Why should someone seek rehab for alcoholism?

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One should seek rehab for alcoholism when they are addicted to alcohol and would wish to stay sober. Alcoholism, which is clinically referred to as Alcohol Use Disorder – AUD, is a chronic, common, and progressive medical condition that involves compulsive alcohol consumption.

This maladaptive pattern of drinking behavior can lead the individual to some serious, familial, social, and physical consequences.

Fortunately, rehab is a highly effective alcohol addiction treatment for this disorder, and there are several programmes available to people who are suffering from alcohol abuse disorder.

Why should someone seek alcohol rehab from a specific treatment center for alcohol use disorders.

If you have a loved one or you are struggling with alcoholism, then they seeking rehab for alcoholism at a rehab drug addiction treatment center is the best and one of the most effective treatment options to help you stop drinking and finally maintain long term sobriety.

How can one tell they need alcohol rehab?

One can tell that they need alcohol rehab if they tend to rely on alcohol daily. Alcohol disorder is characterized by the inability to control or stop an unhealthy alcohol reliance, despite adverse consequences.

One is diagnosed with AUD by mental health or a mental health services administration provider such as a psychiatrist. There are mild, moderate, and severe cases.

Here are some signs and symptoms that will indicate alcohol and drug abuse, an inability to stop drinking or controlling your alcohol intake, despite trying to implement different treatment options. 

  • The frequent use of alcohol or intake of higher amounts than is intended.
  • Spending lots of time getting alcohol, drinking it, and recovering from its negative effects.
  • Experiencing strong urges to drink alcohol (These are alcohol cravings.)
  • Find yourself unable to fulfil work, home, or school obligations due to your recurrent alcohol use disorder.
  • Continue to drink even after you have experienced some relationship and social problems caused and even worsened by alcohol.
  • Finding yourself giving up or even reducing time spent at work, or home, or on social media and other activities you once enjoyed due to alcohol use.
  • Having repeated drinking episodes during times that are physically dangerous, such as driving or operating heavy machinery.
  • Continuing with drinking habits despite having recurring psychological and physical problems caused by the intense drug and substance abuse.
  • When you start experiencing tolerance, you need to drink increasing amounts of alcohol to achieve the desired effects of alcohol.
  • When you experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms, such as restlessness, shakiness, sweating, nausea, seizures, a racing heart, and hallucinations, after attempting to cut back or stop the drinking.

If you meet two or three of these symptoms, then you have Mild AUD; if you meet four or five symptoms, then you have Moderate AUD, while more than six means you have severe AUD.

What are the main stages of rehab and recovery?

There are four main stages of alcohol recovery, but these will not work without giving the ongoing process enough time, effort, support, and willpower.

When one decides to go to rehab for alcohol addiction treatment center, they begin an intense journey through the following stages:

Why should someone seek rehab for alcoholism

Stage One: Initiation Stage

When you reach out to speak with a treatment professional at a motivational enhancement therapy clinic, you will start the recovery process, and the first stage will be alcohol addiction treatment initiation.

Whether you're seeking voluntary or forced help from specific medical provider, your alcohol misuse recovery will start with a certified addiction professional who will initiate the alcohol addiction treatment program by providing professional treatment advice confidentially.

In the beginning, you will probably have ambivalent feelings and wish to give up on the substance use disorder recovery process, and your attitude and desire to get better will determine your ability to stay in the behavioral treatment rehab through this time.

Denial and ambivalent attitudes will be your worst enemies in the beginning. At this point, the goal is to help you decide whether you are willing to participate in the primary treatment rehab programme actively or not.

At the same time, you'll be guided through how to overcome withdrawal symptoms and not revert to drinking.

During this point in your alcohol addiction treatment, the main goal is to help you decide that you need the alcohol addiction treatment and allow you to participate and accept your circumstances.

 To accomplish this, a counsellor will work with you and help you with the following:

  • Understanding the damaging effect of your alcohol and gambling addiction.
  • Exploring the feelings of denial you may have towards your drinking problem.
  • Help you become motivated to seek treatment for alcohol use disorders.

Your alcohol and medical and psychiatric history will be taken into consideration by treatment professionals, and a treatment plan will be created by the counsellor that best suits your alcohol addiction treatment program.

Stage Two: Abstinence

After one has committed to receive alcohol treatment for their alcohol abuse, they enter into the next stage in the rehab process, which is “Early Abstinence.”

