What is Alcohol Addiction?
Alcohol addiction, also known as alcohol dependence, Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), alcoholism, or substance abuse disorder, is a chronic uncontrolled dependency on alcohol despite social or health consequences. The symptoms include an abnormal preoccupation with alcohol, increased drinking to get the desired effect, a complete dependence on alcohol, or accompanying withdrawal symptoms during attempts to rapidly decrease or stop drinking. This disease is self-diagnosable as it does not require lab tests or imaging to identify. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 16.6 million adults ages 18 and older had an AUD in 2013. Of that group, 1.3 million (7.8%) received treatment at a specialized facility. In 2013, about 697,000 adolescents ages 12-17 had an AUD and an estimated 73,000 (10.5%) of those received alcohol abuse treatment in a specialized facility.
Be it mildly or severely crippling, any form of alcohol addiction is detrimental and can lead to a chemical dependency that typically cannot be broken without the aid of any or all of the following treatment types: alcohol addiction in-patient treatment and rehabilitation, outpatient treatment, 12-step program, a positive support system, and/or personal counseling. Treatment centers are vital for sever alcohol addiction cases as they provide both the medical and the emotional support necessary to make progress and break the cycle.
Choosing an Alcohol Addiction Treatment Center
Of the treatment centers that aid in alcohol addiction recovery, help for alcohol abuse comes in two fundamental levels of care. The first, outpatient, is often recommended for individuals that have a drinking problem but have not yet developed a full addiction. Examples of this include social drinkers that have difficulty knowing when to stop or those that have a strong emotional attachment to the substance.
Inpatient, on the other hand, is usually for the more severe cases. The users cannot go short periods of time sober without negative body reactions like the shakes and headaches, making it hard to function properly in day to day life. Because the detox from alcohol at this stage is physically harmful, it is necessary to do it under the constant supervision of medical professionals.
Apart from choosing the correct level of care, individuals need to figure out what they want out of their addiction treatment center. If they want to stay close to home, this will limit which alcohol addiction treatment centers they can go to. Other times, it’s important to escape the routine environment and travel far away to a center that has no triggers or enabling relationships. There are also alcohol addiction treatment centers that have gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, professional and other specializations based on personal preference.
Basic Alcohol Addiction Treatment
No matter which alcohol addiction treatment center is chosen, alcohol addiction treatment centers are completely confidential.
While some patients expect to have a room to themselves, most centers require them to have a roommate. Having a roommate aids in the prevention of isolation during the length of their alcohol addiction treatment.
Occurring in periods of 30, 60 and 90 days, the duration of alcohol addiction rehabilitation treatments are determined based on the severity of the addiction. The longer periods, though reserved for the worst level of addiction, can be pursued by anyone who wants the added benefits. These longer stints increase the amount of time patients are in a controlled environment free from temptation and provide them with more time to work through their behavioral issues that led to alcoholism in the first place.
Upon check-in, the patient usually undergoes a psychological and medical examination where all questions must be answered honestly about both their alcohol and drug use. This gives the alcohol addiction treatment center a means to construct a program specifically for the patient’s needs.
Next comes the detox process. The patient may be given medication (benzodiazepines such as Librium, Valium or Serax) to lessen the side effects of withdrawal from alcohol, provided healthy meals and allowed a lot of rest to make the withdrawal period as smooth and harmless as possible.
Once detox is complete, group therapy usually begins. Group therapy is often cited as the best form of treatment for alcoholism and gives the patient the opportunity to talk openly about their issues with people who understand what they’re going through. Many alcohol addiction treatment centers also offer individual therapy sessions in addition to group therapy.
Alcohol addiction recovery does not end as soon as the program is over. To be successful, individuals have to have a plan for themselves. With over 18 million people suffering the effects of alcohol addiction, outreach programs are always available once the patient is out of the treatment center. Attending local Alcoholics Anonymous meetings is highly encouraged to help the individual find a sponsor, build a support system outside of the treatment facility and stay strong during times where having a drink is enticing.
The more the individual is committed to succeeding, the more likely the alcohol addiction treatment will work. Being prepared for a sober lifestyle is key. Many alcoholics lose alcoholic friends who do not want to get better. They may find themselves with a lot of free time and feel tempted to fall back into old habits. From support groups to family members to picking up a healthy hobby, with the right attitude, tools and preparation, alcoholism can be defeated for good through alcohol addiction treatment centers and supportive communal environments.
Are you looking for the right kind of alcohol addiction treatment center for you or a loved one? Call our addiction advisors for the guidance you’re looking for: 1-800-259-1361.