Alcoholism is an incredibly common disease in the United States, with more than fifteen million people suffering from it. It is often seen as less severe than drug addiction. However, the truth is that alcoholism is so severe that it breaks up families, rips lives apart, and all-too-often proves fatal. 30% of all road accidents are alcohol-related. It also causes damage to the body, leading to liver and heart problems, among other issues. In fact, an uptick in alcohol-related liver disease is cited as a factor in the decrease in life-expectancy in the US. This data was gathered from various sources including our alcohol rehab centers.
Despite its prevalence and the damage it causes, only about 8% of individuals who abuse alcohol receive treatment. Alcohol rehab centers are therefore a crucial part of our healthcare system. If you or a loved one are suffering from alcohol abuse, you should consider treatment at an inpatient alcohol rehab.
One reason you might feel reluctant to commit to inpatient treatment is because you are unsure what to expect. Here is a guide to what you’ll experience at an alcohol rehab center.
While there is still ignorance surrounding alcoholism, for which reason certain communities still consider it a moral failing, the healthcare system understands that it is an illness. Treatment centers follow a medical model for addressing it.
This attitude will be reassuring, as it allows you to let go of the burden of guilt you may be carrying. One of the first objectives good rehab centers have is helping you understand that your alcoholism is an illness and that, while it is your responsibility to get help, you do not have to indulge in endless self-blame.
In treating your illness, alcohol rehab centers have a range of medical professionals, including general practitioners, psychiatrists, addiction specialists, and more. They provide medication when necessary, provide treatment of the physical consequences of addiction, and attend to the underlying illness of addiction.
Similarly, the treatment center’s staff will diagnose and treat any co-occurring illnesses.
All good alcohol rehab centers take a dual diagnosis approach. Statistics show that addiction correlates strongly with mental illness. Mental illness can lead to addiction and, conversely, addiction can trigger mental illness. By treating one without the other, you are setting yourself up for failure. Ultimately, the symptoms of the mental illness are likely to lead you to relapse. Alternatively, continued addiction will make it incredibly difficult to break patterns caused by mental illness.
At an alcohol rehab center, a psychiatrist will assess you and diagnose any co-occurring mental illness. Throughout addiction treatment, you will receive treatment from psychologists and other professionals, treating the two illnesses in parallel.
At an alcohol rehab center, community is of crucial importance. Addiction treatment puts a huge focus on groups, meetings, and helping one another. Community makes it easier for individuals to see that they are not alone, and that their illness can be overcome. By seeing others with non-judgment, it becomes easier not to judge yourself too harshly.
Alcoholism places a huge strain on relationships, leading to severe dysfunction, including codependency, enabling, and parentified children. During recovery, you need to learn how to relate to others effectively. A strong community provides the opportunity to build healthy, effective relationships. You learn how to implement boundaries and not take on each other’s feelings and responsibilities.
Group Therapy and Training
Some group sessions will be safe spaces where you can share your experiences with alcohol. You get to know each other’s stories and offer commiseration and support. But other groups go beyond simply sharing experiences. Certain skills and techniques which will aid your recovery are taught in groups, where you will work together to master them.
This group training may include modules such as DBT (dialectical behavior therapy) which is grounded in mindfulness, CBT, and more.
But inpatient alcohol rehab centers is not all about group therapy and mutual responsibility. There is also a high level of individual treatment provided. While everyone suffering from alcoholism has certain common experiences, each individual is different. Your life circumstances are not exactly the same as anyone else’s. Your childhood, family, personality, and more, are all factors in how you approach life. These will be areas you discuss in individual therapy with a psychologist specializing in addiction treatment.
In therapy, you will spend a lot of time speaking through your problems. However, you will also work on practical skills for dealing with your issues in a healthy way. Your therapist may help you with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques, breathing exercises, and many more tools that you can use in a difficult moment.
As we’ve mentioned, alcoholism doesn’t just affect the addict. It impacts the whole family. Everyone in the family begins to take on certain roles. A codependent relationship, in which each member serves a particular role in relation to the other, can set recovery back, as your changes threaten patterns which have become comfortable, if not sustainable.
Your alcohol rehab center may bring in your family to discuss your issues and how you can break out of dysfunctional patterns. You will also learn personal techniques for effectively relating to family members without slipping into old habits.
Aftercare and Sober Living
Recovery does not end once you leave rehab, and your rehab center will provide outpatient programs to help you adapt. These aftercare programs will be a continuation of what you worked on in inpatient rehab.
Sober living programs will give you the space to work on particular issues that come up while staying sober in the outside world. This support helps when you feel overwhelmed by the prospect of maintaining your sobriety.
Productive and Fulfilling
No one wants to have to go to rehab. However, those who do often leave feeling that they have had the most productive and fulfilling experience of their lives. It is one of the few times in life where you can work entirely on self-improvement, with a supportive community who are working alongside you.
If you are struggling with alcoholism, give us a call to start your recovery today.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). Table 2.41B—Alcohol Use in Lifetime, Past Year, and Past Month among Persons Aged 12 or Older, by Demographic Characteristics: Percentages, 2014 and 2015. Available at: https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-DetTabs-2015/NSDUH-DetTabs-2015/NSDUH-DetTabs-2015.htm#tab2-41b
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