Early abstinence is associated with positive treatment outcomes, and it is one of the most challenging stages to cope with because it has many factors such as:

  • Withdrawal symptoms
  • Cravings
  • Psychological dependence on alcohol
  • Triggers that can cause temptations and relapse

There are many challenges in this stage of the intensive outpatient treatment facility, and these can cause some problems—social pressures to drink, intense cravings, and high-risk situations that would trigger extreme alcohol consumption.

In this stage, the trained  alcohol addiction counsellor will start teaching you some coping skills that will come in handy in overcoming alcoholism to help you lead a sober lifestyle. These tools will help you throughout the recovery process in the treatment facility.

Some early abstinence issues in this stage include learning the psychological and physical aspects of withdrawal, identifying how to overcome triggers of alcohol and substance use disorders, and learning how to handle the different cravings without drinking.

Other helpful strategies include:

  • Being encouraged to participate in healthy activities.
  • Finding behaviours you can engage in rather than drinking alcohol.
  • Participating in support group activities that offer support and trustworthy health information on staying sober.
  • Recognising the triggers in the environment are likely to lead to cravings such as places, people, and things.

Stage Three: How to Maintain Abstinence

When you complete 90 days of abstinence in the treatment facility,  you will move on from the early abstinence stage to the third stage – maintaining abstinence.

Again, if your treatment were in an inpatient treatment or residential alcohol treatment center, you would need to continue your rehab process in an outpatient clinic.

The main focus for this stage of inpatient rehab is maintaining abstinence to avoid relapsing. Here, you will learn how to identify the warning signs and any steps to relapse.

In this stage of rehabilitation, one learns how to put the tools they learned into use in all areas of their lives. In this way, you can start living an authentic and sober lifestyle after alcoholism treatment.

Here are some coping tools and skills that will come in handy:

  • Avoiding substitutes to alcohol addictions
  • Building healthy relationships
  • Developing an alcohol-free life.
  • Learning money management and employment skills
  • Learning how to manage anger
  • Utilising nutrition and exercise

To maintain your abstinence after inpatient rehab, you will need to start immediately, and this stage can last up to five years of living a sober and clean lifestyle.

At this time, the follow-up counselling sessions will be terminated.

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Stage Four: Advanced Recovery

This stage sets in after approx. Five years of living in abstinence. It is the fourth and final stage of your recovery.

In this stage, you will need to take in all of the skills and tools you have learned during alcohol and substance abuse rehab and put them into living a fulfilling and satisfying life.

Here are some strategies that can come in handy:

  • Coming up with a consistent schedule each day.
  • Coming up with long-term goals.
  • Establishing relationships with a group of people who don’t drink.
  • Participating in activities that don’t involve alcohol.
  • Finding out new ways of reaching beyond yourself and seeking happiness and fulfilment. This could involve spirituality, religion, social activism, and community work.

When one learns how to implement these specific strategies, they will remain sober and have the right skills to become healthy individuals, spouses, and better parents.

In the end, one can go back to their everyday lives of being good neighbours, citizens, and productive members of society.

Recovery is more than just staying sober. It also includes learning how to go back to your former life and living it better, happier, and healthier.

How does a detoxification program help in alcohol rehab?

Detoxification is part of alcohol rehab. Most treatment plans will start with a detox programme to help treat the withdrawal symptoms when one stops drinking alcohol.

Detox is often done in an in-patient treatment clinic and takes around one week to complete.

Due to the symptoms of withdrawal that are sometimes life-threatening, you may be given some prescription drugs in the form of detox that will help with the following.

  • Confusion
  • Shaking
  • Agitation
  • Sweating
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Hallucinations
  • Tachycardia
  • Convulsions
  • What are the benefits of therapy during rehab?

    There are many benefits of therapy during alcohol rehab. First, a therapist will be able to determine your feelings, thoughts, and behaviours, and as such, they will be able to get to the root cause of your alcohol addiction.

    An enriching experience

    Alcohol treatment can be an enriching experience and often the first step to a fulfilling and alcohol-free life. Effective alcohol treatment begins with performing a self-assessment in the rehab center, recovering from underlying issues, dealing with the addiction and fixing family relationships. 

    Holistic therapy

    Alcohol addiction is often a complex process that comes with deeply-rooted physical and mental health issues. 

