Rehab for alcohol abuse

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Rehab for alcohol addiction is the best approach to treatment for those struggling with alcohol use disorder (AUD). Rehab offers a safe and structured environment where an addict can get support and treatment. 

Rehab for alcohol treatment is also associated with higher chances for long-term sobriety. 

In 2018/19, there were 358,000 alcohol-related admissions to the hospital [2]. In 2018, there were 5,698 alcohol-specific deaths. The prevalence of alcohol use among adults has increased, leading to a higher risk of harm. 

Men show higher rates of drinking (38%) than women (19%). Yet with the higher alcohol use comes the risk of addiction. 

Addiction occurs when the body becomes tolerant of substance abuse. When this happens, it becomes difficult for the body to function normally without the substance.

One of the main proofs of alcohol dependence is that the person will prioritize their drinking above anything else, e.g., their friends, family, and work.

People who struggle with drinking face alcohol problems. These problems include: 

  • Getting into trouble with the law. 
  • They drink more than they intended. This could lead to financial problems. 
  • They are less active in hobbies or social activities. 
  • Drinking leads to problems in their family life or with loved ones. 
  • They engage in risky behaviours, e.g., drink driving. 

When the person tries to stop drinking, they end up feeling unwell. They experience symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, irritability, fatigue, mild anxiety, etc.

The severity of the withdrawal symptoms depends on the duration and frequency of alcohol abuse. 

Trying to stop alcohol addiction on your own can be life-threatening. Some of the withdrawal symptoms warrant medical intervention; for example, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, the elevated heart rate could lead to a life-threatening cardiac arrest.

Going for alcohol rehab treatment lowers the health risks that come with withdrawal. 

Various treatment centres offer you or your loved one a chance for an alcohol-free life. These centres give someone struggling with alcoholism an opportunity to address the root causes of their addiction.

Rehab clinic puts the addict in the hands of a professional and a supportive environment with people experiencing the same issue. 

Many people hesitate in deciding to go for drug rehab. Seeking treatment is a big decision to make. A loved one cannot make this decision for you.

For alcohol or drug addiction treatment to work, the person struggling with the substance abuse must admit the problem for themselves and be willing to pursue treatment. 

Anyone struggling with drug or alcohol addiction should seek treatment at a rehab clinic. With treatment comes the chance to pursue a healthy relationship with friends and loved ones.

Sobriety also presents an opportunity to focus on the areas of your life that you've overlooked. Going for alcoholism treatment gives you a chance to lead a healthy life, productive life. 

Alcohol abuse treatment experts 

You should seek alcohol abuse treatment experts when you realize that you have a drinking problem.

Since there's a broad selection of alcohol treatment centres, you need to research to identify which treatment facility has the most qualified staff, best facilities, and required therapies. 

Alcohol addiction treatment experts will help evaluate the situation. They will help you come up with the right treatment plan depending on your needs.

Working with experts will also help prevent a tragic outcome, for instance, in the event of a relapse or during the detox phase. 

You can find alcoholism treatment experts in hospitals. Most hospitals have an addictions therapist or a consultant psychiatrist specializing in addiction.

Alternatively, you can make an appointment with your GP. Your GP will conduct an assessment and refer you to a specialist. 

You can find a certified addiction professional in private rehab treatment providers. When you reach out to your preferred treatment centre, you'll engage with psychologists and psychiatrists.

These professionals will help you understand the root cause of the disease. Most treatment facilities will provide medical advice for free when you reach out to them.

You will also get traditional doctors and nurses to provide you with medical attention. 

The UK addiction treatment centres have 24/7 on-site specialist addiction professions in every rehab facility. The centre has 190 detox and rehab centres across the UK.

They offer treatment for all addictions, including alcoholism, eating disorders, and gambling addiction. 

You can also find addiction treatment experts using the NIAAA Alcohol Treatment Navigator [3]. This online tool guides you through the process of finding a highly qualified professional treatment provider.

