Alcoholism Treatment Options
What is Alcoholism Treatment?
Different Types of Rehab
Inpatient Vs. Outpatient
Alcoholism and Mental Illness
It’s an Important Decision
When an individual is suffering from alcoholism, she likely feels as if she has nowhere to turn. Even worse, the alcoholic may not even realize that she has a problem that could impact her health and well being so severely. Alcoholism treatment helps the addict gain a firm grasp on the depth of her problem – and provides the tools necessary to obtain and maintain sobriety. The following is an overview of the different types of alcoholism treatment options current available around the United States.
What is Alcohol Addiction Treatment?
Alcoholism treatment is a professional rehabilitation program that addresses both the physical and psychological components of addiction. This is generally accomplished through the distinct processes of alcohol detox, counseling and aftercare.
- Alcohol Detox. The first step towards sobriety is ceasing the intake of alcohol. When an individual is in detox, they stop drinking – giving the body a chance to cleanse itself of harmful toxins – and gain the stability needed to continue on with the remainder of treatment.
- Alcohol Counseling. This is the “heart” of any effective alcoholism treatment program. Through individual, group and family counseling, the individual is given a forum to talk openly and honestly about their condition, and learn how to respond more positively to the “triggers” that lead to alcohol abuse.
- Alcohol Rehab Aftercare. When an individual leaves alcohol rehab, they still face a number of challenges as they adjust to a sober life. Aftercare programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous and follow-up counseling help provide support and accountability during this crucial time.
Different Rehab Options
Simply choosing an alcoholism treatment facility at random is not the most effective way to receive rehab care. Individuals are advised to become familiar with the different types of alcohol rehab available in their area. Consider the following popular styles of alcoholism treatment centers:
- Inpatient Alcoholism Treatment. An inpatient alcohol rehab treatment program has the individual moving into the facility for an extended stay of a month or longer. These treatment programs are quite immersive and include detox, various types of counseling and aftercare. The individual is given a “safe zone” in which to heal – where the temptation of alcohol and the stressors of the outside world are not present.
- Outpatient Alcoholism Treatment. While inpatient treatment is a highly effective form of addiction care, outpatient alcoholism treatment is a more effective means of treatment for those who have responsibilities that preclude them from dropping everything in their life in order to pursue live-in treatment. With outpatient alcohol rehab, the individual attends counseling and other programs during the day – and then returns home in the evening so that they can be near family and friends (and maintain work, school or home-based responsibilities).
- Holistic Alcoholism Treatment. Some programs use yoga, meditation and other forms of holistic care to help enhance the recovery process. These programs strengthen the mind, body, spirit connection to help the individual respond more positively to treatment.
Inpatient Vs. Outpatient
Inpatient Residential Centers
When individuals are facing the consequences of alcoholism in their lives, seeking inpatient alcoholism treatment can provide the opportunity for hope, healing and a lifetime of sobriety – often for the first time in an individual’s life. Inpatient alcoholism treatment provides a secluded and supervised reprieve in which alcoholism recovery can take place – as well as the level of care appropriate for long-standing or complex cases of alcoholism. With the help of dedicated professionals, medical staff, psychologists and a host of addiction experts, individuals can receive personalized care, camaraderie and daily support during their stay at an inpatient alcoholism treatment facility.
Reasons to Select Inpatient Treatment
While outpatient alcoholism treatment options can certainly lead to recovery, their overall success rates tend to pale in comparison to inpatient alcoholism treatment solutions. For those without daily transportation (or who have experienced license revocation due to driving under the influence), even attendance at an outpatient treatment program can prove an obstacle to recovery. Additionally, inpatient programs provide supervision that outpatient alcoholism programs simply cannot. For those who have experienced relapse – or who have not been able to stop drinking on their own – inpatient facilities may offer a level of care and structure that can better aid achievement of sobriety.
Inpatient facilities generally offer lengthier treatment programs than outpatient programs, as well. Standard stays at inpatient programs can range from two weeks to three months; but in general, one-month (30 day) stays are the norm. Inpatient alcoholism treatment programs also allow alcoholic individuals to focus solely on their recovery, taking care of room-and-board, activity scheduling, treatment needs, exercise implementation and nutritious food preparation. The alcoholic individual is then able to focus their energies on the work of recovery. Inpatient treatment programs also allow the alcoholic individual to see that he or she is not alone in their struggles; other patients can provide support and encouragement as they push towards sobriety alongside one another. Creating this network of sober contacts can also be helpful as alcoholics graduate inpatient alcoholism treatment programs and prepare to reenter their regular lives.