    Thanks to the holistic therapy, talking to a specific treatment provider gives you the comfort and space to recover holistically. At the same time, treatment providers administer treatment methods in an environment free from the chaos of everyday life.

    Remedy for a chronic illness

    Alcoholism goes beyond being just a habit. This is epitomized by countless failed attempts by alcohol users to reverse the disorder. While it may seem impossible to lead a sober life, recovery is made possible through support groups in treatment centers.

    Other benefits include:

    • They will help you develop strategies you can use to cope with your dependency on alcohol.
    • They will help you express yourself without any judgment or fear.
    • They will help you practice your self-awareness.
    • They will help you learn how to create behaviours that are geared towards helping you curb your alcohol dependence. 

    Does one need local support groups after alcohol rehab?

    Support groups can help and are often essential for anyone going through alcohol treatment.

    They help one connect with people who have similar challenges, and they allow one receive direction and encouragement for their recovery.

    What types of groups are there?

    There are many different types of support groups and specifically for alcoholics.

    Additionally, family members and friends of the alcoholic can also join these groups to learn how to deal with someone suffering from alcohol use disorder.

    The different groups include:

    • Alcoholics Anonymous
    • Al-Anon (for friends and family of people living with AUD)
    • Alateen
    • National Association for Children of Alcoholics
    • National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence
    • National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
    • Local alcoholic support group therapy

    What medications are given to an alcoholic in rehab?

    There are several medications used to treat AUD, and they include the following.

    Naltrexone

    This drug helps to block the feel-good effects associated with alcohol in your brain. When these feelings are absent, then you will be less inclined to want to drink. This is available, either in an oral injection or tablet format.

    It primarily works to reduce withdrawal symptoms and symptoms of euphoria associated with alcohol and drug abuse. In addition to blocking opioid receptors, Naltrexone suppresses cravings for substance abuse. 

    Acamprosate

    This is used to combat the cravings associated with alcohol, and it helps to restore and balance specific chemicals in your brain.

    As medications meant to provide abstinence to alcohol-dependent patients, Acamprosate should be accompanied with alcohol counseling. 

    Disulfiram

    This drug is alcohol-sensitising and works at making one sick whenever they consume alcohol. When it is combined with drinking, it causes nausea, flushing, and headaches.

    However, this drug is the least preferred during the alcoholism treatment process because the side effects are extremely dangerous, and in fact, it does not treat the symptoms related to AUD.

    What is the long-term outlook of AUD?

    Left untreated, the long-term outlook of AUD will take a toll on your body and may cause a wide variety of complications such as:

    • Raise the risk of chronic disease
    • Cause many different kinds of cancer
    • Scar your liver, also known as Cirrhosis
    • Cause inflammation on your stomach lining, also known as gastritis
    • Cause dementia and many other neurological disorders
    • Cause erectile dysfunction

    Mental and physical dependence on alcohol also causes mental health issues such as anxiety and depression and certain mood swings.

    Therefore, in addition to your alcoholism treatment, you should seek professionals who provide medical advice for other complications associated with alcohol addiction as well.

    Do I need rehab for alcohol?

    Alcohol abuse is the fourth most common cause of preventable death¹. When you begin to notice that you cannot function properly at work and social activities without using alcohol, you need rehab for alcohol addiction.

    Other signs that you need rehabilitation from alcohol abuse include the following:

    • Extreme craving for alcohol.
    • Feeling of anxiety, guilt, depression or loneliness.
    • Expressing compulsive behaviour and aggression.
    • Vomiting, nausea and similar gastrointestinal disorder.
    • Experience of total blackout or dizziness.

    The best option for an alcoholic to reclaim their lives is to enrol in an alcohol abuse recovery programme.

    Conclusion

    Treating alcohol addiction using a professional medical provider in alcohol treatment centers is a lifelong journey, and one is likely to experience temptations and relapses from time to time. This is entirely normal.

    One may slip in and out of their long-term sobriety on the recovery journey, and as such, having supportive friends along with marital and family counseling  will go a long way in helping you overcome this alcohol addiction.

    However, some people can recover from alcohol use disorder the first time they attend alcohol rehab. Which is fantastic, but if you are not one of them, do not beat yourself up; the more you try, the better your chances of treatment success. All the best.

    Abbeycare Pricing Bot

    Last Updated: September 3, 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.