The alcohol rehabilitation process can involve several steps and span the rest of a person’s lifetime.
While virtually all addictions are dangerous and pose a number of inherent risks, alcoholism has the potential to be especially catastrophic. We may benefit from a greater and more thorough understanding of alcoholism that a number of other addictions, but we’ve also discovered the danger that can be involved in overcoming one’s dependence to alcohol.
Individuals who have been in the throws of active alcoholism for an extended period of time are usually encouraged to enter a treatment program rather than try to overcome the disease on their own. This is because there are certain aspects of alcohol recovery, particularly the beginning stages, in which individuals may actually be putting themselves in more danger by ceasing their alcohol consumption than they would be by continuing to drink.
As such, it’s important for individuals to be aware of what the rehabilitation process is for one who suffers from alcoholism. The following will detail step-by-step the alcohol rehabilitation process, explaining what an individual in treatment for alcoholism would experience during each phase of treatment while making their way to a physical, mental, and emotional state that will allow them to continue their recovery and sobriety.
Stage One: Intake
Once an alcoholic has made the decision to put down the bottle once and for all, the first step of the alcohol rehabilitation process is to begin searching for the best treatments and the right facility for one’s personal needs. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has outlined the most important principles of an effective recovery program, which includes programming that is highly customizable to each patient’s needs, forms of both individual and group counseling or other behavioral treatments, detoxification programming that can address the needs of individuals with alcoholism, and so on.
When a program has been selected, incoming patients will complete the intake process, which involves meeting with an addictions counselor to create an individualized treatment plan. Although this varies from one individual to the next, alcoholics often begin with a medical detox program before moving into an active treatment phase, but the specific treatments can be selected according to one’s preferences or needs.
Stage Two: Alcohol Detoxification
Considered an important part of the alcoholism rehabilitation process and an essential precursor to beginning the treatment phase of recovery, detoxification is a very delicate process for individuals with alcoholism. In fact, in cases when alcoholism is severe an individual runs the risk of experiencing severe withdrawals and delirium tremens, which can be life-threatening if not supervised in a medical setting.
The purpose of a detox program is to allow individuals to overcome physical dependency in a safe, supervised setting. This allows them to benefit from the care of physicians who can help to alleviate some of the unpleasantness of the detoxification process by treating a patient’s withdrawal symptoms, even using medication—such as using benzodiazepines or muscle relaxers—when necessary. Upon completing of a medical detox program, individuals are no longer experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms and are able to begin the treatment phase of recovery.
Stage Three: Inpatient Treatment for Alcoholism
After intake and an alcohol detox program, individuals begin actual treatment. The treatments and therapies offered as part of an alcoholism recovery program will vary to an extent from one facility to another. However, a central part of rehabilitation programs consists of counseling and psychotherapy. Often using the tenets of cognitive behavioral therapy, the counseling individuals receive in the treatment stage of recovery is intended to help them identify some of the underlying mental or emotional factors that contributed to the development of their alcoholism.
In instances when individuals suffer from comorbid, or co-occurring, diagnoses that contributed to the development of alcoholism, they will likely receive dual-diagnosis support in order to address the symptoms of both the alcoholism and the secondary disorder.
Additionally, inpatient treatment incorporates group sessions and sometimes even family therapy, which are intended to teach individuals health social and communications skills while being a means for families to heal from the effects of alcoholism.
Finally, a major focus of treatment includes arming individuals with the life skills and coping strategies that will allow them to sustain their sobriety long-term.
Stage Four: Maintenance and Advanced Recovery
Having completed an alcoholism recovery program, individuals move into the final stages of the rehabilitation journey, which include maintenance and advanced recovery. Maintenance begins once an individual has remained abstinent for a minimum of 90 days, at which time the withdrawals have completed passed and they have developed a firm basis in sobriety that they must now sustain without daily supervision and treatment.
However, the intake process often includes creating an aftercare plan, which is the continued treatments or recovery groups in which an individual will participate after completing a treatment program as a means of maintaining his or her relatively new recovery tools and strategies.
Maintenance lasts from the point of 90 days until the individual has reached five consecutive years of sobriety, which is usually the point in time when an individual will terminate the aftercare programming and sustain his or her sobriety using a recovery or support group.
This is also referred to as advanced recovery, which is the point in time when an individual is able to successfully implement all the recovery tools and strategies that were acquired over the course of treatment on a daily basis with a certain level of confidence that he or she isn’t at significant risk of relapse.
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Although the journey to recovery is different for many, there are several important points through which virtually all individuals in recovery must pass in order to achieve lasting sobriety. After completing intake, a detox program, treatment, and begin to maintain an advanced level of recovery, individuals should feel proud of their achievement and their victory over alcohol dependency.
However, the journey of recovery is one that never completely ends. Even an individual in advanced recovery must continue to utilize the skills acquired over the course of his or her rehabilitation if he or she wants to continue remaining sober.
If you or someone you love is suffering from alcoholism or drug addiction and would like to learn more about the alcohol rehabilitation process, Drug Treatment Center Finder is here to help. Call us now at (855) 619-8070 to speak with a recovery specialist who can offer a free consultation and assessment. Don’t let the disease of addiction claim another life. Happiness, health, and sobriety are only one phone call away.