Alcohol Addiction, Treatment and Rehab

Alcohol is one of the most readily available and socially acceptable substances worldwide, can be extremely affordable, and can induce pleasant feelings of euphoria and disinhibition – factors which combine to make it one of the most problematic of all drugs, leading in countless cases to abuse and addiction.

Abuse involves regularly consuming significant amounts of alcohol. This type of behaviour can in turn result in alcohol addiction (also known as alcoholism or alcohol use disorder), a disease in which you feel an uncontrollable urge to consume alcohol. If you are suffering from this disorder, you may be unable to stop drinking, despite the negative consequences of alcohol abuse.

There are a huge number of social, physical and psychological effects that can result from alcohol abuse, including a breakdown of key relationships, loss of income/inability to keep a job, domestic violence, liver failure, damage to unborn children, brain damage and even death.

Alcohol abuse and addiction treatment at a professional alcohol rehab facility can help mend your health and begin the steps to overcome alcoholism. You’re more likely to achieve and maintain sobriety when you undergo treatment than if you choose not to. The right treatment for you will depend on your individual goals, personal history and general condition. You might find that a combination of treatments is most effective, and you can access them simultaneously through specific programmes. Some of the best treatment can be found in inpatient or residential programmes, where you are expected to stay during your time at the centre. There are also outpatient programmes, where you’ll attend the centre for treatment and return home afterwards.

Alcohol Addiction Treatment

When alcohol use turns into addiction, it can be difficult to focus on your normal day-to-day life. However, with the help of a treatment programme in addition to ongoing support, your addiction can be addressed, amended and resolved, no matter how severe it may be. Alcohol treatment centres are designed to help you deal with addiction in several ways. Generally, treatment centres require you to spend a pre-agreed amount of time there, depending on whether you receive long or short-term treatment. During treatment, you’ll undergo detoxification, which is the process of expunging the alcohol from your body and stopping any physical dependence to the substance.

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Treatment centres are also designed to provide you with support in the form of individual therapy. This will ensure that you have a full understanding of your addiction before you leave the centre. During therapy sessions, you can explore the reasons behind addiction in addition to what you can do to break free from it. Therapists and counsellors at treatment centres are trained to provide you with practical ideas and alternatives to drinking. During your treatment, you may also be provided with the tools you need to progress from alcohol addiction and into a more productive lifestyle.

What is Alcohol Addiction?

Alcohol addiction is a disease that affects people from all walks of life. Also known as alcoholism or alcohol use disorder, it’s the most severe form of alcohol abuse and involves a lack of control over your drinking habits and a physical and psychological dependence upon alcohol. Alcohol addiction is organised into three categories: mild, moderate and severe. Each category of alcohol addiction has its unique symptoms, and each can result in harmful consequences if left untreated.

According to experts, factors such as sex, race, socioeconomics or genetics may predispose you to alcohol addiction. However, there is no single cause.

It’s essential to understand that this substance abuse disorder is a real disease. It can lead to changes in your brain and neurochemistry. Therefore, if you have an alcohol addiction, you might be unable to control your actions. Alcoholism may manifest in several ways because the severity of the disease, as well as the frequency and quantity of consumption, varies from one person to the next. Some people may drink heavily, while others may engage in binge drinking and then stay sober for some time. Alcohol addiction is certainly serious, but it can be managed. You can get the medical and psychological support you need to change your life by reaching out for care.

Warning signs of Alcohol abuse and Addiction

Drinking is a socially accepted activity, mostly because alcohol is a legal substance in most countries. However, not everyone who drinks is an alcoholic. Therefore, it can be helpful to know at what point abuse turns into addiction. Alcohol addiction and alcohol abuse are commonly used terms to describe excessive alcohol consumption. However, they do not describe the exact same types of behaviour. An alcoholic is an alcohol abuser, but not all people abusing alcohol can be labelled alcohol addicts. In certain cases, it can be easy to identify the warning signs of alcohol abuse. At other times, they may take longer to show up.
Some of the common signs of alcohol abuse include:

  • Consuming alcohol to cope with psychological or interpersonal problems
  • Excessive drinking, despite related legal, social or interpersonal problems
  • Harmful use of alcohol that leads to mental or physical damage
  • Choosing to continue consuming alcohol, even with associated illnesses or other physical problems

In addition to the signs of alcohol abuse, the warning signs of alcohol addiction include:

  • Increased tolerance for alcohol
  • Dependence on alcohol
  • Prioritising alcohol above personal responsibilities
  • Lack of control/inability to stop drinking in excess
  • Spending a substantial amount of money on alcohol
  • Withdrawal symptoms when alcohol consumption ceases

When alcohol addiction is discovered in its early stages, the chance for a successful recovery increases significantly.

