Who Needs Alcohol Rehab and What Happens During Treatment?
Alcohol addiction is a common problem due to the fact that so many people abuse this substance. As alcohol is legal and widely available, most people assume it to be harmless and do not realise that their consumption of it is actually classed as dangerous. Once alcoholism has developed, it can be virtually impossible for the individual to stop drinking without help, which is why alcohol rehab is necessary. But what happens in alcohol rehab and can it really help you get your life back on track? To understand how alcohol rehab works and why it is so important, it is necessary to understand more about alcohol addiction and how it develops.
How Does Alcohol Addiction Begin?
It is difficult to pinpoint when alcohol use becomes a problem because for most it happens gradually over time. Social drinking can quickly escalate to habitual or problem drinking without the affected individual ever noticing; most do not realise they have a problem until someone else points it out or until they try to quit drinking and find that they cannot.
For most though, alcohol use begins with experimentation, and the majority drink it in moderation. Nevertheless, there are some people who will progress from a social drinking habit to a problem one quite quickly.
Nobody knows for sure why one person will develop an addiction to alcohol while another will not. They only know how it happens.
In the beginning, alcohol consumption is a choice. Those who drink it choose to do so; in the same vein, they can choose not to drink if they want as well. Nevertheless, as time goes by and with regular consumption, certain parts of the brain are altered. The person develops a tolerance to the effects of the alcohol and, with it, a diminished ability to choose whether to drink or not. So, while the affected individual will need more alcohol to achieve the effects that he or she desires, there will also be less ability to stop drinking once they start.
The more alcohol the person drinks, the more his or her body will crave it. When the effects of the alcohol wear off, the individual may experience withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, nausea, vomiting, sweating, and shaking. These are signs that a physical dependence has occurred.
Who Is Affected by Alcohol Addiction?
It is easy for most people to assume that alcohol addiction is something that happens to others. The truth is that it is actually more common than you might realise. Moreover, what you might not also expect is that alcoholism is an illness that can affect anyone who drinks this chemical substance. It does not discriminate, and nobody is exempt based on where they live, how old they are, or how much money they have.
If you allow your use of alcohol to get out of control, you are just as likely to develop an addiction as the next person. Although there is no way to pinpoint who will develop an addiction though, there are risk factors that make the likelihood of it developing higher.
These risk factors include family history of addiction, traumatic experiences, early exposure to alcohol, mental health problems, and environment. Those who have more than one risk factor may be more likely to develop an addiction, but it is certainly not guaranteed. There are some individuals who will not have a single risk factor and who will still be affected while others will have every single risk factor and never go on to develop an addiction.
The Impact of Alcohol Addiction and Why It Needs to Be Treated
There is a definite need for alcohol rehab among those who suffer with the illness. There is no denying the harm that this illness causes and without treatment, more and more people will suffer the consequences. But before discussing what happens in alcohol rehab, it is prudent to look a little bit more closely about why it is so important.
Those affected by alcohol addiction will be at risk of developing various health problems and could even be in danger of dying prematurely because of these conditions. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that affects almost every single cell in the body. It can lead to many mental and physical health problems, including:
- high blood pressure
- liver disease
- kidney disease
- heart disease
Many of the above health issues can be life-threatening, so overcoming the addiction as soon as possible is important.
It is not just health problems that the alcoholic needs to worry about though. There is also a negative impact on relationships as well as on finances. Nonetheless, with alcohol treatment, many of these issues can be reversed.
Overcoming an Alcohol Addiction
Most people who develop an alcohol addiction are going to require professional help to overcome this illness. While some do realise quite early on that they have an issue and manage to quit without any intervention, this is quite rare. Those who do manage to get sober alone will usually have a very shaky sobriety and could be in danger of relapse at any time.
To fully recover from an alcohol addiction, a comprehensive recovery programme is the best option. This will include a detox, rehabilitation, and aftercare. So what happens in alcohol rehab and what is a detox like?
An alcohol detox is usually the first step on the road to an alcohol-free life. This process is designed to help break the ties between the individual and alcohol. It begins around six to twelve hours after having the last drink. The person might notice the earliest withdrawal symptoms are like those experienced before, when in need of a drink. This can include mood swings, headaches, sweating, shaking, and nausea. As the detox progresses, symptoms will get worse, but how severe they become will usually depend on how severe the addiction was and how long the individual had been drinking.
Once the detox has been completed, the affected person will be ready to begin a programme of rehabilitation. If the addiction to alcohol is severe, it is probably wise to consider an inpatient programme where the patient will stay in a quiet and calm environment where there are no distractions and no access to any temptations.
During alcohol rehab, the individual be treated by counsellors, therapists and medical professionals who will attempt to help him or her identify the cause of their addictive behaviour. Various treatments are used to get to the root cause of the illness including individual counselling, group therapy, and cognitive behavioural therapy.
While the aim of alcohol rehab is to help the addicted person overcome addiction, it is also about showing him or her how to progress to an alcohol-free life. Part of the recovery process will include seminars and workshops based on relapse prevention as well as work and life skills. The addict will learn various coping strategies to help avoid a return to addictive behaviour going forward.
Aftercare as Part of Addiction Treatment
After a programme of rehabilitation, it will be essential to maintain sobriety with aftercare. Many people fail to recognise the importance of aftercare, but it can be vital when it comes to avoiding a return to addictive behaviour.
Studies show that most people who relapse after a programme of detox and rehabilitation will do so in the first twelve months after treatment, so maintenance is extremely important. The transition from rehab to normal everyday life can be quite tough for some, but having extra support can make it easier.
Aftercare is usually included with a rehab programme, but it is also offered by local fellowship support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.
If you are interested in a programme of detox and rehabilitation or would like to know more about aftercare, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us here at Oasis Recovery Communities. We can provide helpful advice and answer your questions. Please call today.