You can also use the SAMHSA (substance abuse mental health services administration) site to find the right treatment programme with professional treatment providers.  

You can check UK rehab for treatment providers listed in their directory [5]. 

Organizations such as (UK) can help you find the best treatment programmes. A fully trained addiction counsellor will advise you on both NHS and private options when you call them.

Most treatment centres allow you to contact them for free. Others have a free call-back service, and the calls are 100% confidential. 

Working with alcohol abuse treatment experts will help you through the early phase of alcohol detox. Moreover, you'll get regular alcohol counselling plus various treatments for alcohol.

Addiction experts such as therapists will impart the necessary skills that you need to avoid triggers. They also provide you with the health and support you need to overcome the substance abuse problem. 

Success rates tend to increase when you work with alcohol abuse treatment experts. 

things to consider when choosing a rehab

Alcohol addiction treatment process 

The alcohol addiction treatment process generally involves: 

1. Admissions 

The person struggling with addiction enrols into a treatment facility. Most treatment facilities have simplified the admissions process. You can begin your application by calling your preferred treatment facility. 

Most of the treatment centres have a flexible payment option. For instance, some may permit you to pay a deposit when you enrol. You get to pay the remaining sum after admission.

Alternatively, if you have insurance, you'll enter the treatment programme within 24 hours. 

2. Intake 

The patient enters the rehab programme. At this phase, the staff confirms that the patient is not carrying any forbidden items into the facility. This process is also necessary as it helps the patient understand what is required of them and the activities, they'll engage in to participate effectively. 

3. Assessment 

A patient goes through an assessment during rehab. The aim is to determine what type of substance they are addicted to and how long they have been addicted. The assessment also helps medical practitioners determine if there are any co-occurring mental health disorders. 

This process is essential for careful diagnosis. It also helps treatment providers come up with a customized treatment plan based on the client's needs.

Most facilities treating alcoholism have an assessment as an ongoing process. They continually reassess the patient to ensure that their needs are met. 

4. Detox 

Detox is the first phase in alcohol treatment. It entails helping the body get rid of toxins so that the patient can achieve a substance-free state. This phase prepares the individual for the next phase of treatment, that is, rehabilitation. 

In many cases, patients go through medical detox. This helps them better manage the withdrawal symptoms. Some rehab treatment facilities will offer therapy as you undergo detox. 

5. Inpatient Care 

When choosing a treatment process, patients have to choose between inpatient and outpatient care.

In inpatient treatment, the individual resides in the facility. The exact treatment plan for an inpatient varies depending on the facility. 

The goal of inpatient treatment is to help the patient uncover the root cause of the addiction. It also imparts the individual with the knowledge and coping skills needed to maintain sobriety once they leave the facility. 

Some of the treatment options available in an inpatient treatment setting include: 

  • Behavioural therapies 
  • Trauma resolution 
  • Meditation 
  • Music therapy 
  • Access to medical and mental health services when needed 

Inpatient treatment types differ in terms of their level of structure, intensity, and duration of treatment depending on the patient's needs. The options available include: 

  • Relatively low-intensity residential programmes. The patient stays in the facility but only goes for several hours of clinical services per week. 

  • Higher intensity medically monitored inpatient services. In this case, the medical provider is present 24/7. The individual gets intensive treatment for other medical and mental health issues that require inpatient treatment. 

  • Short-term rehab programmes. Short-term rehab generally lasts for about 30 or 60 days. The goal of this treatment is detox and withdrawal management. It also prepares the patient for post-detox treatment. 

  • Long-term residential treatment programs. The patient stays in the facility for about 6 to 12 months. During that time, they receive 24-hour intensive treatment. 

  • Recovery housing. This option lasts for several months to a year. The goal is to help the patient safely transition from rehabilitation to their ordinary lives. 


6. Intensive outpatient programme (IOP) 

This treatment process is designed for treating alcoholism without round-the-clock supervision or detox.