Short and Long-Term Effects of Alcohol

The short-term effects of alcohol differ, depending on your weight and on other factors including whether you drink on an empty stomach. Typically, effects begin with relaxation and reduced inhibitions, which may be pleasant at first, before progressing to poor coordination, lowered reflex and response time and reduced concentration. All these effects result from a slowdown in the brain’s activity. Other short-term effects of alcohol include vomiting, breathing difficulties, headaches, slurred speech, distorted vision and hearing, unconsciousness, anaemia (loss of red blood cells), memory lapses (blackouts where you may be unable to remember events that happened whilst under the influence) and even coma.

Long-term alcohol abuse can result in the death of brain cells, leading to brain disorders in addition to weakened mental or physical function. Liver damage as a result of alcohol abuse can lead to cirrhosis, a chronic medical disease that can require treatment via a liver transplant. Pancreatitis – a dangerous inflammation of the pancreas, causing nerve damage – can also result from long-term consumption.

In addition, you may become tolerant to alcohol, where your body becomes accustomed to higher and increasing doses. Tolerance can lead to dependence and then alcohol addiction, as you can consume dangerously high amounts of alcohol without experiencing the short-term warning effects that might otherwise convince you to stop.

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Why You Should Seek Rehab for Alcohol Abuse and addiction

It can be tough to admit that you or someone you love is abusing or addicted to alcohol. However, this is the first and most essential step in seeking rehab for alcohol abuse and addiction. With the right support and utilising the treatments provided at rehab centres to treat your physical, emotional and mental disorders, you can have the chance to change your current lifestyle, and break free from the hold of alcohol, achieve sobriety and live the life you’ve always wanted.

The medical staff at alcohol rehab centres work together to help you recover from your addiction. They provide treatments that enable you to divert your attention from alcohol to more productive ways of passing the time, dealing with stress and coping with depression. These doctors, counsellors and therapists understand that people are different and therefore no single method of treatment will effectively treat everyone. Subsequently, you receive treatments, therapies, medication and counselling specifically tailored to your needs.

What’s Alcohol Rehab Like?

If you’re choosing to undergo treatment at an inpatient alcohol rehab facility, you’ll first undergo an evaluation, which is used to tailor a care plan for you. During the initial stages, you may require detox, during which alcohol is expelled from your body. Detox is often accompanied by uncomfortable side effects such as nausea, vomiting, irritability, nervousness, headaches and insomnia.

Typically, inpatient alcohol rehab programmes can be completed in about 28 days, though some may take much longer. Addiction treatment doesn’t stop after completing your initial treatment process. Follow-up care may also be provided to improve your chances of maintaining sobriety. Aftercare for alcohol addiction can last from months to years and usually includes transitional accommodation, psychotherapy and support group attendance.

Outpatient alcohol rehab also requires you to undergo an initial assessment to determine a suitable treatment plan. However, you aren’t required to check in and stay at the centre for the duration of your treatment. Instead, you have meetings with addiction experts individually or in a group setting. You can therefore go about your usual activities – like work or school – whilst getting the treatment you need. In this type of alcohol rehab facility, you can receive counselling and therapy sessions, in addition to family counselling to help you reconnect with your loved ones and fix any alcohol-related damage that has occurred.

Treatment and Therapy Options

There are different types of treatment available to handle alcohol addiction. However, as an alcohol addict, you must be willing to get sober for your treatment to be effective. It’s essential you become involved in a recovery programme that can offer long-term sobriety. Depending on the specific effects of alcoholism with which you’re dealing, inpatient treatment might be necessary to address withdrawal symptoms or therapy for symptoms of depression. Treatment and therapy options include:

Rehab: This is a typical first treatment option and can be taken in an outpatient or inpatient form. Inpatient rehab can last from 30 days to a year and is very effective for helping you cope with emotional challenges and withdrawal symptoms.

Alcoholics Anonymous and Other Support Groups: 12-step programmes such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and other groups such as SMART Recovery or Sober Recovery (which do not follow the 12-step model) offer a support system that can be useful as you work towards recovery. These sober communities offer a healthy space to share relatable experiences and can help you deal with the day-to-day challenges of sobriety.

