Does alcohol rehab work?

One of the biggest myths about alcohol rehab is that it doesn’t work, and it’s a waste of time and money. The truth is, however, that alcohol rehab is typically very effective, especially when it’s approached with an open mind and willingness to change. More here on how and what to expect from alcohol rehab.

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Alcohol rehab process and procedures

Overcoming an alcohol problem is not a simple process. Qutting drinking fod good requires a great deal of work and dedication from both the recovering alcoholic and the rehab specialists.

In order to better understand the alcohol rehab process and procedures, you should realize that it is usually broken down into several different stages. The four major stages of alcohol rehab include:

1. Assessment of the problem

Before anyone can be treated for an alcohol addiction, they must first be assessed by qualified professionals. During this assessment, a recovering alcoholic will undergo a complete mental health exam. This will help addiction specialists determine the severity of the addiction as well as identify and diagnose any underlying mental health problems. Additionally, assessment can include a drug test to evaluate whether or not detox will be necessary.  The initial assessment is also used to determine the best course of treatment during alcohol rehab.

2. Alcohol detox (if necessary)

When you enter an alcohol rehab center, you may be admitted into a detox clinic within the facility.  Medical detox is recommended for heavy to seriously addicted alcoholics.  Alcohol withdrawal can very uncomfortable, with symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, tremors, insomnia, anxiety, and depression. Seizures, hallucinations and delerium can also occur during alcohol detox.  Some alcohol rehab facilities offer medical detox services, which can be used to help treat symptoms with medications and prevent early relapse. Other alcohol rehab facilities, on the other hand, may require that you seek detox in a separate clinic before entry.

3. Alcoholism psychological and pharmaceutical treatments  

Counseling and behavior therapy are some of the most common methods used to treat alcoholism. While attending the several therapy and counseling sessions in alcohol rehab, recovering alcoholics will learn a number of different methods to cope with and overcome addiction to alcohol. Various medications can also be used to help treat alcohol addictions. Some of these medications make people ill when they drink and others reduce the pleasure that an alcoholic feels when drinking.

4. Aftercare

Alcohol rehab often lasts for several months or years, even after completing a month long inpatient rehab program. Regular therapy and counseling sessions can help recovering alcoholics maintain their abstinence and cope with everyday problems.  A good alcohol rehab will help coordinate aftercare treatments for you, which can include living in a halfway house, alcoholism counseling, attendance in support groups, and/or outpatient alcohol rehab.  Continued care is very important to maintaining sobriety. After care programs aim to prevent relapse by connecting you with local resources and give you the best chances for an alcohol free life.

Is alcohol rehab successful?

The main goal of alcohol rehab programs is to treat an alcoholic and help him or her become productive and self-sufficient without the use of alcohol. Overall, alcohol treatment is usually successful. However, its success depends on a couple of very important factors.

First, a person must be willing to dedicate himself to staying in recovery. This is usually not a problem if a person is motivated and willing to make a change. Support from loved ones is also a very important factor when it comes to whether or not a recovering alcoholic will stay in treatment.

Alcohol rehab professionals also play a small part in the success of the treatment. They must be able to develop a treatment plan based on each individual person’s wants and needs, for instance. They should also be ready to evaluate a recovering alcoholic’s progress and make any necessary changes to the treatment plan.

Is alcohol rehab effective?

In the long run, alcohol rehab is very effective compared to the alternative. Let’s take a look at the economic aspects of it.

According to a study released by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), alcoholism in the United States cost the United States and its citizens roughly $148 billion dollars in 1992. These costs included lost wages, loss of productivity, health problems, legal matters, family problems, and civil matters. The monetary value of treatment in the same year, on the other hand, was equal to just a small percentage of this.

The overall effectiveness of individual alcohol rehab, however, mostly comes down to the person going through it. basically, you get back what you put into it. There are a few things that can be done to make treatment more effective, such as staying away from places and people that may trigger you to drink. A recovering alcoholic will also benefit from a strong support system of understanding friends and family members. Some recovering alcoholics may even find it helpful to post a list of the reasons they quit drinking where they can see it every day. Finally, treatment for recovering alcoholics that participate in follow-up treatment is generally more effective.

Reference Sources: NIH: Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: What helps people stay in treatment?
NIH: Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: Is drug addiction treatment worth its cost?
NIH: Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: How effective is drug addiction treatment?
NY State: Department of Health: What is Addiction Treatment?
HHS: Understanding Addiction, Substance Abuse Treatment, and Recovery
NIAA: 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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