking from important people in one’s life
- Becoming irritable when unable to have a drink
- Withdrawal symptoms when refraining from alcohol use
- Increasing tolerance for alcohol, having to take more and more drinks to experience the same effects of a drink
Physical Cravings and Mental Obsessions
A problem drinker may find themselves craving alcohol and thinking about it incessantly.
Someone who has developed a problem with alcohol might find themselves compelled to drink to a degree that one’s body and mind has a noticeable feeling of need for alcohol consumption. People who have developed these cravings might find themselves irritable without alcohol, and out of touch with things going on around them, as they are preoccupied with thoughts of drinking and obtaining alcohol. They may be agitated, irritable and discontent when not drinking. As the physical cravings become more intense, people may find alcohol to be the dominating subject of thought in their minds, and may wake thinking about it every morning.
Physical Symptoms of Alcoholism
As the level of alcohol consumption begins to become more serious and consistent, some physical signs of alcohol abuse begin to present themselves.
- Spiderlike veins begin to present on the skin, oftentimes showing up around the nose and face
- A yellowing of the eyes and skin can indicate issues with liver functionality and potential failure
- Breath that smells of alcohol
- A lack of care for simple hygiene
- Notable weight loss or gain
- Reddish skin color that can make the person appear flushed
- Rapid Aging of the skin
Root Causes of Alcoholism
The source of alcoholism in a person has yet to be pinned down to one specific factor, mostly because of individualism. Individuals have different personality traits, beliefs, backgrounds and genetic makeup and alcoholism doesn’t affect one specific type of person; it is indiscriminate. From what has been uncovered, alcoholism is a disease spurred by multiple causes. Genetic, psychological, social, and physiological tendencies all have a profound effect on those who develop alcohol use disorders.
Genetics has been found to play a profound role in the development of alcohol use disorder as the disorder tends to run in families. Researchers have quantified the risk for alcohol use disorder to be a consequence of genetics 50% of the time. Those with alcoholic relatives have four times as much likelihood of becoming alcoholics themselves. Genetics are a factor because they so heavily influence the way one metabolizes alcohol, the way alcohol affects one’s mood and behavior as well as hormones, and how well one tolerates alcohol. Children of alcoholics are at a much greater risk for developing an alcohol use disorder.
There are certain groupings of genes or genetically influenced intermediate characteristics known as endophenotypes that have been linked with heavy and alcoholic drinking behaviors. Essentially, a group of genes create certain characteristics that contribute towards potential alcoholic drinking and these genes are hereditary. Genetics alone, however only make up 40-60 percent of the risk for alcoholism.
Researchers have found that along with having a genetic predisposition, many people who develop alcohol use disorders have also experienced childhood trauma with varying severity. It was found that alcohol problems are much more prevalent in those who experienced childhood trauma, and seems to be a significant cause for issues surrounding alcohol abuse issues. Emotional abuse and neglect, in particular, seem to be two of the most negatively influential types of abuse, and have been found to lead to high levels of depression, anxiety, and other mood issues. Theoretically, men and women who experienced childhood trauma and abuse may have issues with impulsivity in regards to drinking and begin a pattern of drinking to still their negative emotions.
Alcohol use disorder and Post-Traumatic- Stress disorder (PTSD) have also been found to be frequently dual diagnosed. Studies of adults who have sought treatment have for alcohol use issues have also been found to have a much higher rate of reported childhood adversity and PTSD
Another debate for an explanation for people with alcohol use disorders is the culture that they were brought up in. Different cultures have different drinking tendencies, and growing up in a family where alcohol is frequently and heavily used can normalize the idea of binge drinking in a child’s mind. Friends also play a large role in what is “normal” in regards to alcohol. Binge drinking in college environments can play a large role in what is considered normal by students. According to a survey conducted by the NIAAA, “almost 60 percent of college students ages 18-22 drank alcohol in the past month, and almost 2 out of 3 of them engaged in binge drinking during that same timeframe.”
As discussed earlier, there are multiple factors that contribute to the development of alcohol use disorders, and of those factors there are two main points to consider. Is alcohol abuse the result of genetics or the environment surrounding those who abuse alcohol? The answer is not completely clear. Alcohol abuse disorders are a product of both genetic makeup and the environment surrounding those who develop them. Some who have a predisposition to develop alcohol problems have that predisposition as a result of their family, some who do not have significant alcohol issues within their families develop alcohol use disorders because of an attempt to mask emotional issues, and yet some others seem to have both a genetic predisposition and an environment that cultivated alcoholic tendencies.
