December 14, 2021

What Happens During the Alcohol Rehab Process?

Hope Rising

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health estimates that nearly 14.4 million adults over the age of 18 have an alcohol use disorder. If you or someone you know is suffering from alcohol abuse, you are not alone.

Taking a step toward alcohol rehab can be overwhelming. Wondering what you should expect at an alcohol rehabilitation program? There are typically a set of phases you will go through during this program.

These phases help you deal with your addiction and help you create a foundation to lower your risk for relapse in the future. You are certainly not alone and shouldn’t have to feel overwhelmed. Keep reading to learn more about what you can expect from alcohol rehab.

When To Seek Treatment?

Before someone can start alcohol rehab, they must recognize their condition and also want to stop drinking. You or a loved one may do this on your own, or your family and friends may encourage you to get treatment by expressing their concerns about excessive drinking patterns.

Here are some warning signs that it is time for alcohol rehab treatment:

  • Perpetual mood shifts
  • Frequent binge drinking
  • Poor work or school performance
  • Decreased interest in hobbies
  • Denial of excessive alcohol use
  • Neglecting responsibilities
  • Acts of crime or violence

There is no right or wrong time for you to seek substance abuse treatment. However, if you let it go untreated, alcoholism can lead to additional health problems, relationship issues, financial troubles, and professional disruptions. The sooner you or your loved one goes for professional help, the more likely you will have lasting sobriety.

Initial Assessment

The moment you check-in is when your recovery begins. First, the staff will interview you to find out more about your health and your addiction. The goal is to develop a personalized plan for you based on your emotional, medical, and social needs.

You will get a medical exam and a psychological assessment. They will ask about your personal use history and for any family history of addiction. This is to get to know you and find the best program for your needs.

You will then move to the medical detox area as needed. Your plan will then include various therapies such as family and behavioral. Your team will then determine education sessions to help you overcome your addiction.

The intake process is a very important step in the rehab process. Why? It determines the best treatment based on your psychiatric and physical needs. It’s important to be honest when asked questions because your team is there to help you win your battle with alcohol abuse.

Detoxification Process

This next step can be the hardest part of your rehab. Depending on how addicted your body is to alcohol, you may experience some tough physical symptoms. Withdrawal from alcohol can create uncomfortable, and even dangerous, physical and psychological side effects.

Physical symptoms include:

  • Sweating and clamminess
  • Shakiness or tremors
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Irregular or rapid heartbeat
  • Fever
  • Seizures

Psychological symptoms include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Mood swings
  • Hallucinations
  • Insomnia and nightmares
  • Agitation

The most dangerous of these symptoms are seizures, hallucinations, and fever. These symptoms happen when someone experiences an extreme addiction withdrawal. They are part of a severe withdrawal reaction called delirium tremens (DTs). This can be life-threatening, so it’s important that you take medical precautions and not attempt to detox on your own.

In a professional facility, you will be monitored by medical professionals. They can give you medications along with other treatments to help make the detox process safer and easier to go through.

Your detox symptoms may last up to a week or more. Typically, the worst symptoms hit around 24-72 hours after withdrawal. You are more likely to stick to the program if you have medical help to get you through the detox phase.

Rehabilitation and Therapy

Rehab programs offer a variety of services from medical care, therapy, and life skills training to help prevent a relapse. You have a few options including inpatient treatment, residential rehab, or day treatment.

Inpatient rehab at a medical center isn’t as common. This option makes the most sense if you have serious mental health or medical issues.

With residential rehab, you live at the center for about one to three months. This is a good option to help you stay sober. This is a good option if you have a problematic home environment so you can get out of your old ways of life and have 24/7 care.

If you choose a residential program, you will have a room with a bathroom, a comfortable bed, and some storage areas for personal items. There may also be some amenities at the facility including a gym or swimming pool.

If you can stay sober at home, you can choose a day program or outpatient rehab. You then go home each night after your therapy and educational sessions. This is a good option if you have work or family obligations because you can still maintain these responsibilities. Outpatient care is a good option for short-lived addictions.

Alcohol Rehab Therapy

After you complete a successful detoxification process, it’s time to focus on your long-term alcohol recovery. This is where your rehabilitation program starts. No matter which type of rehab you chose, you will have a therapy period of rehabilitation to create the foundation of your treatment efforts.

Through extensive therapy and counseling, you can then address any underlying issues causing your addictions. You can then address these issues and move on without resuming addictive behaviors.

Individual Therapy

There are different types of therapy. For individual therapy:

  • You will do a self-analysis and identify when you started using alcohol
  • You will then determine why you started misusing it
  • You will receive strategies to help you redirect your time
  • You will learn time management skills
  • You will also learn to identify any triggers that cause you to want to drink

Behavioral therapy will help you reform your thinking patterns to make changes. You will learn to change your thoughts to help you take steps to a sober and healthy life.

Group Therapy

There are typically group therapy sessions that allow you to interact with others in similar situations. You are not alone in your struggles and group therapy helps you get a sense of community. You can learn to reach out to others and feel a connection that is integral in your recovery process.

Family and Spouse Therapy

Several rehab facilities also offer family therapy as part of the recovery process. Family members can participate in therapy sessions to help resolve any family issues. Families are the foundations of support once their loved one leaves the rehab facility.

Family members will learn more about the addiction and get some tools to help you once you go home. Your family may not know that they are enabling alcohol abuse, so they will learn to change their patterns as well. Your family and/or spouse will learn how to provide strength and help your self-esteem through loving support.

Recovery and Aftercare

Even after you are done with your initial alcohol rehab program, you are not done with your recovery work. Recovery is a lifelong process. You will need to think about your aftercare plan.

You and your counselor will work to build a solid aftercare plan that meets your needs. Aftercare plans vary from one person to the next depending on your needs and situation.

Why is aftercare so important? Nearly 40 to 60 percent of people relapse within their first year of recovery. This means you should plan on aftercare for at least a year.

You will work on follow-up programs so you can return to your daily lives. These programs include meetings, additional counseling, and classes for alumni.

You will probably continue regular therapy after rehab and possibly attend regular group therapy sessions to help you build a support system. Programs like Alcoholics Anonymous is a well-known group that hosts meetings for individuals recovering from alcohol addiction. These regular meetings help you stay accountable and build additional support systems with others that understand what you went through and how you feel.

Rehab for alcoholics can be an effective tool for treatment. The biggest step is that you need to be ready to explore treatment and commit to working hard for yourself and your family.

Learn More About Alcohol Rehab

Are you ready to take the first step? Taking the first step of going to alcohol rehab is a big step for your life of sobriety. Recovery is a lifelong process.

At Hope Rising, we are here for you and your recovery. If you are ready to take that next step, reach out to us. We are here to answer any questions and help you get back on your feet.

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December 14, 2021


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