Alcohol addiction or alcoholism is a condition that is not only serious, but also destructive and life-threatening. Research studies from the National Institute of Drug Abuse in the year 2009 showed that in the USA alone, about 6.8% of all people, who participated in the survey had consumed more than 5 drinks in the month previous to the survey.
This general habit of drinking often leads to alcohol addiction, making platforms for various life-threatening diseases. Though quitting alcohol consumption is often encouraged, the importance of the alcohol rehabs or rehab centres for alcohol addiction is not clearly known to many. Here is how this alcohol addiction is dealt with at rehab centres.
The rehab centres for alcohol addiction work in two ways –
- The Inpatient Alcohol Rehab Programme in which the patient has to live on site or at the alcohol rehab centre. Individuals who are addicts and are called alcoholics are usually advised to stay here. They are not only addicted to alcoholism, but face physical and psychological disturbances owing to their addiction. This is a 24x7 care setting that the patients have to stay in during the alcohol rehab programme. It can be a hospital setting or even another residential setting outside the hospital.
- The Outpatient Alcohol Rehab Programme in which the patient does not have to live on site. This is a suitable programme for those, who are not addicted to alcohol, but have developed a drinking problem. The basic problem with them is they fail to stop drinking, when they drink even in social circumstances.
Whichever programme is chosen by the patient or recommended by the alcohol rehab centre, the treatment procedure is similar.
What Happens in Alcohol Rehab?
The primary aim for any person in the habit of consumption of alcohol is detoxification. This is the preliminary stage of treatment at a rehab centre for alcohol. The detoxification programme refers to the withdrawal of alcohol, under medical supervision. In this process, the traces of alcohol are removed from the body. Since the body is used to alcohol substance, removal and withdrawal will lead to certain alcohol withdrawal symptoms. These include –
- Extreme depression
- Inability to sleep
- Decreased appetite
- Severe fatigue
- Pain in muscles
- Breathing troubles
- Rapid heartbeat rate
- Heart attack.
To make sure that these alcohol withdrawal symptoms are medically taken care of, the doctors may use certain medications. Medical management for the alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be arranged in the alcohol rehab center or hospitals as well as for outpatients. Benzodiazepines are given to manage seizures, anxiety and depression. Barbiturates are given to manage irritation and discomfort. Depending on the type of symptoms, the medicines are given.
The rehab programme for alcohol goes as follows:
Initial Clinical Assessment for Alcohol:
The first step through which the patient of alcoholism or alcohol addiction and the one, who seeks treatment from the alcohol rehab centre, has to undergo is a clinical assessment. It is a very important step that helps in determining the rest of the treatment approach. The patient is asked a number of questions. These include –
- How long the person has been addicted to alcoholism
- The amount of alcohol the person consumes daily or in a month
- Medical condition and medical history of the patient
- The impact or effect of alcoholism on the person
- Behavioural condition and mental health of the patient
- Domestic, familial and social environment
- Financial condition
- Current lifestyle and standard of living or living situation
- If the person is confronting any legal issues
- History of employment and its stability
- Issues or problems at the employment sector
- Educational background
- Previous attempts to quit alcohol addiction
- Previous experience of attending a rehab programme.
To determine if there are any psychological, psychiatric and other mental issues, a psychiatrist is always present at the initial assessment. The medical condition is determined by a doctor.
It is after this assessment that the doctors at the alcohol rehab centre determine, whether the patient requires immediate medical facility and attention at a hospital or if he/she is in a stable condition to begin with the outpatient rehab centre treatment programme.
Developing The Rehab Treatment Plan for Alcoholism:
Depending on the medical condition, it is determined whether a patient requires an inpatient alcohol rehab treatment or an outpatient treatment. An entire team of medical experts, counsellors, social workers, psychiatrists and psychologists and others, follow the treatment plan set for the alcoholic.
Individual Behavioural Therapy or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for Alcohol Dependants:
The rehab centres take counselling as a very important part of alcoholism treatment. In the individual counselling session, the therapist gives the patient a platform to share their fears, anxiety and concerns.