Options to get help for alcoholism
For many adults in the United States and globally, alcohol can turn from a friend to a foe and begin to take much more than it gives. When this is the case and alcohol begins to create more and more consequences, which are generally a byproduct of uncontrollable alcohol use, people who suffer from alcohol use disorders look for a way out, look for a way to get help. Luckily, the stigma behind alcoholism has somewhat decreased in recent years and alcoholism has been classified as a disease rather than a weakness or a choice.
Many adults suffering with an AUD, choose alcohol rehabilitation to combat their abuse. There are many different types of treatments available to those seeking recovery from alcohol abuse. Today, someone who has demonstrated two or more symptoms of alcohol use disorder are lucky to have many different treatment options available. Those include: Alcohol detox, inpatient rehabilitation, outpatient treatment, alcohol counseling, and government issued treatment services.
Detoxing from alcohol can be a very dangerous series of events as withdrawal symptoms for alcohol dependency are severe. Because of the health complications associated with detoxing from alcohol, it is suggested that someone who is physically dependent on alcohol be admitted to a medical detox center to go through the withdrawal process. There are three main stages of severity of alcohol withdrawals:
The first stage (mild) begins shortly after the most recent drink has been taken, frequently around eight hours later. During this stage, patients can expect to have varying levels of anxiety, difficulty sleeping, upset stomach and abdominal pains often accompanied with vomiting, extreme fatigue and mental exhaustion, tremors and heart palpitations.
The Second stage of alcohol withdrawal (moderate) includes increase in blood pressure, increase in body temperature and respiration, irregular heartbeat, mental confusion and irritability, heavy sweating, and mood disturbances.
The third and most severe stage of alcohol withdrawal, also known as delirium tremens, includes hallucinations, fever, seizures, confusion, and agitation. Because of the dangers of delirium tremens, which can start with little warning after a day or two after alcohol has left the bloodstream, it is suggested that withdrawal from alcohol be supervised by a medical professional who can actively monitor withdrawal symptoms to maintain the patient’s safety during the withdrawal process.
According to the National library of medicine, withdrawal symptoms usually begin to take effect within eight hours of the last drink and persist into their height effect between twenty-four and seventy-two hours. Symptoms, however, may persist for weeks after beginning the detox process.
Once admitted to a medical detox center, patients are carefully watched and their symptoms monitored until they stabilize. Medical professionals often issue medications to help ease the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, benzodiazepines being one of the primary medications. These medications are mostly administered to keep patients safe as their body tries to restore itself to its original state prior to alcohol dependence.
One good option for treatment following an alcohol detox is inpatient rehabilitation. Inpatient rehab is an intensive residential treatment process in which the patient receives several different types of therapy for the mind and body. Inpatient treatment is often suggested for those who have serious addiction problems. During inpatient treatment, patients attend group therapy sessions, one on one therapy sessions with addiction specialists, and outside meetings, often twelve-step meetings. Furthermore, patients’ physical health is addressed; many inpatient rehabs have medical staff who administer FDA approved medicines and vitamins, and give recommendations about healthy options for food to help speed the physical recovery from alcohol dependence.
Some common forms of therapy practiced in treatment facilities:
Individual (one-on-one) Therapy – Many treatment facilities designate therapists as primary therapists for individuals going through treatment. These sessions are usually once or twice a week, and are designed to help meet the treatment needs of each individual more specifically.
Group Therapy – Another common therapy, group therapy, is used in many treatment facilities. These sessions are helpful for patients by allowing them to express their feelings and pasts with people who may have a similar background in a non-judgmental way. These groups offer great peer support.
Family Therapy – These groups are also commonly utilized by therapists at treatment facilities. Oftentimes, alcohol abuse is not just an individual’s problem, it is the family’s problem as well. Moreover, families can band together and help to understand some of the family environmental issues that could have contributed to the patient’s alcohol abuse.
Trauma Therapy – is gauged at addressing trauma in a patient’s past. Trauma can be a determining factor in the development of alcohol use disorders, thus, addressing traumatic experiences can be very important for the recovery of a patient.
Medical/ Psychiatry – Medical and psychiatric evaluations can significantly increase the quality and stability of long-term recovery, as many suffering from alcohol use disorders have significantly damaged their minds and bodies during use.
Another factor that makes inpatient treatment relatively successful is the limited interaction patients have with society during the treatment process. Distance from the stressors of life can be difficult, but very beneficial for a patient who needs the space to receive adequate care at the hands of the clinical professionals. Because of this, phone calls and interactions with family and friends is limited, if not disallowed. Inpatient programs offer support around the clock to help alleviate the emotional stress that goes hand-in-hand with recovery from alcohol abuse and dependence.