This process is a more flexible option than inpatient treatment as it allows the patient to continue with their normal lives. The client does not reside on-site. 

Some facilities may combine IOPs with inpatient programmes as a way of helping patients seamlessly adapt back into their families or communities.

They are designed to offer support, helping with coping and relapse management. 

Some rehab centres make it easy for their patients to engage in IOPs as they provide it as one of their treatment programmes. Other facilities do not offer IOPs, and the patient will have to find it as a separate programme. 

IOP allows the individual to test the sobriety skills they've acquired during treatment. 

7. Planning for life post-treatment 

During rehab, patients acquire knowledge and skills that will help them manage alcohol cravings.

This step in the treatment process is essential as the patient may be going back to a different life or maybe starting one from scratch. 

Some of the preparations made are: 

  • Helping the patient find employment. 
  • Participating in support groups and ongoing treatment. 
  • Securing accommodation. 
  • Rebuilding relationships with loved ones. 
  • Caring for children and pets. 

8. Release 

Patients complete the administrative process and leave the facility at this phase. Many facilities conduct a final assessment at this stage. They guide patients and ensure that they are ready to begin their new life. 

9. Aftercare 

Aftercare is a phase that can last for a few weeks, months, a year, or even longer. Most programmes recommend at least one year in aftercare. During this phase, patients go through ongoing treatment programmes such as therapy, 12 step support, individual or group therapy. 

The structure of the aftercare programme depends on the individual and the options available to them. Treatment centres either have their aftercare programme or connect the individual with a third-party aftercare provider. 

10. Alumni programmes 

Alumni programmes are an ongoing process that most patients engage in for years after treatment. The goal of alumni programmes is to help maintain relationships between former patients and other patients and the staff. 

Most alcohol rehabilitation facilities maintain their own alumni participation programmes. They even have a coordinator for the programme.

The activities included in such programmes are social events, 12 step gatherings, ongoing education, and support. 

Alumni programmes help to lower the chance of relapse by discouraging isolation. Different facilities will approach alumni involvement differently.

For instance, some rehab centres will reconnect their clients 35 to 65 days after recovery to invite them to alumni events. 

Alumni programmes are essential as they motivate patients to remain sober by providing them with connection, advice, encouragement, and sober activities.

Many patients find the recovery process to be challenging. Those who haven't gone through it may have a hard time understanding the challenges of maintaining sobriety.

But when patients interact with each other in alumni programmes, they share experiences and encourage one another. 

Alcohol treatment services 

Alcohol treatment services vary from emergency interventions such as detox to psychiatric support using behavioural therapies.

It can include the use of alcohol treatment medications, e.g., Disulfiram, Naltrexone, or Acamprosate. 

Treatment services also incorporate group-based therapy, residential rehabilitation, or a combination of both. There are private treatment options.

When you go for an assessment from a GP provider, they are likely to recommend a private treatment centre as they are aware of NHS rehab care issues. 

Other treatment services include mutual support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous or SMART recovery. Support groups such as Alcoholics anonymous have become instrumental in helping patients achieve sobriety.

This community-based programme uses its 12-steps approach to help those drinking alcohol get sober with the support of their peers through daily meetings and discussions surrounding addiction. AA also offers virtual support meetings. 

Local support groups such as community-based alcohol treatment services are also available. These services are funded by local authorities and run by charities.

Local support groups provide a range of treatment options for people in need of support. 

You can find out where to get support by calling the national alcohol helpline. Drinking has a free helpline that you can call in complete confidence [4].

You can also contact alcohol rehab agencies such as: 

  • Adam 
  • We Are with You (UK) 
  • Al-Anon family groups 
  • The National Association for Children of Alcoholics (NACOA). They offer confidential telephone or email helpline for children of alcohol-dependent parents and others concerned about their welfare. 

You can receive alcohol detoxification services at home. Addictions UK is one of the alcohol rehab organizations that deliver medically supervised home detox treatment services.

