Alcoholism Treatment and Rehab

Are you seeking alcohol treatment for yourself or a loved one struggling with alcoholism? Do you have a spouse, child, relative or friend who you suspect struggles with alcohol use? Alcohol rehab can help people ready to address their substance use disorder.

Alcohol rehab is often the only way that an individual who’s struggling with addiction can get help. There are rehab centers all over the country that offer individualized programs to treat alcoholism, regardless of how long the condition has been present. Alcohol treatment programs take many factors into consideration, including the person’s age and gender, and the extent and length of the addiction. Many alcohol rehab centers also offer various aftercare options and recommendations to help clients maintain their sobriety.

It’s important to learn about alcohol treatment centers, payment options, differences between inpatient and outpatient programs, how to find an alcohol treatment center and what the first steps toward sobriety and recovery are. If you’re here seeking information for a friend or family member, we’ve also included resources on how to help a friend or family member, along with intervention strategies.

Signs & Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse

How can you spot the signs of alcohol abuse? The most obvious side effects may be reflected in your loved one’s physical health and appearance.

  • Tremors that relax after your loved one has a drink
  • Noticeable weight loss or gain
  • Chronically bloodshot or watery eyes
  • Heavy perspiration without physical activity
  • An odor of alcohol
  • A puffy, bloated look
  • Slurred speech
  • A loss of motor coordination or balance
  • Increased bruising (from accidental injuries and fragile blood vessels)
  • Changes in skin complexion (unusually pale or ruddy)
  • Frequent complaints of stomach pain, nausea or heartburn

Alcohol addiction affects an individual’s moods, behavior, and self-expression. Look for these significant changes in your loved one’s actions or emotions if you suspect they have an alcohol use disorder:

  • A lack of control over when, where or how much he or she drinks
  • Increased tolerance for alcohol, or the need for more drinks to get the same effects
  • A disheveled appearance, especially if he or she used to be neatly groomed
  • Making excuses for his or her drinking, or denying the problem completely
  • Neglecting important relationships, family commitments or work responsibilities as a result of drinking or being hungover
  • Unusual irritability, depression or moodiness, especially when he or she can’t drink
  • Isolating themselves from others in order to drink more
  • Dramatic changes in personality when he or she drinks, such as becoming more affectionate, emotional or angry
  • Lying about his or her drinking, or hiding bottles to conceal the amount of alcohol that he or she consumes
  • Feeling guilty or remorseful after a drinking episode, yet being unable to stop
  • Trying repeatedly to quit

Statistics on alcohol treatment show that overall, more Americans seek treatment for alcohol than for any other drug.

Advances in medical research have given addiction specialists new insight into the treatment of alcoholism. However, the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report states that alcohol abuse remains the third-leading preventable cause of death in the United States, despite innovations in behavioral health modification, psychotherapy, and addiction medication. The following studies and statistics reflect the power of this disease.

Treatment Options & Medications

There are many types of alcohol treatment programs available. As you research the different treatment options for alcoholism, you’ll find that there are several levels of care available. A doctor, substance abuse therapist or counselor should help you and your loved one choose the level that’s right for you.

Inpatient vs. outpatient is an important consideration to make when choosing a treatment program. The decision ultimately comes down to your availability and finances. Can you afford to stop everything in your life for inpatient treatment? If you need to maintain your job and other commitments, outpatient treatment might be the best option for you.

Inpatient or residential treatment is the most intensive level of care, with around-the-clock monitoring and clinical management to alleviate withdrawal symptoms and provide structure. After the detox phase, the patient lives at the facility full-time while receiving therapy, group counseling, medication management, holistic therapies, and other services.

Outpatient treatment is the most flexible level of care. Recovery services are provided in a day center, clinic, rehab facility, or other location, while the patient lives at home. Outpatient clients can participate in counseling, therapy, 12-step programming, and other recovery services without giving up their self-determination. This level of care is recommended for patients who have completed an inpatient program or for medically stable individuals who have a high level of motivation to reach sobriety.

Intensive outpatient treatment, also known as IOP, is less intense than partial programs and offers several days of therapy per week.

After completing a residential program, a patient who is stable in his or her sobriety may be transferred to a partial hospitalization program. In this intensive form of therapy, the patient lives in transitional housing or at home while attending classes, counseling sessions and appointments with medical professionals during the day.

As part of your initial treatment program, you’ll go through a medical detox program. During this stage, the body must rid itself of alcohol and other toxins through a medically-supervised program that addresses the dangers and symptoms of withdrawal associated with detox. Facility staff will assist you in detoxing yourself from alcohol and other toxins so you can begin your recovery in the healthiest way possible. With the presence of medical professionals, detoxing in a professional treatment facility is the safest way to detox.

