Most people struggling to control their use of alcohol will want to know what is alcohol treatment like before even admitting to their loved ones that they have a problem. The very idea of detox and rehab can be enough to prevent them from admitting they have an addiction at all. Below we will go through the process of recovering from alcohol addiction by explaining the various options and what to expect from each.
Starting with Detox
If you are physically addicted to alcohol, you will need a programme of detox to separate yourself from the substance. This is an important part of the recovery process and one that must take place before rehab can begin.
The aim of detox is to tackle the physical addiction. It begins when you stop drinking and your body ‘realises’ that the usual dose of alcohol is not forthcoming. After years of alcohol abuse, your body and mind will undoubtedly have been negatively affected by the chemicals it contains. A build-up of these chemicals in your system is likely and so your body will work hard to get rid of them. As it does, you can expect to experience a number of withdrawal symptoms.
What is Alcohol Detox Like?
When contemplating the question of what is alcohol treatment like, most people worry about how they are going to cope with the alcohol detox. They may have heard horror stories about others who have had an excruciating experience while trying to withdraw from alcohol and they are therefore reluctant to put themselves through the same thing.
It is important to be aware that an alcohol detox may be unpleasant, but most people who have gone through it say it is akin to having the flu. You are going to feel unwell in the early days and you are likely to experience various withdrawal symptoms.
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms tend to be mild, moderate, or severe in intensity, with most people only suffering with mild to moderate symptoms. There are some individuals though who will suffer with severe withdrawals, but it is impossible to predict before the detox begins who will actually have the worst of the withdrawals.
As such, we recommend that everyone detoxing from alcohol do so in a dedicated detox facility where trained and experienced staff can attend to any issues with withdrawal. With appropriate medication and the use of nutritional supplements, staff are often able to prevent the worst of the alcohol withdrawals. They can also ease any pain caused by other symptoms, making the detox safer and much more comfortable.
Options for Treatment
If you are wondering what is alcohol treatment like, you should know that this treatment depends on the type of programme chosen. While a detox is the first step in the process for most, there are a few different options for treatment once this is complete. These include:
- inpatient treatment programmes
- outpatient treatment programmes
- fellowship support groups.
Inpatient treatment programmes tend to be provided by private clinics for the most part here in the UK. If you want to overcome your addiction in the quickest possible period and if you are keen to get started right away, it is likely that you will require an inpatient programme.
With this type of care, you will leave home and move to a facility at which you will live with other recovering addicts for a period of up to twelve weeks. For most people, inpatient programmes last between six and eight weeks, but if you have more complex needs (such as having an addiction to more than one substance or having an addiction coupled with mental health issues), your stay may continue for up to twelve weeks.
Inpatient programmes are concentrated and intensive and you will be immersed in a therapeutic and learning environment with the aim of helping you break free from your addiction once and for all.
Outpatient treatment may be provided by a private clinic, local counsellor, a charity organisation, or the NHS. For the most part, this type of treatment is ideally suited to those with less severe addictions. The reason for this is that with an outpatient programme, you will not be removed from your everyday life. It may be harder for those with severe addictions to stay clean with this type of treatment programme because they will still have access to the same triggers and temptations that caused the addiction in the first place.
Outpatient programmes range from several hours each week to several hours every day and as such, the length of these programmes vary greatly from one provider to another. While outpatient programmes are suited to those who have realised they are in trouble with alcohol quite early in their illness, they can be dangerous for those who have been drinking heavily for many years, unless these individuals have a very strong support network in place at home.
Dredging up old memories and buried feelings could leave you feeling emotional and see you dropping out of the programme or heading to your nearest bar on the way home from a counselling session.
Although outpatient programmes may not be suitable for everyone, some experts agree that learning to recover while also dealing with daily life is one of the biggest advantages of this type of treatment because it provides for a much more stable sober life.
