Alcoholism Treatment Programs
Alcoholism is considered a physical and psychological disease and there are many factors that lead up to why a person begins to use alcohol. Depending upon the amount of alcohol consumed and the length of time one has been drinking determines the severity of the problem. Considering these factors should help in deciding what type of treatment the recovering alcoholic needs.
More severe cases, especially those where physical disease has already begun, will require more intensive medical treatments and psychological therapies. Treatments should not only address the physical issues of detoxification, withdrawal, disease and nutrition but also the psychological and emotional pain plus other life problems. Recovery is a long-term process and every preventive measure should be taken to avoid relapse.
Beginning the Process
Choosing the appropriate rehabilitation facility is the first step in recovery. There are standard facilities that offer basic housing needs at lower prices and there are up-scale residences with luxury amenities at a much higher cost.
Finding a place that is clean and offers the patient a peaceful and safe environment are important considerations. Other vital information to consider is whether the facility is accredited by the state in which it is located. You may also want to determine if the facility employs a staff of licensed and experienced mental health professionals and addiction specialists? What are the statistics on the facility’s success rates to show how effective their methods and treatments are? Does the facility offer any aftercare programs and if so, what type of methods do they employ to help the patient continue the healing process and prevent relapse? Do as much research as possible on each alcohol treatment center in order to find the ideal rehabilitation facility.
In addition to a wide variety of treatment centers available, there is also an assortment of treatment protocols that are utilized depending upon the specific needs of each patient. Some of these treatments include:
- Residential Treatment Programs– This is an in-house treatment program that usually lasts for approximately 30 to 90 days.
- Partial Hospital Treatments– This treatment protocol is used for patients with ongoing medical needs that must be monitored. These treatments are given at a hospital for three to five days per week and last anywhere from four to six hours per day.
- Intensive Outpatient Programs– This treatment is for outpatients that meet at least three days per week for approximately two to five hours per day. The patient must commit to attend the program which is designed and focused on preventing relapse. Program hours are usually flexible to work around job or school schedules.
- Psychological Counseling– This program is applied to individuals, groups and families and the type of therapies used should be determined by specific patient needs. Counseling is often partnered with other treatment and offers follow-up support for the patient. It also addresses behavior modification techniques to assist the patient in coping with stress, triggers and strong emotions. In addition, counseling helps to repair broken relationships and assists in building new, healthy ones.
Detox and Withdrawal
Upon entering an alcohol rehabilitation program, the physical needs of the alcoholic are treated immediately and are considered the first stage of recovery. Detoxification is a process in which the body flushes out toxins and alcohol. Withdrawal symptoms may include anxiety, depression, seizure, headaches, cravings, vomiting, diarrhea, hallucinations and shakiness.
Withdrawal from alcohol can be life-threatening and most often occurs in people who have been drinking heavily and continuously for months and/or years. The symptoms usually start about two hours after the last drink was ingested and can last for weeks. Each patient will experience withdrawal differently and symptoms can range from mild to severe. Complications such as seizures and delirium tremens (DTs) are often accompanied by a rapid heart beat, confusion, hallucinations and fever and can lead to death if medical assistance is not available. Withdrawal is a physically taxing and emotionally frightening process for anyone to have to go through. This is why an approved alcohol treatment program is so necessary.
Alcohol treatment programs are designed to assess the patient’s alcohol withdrawal potential and test for any other medical problems that might cause complications. The patient’s medical history and physical examination determines the right protocol of treatment. Medical interventions will assist in easing any symptoms.
The best and most effective option for an alcoholic is to sign into an approved alcohol treatment program to begin the process of healing. The support of the patient through detoxification, coupled with counseling and a variety of treatment protocols gives the alcoholic the opportunity to start over and have a successful recovery.