- The therapists at the alcohol rehab center help the patients to find a new direction towards new hobbies and interests.
- The patients are taught how to manage their time, so that they do not get much time to relapse to their alcohol addiction or drinking habits.
- How to deal with triggering situations, is what is taught to the patients; so that they can better handle the situations that can encourage them to relapse to drinking.
The individual therapies help in educating the patients about how life can be led without dependence on alcohol and what impacts alcoholism has on the person.
Group Therapy in Rehab Centres for Alcohol:
Emotional support plays a huge role in the entire process of withdrawing from alcoholism. Hence, the alcohol rehab centres encourage the group therapies, where the patients or participants share their stories with each other. This helps in the emotional healing of the patient. The development of a sense of fellowship helps them overcome their fears and anxieties and realize that they are not alone in this process of recovery from alcohol addiction.
Family Therapy in Rehab Centres for Alcohol:
Another very crucial aspect of alcoholism is the distance that it creates between the alcoholic person and his/her family. Resentment towards the family members in the past, leading to estrangement from the family makes it even more difficult for the patient to overcome this. In that case, the family members too need a therapeutic discussion with the alcoholic person. This will resolve a number of issues between the alcoholic person and the rest of the family. In fact, the family is also educated about how to support the person during the recovery process.
Education and Individual Assignments for Alcoholics in Rehab Centres:
A very basic level of alcoholism is the denial of the person that they are addicted to alcohol. They believe that their drinking habit is normal. Hence, the recovery becomes delayed. That is why; the patients are given educational materials regarding alcoholism in the rehab centers. By reading these materials, by listening to or watching the consequences of alcoholism, they are given the idea of what alcoholism is and why they need to overcome it.
Life Skill Training:
The person, undergoing a treatment at a rehab centre to get rid of alcohol addiction, often needs certain life skill trainings. These include –
- Managing anger
- Manage frustration
- Managing stress
- Set a goal and stick to achieving it
- Developing skill to communicate and socialize
- Skills to stay employed
- Managing time and directing concentration towards concrete leisure time activities
- Managing the expenditure of money.
These are essential to get back to a normal life as soon as possible.
Preventing Relapse of Alcohol Addiction and Staying Sober:
Detoxification, therapies and counselling help an alcoholic person achieve sobriety soon. To make sure that the addiction doesn't relapse, management programmes and medicines are used. Education and therapies help the person stay sober.
After Care and Follow-up Programme in Rehab Centres for Alcohol:
Experts believe that this is the most important of all the treatment methods at a rehab centre for alcoholism. A good rehab will plan an aftercare programme that will help the patient to stay sober and avoid alcohol consumption under all circumstances. For that the patient might have to –
- Visit the doctors every week
- Undergo therapies and counselling
- Take educational classes on alcoholism and how to prevent it.
These are the basics of the entire programme that is conducted at the rehab centres for alcohol.
How to Choose the Right Rehab Centre for Alcohol?
The rehab centres conduct the programmes for alcohol addictions for a period of 28 days to about 6 weeks. During inpatient programmes, there is no possibility of accessing alcohol inside the premises. Hence, quitting is easier. However, as they go back to their homes or leave the alcohol rehab center, there are chances that they might not stay sober or retain themselves from drinking. Hence, aftercare programmes and follow up sessions are very important. A rehab centre that offers this facility should be your choice.
The factors that you need to keep in mind regarding making your choice are –
- If the alcohol rehab centre accepts your insurance plan
- If they can come up with a flexible payment plan
- If the professionals working at the alcohol rehab are licensed or accredited by the state
- If the rehab centre is clean
- How often the doctors and psychiatrists or psychologists meet the patients
- If it offers long-term aftercare programme
- If medicines are a part of their treatment plan.
Knowing about these factors before enrolling in a alcohol rehab centre is a must. However, it must always be remembered that willingness to quit drinking is the primary concern for the success of this treatment.