Other Options: Other options you could benefit from include drug therapy, counselling and nutritional changes. These help you manage the stress of recovery and teach you effective ways to prevent a relapse.

Types of Alcohol Addiction Treatment

One of the biggest decisions you will face is choosing to seek help for alcohol addiction. Different types of alcohol treatment are available, based on the frequency and severity of abuse. The process of recovery also continues long after rehab, so it takes commitment to put into practice the skills learnt during and after treatment. The main types of alcohol addiction treatment include:

Detoxification: This treatment is ideally completed with the help of medical specialists as a result of the potential for severe, uncomfortable and potentially highly dangerous symptoms. In some cases, you may be given medications to help relieve the painful side effects of withdrawal.

Rehabilitation: Rehabilitation for alcohol treatment may involve inpatient or outpatient treatment. While inpatient rehabs offer intensive treatments and require your fixed presence in the facility for a certain period of time, outpatient options allow you to take part in a recovery programme whilst still going about your daily obligations.

Maintenance: This type of treatment continues after you’ve completed rehabilitation. Lasting sobriety requires ongoing therapy, counselling, support groups and other recovery resources. These can help you sustain sobriety and continue on an alcohol-free path long into the future.

When to Choose Inpatient vs. Outpatient

After deciding to seek help for alcohol addiction, you’ll need to choose whether an inpatient or outpatient rehab is more suitable for you. The two types of programme have their unique advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, you’ll need to take your personal needs into consideration, in addition to the various aspects of the recovery process, when choosing the treatment you want to receive. Inpatient rehabilitation is mostly used to treat severe cases of addiction. If you find that you’re unable to function without abusing alcohol, you should consider inpatient care. This treatment programme is full-time and specifically suited to people with dangerous or near-fatal addictions.

However, not all cases are so severe as to merit 24-hour care at an inpatient facility. Outpatient rehabilitation is a solid option if you’re able to function well enough to handle school or work responsibilities simultaneously. It offers a part-time treatment programme that allows you to receive treatment whilst fulfilling your obligations to your employer and family.

Alcohol usage doesn’t have to determine your future. You can begin a life of sobriety by registering for a treatment programme today.

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Choosing the Best Alcohol Rehab Centre

Selecting a rehab programme can feel overwhelming and it’s not a decision you should rush into. Alcohol rehab centres offer a variety of services, from limited options to luxury rehab facilities. Although you want to begin treatment as soon as possible, it’s essential to keep several factors in mind before you make that final decision. The best alcohol rehab centres will help you reach your goal of sobriety.

You should carry out comprehensive research on the rehab facilities you are considering: find reviews and learn about the quality of care they offer. Although most centres are reputable and provide adequate assistance, other facilities have a poor track record.

When choosing the best alcohol rehab centre, there are some questions you can take into consideration, which may help you make the most suitable choice:

  • What type of services does the facility offer?
  • How far do you have to travel to get to the treatment facility?
  • Are friends and family allowed to visit?
  • Do you require special accommodations for a disability?
  • What programmes are required as part of your treatment?
  • Will the centre help you transition to an addiction support group?
  • What is the fee for services? What payment methods does the centre accept?
  • How long would you be required to stay at the centre if you opt for inpatient treatment?
  • Does the centre offer referrals to other services after treatment?
  • Do you prefer a facility that caters to your religious beliefs?

Specialised Treatment and Therapy Options

These types of treatment attempt to address the whole range of issues (contributing or otherwise) associated with alcohol and other substance abuse recovery, in order to best prepare you for long-term recovery after completion of your programme. Specialised treatment and therapy options can include family and marital counselling, help with financial or legal troubles, medical attention (focused on your physical and mental health), and post-treatment accommodation. Specialised treatment programmes are usually tailored towards your individual needs. This can result in an increase in your comfort level and willingness to comply with treatment processes, and hopefully promote successful recovery.

There are a variety of specialised options available, which focus on individual considerations.
They are:

  • Executive rehab
  • Luxury rehab and/or private rehab
  • Medically assisted care/medically assisted recovery
  • Substance abuse assistance for pregnant women
  • Gender specific rehabilitation: male-only/female-only rehab
  • Gay-friendly drug and alcohol rehabilitation/LGBT substance rehab
  • Individualised treatment for legal professionals
  • Age-specific rehabilitation: specialised substance abuse treatment for seniors/adolescent substance abuse programmes/teen-specific rehab
  • Substance abuse treatment for addicts with pain management issues
  • Specialised care for health care professionals/diversion programmes
  • Spiritual substance abuse treatment: Christian-centred rehabilitation etc.