Services Offered by Inpatient Programs
One of the most compelling aspects of alcoholism treatment programs is their holistic and comprehensive nature. At many inpatient alcoholism treatment programs, alcohol and diagnostic testing, physical exams and psychological evaluations remain part of the intake process itself. Dedicated mental health professionals can help diagnose coexisting disorders that may have arisen from – or contributed to – the alcoholism in question. Additionally, most inpatient facilities have the ability to perform on-site detoxification for alcoholic individuals, providing medical supervision around the clock to ensure the safe detox of patients. Prescriptions can be obtained for psychological or physical conditions that are identified throughout the detox and intake process.
In terms of inpatient alcoholism treatment, many residential facilities exist to assist clients in the early stages of sobriety. Treatment centers begin by having the alcoholic client undergo a physical detoxification from alcohol. Unpleasant withdrawal effects from alcohol are mitigated with counter-indicative drugs. Withdrawal effects include:
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Delerium tremors (DT’s)
- Difficulty falling and staying asleep
- Increased anxiety levels
It is important to undergo a medically monitored detoxification from alcohol; otherwise, withdrawal effects can be potentially deadly. On-site physicians prescribe medications as needed, such as:
- Clonazepam or another benzodiazepine (anxiety reducing medication)
- Sedatives or tranquilizers such as Trazedone
- Antabuse or Campral to reduce alcohol cravings and preclude relapse
On-site alcoholism treatment professionals watch the client to track detoxification progress, and work together with treatment team members to ensure a safe and comfortable transition from an alcohol-filled life to one reminiscent of sobriety.
Activities such as group therapy, individualized therapy and family counseling can also help bolster the inpatient treatment stay. Through the use of family counseling (should patients’ families be willing to participate), alcoholics can gain a better understanding of their family histories of addiction, the dynamics of the family system that may have contributed to the development of alcoholism and the effects of their alcoholism on those they love. In many cases, family counseling sessions can be useful in helping to strengthen and repair bonds compromised by alcoholism. Individualized therapy sessions can help alcoholic individuals break the psychological component of their addictions, achieve stress reduction, develop positive coping skills and heal traumas or negative self-beliefs that may contribute to relapse. Group therapy allows alcoholics to share what they have learned in their journey to recovery, as well as the opportunity to learn from others’ experiences and engage in open discussions about various aspects of alcoholism.
Environment and Patient Activities
For the most part, inpatient alcoholism treatment facilities tend to create a soothing environment in which patients can recover from this mental health condition. Set in largely scenic atmospheres, inpatient alcoholism treatment programs attempt to create a secure reprieve – and even social visits are generally limited for the first week or two (though visitor policies vary). Rules can differ from facility to facility, but patients generally have limited use of cell phones and technology during an inpatient stay – all with the goal of creating a focused environment in which alcoholism can be resolved and relapse can be prevented.
Many inpatient treatment facilities also offer structured schedules and chores for alcoholic patients, allowing them to resume a sense of order as they recover their sobriety. Some inpatient alcoholism treatment programs also offer art therapy, creative exercises, physical exercises such as swimming and group sports and group excursions to help patients bond with one another and express themselves as they recover. Many inpatient alcoholism treatment programs also offer alternative therapies, such as meditation workshops, guided visualization and Eastern medicine techniques in order to help patients reduce stress as they recover.
When considering the costs and benefits of inpatient treatment for alcoholism, many individuals weigh their life against the costs. This may sound dramatic, but it is in fact true. Alcoholism leads toward three possible outcomes — jails, institutions, or death. Given the dismal outcomes active alcoholism leads toward, many individuals voluntarily check themselves into a treatment center. Others need to be pressured by family members in order to accept the notion of attending inpatient treatment. Still others accept the offer for treatment only through means of a premeditated, highly coordinated intervention.
The cost of an alcohol rehab program varies from treatment facility to facility. However, individuals who opt for a luxury residential rehab program can expect to pay at least several thousand dollars per month for care. Outpatient rehab is generally less expensive – but the cost may still be prohibitive for many families. To help, insurance companies may provide coverage for care under the mental health component of their plans. Some facilities also offer private financing as a means of making payment more manageable for families who have seen their financial health damaged as a result of the individual’s alcoholism.
What is Outpatient?
An outpatient alcoholism treatment program is one in which the individual takes part in counseling and other rehab processes during the day or early evening. When the individual is not in a session, they are free to go home, or travel to work or school. These types of programs are different than residential alcohol rehab programs where the individual lives at the facility for an extended period of time and does not return home every evening.
The basic elements of outpatient alcoholism treatment are detox (addressing the physical addiction to alcohol), mental health counseling (dealing with the psychological dependence on alcohol) and aftercare (helping the individual effectively cope with life after treatment). Taken together, these three elements provide a comprehensive treatment solution that helps the individual get sober – and then maintain that sobriety for the rest of their lives.