Those seeking relief from an alcohol use disorder or alcohol dependence may also elect an outpatient treatment program to help quit drinking and begin their recovery. As previously discussed, there are varying levels of dependence and abuse and depending on the severity of the situation, outpatient rehab, which is a less intensive process, can be a good option. Outpatient treatment is a non-residential program in which patients attend multiple weekly therapy sessions while residing at home. One advantage of outpatient rehab is that it allows patients to continue a semblance of the lives they live with much less disruption, as patients are free to go home or to work when they are not attending therapy sessions. Outpatient therapy is geared at living a sober life outside of treatment and is helpful in developing coping skills to deal with the pressures of alcohol and life itself.
Outpatient treatment is also a common step-down from inpatient treatment, and is useful in helping transition patients back to society. Another potential advantage for those people paying for their treatment out of pocket, outpatient treatment services are generally cheaper than inpatient treatment.
Following the completion of either inpatient or outpatient treatment, patients are discharged, and begin to resume society and generally pick up more responsibilities, resume family lives and work, and hopefully have received the treatment that they need to be successful in remaining sober and happy.
The time after discharge is of crucial importance as life’s stressors are reintroduced and alcohol is no longer available for coping with those stressors. Unfortunately, relapse is heavily prevalent in those recovering from alcohol use disorders. In fact, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, “approximately 90 percent of alcoholics are likely to experience at least one relapse over the 4-year period following treatment.” Combating this statistic is of vital importance to those who wish to maintain their sobriety and abstinence from alcohol.
Something that those recovering from alcohol use disorder need to come to terms with is that alcoholism is incurable. There is no cure whatsoever that can return or turn an alcoholic into a moderate or normal drinker. The truth of alcoholism is that once the disease sets in and manifests itself within a person, that person will be an alcoholic for the rest of their life. Thus, recovery from alcoholism is a life-long commitment. The foundation that recovering alcoholics build in early recovery is the foundation that will either stand the test of time as they continue into sobriety for years to come, or crumbles because of shoddy workmanship. There are many different steps that people in recovery can take to build a sturdy foundation from which recovery is possible.
Discharged patients are strongly encouraged to attend twelve-step meetings for accountability and group therapy purposes. Twelve-step meetings (Alcoholics Anonymous) are a great tool for the newly sober or those trying to get sober to utilize, as the groups offer support, understanding, and purpose to those who need it.
Cravings are the strong urge and desire for a substance; alcoholics are no stranger to this concept, as before sobriety they were unable to refrain from using alcohol when cravings persisted. Cravings are common in the newly sober alcoholic, and can be intensified due to certain situations and people. Because cravings are often very strong in the first phase of recovery, halfway houses are a good option for the newly sober. In half-way houses, clients are regularly breathalyzed and drug tested, cleanliness standards are imposed, and curfews are enforced. This structured lifestyle, though sometimes inconvenient, can be very helpful for those who are fresh in recovery as it can create another barrier between the client and situations that can lead to relapse.
Many recovering alcoholics severely damaged their health while in the midst of heavy drinking for extended periods of time. Rebuilding a healthy body through healthy diet and exercise can play a major role in physical recuperation from the torment placed on the alcohol-abused body.
Another option for those seeking long-term recovery, recovery in general, or just reduction of alcohol use problems, is Harm reduction. Harm reduction is a non-twelve-step group which aims at providing support for those who want to alter their alcohol use in a positive way. Harm reduction uses chats and support discussion boards to “meet addicts where they are.” It presents itself in a nonjudgmental fashion and encourages people to be honest and forthcoming to whatever extent they can about how they feel about recovery and abstinence and where they are in regards to them. Harm reduction shifts the ultimate goal of treatment from strict abstinence to simple improvement of drinking behaviors and minimization of harmful drinking behaviors. A main goal of Harm reduction treatment is self-empowerment, and the concept that people should make up their own mind about what their goals with drinking are.
What to expect from rehab for alcoholism:
A crucial, and oftentimes under-recognized step in the treatment process, is the admittance of a problem with alcohol. Once this first step has been taken, by personal choice, through the help of family and friends, or by the law, treatment for alcohol dependency can take place.
