Do I Need Rehab For Alcohol?

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It’s often hard to recognise when your casual drinking habit turns into alcohol abuse and addiction. So, it can be a challenge for you to decide if you need rehab for alcohol 

Those who struggle with alcohol use disorder (AUD) often try hiding their addiction and live in a state of self-denial. 

The sooner you seek help and check into rehab for alcohol, the greater chances you have to recover completely.

Clinics for alcoholics exist to help avoid potentially harmful or deadly consequences that come with serious alcohol abuse.  

But how do you know you need rehab for alcohol?  

When Should An Alcoholic Go To Rehab?

If you start experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you take a break from regular drinking, you probably need rehab. It’s a sign that you’re becoming physically dependent on alcohol.  

The common withdrawal symptoms are nausea, vomiting, shaky hands, sweating, headache, and insomnia. 

If you’re severely addicted, you may experience even dangerous symptoms like delirium tremens (DTs).  

The DTs symptoms can include confusion, fever, heavy sweating, and high blood pressure. If you feel like you’re experiencing DTs symptoms, you should immediately seek medical help because your condition may be fatal.  

if you have been trying to quit or limit drinking without any positive results, you should better go to rehab. 

It is common for people struggling with AUD to try quitting drinking and fail to do so.

If you’ve been through this, don’t get frustrated. Alcohol addiction often needs professional management to overcome the disease.  

if you’ve been trying and couldn’t quit drinking on your own, probably it’s time you should consider checking into rehab.  

When is alcohol rehab necessary?

when should an alcoholic go to rehab

Alcohol rehab becomes absolutely necessary when:  

1. Alcohol use becomes a priority: 

If you think all day about consuming alcohol and spend a lot of time and effort in acquiring it, you are addicted. As you make progress with your addiction, all your other interests and activities become secondary. 

If you don’t like to take part in activities you previously enjoyed and don’t spend time with your loved ones, you should better enter an alcohol addiction treatment program.  

2. Your health is deteriorating:

Alcohol abuse is linked to plenty of negative effects on health. it is associated with long-term liver issues and different cancer types. Alcohol use disorder (AUD) deteriorates both your physical and mental health.

So, if different mental and physical health symptoms start showing, better get into rehab.

Mental health issues like increased agitation and anxiety, depression, and psychosis are major concerns and should be dealt with professionally.  

3. You start drinking excessively:

As your tolerance for alcohol grows, you need more of it and more frequently. With excessive drinking, however, your chances of having an overdose increase significantly. 

And, an overdose can lead to serious mental and physical side effects. So, when you realize you’ve started drinking excessively, you should get into rehab.  

4. You experience regular blackouts after drinking:

Blackouts are a common when you are having an overdose. You are drinking too much and your body just can’t handle it. When you blackout, you are unable to make short-term memories.

You fail to recall what happened during that time. Blackouts are a serious concern because they put you at a higher risk of injury and can be fatal at times.

So, it’s really necessary that you seek professional help and get into rehab.  

How to check into alcohol rehab?

When looking to check into alcohol rehab, it’s important that you pick the best treatment centre. It should offer programmes that can benefit your condition the most.

There are different rehab programmes and usually, a single facility offers many of these to match your individual rehabilitation needs. 

Some common methods include:  

  • Detoxification: Alcohol addicts are often given this treatment. It may need you to use other drugs, such as Naltrexone or Methadone. It may also involve 24/7 medical oversight.   

  • Short-term Residential Treatment: These are 3-6 week programs that help patients quickly and smoothly transition back to their normal life.  

  • Long-term Residential Treatment: These programs generally run for 6-12 months with the focus on bringing sobriety back and maintaining it in the community.  

After identifying the rehab centre offering the treatment you need, communicate your intent to them.

Discuss your arrival date with them and find out their rules on what you can bring with you. Clear everything about your stay duration, finances, visitation, etc.  

While every rehab centre has different rules on what things the patients can bring with them, many common items aren’t permitted. 

For instance, you can’t take the following with you at the rehab centre: 

For instance, you can’t take the following with you at the rehab centre: 

  • Alcohol and other drugs  
  • Weapons 
  • Pornography 
  • Musical instruments 
  • Outside food, herbal products, vitamins, and drinks 
  • Any type of organic substances 
  • Excessive jewellery, makeup, and revealing or offensive clothing 

You should check in with the essentials only. Most of the rehabilitation centres will allow you to have the following items.  

  • Prescription medication that you can keep with the rehab’s staff 
  • Books, photos, and any personal mementos 
  • Laundry supplies, hygiene items, and casual clothing 
  • Some cash 

It is a good idea to call your rehab centre before leaving home. Explicitly ask about their rules on the essentials you are allowed to bring.  

Finally, you are ready to check-in. Be prepared and arrive at your rehab centre on the date and time specified. 

Keep in mind that you may feel some anxiety. You may also resist things your rehab will ask you to do. But that’s all normal.  

Your foremost goal for recovery from AUD should be to get to the rehab and stay there for the designated time. 

You’ll definitely get the results over the coming weeks and months if you manage to do that.  

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What is alcohol rehab like?

At a typical alcohol rehab centre, you can expect to engage in routine physio and psychotherapy for treating alcohol addiction.

The first day begins with detox to clean the blood of alcohol. The next steps involve a mix of cognitive training, spiritual counselling and group therapies.

The ultimate goal of these routines is not to treat your addiction alone. They are also designed to help you learn new habits that promote healthy living after rehab.

While that is the standard procedure in most alcohol rehab centres, the severity of addiction and medical history may influence your experience of what alcohol rehab is like.

What do they do in alcohol rehab?

Alcohol rehab is done at a medical facility where inpatients' receive specialised treatments for stopping alcohol addiction. What they do in alcohol rehab may differ in each centre.

In a typical alcohol rehab centre, inpatients would engage in yoga and meditations and take lessons on addiction-related topics in the morning.

At noon, individual and group therapies are organised for patients to respond to specific addiction triggers positively. They may also receive their family and loved ones at that time. Bedtime is prioritised at night after short group therapy. 

What happens at an alcohol rehab?

At an alcohol rehab centre, an individual is treated for alcohol addiction. The result of their intake assessment determines the kind of treatment they receive.

Detox is the first step in the rehab process. It is the removal of addictive substances in an inpatient’s blood. After detox, the inpatient may experience withdrawal symptoms for weeks, depending on the severity of their condition.

Individual and group therapies help them develop healthy habits and come to terms with family and loved ones.

Understanding what happens at an alcohol rehab in detail will make a first-time experience less intimidating. 

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About the author

Peter Szczepanski

Pete has been on the GPhC register for 29 years. He holds a Clinical Diploma in Advanced Clinical Practice and he is a Clinical Lead in Alcohol and Substance Misuse for Abbeycare Gloucester and works as the Clinical Lead in Alcohol and Substance Use in Worcestershire. To read more about Pete visit his LinkedIn profile.