Alcohol addiction is a complex condition that can negatively impact all aspects of a person’s life. In days gone by, there were few options for treatment: families would put their addicted loved one into a “drying out” facility and hope for the best.
Fortunately, we know a lot more about alcohol addiction than we did back then, and addiction treatment options have evolved significantly. There is a wide range of rehab facilities available, and different options are appropriate for different people. For instance, someone with a long-term chronic drinking problem is likely to need a different treatment program to someone who has been able to get help early in their addiction.
Why Get Help for Alcohol Addiction?
Of all the addictions, alcohol addiction is one of the most difficult to detect. This is because of how socially acceptable it is to drink – even to drink to excess. We’ve all known people – or perhaps been the people – who have gone to a party with the intention of getting drunk. So often, the most intoxicated person present is proclaimed to be the “life of the party”.
When alcohol abuse is normalized to such an extent, it is no wonder that people develop alcohol use disorders without being aware of it. By the time you or your loved ones realize there is a problem, you could already be quite far down the road of addiction, which means that getting into some kind of treatment program is a matter of priority.
Alcohol abuse can have far-reaching effects on your physical and mental health. The sooner you seek treatment, the better your long-term outcomes will be.
What Treatment Options Are Available?
There are several ways to classify alcohol addiction treatment centers, and one of them is the level of care offered. Rehab facilities range from high levels of care, such as inpatient detox and rehab programs, to low levels of care, such as outpatient programs and sober living homes.
Different people need different levels of care. Someone who is trying to break a long-term addiction will need a higher level of care than someone who is struggling to make the transition from rehab to the real world. It is common for people to move between levels of care over the course of their recovery. For instance, you could start out in an inpatient rehab program and go from there to a sober living facility.
The rehab options described below are listed in order from the highest level of care to the lowest.
#1 Medical Detox
The first thing you have to do when embarking on an alcohol addiction recovery program is get the alcohol out of your system. This is a lot more complicated than simply not drinking. As the frequency and volume of drinking increases, your body starts to overcompensate for the constant presence of alcohol. You end up in a situation where you need to consume alcohol to avoid unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, such as tremors, headaches, and anxiety. The more and the longer you drink, the more intense the withdrawal symptoms are when you try to stop.
Imagine going down a hill in a car with no brakes. This is what alcohol withdrawal can be like if you suddenly stop drinking with no medical supervision. Much like the hypothetical car, you can end up crashing.
Medical detox gives you a way to safely withdraw from alcohol under round-the-clock supervision of medical professionals. They are there to monitor and treat withdrawal symptoms as they arise, and to keep you safe. In some cases, they will use medications to help ease the symptoms and cravings.
#2 Inpatient Rehab
In most cases, medical detox is followed by inpatient rehab. These two phases of recovery often happen in the same facility.
Inpatient rehab is a form of treatment where you temporarily live at the facility. It is a highly structured environment in which your entire schedule is planned out for you, from the time you wake up until the time you go to bed.
The benefits of inpatient rehab are numerous:
- You are protected from the stressors and alcohol use triggers that you would be confronted with in the outside world
- You have access to round-the-clock support for your physical and mental health
- The logistics of survival, such as food and shelter, are taken care of, so you can focus on your recovery
- Since all of your therapy and treatment appointments are in the same place where you’re living, there are no logistical barriers to participation
- Your absence from home gives loves ones who were impacted by your addiction the time and space to do their own healing
#3 Partial Hospitalization
Inpatient rehab is highly effective, but it’s not financially or practically accessible to everyone. Partial hospitalization provides the ability for people to put the time and energy into their recovery while continuing to live at home.
A partial hospitalization program offers the same treatment options as inpatient rehab, but you are not at the facility 24/7. Instead, you check in to a treatment facility every day, where you spend several hours attending the therapy sessions that are laid out in your treatment plan. At the end of each day, you return home where you can be with your family.
There are several benefits to this form of treatment:
- It offers most of the same treatment and therapy options as inpatient rehab at a much lower cost
- You can take comfort in the familiarity of your regular home routines
- There is less of a transition from treatment to real life than is the case with inpatient rehab
#4 Outpatient Rehab
People in both inpatient programs and partial hospitalization programs frequently transition to outpatient programs as they become more self-sufficient. This form of treatment is also the first port of treatment after detox for those with less complex addictions and who have a strong support network of family members and close friends.
Most outpatient programs are run once or twice a week for several hours at a time. The sessions you attend may include individual or group therapy, medical checkups, and more. While outpatient rehab requires a high degree of commitment and accountability, there are several benefits:
- You can participate in treatment while holding down a job and living at home
- You can maintain most of your regular routines
- You can immediately start applying the skills and tools you learn to real-world situations
- Treatment can be tweaked based on the real-life challenges that you experience between sessions
#5 Sober Living
Many people who have participated in any form of rehab do not feel comfortable going straight back into their regular lives without some kind of transition. They fear that they will relapse as soon as something stressful happens. Sober living facilities provide a way for recovering alcoholics to test the waters of the real world while living in a safe environment that supports sobriety.
A sober living facility usually takes the form of a group home setting. You are given a bedroom, and you have access to common areas like the kitchen and living room. All residents of the house are in recovery, and there is a set of rules that must be followed in order for you to continue living there.
The rules vary from one place to the next. Some are highly restrictive, and require you to attend therapy and/or Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings. There may be curfews and limitations on who can visit you and when. Other houses allow more freedom: you can host guests as long as no one brings alcohol or drugs; you can come and go as you please and even go away for weekends; there are fewer rules about AA meetings and therapy sessions.
It is common for people fresh out of rehab to go to the highly restrictive sober living homes first, and then move to less restrictive houses as their recovery progresses.
Getting Started On the Path to Recovery
If you or a loved one are struggling with alcohol addiction, help is available for you. At Thousand Islands Rehab Centre, we offer medical detox facilities as well as comprehensive inpatient addiction treatment that is customized to your unique needs. Alcohol addiction is difficult to overcome, but with the right treatment program and our compassionate approach, a new life can be yours. Call us today for more information.