As previously discussed, the first step in recovery from alcohol dependency and alcohol use disorders is a medically supervised detox from alcoholism, in which the patient is administered treatment at the hands of professionals to ensure a safe process of withdrawal. The withdrawals symptoms are often very uncomfortable and can be very dangerous, depending on the level of severity of use and dependence as well as the use of other substances. Detoxing from alcohol is without a doubt one of the most difficult steps in the path to recovery. Detoxes do, however, administer medications to ensure the comfortably and safety of patients going through withdrawals. The main goal for an alcohol detox is to ease patients through the withdrawal process in the most effective and least uncomfortable way as possible.
Following detox and on arrival to an inpatient treatment facility, patients can expect to be administered an intake, which is essentially an interview performed by a doctor, therapist, social worker, or another qualified staff member. During the intake process, questions about alcohol use and frequency of use, other drug use, family background, mental and physical health concerns and history, and a multitude of other questions are asked, so that the clinical staff of the treatment center can get a better understanding of how to treat patients on an individual level. This step of the treatment process is very important, and should be taken seriously. Honesty with your care provider is vital, so that they can help you receive the effective treatment you need.
After completing this intake process, patients participating in an inpatient treatment program will begin their residential treatment, often varying in length, with the most common lengths of treatment being between one month and six months. Many treatment facilities also offer extended treatment for those who feel they are not ready to transition out of the treatment facility yet. Treatment facilities offer a variety of different residential accommodations for patients, each facility having its own way of housing residents. There are varying levels of accommodations, including some luxury treatment facilities. One should research the facility they are considering before making a decision, as treatment is often expensive. Overall, treatment facilities strive to help transition those suffering with an AUD to a healthy, sober life in as comfortable and efficient a way as possible.
Because of the havoc reaped on the mind and body of someone suffering with an AUD, treatment facilities often administer “comfort medications” to help those still suffering from withdrawal symptoms after detox. Many facilities also partner with psychiatrists who can administer medications to help treat the psychological aspect of recovery, which plays as large a part in long-term recovery as simple abstinence from alcohol.
During a general day in inpatient treatment, patients can expect to participate in different forms of therapy throughout a given day. Group therapy is a popular type of therapy used in inpatient rehab. Patients share their experience, strength and hope in a guided conversation with a therapist which allows those participating to relate and learn more about alcohol abuse and factors contributing to alcohol use disorders. Group therapy helps to build a sense of community and can help patients struggling with feelings of isolation. Some facilities offer different types of groups segmented by age, gender, and experience to help those who have had similar experiences relate to one another. Many facilities also assign individual therapists to patients to help patients address their problem areas and create a realistic view and approach to staying sober and continuing long-term sobriety. One on one therapy can be very helpful in treating the underlying causes of alcoholism, including dealing with trauma, unhelpful thinking, and mental illness.
Some facilities also offer and promote holistic healing practices such as yoga, meditation classes, or acupuncture. These holistic practices can help the healing process for those in recovery, and are non-medicinally based. Another important holistic therapy involves recreational activities and outings. It’s important to realize that life outside of alcohol use can still be exciting and interesting. Sufferers of alcohol use disorders may have lost touch with different areas of life they once found enjoyable. Because of this, many facilities take groups on outings to help patients discover passions and reengage in the world around them which seems to have always been there, but left them behind.
Facilities that offer a twelve-step oriented treatment approach frequently take patients to outside meetings, which serve as another form of group therapy, and for many people around the world, serve as a means to long-term sobriety. Some facilities even require patients to begin working the twelve steps while undergoing treatment.
Benefits of Alcohol Rehab and Living in Long-Term Sobriety
The term “sobriety” get tossed around all the time in casual conversation, in media, and in articles, and for most, means abstinence from drugs and alcohol. The real meaning of the word has gotten diluted over time. Sobriety isn’t just about abstinence. Sobriety is a state of being; it’s a state of rational minded, emotionally sound, and healthy living. The path to long-term recovery, sobriety, and well-being. Sobriety characterizes someone who walks through life with a sense of seriousness and a sense of purpose.
The truth of the matter is that people in recovery have an opportunity at a life that at one point from the depths of a well of misery and imprisonment to alcohol or drugs seemed impossible. A life with purpose and peace is available to those willing to go after it.
Many people in recovery find that after achieving any sort of long term recovery, their life improves immensely. The health concerns over alcohol abuse that plagued them and their families are soothed, and the physical abuse of the body and the effects of that abuse are lessened if not eradicated. People who are physically dependent on alcohol often find themselves scraping the bottom of the barrel for money, spending large amounts just to get by without withdrawing. Alcohol use disorders also interfere with jobs and the ability to work efficiently. The financial security of going into work, being able to focus on the task at hand, and doing a good job not to mention the fact that those in recovery don’t spend exorbitant amounts of money on alcohol create a much more secure financial life.