Withdrawal from Alcohol

Mental and physical problems can develop when you engage in heavy consumption of alcohol for weeks, months or years, then suddenly quit or significantly reduce the quantity of alcohol you consume. This is referred to as alcohol withdrawal. You’re unlikely to develop alcohol withdrawal if you only drink once in a while and decide to stop.

However, if you’ve experienced alcohol withdrawal once, there is always a possibility of going through it again, the next time you choose to quit. Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can range from mild to serious. Mild symptoms usually appear as early as six hours after your last drink. They can include: nausea, vomiting, shaky hands, anxiety, headaches, sweating and insomnia.

Severe withdrawal symptoms typically begin with hallucinations from around 12 to 24 hours after your last drink, to seizures within the first two days after you quit. Delirium tremens (or ‘DTs’ as they are often called) usually manifest 48 to 72 hours after your last drink. These include severe symptoms such as vivid hallucinations and delusions, where you can see, feel, or hear things that aren’t there. Other withdrawal symptoms at this stage include confusion, fever, high blood pressure, racing heart and excessive sweating.

Long-term, heavy abusers of alcohol are at risk of death if they suddenly stop drinking. A treatment centre will be able to advise if you are at risk in this way.

Continuing Care: What Comes Next?

Continuing care is primarily designed to help you maintain sobriety after completing your treatment. Comprehensive aftercare services can make a difference in whether your treatment is successful or not. Some rehab centres provide sober houses, where you can live under the supervision of staff members. Along with other residents, they offer support, encourage regular attendance of meetings and therapy sessions and give you the chance to live in a trigger-free environment.

It is essential to have this kind of supportive environment – either at home or in sober houses – to give you continuous help when it comes to avoiding temptation. This involves members of your support system avoiding the use of alcohol or other intoxicating substances in your presence, removing any mind-altering substances from the home, and encouraging consistency in complying with your aftercare plan. You can also have sponsors or someone who is always available to listen to you if you feel you need support at any time. In continuing care, individual, family, and group therapy are also offered, depending on your needs.

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Relapse Prevention

Ideally, preventing a relapse should begin early – even before temptations appear. A comprehensive relapse plan will take into consideration emotional triggers, social interaction and how you can develop positive coping mechanisms. In recovery, staying sober should not be a solo attempt. Addiction naturally isolates you, while recovery requires an active support network. While taking steps to recover, it’s crucial to interact on a regular basis with other people who understand your situation and offer much needed support. These people can be found in different support groups, especially Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).

Such groups provide relapse prevention techniques through reducing stress or depression with appropriate social interactions, providing assistance with alcohol relapse prevention plans, and helping you develop positive and healthy friendships. Relapse prevention can be effectively planned and implemented when you understand the warning signs and risk factors that typically lead to relapse. These factors vary from one person to the next and may include social pressures, a change in employment, loss of a loved one or major financial changes.

Treatment Payment Options

The financial commitment required for rehabilitation treatment can be discouraging, but it doesn’t need to be. The cost of treatment depends on the level of care you require. Residential or inpatient treatment programmes offer the highest level of care and as a result, are often the most expensive. Outpatient treatment programmes may not cost as much, but there are no guarantees of adequate support for long-term recovery. There are different payment options for whatever treatment programme you choose. Major health insurance companies offer private health plans to cover all (or at least some) of your treatment. You can find out about your coverage by visiting the insurance provider’s website.

Live a Sober Life Again: Call Now for Treatment Options

Helping you get sober and maintain an alcohol-free lifestyle are the main goals of any alcohol treatment programme. This is generally achieved through a combination of intervention, detox, rehab and long-term follow-up care. You may be anxious about beginning the journey to recovery, but choosing to get treatment is the best step you can take for your health and happiness. Before getting clean, you’ll need to first recognise that there is a problem that needs to be treated. It may be difficult to admit you have a problem, but it’s a necessary step towards living a life free from alcohol addiction.

If your alcohol abuse is interfering with your career, education or personal relationships, then you need help. When undergoing treatment for alcohol addiction, it is crucial to address the underlying problems that contributed to the initial abuse. The right alcohol treatment programmes can offer you professional evaluation, support, therapy, counselling and medication to help ensure sobriety.