Fellowship Support Groups
Fellowship support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous have been helping people to overcome their addictions to alcohol for decades. You can choose to get involved with AA without any additional treatment if you wish, but most people find that AA works best when used in conjunction with other treatment programmes.
What you will probably find though is that whatever type of treatment programme you choose, you will almost certainly be advised to include 12-step work and will be encouraged to join your local fellowship support group. Most experts agree that not including this type of programme in your recovery can increase your chances of a relapse at a later date.
Complete abstinence from alcohol is the foundation of AA and its 12-step principles. If you become a member, you will be advised to follow the 12-steps. With millions of people around the world having already benefitted from AA, you can rest assured that it does work.
By attending regular meetings, you can use the support and inspiration from other members to keep your own sobriety on track. Moreover, while you may reduce the number of meetings you attend as your sobriety gets stronger, you will always have a place to go to if you need someone to talk to. In fact, there are many recovering addicts that continue to attend AA meetings decades after getting sober because they know that it is these meetings that helps them to remember why they do not ever want to find themselves in the grip of alcoholism once more.
What Treatments Can You Expect in Rehab
During rehab for alcohol addiction, you will more than likely be given a programme of care that has been designed with your needs in mind. The idea behind this is that every person is different and, to that end, is affected differently by addiction. To help each person achieve long-term sobriety, it is important that a treatment plan can meet all their needs.
Rehab providers usually assess the requirements of each client to determine which type of treatments will work best. You may find that your own treatment plan consists of some of the following therapies.
Counselling is a form of talking therapy and takes place on a one-to-one basis between you and your counsellor or therapist. During counselling, you will work with the counsellor to get to the root cause of your illness. You will also discuss ways in which you can change any negative or maladaptive thoughts with positive alternatives.
Group therapy sessions are like fellowship support group meetings whereby the idea is that a group of recovering addicts will come together to share their stories and experiences. Peer group sessions encourage patients to learn from each other and to follow good examples.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Cognitive behavioural therapy, or CBT, is a form of talking therapy and behaviour modification that encourages patients to replace their destructive ways with positive behaviours. The aim of this treatment is to identify positive attitudes and behaviours and to then work on reinforcing them until they become natural.
The use of contingency management is popular when treating teenage addicts who often cannot see abstinence as a reward in and of itself. This type of treatment tends to be used within an inpatient setting and uses a system of rewards and consequences. Patients are given rewards for good behaviour but there will be consequences for negative behaviours.
Dialectic Behavioural Therapy
Dialectic behavioural therapy (DBT) is used to help patients learn how to control their feelings and emotions in response to certain life situations. The aim is to encourage the patient to make better choices and decisions and it is often used in conjunction with other therapies such as CBT or mindfulness.
Family therapy is used to help all members of the family overcome the illness. The fact that addiction is often referred to as a family illness, explains why such a treatment is an important part of most care plans. It is important that issues within the family unit are dealt with effectively before the patient returns home to everyday living. Sessions usually take place with the addict’s counsellor and the addict may or may not be present.
The above therapies are just a few examples of what might be included in a treatment plan for alcohol addiction. Depending on the provider, your plan may also have alternative therapies such as:
- art therapy
- music therapy
- sports and nutrition.
Combining alternative or holistic therapies with traditional treatments gives a more rounded approach to addiction recovery. With a plan of care that has been tailored to the needs of the patient, there is a greater chance of achieving long-term sobriety. This type of treatment plan will heal the person as a whole and not just the addiction, which is the best way to get sober and stay sober.
If you would like to know more about what alcohol treatment is like, please get in touch with us here at Oasis Bradford today. We provide excellent treatment programmes for those who want to overcome their addictions to alcohol or drugs.
With a team of dedicated professionals working hard to provide care and support, you can be sure of getting the most from your recovery. Our dedicated helpline can be accessed day and night; call us to speak to one of our friendly advisors who will answer any queries you may have or explain more about how you can overcome your addiction to alcohol once and for all.