Alcohol Addiction Treatment
Alcohol addiction doesn’t go away on its own. It only gets worse. Alcohol is one of the most commonly abused substances and has life-destroying consequences. From legal and employment trouble to health and relationship problems – alcohol abuse ruins lives. Every year, alcohol kills over 95,150 Americans. That statistic doesn’t even account for the long-term health consequences alcohol abusers are diagnosed with each year. If you or a loved one is struggling, please reach out for help. Our Alcohol Addiction Treatment program is your first step to a better life.
What To Expect At Our Alcohol Addiction Treatment Center
Signs you may need Alcohol Addiction TreatmentYou may be wondering if you’re just a heavy drinker or have a real addiction to alcohol? There is a definite distinction between alcohol dependence and non-dependent drinkers. However, it’s not uncommon for social drinking to progress into alcohol addiction, especially if you have risk factors like a family history of alcoholism or co-occurring mental health disorders. The standard clinical manual for diagnosing behavioral health disorders is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). The DSM doesn’t have a classification for alcoholism, but rather refers to excessive dependent drinking as an alcohol use disorder (AUD). There are three distinct levels of severities: mild, moderate, and severe. A clinical diagnosis of an AUD must meet certain criteria observed by a behavioral health or medical professional. The current version of the DSM (DSM-5) states that meeting two of the following 11 criteria during a 12-month period likely indicated an alcohol use disorder:
- Occasionally or frequently drank more or for longer than you intended.
- Tried to cut back on alcohol or quit without success more than once.
- Spent a lot of time drinking or experiencing aftereffects of drinking like being hungover and sick.
- Were so preoccupied with drinking that you couldn’t think of much else.
- Drinking or aftereffects of drinking caused problems or absences at school or work or interfered with caring for your family or home.
- Continued to drink despite it causing negative consequences with your friends or family.
- Cut back or gave up on hobbies or activities that you once enjoyed because of drinking.
- Got into dangerous situations like using machinery, driving, swimming, or having unprotected sex because of drinking (more than once).
- Drinking even though it caused negative consequences to your mental or physical health or memory blackouts.
- Developed an alcohol tolerance, which means you needed more alcohol to get the same effect.
- Experienced alcohol withdrawal symptoms when the effects of alcohol wore off.
Do I Need Alcohol Rehab?
- Not being able to reduce alcohol intake or stop drinking for a significant period of time.
- Having cravings for alcohol when you’re not drinking.
- Needing a little “hair of the dog” the day after drinking to help with a hangover or alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
- Increasing the amount you drink because you can no longer get the desired effects with your normal amount of alcohol.
- Ruminating about where, when, and how you’re going to drink again.
- Having a difficult time imagining life without alcohol.
- Using alcohol to cope with stress and other challenges.
- Needing alcohol to unwind or feel normal.
- Avoiding activities or events where alcohol will not be served or bringing your own alcohol.
- Decreased performance or missing work or school because of alcohol abuse (whether you’re drunk or you’re sick from the effects of alcohol).
- Continuing to drink despite negative effects on your relationships, finances, or health.
- 4 or more drinks a day or more than 14 drinks a week (men)
- More than 3 drinks a day or over 7 drinks a week (women)
- Binge drinking on 5 or more days in the past month. Binge drinking is defined as 5 or more drinks for men and 4 or more drinks for women on the same day over a short amount of time.
What Is Alcohol Detox Like?
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms are some of the most dangerous of all addictive substances. If you stop drinking alcohol cold turkey and try to detox on your own, you’re at risk for painful withdrawal symptoms and death in rare cases. It’s imperative to go through a medical detox program when you begin alcohol addiction treatment.
At a detox center, medical professionals keep you safe and as comfortable as possible while your body eliminates alcohol toxins. They can prescribe alcohol treatment medications that ease withdrawal symptoms and reduce alcohol cravings like naltrexone and acamprosate. A 24/7 staff of health care professionals will monitor your vital signs and comfort level and attend to any medical emergencies.
How Do You Treat Alcohol Addiction?
After detoxing from alcohol, a formal alcohol addiction treatment program is necessary to stay sober. You must address the reasons behind alcohol addiction. Abusing alcohol is just a symptom of a larger problem. Many people abuse drugs and alcohol to numb emotional pain. Common underlying issues of an alcohol use disorder include:
- Past trauma like emotional or physical abuse, unhealthy attachment styles with caregivers, or PTSD from military combat or other traumatic events
- Untreated co-occurring disorders like anxiety, depression, or bipolar disorder
- Poor self-worth or sense of self
- Significant stress
- Relationship problems
Most people with alcohol addictions require dual diagnosis treatment. This is an approach that addresses both the addiction and co-occurring conditions like mental illness and trauma simultaneously. For example, while attending treatment for alcohol abuse, you’d also receive depression treatment or anxiety treatment. This usually involves behavioral therapies as well as medications that help manage mental health disorders.
While you’re working with behavioral health specialists to identify and heal from emotional pain that triggers drinking, you’ll also learn healthy coping skills. Because drug and alcohol abuse are typically ways to cope with life’s challenges, you need alternatives to use in place of substances when you face difficulties. Some alcohol addiction treatment centers use a blend of individual therapy, group therapy, and holistic therapy programs so you learn a variety of ways to cope with real-word triggers.
Treatment for alcoholism sometimes involves several levels of care. As you gain a stronger footing in sobriety, you gradually progress from a higher level of care through treatment that’s less hours a week. Types of treatment for alcohol abuse include:
You live at an inpatient rehab center in residences with other clients in treatment. During the day you attend inpatient treatment programming and in the evenings, you engage in support groups and recovery activities.
Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)
After inpatient alcohol treatment you may move into a PHP. In this type of treatment, you attend addiction treatment during the day and spend your evenings at home or in a sober living residence.
Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)
An IOP is a type of outpatient rehab program that usually meets 3 to 5 days a week with a total of 9 or 10 hours a week. You live at home or a sober living residence and may start easing back into work or school at this point.
The final level of care in outpatient alcohol treatment meets for just one or three hours each week. This allows you to return to work, school, or other obligations while coming to a treatment facility each week to strengthen relapse-prevention skills.
The best treatment option for you depends on factors like:
- The severity of your alcohol misuse
- How long you’ve been abusing alcohol
- Co-occurring physical or mental conditions
- Your outside support system
What Happens After Alcohol Addiction Treatment?
Recovery is a lifelong pursuit that you must continue to work on. Time in an alcohol addiction treatment center is the beginning of your recovery where you gain the skills to maintain sobriety. To support recovery after treatment, many people participate in:
- Individual therapy
- 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or 12-step alternatives like SMART Recovery
- Medication and medical management appointments for co-occurring disorders
- Alumni programs at their treatment center
- Regular, fun sober activities and hobbies
- Spirituality practices
You may also choose to live in a sober living residence in early recovery. It’s important to live in an environment that supports sobriety and minimizes triggers. Sometimes home doesn’t do this.