Much has been written about alcohol addiction treatment largely because there is no one solution that’s right for everyone.
For alcoholics, this can be especially frustrating because they’re looking for a one-stop shop and a quick remedy. The simple fact of the matter is that addiction doesn’t happen overnight and as such, there’s no overnight cure.
When you’re struggling with alcoholism or any substance use disorder, it’s natural to feel alone and without options. The truth is that today, there are more options available than ever before. No matter how long you’ve been suffering, There are many treatment options available today that will help you recover from alcoholism and get back to living a healthy and fulfilling life.
Various factors such as your medical history, support system and personal motivation can all play a role in the success of your recovery. Alcohol addiction treatment should be supervised by a team of medical specialists at a rehab facility. Throughout the country, alcohol treatment centers are staffed with professionals who will guide you through each step of the recovery process – from detox to life after rehab. Think of them as your 24/7 support system who are there to celebrate your successes and work with you through any challenges.
Remember though, overcoming alcoholism is a process with many parts. Skip any of the parts, and your chances of relapse increase exponentially. Less than half of individuals who have completed all the facets of treatment relapse after achieving one year of sobriety. That number reduces to less than 15 percent who relapse after five years of sobriety. For the greatest chance of long-term sobriety after completing an inpatient or outpatient program, you should participate in local support groups and continue with counseling. Alcohol addiction treatment is an investment in your own future because until you’ve got it under control, it will always be hanging around your neck. It will not only make a huge difference in your life, but also the lives of those around you such as family members and friends.
When Is the Best Time for Alcohol Addiction Treatment?
Before starting alcohol addiction treatment, a person must first recognize their condition and have a true, deep-down desire to abstain from drinking. Many times, people feel forced into alcohol addiction treatment because they’ve run out of options. That line of thinking is problematic because the sincere desire for change must come from within.
The best scenario is when an individual acknowledges they have a drinking problem on their own. In instances where family members or friends stage an intervention, the alcoholic must make the choice between some terrible consequences or alcohol addiction treatment. Still, the will to change has to be there because if the person is agreeing to rehab only because he’s run out of places to sleep, it wasn’t a choice: it was a necessity. An intervention also helps to start the discussion about treatment options and the types of support that is available.
Some of the more common alcoholism warning signs you should watch for include:
- Frequent binge drinking
- Perpetual shifts in mood
- Poor performance at work or school
- Excuses for neglecting responsibilities
- Denial of excessive alcohol use
- Acts of violence or crime
- Decreased interest in hobbies
While there’s really no right or wrong time to seek alcohol addiction treatment, the warning signs above are a good indication as to when it should be considered. If the signs are ignored, the addiction advances and can trigger a wide range of additional problems such as health complications, financial troubles, relationship issues and professional disruptions. The sooner you or a loved one gets help, the greater the chance for lasting sobriety.
Types of Treatment for Alcoholism
Choosing to get help for alcoholism is one of the biggest decisions a person will make in their life. Before starting alcohol addiction treatment, you should understand the various services each program offers. For instance, a comprehensive program focuses on the person as a whole, rather than just their alcohol use.
Many comprehensive treatment programs employ several or all of these factors:
Alcohol Detox (sometimes called Rehab)
Detoxification is the initial step in treating alcoholism, and it’s always the most difficult. Within the first few days after you quit drinking, you may experience extremely uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Because of this, the alcohol detox stage should only be completed under professional medical care. Treatment specialists will also be able to provide you with medication to help ease the pain. This allows you to focus on getting better. After detox, you will be able to move forward with other forms of treatment and therapy.
Although it’s sometimes called Rehab, this is because patients who complete detox go immediately into rehab, usually at the same facility.
Unfortunately, far, far too many people think they’re in the clear after Detox/Rehab. Nothing could be further from the truth. Patients who stop alcohol addiction treatment have an 88% chance of relapsing in the first year. Completing rehab is like forgetting a hangover –– it was terrible to go through, but you forget that all too soon.
An inpatient rehab facility is the most structured treatment environment for those overcoming alcoholism. Generally, these rehabs are geared toward treating the most severe forms of alcoholism and require individuals to remain on-site for the duration of the program – 30, 60 or 90 days – the longer, the better. Treatment specialists provide around-the-clock care and will prepare you for life after rehab. This may include information on how to overcome triggers, the importance of sobriety maintenance programs and what to do in the event of a relapse.
Intensive Outpatient Treatment
IOP, or Intensive Outpatient Treatment as it is sometimes called, refers to a program whereby patients live in a facility where they have some freedom to come and go, but the bulk of their days are spent in treatment sessions. This includes counseling, group therapy, and family therapy. This is for people who have really struggled during rehab and still have not addressed or resolved the core triggers that drove them to addiction. For people who have abused alcohol or substances for a long time or from an early age, IOP is a good choice.
Outpatient treatment is very similar, only with a bit more flexibility in one’s daily activities and schedules.
Sober living comes after inpatient rehab or IOP. Sober living homes are designed to provide a trigger-free environment where recovering addicts can learn the personal skills interpersonal skills to re-enter society better prepared to handle life’s daily challenges. In many cases, addicts have been wrapped up in their addiction for years or decades. They’ve neglected school, job training and even learning basic skills like banking, shopping and housekeeping.
Sober living provides an opportunity to learn these skills and to work on personal responsibility.
As part of the 12-step program, frequent meetings with an alcohol counselor are important for individuals to communicate and receive guidance during their recovery. Counseling opens a line of communication during the good times, as well as the difficult times. Your therapist will also be able to work with you on any underlying issues that may be triggering your drinking problem such as peers, family relationships, work or other circumstances. This will give you an opportunity to learn more about yourself, as well as how to keep your body healthy both inside and out.
12-step meetings typically continue for years or decades after rehab. These meetings provide support and strength at any point in a recovering addict’s life, even if it’s decades down the road.
The support community is large and global and for those facing alcohol addiction recovery, they should rest assured that they’ll never be alone in their recovery journey.