How Much Does Outpatient Cost?
Outpatient alcohol rehab costs can vary greatly from center to center. There are free clinics and expensive private facilities located throughout the country. Less expensive than residential alcohol rehab, outpatient care may still cause financial problems for some families. Alcoholism can damage a family in a number of ways – and financial stability is certainly among them. Insurance reimbursement and private financing are two ways that alcoholics can get help paying for treatment.
The Importance of Outpatient
Many people are unable to leave their daily lives and enter into a live-in alcohol rehab program. Unfortunately, some people let their journey to recovery end there – and never seek out an outpatient rehab program that can help them. Those who do seek the help of an outpatient alcohol treatment program, however, often find that they can become stronger and learn how to overcome alcoholism while still maintaining their lives at home.
The bottom line is that professional alcoholism help is essential when attempting to conquer alcoholism. Trying to “go it alone” most often leads to relapse. Without the support and structure on alcoholism treatment program, the individual will be unable to elicit the proper long-term changes.
Outpatient alcohol rehab helps broaden the scope of those individuals who need help. Now, by providing treatment without the live-in requirement individuals can continue on with their jobs, their education and their family lives while at the same time improving their lives through treatment.
Dual Diagnosis is an extremely common phenomenon; in fact, nearly half the individuals living with a mental illness issue are also living with a co-occurring addiction. Unfortunately, most physicians are not educated in both substance abuse and mental health problems, so in many cases, people with both issues go without a proper diagnosis for years.
More than 33 percent of individuals struggling with alcoholism also have a diagnosable mental illness. Although any mental illness can be part of a Dual Diagnosis, the most common mental health problems associated with it are depression, personality disorders, anxiety and schizophrenia. It is of the utmost importance to get both issues treated concurrently because research has shown that a relapse in one may cause a relapse for the other.
Finding the Necessary Treatment
Simultaneous treatment for alcoholism and mental illness in a Dual Diagnosis rehab is the most effective route towards a lasting sobriety. If you or someone you love is battling both alcoholism and a mental illness, contact us immediately. We are equipped to connect you with some of the top-rated, evidenced-based Dual Diagnosis treatment programs available in the US. Call us today and start the journey to a full recovery.
When it comes to a Dual Diagnosis, the “chicken or the egg” question is often pondered. Which comes first – the mental illness or the alcoholism? The answer is not a definitive one. A Dual Diagnosis may be created by one of the following scenarios.
- Self-Medication. For many living with a Dual Diagnosis, the mental illness manifests first. Many patients report developing an addiction to drugs like alcohol when they drink in order to mask or deal with the symptoms of their mental illness. The alcohol helps to numb the emotional pain and frustration of the mental health issue, so the alcohol use increases. Regrettably, over time, the alcoholism produces even worse symptoms than it was originally meant to alleviate.
- Agitation. Alcoholism can worsen the symptoms of a mental illness. It is also possible for alcohol abuse to initiate new symptoms that would not otherwise be present. Additionally, the use of excess alcohol can have interactions with the different prescription medications used to treat mental illness, rendering them less effective.
- Underlying Risk. Mental illness has no one distinct cause. Instead, it is a complex combination of environmental and genetic factors that result in the expression of a mental illness. For someone with a high-risk of developing a mental illness, alcohol abuse can be the tipping point for the expression of psychological problems.
- Confusion. When diagnosing a mental illness, doctors may become confused when dealing with a patient that is simultaneously abusing alcohol. Generally, the patient is not upfront with their alcohol abuse and the alcoholism can mimic or cover up a mental illness.
Issues Common in Individuals With a Dual Diagnosis
Receiving appropriate Dual Diagnosis treatment for alcoholism and mental illness is of vital importance for the safety of an individual. Having a Dual Diagnosis increases your chances for experiencing a variety of emotionally, physically and financially damaging events. These incidents include.
- Domestic violence
- Suicidal tendencies
- Sexual abuse
- Time in jail
- Inability to hold a job
- Problems with interpersonal relationships
Why is Treatment so Important?
Alcoholism is not a problem that just goes away. On the contrary, like other mental health disorders, alcohol addiction only gets worse over time if left untreated. Professional alcoholism treatment is the most effective way for an individual to get sober and learn to master the tools needed to stay that way for the rest of their lives.
Most individuals will spend one or two months in an alcohol rehab program. If their condition is more serious, or they have a history of relapse, they may be advised to take part in a long-term alcoholism treatment program that lasts a full year or more. Call us if you need help finding the right options for your treatment; our trained intake specialists are standing by 24/7 to take your call.