Do alcohol rehab centers work?

Yes, alcohol rehab works. The success of an alcohol rehab center depends partly on the facility itself, but mostly on the individual. More on what to expect and how alcohol rehab works here.

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Yes, alcohol rehab centers can help you get sober.

In fact, alcohol rehab centers are one effective option for people seeking treatment for alcoholism. But do alcohol rehab centers really work? Are they worth your time and money? Read on to discover what these centers do and how effective they are. Then, we invite your questions or comments at the end.

Are alcohol rehab centers successful?

The ultimate goal of alcohol rehab centers is to help individuals stop drinking and return to society productive and more focused. And, yes, alcohol rehab centers are generally successful helping people stop drinking. However, the success of a particular alcohol rehab center depends partly on the facility itself, but mostly on the individual.

Even in the most successful alcohol rehab centers, there’s a good chance that individual addiction treatment may not be successful if an alcoholic isn’t ready to change. Alcoholics who approach alcohol rehab centers with an open mind and a willingness to make changes in their lives are much more likely to be successful in doing so. And while substance disorders can be treated most cost-effectively in outpatient settings, inpatient rehabs can help alcoholics focus on recovery when the home environment is not supportive.

Alcohol rehab centers: Process and procedures

An alcohol rehab center is a facility that is dedicated to treating individuals suffering from alcohol addictions. But how does someone typically get better? And what kinds of therapies are offered?

Legitimate rehabs will use evidence-based practice, which means that their methods are based in science. Good alcohol rehab centers should also customize treatment and services to individual client needs.  Different centers use different methods, the basics of which include:

  • Behavioral therapy
  • Educational sessions
  • Group settings
  • Medication assisted treatment
  • Psychological treatment
  • Support group attendance

Further, most rehabs follow the same timeline of recovery. In order to treat alcoholism, rehab centers will usually break down a person’s recovery into six main stages based on the Developmental Model of alcoholism recovery. These stages will be tracked throughout treatment, with regular assessments forming the foundation of a person’s treatment plan.

STAGE 1. Transition

The transition stage of recovery is the stage in which an alcoholic begins to realize that s/he is addicted to and has a problem with alcohol. Relationship problems, legal troubles, or employment issues may be the push that some alcoholics need to reach this stage. It is during this stage that many loved ones or alcoholics themselves reach out to alcohol rehab centers.

STAGE 2. Stabilization

The second stage of alcoholism recovery, stabilization, is the stage in which an alcoholic will need to adjust to life without alcohol. This usually involves detoxing from alcohol and going through withdrawal. This stage may begin just before or just after a person enters an alcohol rehab center. It is during this stage of recovery that an alcoholic will begin to understand just what a detrimental effect that alcohol had on his life and realize that he needs to change.

STAGE 3. Early recovery from alcoholism

During early recovery, an alcoholic will come to terms with the fact that s/he has been diagnosed with the disease of alcoholism. This usually occurs while in an alcohol rehab center when a person begins to identify the root causes of drinking. Once the process begins, recovering alcoholics are better equipped to start making the changes necessary for a successful recovery. In rehab, alcoholics in this stage of recovery will usually participate in several group and individual therapy sessions in an effort to change the way they think and act when it comes to alcohol.

STAGE 4. Mid-term recovery from alcoholism

The middle recovery stage is all about change. During this stage, recovering alcoholics work hard to change their lifestyles and learn how to cope with the temptation of alcohol. Family therapy is often helpful during this stage to start repairing relationships that an alcoholic has damaged by his drinking.

STAGE 5. Late stage recovery from alcoholism

Mental or emotional disorders will often contribute to an alcoholic’s addiction. This can include childhood trauma, depression, anxiety, and self-esteem issues. Treatment for these disorders is often the focus of the late recovery stage in alcoholism treatment. This stage of treatment may be administered in a rehab setting or after medical discharge. By undergoing therapy and other treatment methods for these underlying problems, an alcoholic is much more likely to be successful in his recovery.

STAGE 6. Maintenance of sobriety

Effective addiction treatment does not end when recovering alcoholics leave rehab. It’s a long journey, and the maintenance stage of recovery can last for several months or years after leaving a facility. In fact, many recovering alcoholics will find that they need individual and group therapy sessions periodically for the rest of their lives if they want to abstain from alcohol indefinitely.

Are alcohol rehab centers effective?

Although it may seem like an uphill battle at times, alcohol rehab centers are generally very effective when you look at the big picture. According to one study, addictions cost the United States and its citizens billions of dollars in health problems, incarcerations, lost wages, ad lost productivity. On the flip side of the coin, alcohol rehab centers and other addiction treatment centers only cost a fraction of that. By reducing the number of alcoholics, alcohol rehab centers are helping to improve the economics and general functioning of our society.

Although abstinence is usually the most common solution taught in alcohol rehab centers, harm reduction strategies can also help. Harm reduction strategies can help substantially reduce the number of alcohol related problems, such as drunk driving and domestic disputes.

While alcohol addiction treatment is not always 100% effective, there are a few ways to help make alcohol rehab centers more effective on a personal level. Personal motivation, willingness to change, and openness for learning are crucial. Trusting the process will help a lot. For instance, a person can opt to participate in intense inpatient alcohol rehab at first and later segue into an outpatient setting. Also, when heading into an alcohol rehab center, do so with an open mind, and be ready to take a good hard look at yourself. Only then can you see the truth and make the changes necessary for an alcohol-free life.

Questions about alcohol rehab center

Do you still have questions about what alcohol rehab looks like?  Please ask you questions here.  We’ll do our best to respond to you personally and promptly.

Reference Sources: NCBI: Effectiveness and Cost-effectiveness of Four Treatment Modalities for Substance Disorders: A Propensity Score Analysis
NIDA: Is drug addiction treatment worth its cost?
NIDA: How effective is drug addiction treatment?
State of New York Department of Health: What is Addiction Treatment?
A Report to Congress on Substance Abuse and Child Protection
NIAAA: Economic Costs of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Estimated at $246 Billion in the United States
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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