The first step on the road to recovery from alcohol addiction is being able to accept that the problem exists in the first place. Many people find this very difficult and struggle to come to terms with the fact that alcohol could be anything more than a substance to be enjoyed socially with friends. Since alcohol is legal and for the most part encouraged in society, some find it tough to see the substance as harmful. But for some people, alcohol does indeed cause harm. It can destroy their life and leave them on the verge of ruin. Anyone affected by alcohol addiction will need to complete a series of steps in order to get better. The first part of the process is detoxification, which is then followed by rehab. If you are in need of help for alcoholism, you may be wondering what happens during alcohol rehab. In this article, we aim to give you a brief explanation of the recovery process.
What Is Alcohol Detox Like?
For those with an alcohol addiction, a detox will typically be necessary before rehabilitation can begin. A detox is the process that is designed to help break the physical bond between the user and the substance. This process must take place before rehab can start because the patient must be free from chemicals and toxins that could otherwise cloud their mind and judgement.
As harmful and dangerous as it is to abuse alcohol, it can be just as dangerous to suddenly stop. It is wise to get advice before attempting to quit alcohol for good. For most, a programme of detoxification in a supervised facility is the safest way to get clean.
Withdrawal symptoms typically begin around six to twelve hours after the last drink, and these symptoms can be mild to severe in intensity. The mild symptoms are usually the first to appear and include sweating, shaking, nausea, vomiting, and mood swings. Following on from this is the moderate symptoms, which could include hallucinations, depression, confusion, and loss of appetite.
While most affected individuals will experience mild or moderate symptoms, there are some who will be hit with more severe symptoms that can include convulsions or seizures. The good thing about detoxing in a supervised facility is the fact that the worst symptoms can usually be prevented with medication or nutritional supplements.
What to Expect during Alcohol Rehab?
When it comes to alcohol rehab, there are several choices in terms of how to recover from this illness. Quitting on your own is never advisable and is the least stable form of recovery. Alternatively, you can get professional help to overcome the illness, which is the route that most people will follow.
Professional help is usually available from providers of either inpatient or outpatient programmes. Outpatient programmes tend to be offered by the NHS, local support groups, charities, and private clinics. When it comes to inpatient programmes, providers are usually private clinics and, sometimes, charity organisations.
The type of programme that you choose will depend on your personal circumstances and the severity of the illness. If you have a severe illness, you will probably be advised to enter a residential clinic where you can be away from your everyday life and receive an intensive programme of rehabilitation.
The outpatient programme for addiction recovery varies widely from one provider to the next, but you can expect it to be far less intensive than an inpatient programme. As previously mentioned, these programmes are provided by various organisations, both in the public and private sectors. Programmes provided by the NHS, charities, and local support groups are free, but there are usually long waiting times due to them being heavily subscribed. Programmes provided by private clinics tend to be accessible almost immediately, and because there is no requirement for an overnight stay, these programmes are less expensive than the inpatient programmes offered by private clinics.
Although each provider will have its way of running their programme, you can expect to be assessed when you first arrive at the facility. A professional counsellor or therapist will want to conduct an interview with you that will include questions about your family history, personal situation, and current and past substance use.
You may also be given a physical examination that could include urine and blood tests to determine if you have any liver disease. Ongoing examinations during your treatment will usually be carried out to ensure you are still sober.
The number of treatment hours you will attend each week will again vary from one provider to another as well as being based on your own requirements. The more treatment hours you have each week, the shorter the programme is likely to be. One thing is certain, however; as outpatient programmes are far less intensive than inpatient programmes, they all run for longer than eight weeks, which is around the standard for a residential programme.
Outpatient programmes are ideal for those who are one hundred per cent motivated to get clean and stay clean and who have plenty of support at home. They are a riskier proposition for those who are close to a relapse as they can dredge up feelings that could result in the person heading to their nearest bar on the way home.
The fact that outpatient programmes do not remove patients from everyday life is seen as an advantage by many experts who believe that patients will do better learning to stay sober while also dealing with real world issues. Nevertheless, the safe and secure environment of an inpatient facility works better for most.
