What Is Rehab Like for Alcoholics?

Rehab is a series of services, therapies, and other resources that’s designed to help people overcome addiction. Also known as addiction treatment, these programs can occur in-house on closed campuses, or they can be outpatient and largely self-managed. If you suffer from alcohol use disorder, you’ll have the best chance at achieving sobriety and maintaining it when you choose a treatment option that’s in line with your circumstances, your addiction history, and your needs. Most programs last just one to three months. However, for those who require it, there are also inpatient rehab programs that span six to nine months or even longer. According to research, long-term, inpatient programs have the highest rates of success.

Notwithstanding this fact, many recovering alcoholics also do well with other treatment types. No matter which option you choose, it’s important to know what to expect. The first step in rehab is always detox. With alcoholism, this is best done with medical support. Alcohol addiction or alcohol dependency can cause highly uncomfortable and incredibly dangerous withdrawal symptoms after just several hours of abstinence. If these symptoms aren’t properly managed early-on, they can eventually lead to delirium tremens, or an altered state of brain functioning that results in hallucinations, seizures, and other extreme signs of physiological distress. With medically assisted treatment (MAT), early withdrawal symptoms can be alleviated, and delirium tremens can often be prevented outright. With MAT, detoxing is safer and significantly more comfortable.

It is often much shorter as well. Once the body has purged itself of alcohol and all residual toxins, and is capable of maintaining a balance state of functioning on its own, patients can be begin addressing the psychological causes and effects of alcohol addiction, and learning how to live their lives in balanced, healthy, and ultimately sustainable ways.

Counseling in Rehab Helps People Learn About the Causes of Addiction

After the physical effects of detox have abated, recovering alcoholics will face PAWS or the post-acute withdrawal symptoms of detoxing. Rather than affecting physiological factors such as heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature, PAWS impacts how people feel. During this phase of recovery, continued medical support helps minimize, mitigate, or even prevent PAWS-related problems such as:

  • Mood swings
  • Intense feelings of restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

Working with counselors is also helpful to this end. Given that many people start drinking with the intention of altering their moods and perceptions, addiction counselors attempt to identify the negative emotions or overwhelming life problems that patients may have been trying to avoid. These can include past or current traumas, unprocessed grief, or overwhelming feelings of shame or guilt. Identifying and working through these underlying factors promotes emotional healing and sets the stage for ongoing success in recovery. Whether attending rehab in an inpatient or outpatient environment, counseling is typically provided in both a private, one-on-one setting, and in a group setting. Private therapy is a time where clients can learn more about themselves, deeply explore their feelings, and begin taking a proactive part in their own recoveries. Conversely, group therapy is a time for sharing, improving individual communication skills, and even learning how to set personal boundaries among other things.

Addiction Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders

Many people begin drinking as a way to relieve the discomfort of underlying mental health disorders. For instance, if you have post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic anxiety, schizophrenia, chronic depression, or bipolar disorder that has yet to be diagnosed, drinking could be a way for you to feel normal. In order to ensure that your recovery remains on track, rehab professionals will establish an appropriate plan for safely and successfully managing any underlying mental health issues. This plan can include medication, or it can involve long-term use of talk therapy, nutritional support, and various stress management techniques among other things. How co-occurring disorders or comorbidities are treated will depend upon the nature of the underlying issue, the type of rehab program you’re attending, your personal belief system, and many other factors.

Workshops and Therapies for Stress Management

One of the most important parts of addiction treatment is learning how to confront temptations, stress, and triggers in real-world settings without relapsing. Many people think that once they’ve successfully detoxed, they’ll be forever free of their addictions. In reality, however, addiction is a disease and many addiction professionals hold that it cannot be cured. Instead, it is a manageable issue that requires diligent use of stress management strategies, and efforts to avoid toxic and potentially harmful environments, circumstances, and people. As such, rehab frequently includes workshops on stress-reducing breathing techniques, yoga, meditation, and other practices for remaining calm, balanced, and in-control. Rehab programs additionally offer skill-building resources and life-planning sessions to help patients establish sustainable, comfortable lives that are less prone to overwhelming and unnecessary stress. If you’re ready to get started on the path to wellness and want to find the right alcohol rehab program for you, we can help. Get in touch with us today by calling 954-523-1167.