Often, people wait to treat a drinking problem. But, early intervention can lead to higher chances of success. So, when should you seek help for an alcohol issue? Here, we review symptoms of alcohol problems and outline the characteristics of quality treatment. Then, we invite your questions or comments about how to choose the best alcohol rehab at the end.
When is it time for treatment?
Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) is a condition characterized by harm when drinking. There are some indications that confirm a drinking problem. Here are some:
- Drinking causes you family concerns or problems at work or school.
- Even though drinking causes you anxiety, depression or other health problem, you continue drinking.
- You continue to drink in spite of negative consequences.
- You drink more than and longer than you planned.
- You drink more than one (1) drink daily for women or two (2) drinks daily for men.
- You experience a strong need to drink.
- You need to drink more to get the effect you want.
- You’ve put yourself in dangerous situations like driving, going in unsafe areas, having unsafe sex, after drinking.
- You’ve stop doing many things you loved or found interest in, just to fulfil your urge to drink.
- You’ve tried to stop drinking but you couldn’t.
If any of these descriptions match you…we suggest that you consider calling your doctor, see a psychologist, or call a rehab center. These medical professionals can make an objective assessment and provide you with feedback on what to do next.
Types of treatment for alcohol problems
Q: If you do have a problem with drinking, what next?
A: Usually, experts recommend a program of recovery which can include a combination of medications and psychotherapy.
Being diagnosed with problem drinking IS NOT the end of the world. In fact, it cam be the beginning of a very fruitful and productive new life. What are some of the more common types of treatment? And, what happens during alcohol rehab? Well, alcohol addiction is treated using:
Behavioral Treatments – These types of treatment aim to change drinking behavior through counseling. They are led by mental health professionals and can be held as individual therapy or in a group setting.
Medications – Four medications (Antabuse, Naltrexone, Campral, and Topamax) are currently approved in the United States to help people stop or reduce their drinking and prevent relapse. They are prescribed by a primary care physician or other health professional and may be used alone or in combination with counseling.
Mutual Support Groups – SMART Recovery, Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) and other peer support programs provide treatment for people who are willing to quit or cut back their drinking. They are mostly combined with treatment from health professionals, which will complement the overall rehab. It is hard to assess the effectiveness of this kind of therapy because of the anonymous nature these groups have.
How to choose the best alcohol rehab
So, given the main forms of treatment where does rehab fit into the picture? Basically, rehab offers you structure, guidance, and discipline when quitting drinking. Because of the varieties of treatment settings, you should inform yourself about the program you enter as much as you can. Knowing someone who has already been through rehab, for example, can give you better insight because of the first-hand experience. Or, schedule a phone call or face-to-face meeting to have your questions answered.
The main decision you’ll need to make is whether you need inpatient, residential treatment OR NOT. If you need a change of environment, can no longer take care of yourself, or have too much temptation at home…consider inpatient alcohol rehab. Otherwise, outpatient programs have been shown to be just as effective (at a fraction of the cost) and require less time, allowing you to continue work and home responsibilities while getting help.
When deciding for a rehab program here are some of the main considerations. Ask yourself and the program:
- What are the treatment options provided by the rehab center?
- What types of methods do they use in the programs?
- Are evidence-based treatments like psychotherapy or behavioral treatments present?
- Does the rehab endorse the use of medications?
- Is treatment adjusted to your individual needs?
- What does the alcohol rehab center expect of you?
- Is the rehab center accredited through the state department of health?
- Are they measuring the success of the program and how?
- Is there an aftercare program?
- What happens in case of relapse? How they address it if occurs?
The information will help you decide if the treatment covers your needs best and compare the options that are available for you. It is important for you to find the necessary trust, respect, and feeling of being understood.
Advice for friends and family members
Caring for a person who has problems with alcohol can be very stressful. It is important that as you try to help him or her, you find a way to take care of yourself as well. It may help to seek support from other members of the family or friends. If you are developing your own symptoms of depression or anxiety, it is better to consult with a family therapist. Remember that the person you care about is ultimately responsible for managing his or her illness.
However, your support is really important in overcoming alcohol problems in the family. Changing deep habits is hard, takes time, and requires repeated efforts. We usually experience failures along the way, learn from them, and then keep going.
Alcohol use disorders are no different. Try to be patient with the one you love. Overcoming addiction is not an easy or quick process. Pay attention to your loved one when he or she is doing better or simply making an effort. Too often we are so angry or discouraged that we take it for granted when things are going better. A word of appreciation or acknowledgement of a success can go a long way.
Question about choosing alcohol rehab
Still have a question about finding the best alcohol rehab program for you or a loved one? We invite you to share your thoughts and questions in the comments section below. We try to reply to all legitimate inquiries with a personal and prompt response and would love to hear from you.