Rehab facilities for alcoholism: 5 MUST HAVES

Do you or your loved one have a problem with alcoholism? Proper treatment of addiction can help. More on how and where to find help for alcohol rehab here.

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Do you or your loved one have a problem with drinking? Taking the first steps in getting help can be scary (and humbling). But take heart that proper treatment for any problem related to addiction can and does help.

So, when you’re starting to look into alcohol rehab…what should you look for? More on how and where to find help for alcohol rehab here. Then, we invite your questions or comments at the end (and we try to answer you personally).

What does a “quality” rehab facility look like?

Before determining the quality of a rehab, you must take into consideration a person’s individual needs for treatment, because each of us is different. So, the first step in seeking help for an alcohol problem is assessment. A medical assessment will document a person’s:

  • age, gender, and health needs
  • family history issues
  • severity of alcohol dependence
  • underlying co-occuring disorders

Combined, these factors will help lead to a treatment plan and will result in recommendations for the most appropriate treatment options.

The effectiveness of a specific treatment modality will be influenced by the competence, quality, and continuity of treatment provided. These are critical elements in explaining the differential effectiveness of the rehab facilities for alcoholism.

The main ways rehabs treat alcoholism

There are three main ways that alcoholism is treated in any facilities.

TREATMENT 1: Behavioral therapy and psychotherapy

Behavioral and psychological treatments form the basis of any rehab experience. These modalities help patients engage in the treatment process, modify their attitudes and behaviors related to drug abuse, and increase healthy life skills. Treatment for drug abuse and addiction can be delivered in many different settings using a variety of behavioral approaches.

TREATMENT 2: Pharmacological interventions

Medications can be used to help reestablish normal brain function and to prevent relapse and diminish cravings. Currently, there are medications for alcohol addiction such as naltrexone, acamprosate, and disulfiram. Most people with severe addiction problems, however, are polydrug users (users of more than one drug) and will require treatment for all of the substances that they abuse.

TREATMENT 3: A combination of both

Combining medications with mental health interventions can also enhance the effectiveness of both and help people stay in treatment longer.

How you can generally tell a good alcoholism rehab center from the bad?

Instead of looking to well-presented advertisements, you should look for reports based on personal experience and follow medical references, to have better insight about the treatment you want to enter. Additionally, there are some things that will assure you of better treatment and you should take them into consideration.

5 MUST HAVES for any alcohol rehab include:

1. Program licensing – It is really important for you to get into certified addiction treatment program. Check if the treatment program is accredited by the state it’s in. Ideally, the facility will also be certified by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO).

Q: What is JCAHO accreditation?

A: JCAHO accreditation means that the facility has been examined and approved by an established and trustworthy body, and that the organization has satisfied established performance objectives in order to be certified. The standards cover a broad range of care areas, from quality of treatment and emergency management to infection control and patient safety to human resources management.

2. Customized programs – The circumstances that lead to addiction are as diverse as the patients themselves. A one-size-fits-all approach to treatment will not translate to success for the patient. Instead, it’s helpful to consider rehab programs with a diversity of treatment therapies and life skills resources that allow you or your loved one to learn to regain independence while in treatment.

Further, a quality facility will have the resources and personnel at their disposal to tailor their treatment approach to each individual, starting with a thorough evaluation and patient history. The facility will then design a care program consisting of evidence-based therapies from which they feel the patient will most benefit.

3. Involving family in the treatment process – Transitioning back into the family dynamic can be a jarring and difficult experience for people after rehab. Many patients directly attribute relapse to their inability to reconnect with their family after they return from their residential program.

For this reason, it’s important to choose a facility that offers the patient a chance to reconnect with their family while in treatment. This helps to lay the foundation for a healthy family dynamic in which expectations are established and boundaries are respected. Patients should  develop a plan for recovery while in treatment so that they can more easily rejoin their households and successfully maintain their recovery.

4. Aftercare treatment plans – The rehab facility you choose for yourself or your loved one should offer a clearly defined plan of action for patients to follow upon their discharge. It’s best to choose a facility that offers regular patient follow-up by doctors to verify patients’ post-treatment progress.

An aftercare treatment plan should include everything from ways to manage recovery-related stress to tips on how to avoid potentially toxic situations and interactions, referral to support groups and relapse prevention. It’s also important that patients have a connection to their therapists during their more vulnerable periods.

5. Precise medical record keeping – Medical records serve many purposes. First and foremost, they document the history of examination, diagnosis and treatment of a patient. This information is vital for all providers involved in a person’s care and for any subsequent new provider who assumes responsibility for that person. In disciplinary or peer review matters, medical records can justify (or refute) the need for a particular treatment.

What kind of rehab facility for alcoholism are available?

Alcoholism treatment programs are classified into several types of modalities which are offered by different types of facilities. Most of them start the process of treatment with detoxification where the body is cleansed of alcohol. But detoxification itself is not enough to address all the problems that occur when having alcohol addiction. Here are some of the common kinds of facilities used when addressing drinking problems:

1. Inpatient facilities – People receiving inpatient treatment care are admitted to a hospital or other facility, where they reside for the duration of treatment, which may range from 5 to 28-30 days.

2. Outpatient facilities – People receiving outpatient alcohol treatment usually are expected to travel to a hospital or other treatment facility daily (excluding weekends) for treatment sessions. Outpatient rehab can last for an average of 10 weeks, but may be extended for 6  to 12 months after initiation.

3. Long term facilities – In long-term residential treatment you will receive care 24 hours a day, generally in non-hospital settings. The best-known residential treatment model is the therapeutic community (TC), with planned lengths of stay of between 6 and 12 months. TCs focus on the “resocialization” of the individual and use the program’s entire community, including other residents, staff, and the social context, as active components of treatment.

4. Short term facilities – Short-term residential programs provide intensive but relatively brief treatment based on a modified 12-step approach. These programs help to reduce the risk of relapse once a patient leaves the residential setting. Short term treatment lasts from 1-3 months.

5. Community model or halfway houses – The community model is an intensive and comprehensive treatment model developed for use with adults that has been modified successfully to treat adolescents with substance use disorders. Destructive living environments can make recovery difficult for even highly motivated individuals. Sober living houses are alcohol and drug free living environments for individuals attempting to abstain from alcohol and drugs.

Rehab facility for alcoholism options and questions

If you still have questions about alcoholism rehab or about coping with addiction, please write to us in the comments section below. If you’re ready to address the symptoms of addiction, we will do our best to answer you personally and promptly.

Reference Sources: NIH: Assessing Treatment and Treatment Processes
NIH: An Overview of Outpatient and Inpatient Detoxification
NIH: Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment
NIH: Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction
NCBI: Therapeutic Communities
NCBI: What Did We Learn from Our Study on Sober Living Houses and Where Do We Go from Here?


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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