Who needs alcohol rehab?

Alcohol rehab may not be necessary for a full recovery from a drinking problem. But, how do you know if you need alcohol rehab, or not? We review here.

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Do I need alcohol rehab?

If you think you may need alcohol rehab, there’s a good chance that you do. However, there is a process you must go through first before you can get rehab. For instance, you must first be assessed and diagnosed with an alcohol abuse problem or alcohol addiction before seeking help from an alcohol rehab center.  How do you get started?

How to identify addiction to alcohol? You will first need to meet with an addiction specialist, who will assess you for alcohol dependency. You can typically get screened for alcohol problems from a family doctor, licensed psychologist, or psychiatrist. To diagnose an alcohol problem, an addiction specialist will usually perform a physical examination and ask you several questions about your drinking habits. From there, the two of you can decide what the best course of treatment will be together.

When do you need alcohol rehab?

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is a manual that is used by mental health professionals to diagnose a range of mental health disorders, including alcohol addiction. This manual lists several criteria needed in order to recognize and diagnose alcohol abuse and dependence.

Criteria for alcohol abuse are listed below, and if you recognize one or more of these criteria within a one year period, you may need alcohol rehab.

  • Drinking interferes with important responsibilities, such as work or school
  • Continuing to drink, despite recurring problems that it causes, including family or relationship issues
  • Alcohol use that has resulted in legal problems on more than one occasion
  • Drinking alcohol before or during potentially risky activities, such as driving

Alcohol dependence occurs when a person’s body becomes physically dependent on alcohol to function. Anyone diagnosed with an alcohol dependence will also usually need alcohol detox. According to the DSM, a person is diagnosed as alcohol dependent if they display at least three of the following criteria within a year.

  • Tolerance to alcohol, meaning that a person needs more and more alcohol over time to feel the same buzz
  • Withdrawal symptoms that can be relieved by drinking alcohol
  • A great deal of time spent on drinking alcohol or recovering from alcohol use
  • Drinking more or spending more time drinking than one originally intended to
  • Unsuccessful attempts to quit drinking or control alcohol consumption
  • Activities that do not involve drinking alcohol are passed up in favor of those that involve alcohol
  • Continued alcohol consumption, despite the realization of problems caused by alcohol

Need for alcohol rehab

If you or a loved one is suffering from alcoholism and needs alcohol treatment, there are two main types of alcohol rehab programs that you can choose from.

1.  Inpatient alcohol rehab programs are intense treatment programs that require you to reside in the rehab facilities. These types of rehab programs are best for individuals that have severe alcohol dependencies and are able to spend time away from home or work to focus on treatment. During inpatient alcohol rehab, you will usually spend most of your days attending individual and group therapy sessions. You will also be required to live, eat, and sleep with other recovering alcoholics. Inpatient alcohol rehab programs can last anywhere from a month to a year.

2. Outpatient alcohol rehab programs are generally a little more flexible and affordable than inpatient programs, since they do not require you to reside in the treatment facility. Instead, you will travel to a treatment facility for weekly therapy and counseling sessions.

Alcohol rehab questions

Are you still wondering about the need for rehab? Please leave us your questions below.  We’ll do your best to respond to you personally and promptly.

Reference Sources: NIH: DrugFacts: Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction
HealthyPeople.gov: Substance Abuse
NCBI: Appendix B: DSM-IV-TR Diagnostic Criteria for Alcohol Abuse and Dependence
Alcohol Cost Calculator: About DSM-IV
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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