There are a number of different approaches to recovery. To find the right approach, consider the individual’s values, mental health status, personality, and cultural background.

Traditional alcohol treatment programs rely on evidence-based strategies such as psychotherapy, behavioral modification therapy, peer group counseling, nutritional counseling, and 12-step programs. Rehabilitation begins with detox, a cleansing process that allows the patient to withdraw safely and comfortably from alcohol. After detox, the patient participates in a structured series of therapies that are designed to help him or her modify destructive behaviors and create a sober life.

  • Holistic recovery programs focus not just on treating alcoholism as a physical or psychological condition but on healing the body, mind, and spirit. In addition to the core components of alcohol rehab — individual and group therapy, family counseling, 12-step meetings, and behavioral modification — treatment addresses the patient’s spiritual and emotional needs through activities like art therapy, recreational therapy, guided meditation, yoga, acupuncture, and massage. The goal of holistic therapy is to promote healing on all levels so the patient can build a meaningful, rewarding life.
  • Integrated alcohol treatment programs are designed for patients who meet the criteria for a substance use disorder and a form of mental illness. In a national study of co-occurring disorders, the Journal of the American Medical Association found that 37% of individuals with alcohol dependence also suffered from a mental health disorder, while over 50% of individuals who abused drugs also had a psychiatric illness. These patients face unique obstacles in recovery, such as low motivation, anxiety about new situations, poor concentration and delusional thinking. Integrated treatment, which targets both the patient’s mental illness and substance use disorder within the same program, is the most effective way to achieve a full recovery. Services for both issues are provided at a single facility and delivered by staff members with expertise in substance abuse treatment and mental health.

Alcoholism Treatment Medications

Some of the medications used in alcohol treatment programs include meds that help reduce alcohol cravings, reduce withdrawal symptoms, or create negative effects when alcohol is consumed. These medications include:

  • Acamprosate – Reduces alcohol cravings and withdrawal symptoms
  • Naltrexone – Reduces cravings for alcohol
  • Disulfiram – Produces undesirable effects such as headaches, nausea or vomiting when alcohol is consumed

Treatment Costs & Insurance Coverage

You may be wondering how much rehab costs and if it is worth the price. Inpatient treatment is generally more expensive than outpatient treatment. Depending on the severity of your addiction, it may take some time to recover. The more time you spend in alcohol rehab, the more it will cost. Many people transition from detox to inpatient or residential treatment, to outpatient treatment, and then to a sober living environment.

Insurance payment options for alcohol treatment vary for each client. Consult with your insurance company to determine coverage. Alternatively, call Restore Africa® to speak with a representative to learn how alcohol treatment is possible, with or without insurance coverage.

Helping a Loved One Struggling with Alcoholism

It can be heartbreaking to realize that your loved one has a problem with alcohol. At first, it’s much easier to deny the problem. But as time goes on and personal, financial or legal problems increase, you’ll have to face the possibility that your loved one could have a substance use disorder. Learning to recognize the red flags of alcoholism could not only save your relationship, but it could also help you avoid a tragedy.

Different Types of Alcoholics

Current research has allowed for a more realistic understanding of the people struggling with alcohol use, beyond what was once regularly seen in movies and on television. The types of people struggling with alcohol use vary widely and can be described in different groupings.

What to Do if Your Loved One Needs Help Getting Sober

Encourage your loved one to be evaluated by a physician or therapist. Talk to them about alcohol abuse and express your support for further treatment, such as therapy, counseling or a 12-step program. You or your loved one can also call a free alcohol hotline for more information.

Although they may still appear to be functioning normally at work, school, or home, there is a strong risk that the disease will progress to more serious consequences, such as illness, legal problems or an accident, if left untreated. If you haven’t confronted your loved about their problem, it’s time to have that talk. Meanwhile, seek advice from a substance abuse counselor or family therapist about how to get your loved one into a residential alcohol treatment facility or an intensive outpatient program.

How to Decide on a Course of Treatment

In the past, alcohol rehab programs provided a standardized set of treatments for all patients, regardless of age, gender, psychiatric history or other demographics. Today, alcohol treatment programs and alcohol treatment centers have become more specialized to meet the needs of a diverse, highly-varied group of patients. Choosing a course of treatment has become more complicated, but the results of a careful search are likely to be more successful and more satisfying to the individual.

Choosing a Specific Option

Once you’ve selected the right level of care and the best therapeutic approach, it’s time to consider the specifics of treatment. Consider the unique circumstances of the person affected and their family, including the following factors:

If you or a loved one live with alcoholism or are struggling to quit using alcohol, consider seeking professional help. Restore Africa® specializes in treating alcohol addiction and helping people recover from alcoholism. Contact one of our caring representatives to learn how Restore Africa® can help you or a loved one start on the path to a healthier future.

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