Many of those who want to overcome their addiction to alcohol will do well in a secure and distraction-free facility. Many experts believe that inpatient programmes offer patients the best way to get started on the road to recovery because they are away from all temptations and do not have to deal with the pressures of everyday life.
Inpatient programmes tend to run for around six to eight weeks, but some programmes are longer. Patients struggling with both addiction and mental health issues or those who are addicted to more than one substance may need a longer programme as their needs are more complex.
There are many advantages of the residential programme for those who want to overcome alcohol addiction. The first benefit is the fact that most of these programmes offer admission within 1-2 days or enquiry. Not having to be placed on a waiting list is a major plus for those who might otherwise return to their addictive ways if they had to wait for treatment.
Constant access to care and support from recovery professionals is another bonus of the inpatient programme. Professional counsellors, therapists, doctors, and support staff all work tirelessly to help patients get well, and this can be a huge help for patients who want to make positive changes to their lives.
The accommodation in inpatient programmes is also usually to a high standard and patients typically have a private or a semi-private room. There will be shared spaces around the clinic such as the dining room, gym, or relaxation room, while patients will be encouraged to interact with each other during their free time.
Most inpatient programmes are structured and intensive so patients can expect to spend most of their day in treatment. This may mean one-to-one counselling or group therapy. There may also be activities and workshops to help them learn how to be more productive when they return to everyday living.
Types of Therapy Used during Rehab
There are various therapies that providers of alcohol rehab use to help patients get well. Most clinics these days realise that the bespoke treatment programme is the best way to ensure all patients have a programme that works for them. The one-size-fits-all approach does not work and thankfully it is no longer used.
Nowadays, patients can expect their rehab provider to create a programme of care that has been designed around their specific requirements. These bespoke plans usually combine a number of traditional treatments with holistic therapies. Below are a few examples of the types of therapies that might be used.
Solo counselling is typically included in most people’s programme of care and involves the patient working closely with a counsellor or therapist to delve into his or her past to identify the cause of the addictive behaviour. These sessions are very personal and are aimed at helping the patient take a good look at his or her life to see where and why they became addicted to alcohol.
Group sessions are often used as part of an alcohol rehab programme. During these sessions, patients will share their stories and experiences with everyone in the room. These sessions can help to inspire patients and motivate them to want to get better.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
With CBT, patients are taught to identify their maladaptive behaviours and encouraged to replace them with more positive behaviours. Once the patient has learned positive coping strategies, the counsellor will work with him or her to reinforce these behaviours until they have become a natural response to certain situations.
You might think that anyone in a residential clinic for addiction recovery has accepted the seriousness of their situation, but this is not always the case. Even those who are already attending rehab may be practicing denial and might be unable to see the damage that his or her addictive behaviour is causing. With motivational interviewing, therapists attempt to break down the barriers the patient has in place. The aim is to motivate the individual to want to commit to a programme of recovery.
As well as the traditional treatments described above, many clinics also incorporate a number of holistic therapies in their programmes. The aim of holistic treatments is to help improve overall wellbeing and reduce stress. These therapies work in conjunction with other treatments to help heal the mind, body, and spirit and is viewed as an effective tool when it comes to successful recovery. Types of holistic therapies include:
- nutrition therapy
- sports therapy
- art therapy
- music therapy
Certain holistic treatments can help during the detox programme as they ease symptoms and can promote better sleeping patterns. Therapies such as massage and mindfulness are great for encouraging recovering addicts to get in touch with their state of mind and physical body. Many patients find that holistic therapies help them to achieve a sense of wellness and calm, something that lends itself to the overall recovery process.
Where to Get Help for Addiction?
If you or someone you love needs help for addiction, contact us here at Oasis Recovery. We offer detox and rehabilitation programmes for all types of addictions, including alcohol addiction. With many years’ experience helping addicts to put their substance abuse behind them for good, we are the perfect people to speak to if you want to do the same.
Call our dedicated helpline today for more information about your illness or how you can recover. We have a team of expert advisors on standby who can answer any queries you may have.