Alcohol Addiction: Fast Facts

  • In the UK, there were 8,758 alcohol-related deaths in 2015; 8% of adults regularly consume more than the Chief Medical Officer’s recommended weekly limit.
  • Women absorb more alcohol than men and metabolise it more slowly. They are also at higher risk of long-term damage from alcohol abuse.
  • Men are more likely to engage in excessive drinking and simultaneously participate in high-risk behaviours. This leads to a more frequent occurrence of alcohol-related hospitalisations and deaths.
  • Alcohol costs the NHS over £3.5 billion per year (not including alcohol-related accidents).
  • Alcohol misuse is the most significant risk factor for death and disability amongst 15-to-49-year-olds in the UK.

Alcohol: True Stories of Addiction

“My addiction to alcohol was so severe, it made me sick and I suffered constant physical discomfort – from blackouts to shaky hands and bleeding ulcers. I used up every lie I could to get money out of my parents to pay for drinks. I would say I needed to buy groceries, gas and so on. Eventually, I hurt a lot of people with my habit, including my parents, who were sure they would outlive me.

“When I decided to get sober, it was a life or death decision for me. I also knew I couldn’t handle it on my own. I got the help I needed and here I am today, two years later. I’m living a better life than I could have dreamed of whilst under the influence. I’m on good terms with my family and I even went back to school for a counselling degree.”

Matthew D.

“My addiction journey has taught me that there is no right path to sobriety, and recovery takes time. It’s never easy, but it is definitely worth it. Beforehand, I’d spent several months trying to moderate my drinking and failed miserably. I was so powerless over alcohol, despite the effects I could see it was having on my life and relationships.

“I decided to come clean with my doctor and spoke to him about my struggle to quit binge-drinking alcohol. He prescribed some medications and recommended treatment and support groups that were of immense help to me. Now, I feel complete and am happy to share my success through hard work and commitment. I didn’t give up and am now looking at my husband and children. I’m quite glad I stuck it out.”

Dorothy M.


FAQs

Is Alcohol Addictive?

Yes. Alcohol is an extremely physically and psychologically addictive substance, providing a feeling of ‘high’ that is frequently craved.

Why is Alcohol So Addictive?

Alcohol is a highly addictive substance because the brain becomes accustomed to it in order to perform normally. It also provides endorphins and neurotransmitters, which act as a reward system for the brain. Additionally, certain factors such as family history of addiction have been highlighted as reasons for alcohol addiction. Moreover, its social acceptability and widespread availability make it hard to avoid.

What Types Of Alcohol Addiction Treatment Programmes Are Available?

The types of alcohol addiction treatments include alcohol detox, inpatient addiction programme, outpatient addiction programmes and support groups.

Are Alcohol Rehabs Private and Confidential?

If you’re entering treatment, you may be required to share information that may be highly personal. It’s in the best interests of alcohol rehab facilities to keep your information private. It is such an essential factor that some rehab programmes could fail if confidentiality cannot be guaranteed.

How Long does Rehab Take?

Rehab programmes typically last around 30 to 45 days. Residential or inpatient treatment centres offer treatment for 60 to 90 days.

What Does Treatment Include?

Alcohol addiction treatment can include one or a combination of therapies (such as Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy or Contingency Management), in addition to medications. Your treatment will depend on your specific needs and on how much alcohol you consume.

Is There an Ideal Duration for Rehab?

People undergo treatment and rehabilitation at different speeds, and there is no length of time for addiction treatment that can be considered ideal.

What Other Factors Should You Look for in a Rehab Programme?

You should consider factors such as the duration and price of the programme, methods used to alleviate physical cravings and if a nutritional component is included.

Are There Treatment Programmes for Teens?

If your teen is struggling with an addiction, you can find evidence-based treatments and methods to help them overcome addiction and any other associated issues.

How Do You Know if you’re Addicted to Alcohol?

You may be addicted to alcohol if you find yourself constantly thinking about your next drink. Also, an addiction can be suspected if you’ve tried unsuccessfully to quit a number of times.

Does Insurance Cover Alcohol Treatment?

Your alcohol treatment may or may not be covered by insurance, depending on the insurance company and policy. However, more insurance providers are recognising addiction as a problem that needs treatment.

Why Should I Seek Alcohol Addiction Treatment?

Seeking treatment for alcohol addiction is essential, because of the medical complications that can occur from withdrawal. Also, your symptoms and cravings can be effectively managed with a medically supervised detox. Avoiding seeking treatment could result in the breakdown of relationships with your loved ones, unemployment and homelessness, and long-term health implications and even death.

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