You can get this service in the comfort of your home while attending a local service daily. 

People with medium or high levels of alcohol dependence and people who had sought help before but proved unsuccessful can get alcohol rehab treatment through NHS.

They can seek intensive rehabilitation services by seeking funding from NHS. Alternatively, they can reach out to their local authorities to find out which options are available for them.

The only issue with NHS is that funding is hard to get due to budget cuts. You will have to wait for a long time before you get any treatment. 

Private alcohol rehab facilities are the best option. You can get24/7 medical assistance in an environment that's free from substance abuse.

Residential rehab provides you with a structure that helps you build better habits and focus on your healing. 

Where to go for alcohol treatment 

If you're battling addiction, your GP is an excellent place to start. They will inform you about all the support available locally. 

They will also do the following: 

  • Conduct a medical health check-up or specific medical tests. 
  • Provide you with alcohol treatment medications to reduce cravings. 
  • Refer you to a local treatment service. 
  • Recommend treatment for other conditions such as depression, anxiety, or insomnia. 

Alternatively, you can directly get in touch with alcohol treatment services to arrange a meeting. Alcohol rehab centres will provide you with: 

  • one-to-one counselling 
  • Therapy 
  • Group counselling and support. 
  • Prescription drugs for recovery. 
  • Detox (for those at risk of experiencing alcohol withdrawal symptoms). 
  • Family therapy or support for those affected by the drinking of a loved one. 
  • Residential rehabilitation 
  • Referral for mental health support. 

Treatment for alcohol can be accessed from NHS services directories. You can use: 

  • NHS England [6] 
  • NHS Direct Wales [7] 
  • NHS Inform, Scotland [8] 
  • Health and Social Care Northern Ireland [9] 

You can check out the Collective Voice website [10]. This website is an alcohol rehab guide established by nine of the largest alcohol treatment organizations in the UK.

It contains information about the services they offer and the areas they serve. 

You can navigate your way around their website to find your organization of choice. Alternatively, you can reach out to them via email for more information. 

You can search 'NHS services near me' or 'NHS alcohol services and your nearest town in the search engine to find the nearest alcohol service provider in your location. 

When you attend a local alcohol rehab centre, you will go through an assessment. You may have to provide a bit of information by filling in some form.

You will also get professional treatment advice and work with a professional to determine the best treatment approach for you. 

It's important to note that rehab cost is flexible in most treatment centres. You can pay using insurance, medical loans, or by getting funds from friends and family.

Most alcohol and drug abuse facilities are open to discussing a payment option that is suitable for you. 


Rehab for alcohol abuse is beneficial. Those who have struggled with alcohol consumption can attest to how difficult it is to stop on your own.

Alcohol rehab provides a healing environment where the patient receives the support and medical attention needed to recover successfully. 

Those who have been alcohol dependent for a long time are likely to experience life-threatening withdrawal symptoms when they try to stop on their own.

But in a rehab clinic, there's a team of professionals who ensure that their clients' health remains stable as they go through medical detox. 

Patients have the option to choose between inpatient and outpatient treatment services. Both options offer detox and rehabilitation. But in inpatient, the client stays in the facility, whereas in outpatient, the client goes home after a session. 

You can contact your GP for an assessment to determine the best treatment solution for you.

Alternatively, you can search the NHS service or the directory of various addictions organizations to find a specific treatment centre listing that's ideal for you. 

Regardless of the option to choose, it's essential that you go to rehab for alcohol abuse. Remember that recovery provides you with a higher chance for long-term sobriety.

You get to discover the factors that contribute to the addiction. Also, you get to learn skills that will help you stay sober. 

Abbeycare Pricing Bot

Last Updated: October 13, 2021

About the author

Peter Szczepanski

Peter 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. Find Peter on Respiratory Academy, Aston University graduates, University of Birmingham, Q, Pharmaceutical Journal, the Dudley Pharmaceutical Committee, Dudley Council, Twitter, and LinkedIn.