Most importantly, long-term recovery provides serenity. People in recovery have the tools they need to achieve serenity. Through the help of groups like alcoholics anonymous (AA), harm reduction, and smart recovery, people in recovery have the tools at hand to help heal from past harms deal with life on life’s terms. Life doesn’t become easier simply because one decides to pursue recovery, but the way that one handles life’s challenges, mountains and valleys makes all of the difference in the world.
Groups like AA also help provide a sense of purpose for those pursuing recovery from alcohol dependency and alcohol use disorders. AA promotes spirituality as a main tenet to finding long-term recovery, and also stresses the importance of helping other alcoholics who have endure similar torment. The combination of spirituality and lifting up the lives of others who are suffering gives many people a sense of purpose in a life that previously seemed to have very little purpose, aside from escape through alcohol.
Other Things to Think About
If you are someone who has identified themselves as someone who has a potential alcohol use disorder and think it is time for you to seek help, there are several factors to consider.
It’s important to research what the best treatment option for you might be, as there are many available to you. These options include:
A Medical Detox – a safe environment to confront dependency head on; before selecting a detox, one should research different detoxes wherever he or she plans on getting sober. There are government run detoxes as well as privately run detoxes that can be covered by insurance or out of pocket.
Inpatient Treatment Facility – there are many different treatment facilities available to select from, all offering different types of therapy, different levels of accommodation, at different prices and for varying lengths of time. Inpatient treatment is expensive, and it is important to research the level of care you will receive for the price. Inpatient treatment has also been found to be the most effective form of treatment for long-term recovery, so those with severe alcohol use disorders or a strong desire to remain sober in the long run might consider this to be a great option. Furthermore, many treatment centers offer different payment options, either through insurance or out of pocket. There are also state run facilities to help treat alcohol use disorders.
Outpatient Treatment Program – generally outpatient treatment facilities are a step down from inpatient treatment facilities in terms of commitment, residence, and price. These outpatient programs are a great option for those who have commitments that are too much to leave behind for however long a stay at an inpatient facility might be. They are also effective at helping those with AUDs cope with life, while living at home. Many outpatient treatment programs are also covered by insurance or can be paid for out of pocket, and generally tend to be cheaper than inpatient treatment.
AA Meetings/ Harm Reduction Options/ Other Outside Support Groups – these support groups come free of charge and offer the support of a group that’s intentions are solely to recover from alcohol dependency and abuse and help others recover from alcohol dependence and abuse. These groups are a great option for those who have completed a treatment program as well as those who have detoxed and are looking for help outside of a treatment facility or outpatient program.
The length of stay for inpatient rehab varies by each facility, there are long-term treatments ranging from 6 – 12 months at a time, while shorter term treatments generally range between 30 to 90 days. Selecting between these different ranges of time for treatment is very situational for each patient. Some patients who have demonstrated chronic relapsing behaviors may find a long-term treatment to be a better option for them than someone who is getting sober for the first time or has had few relapses. Some facilities encourage certain patients to extend their time in treatment on a case-by-case basis. In order to make a wise decision about which of these options is the best option for you, research the different types of treatment and treatment lengths and compare it your own needs for recovery.
The period after discharge from treatment is often one of the most difficult and dangerous stretches down the road to recovery. Because of this, many people choose to participate in an outpatient program, seek additional therapy outside of treatment, and engage in support groups like AA. Half-way houses are another good option for those fresh on the path to recovery, as they serve as a halfway point between treatment and being fully integrated back into society, and provide structure and support.
Treatment can be expensive. Luckily, there are a multitude of treatment facilities that are covered through insurance. To find out if a treatment facility you are interested in accepts your insurance, one can easily find out by making a simple phone call or sending an email.
If there is a specific treatment center you have in mind that is not covered by your insurance, generally cash pay is a possibility, if it is within your financial means.
If not or if you do not have private insurance, there are many state run treatment facilities that can provide the services and treatment you need.
Another option for those not seeking traditional treatment, is Medication assisted treatment. Medication assisted treatment is the use of prescribed medications and utilization of therapy to help those addicted to alcohol manage their impulses and cravings. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), this type of treatment can be effective at promoting abstinence and long-term recovery. This can be a good option as some insurances cover therapy and medications. This type of treatment is generally more effective for those with a strong desire to get and remain sober.