Alcohol Rehabs: How Addiction and Treatment works
So many of us today are struggling with a drinking problem: students, professionals, teenagers, celebrities, even our grandparents! No demographic is safe from alcohol abuse and its consequences. In fact, it’s the # 1 reason Americans enter treatment for any addictive disorder. That’s right, those familiar drinks like beer and wine that we see every day, lead to more cases of serious addiction than heroin or cocaine!
Although alcoholism is a growing problem here in the US, our options for treating addiction are growing as well. We have more resources available to us than ever before.
Keep reading for more information about what alcohol addiction means, and how it is treated. We’ll go into specifics about your alcohol rehabilitation options, and have an honest discussion about how much rehab really costs.
Alcohol Abuse vs. Alcohol Addiction
We hear words like abuse and addiction thrown around a lot, but it’s not always clear what they’re referring to.
In short: Alcohol Abuse is less severe and refers to the behaviors that come before Alcohol Addiction. When we’re abusing alcohol, it means that we’re using it in a risky, and damaging way but we don’t yet have a chemical or emotional dependence on it. Over time, abusing alcohol causes us to develop a true alcohol addiction.
What makes Alcohol different from other drugs?
Unlike other psychoactive substances, alcohol is enmeshed in our culture, especially when it comes to celebrations and social gatherings. A shot of vodka, a couple of beers, some whiskey over ice: these drinks conjure up images of a weekend well spent or an exciting reunion with old friends, rather than a dangerous drug.
It’s because of this normalizing effect, that we don’t immediately notice when our drinking becomes a problem. Having a bottle of wine with dinner might not raise any alarm bells, though popping a few pills at the table certainly would.
Where do we draw the line between normal alcohol use and addiction? How much is too much? Unfortunately there’s no simple answer since we all have different physiological responses to alcohol, as well as different cultural perceptions about what is or isn’t acceptable. In general, however, we know that addiction happens when all aspects of our life start to get tangled up in the preferred drug or activity and suffer because of it.
What about me, am I an Alcoholic?
We’ve created a set of 11 simple questions designed to help you better understand your relationship with alcohol. Our questions are based closely on the criteria for alcoholism listed in the official Diagnostic Manual (DSM-V) used by psychologists and medical doctors.
Less than two yes’s indicates a mild drinking problem, but anything more than that means your relationship with alcohol is dangerous, and that you might need professional addiction treatment. Let’s get started:
- Do you tend to drink more than you expected to? And for longer periods of time?
- Do you wish you could drink less, and struggle to cut down your alcohol intake?
- Does drinking consume much of your time? In other words, do you spend a lot of your time trying to obtain or use alcohol. What about trying to recover from alcohol hangovers?
- Do you have very strong cravings or urges to drink? Does it feel like you “need” it to get by?
- Does drinking cause problems for you at work, in school, or in your family obligations? Does this happen frequently?
- If alcohol does cause these social and interpersonal problems for you, do you continue to drink anyway?
- Have you given up activities that used to be meaningful for you? For example, have you quit a sport or left friendships because you don’t seem to have the time or energy anymore?
- Do you use alcohol even when it makes your activity physically dangerous? This could be drinking while driving, using certain prescription drugs, or working with heavy machinery.
- Do you continue to drink even after discovering that it exacerbates, worsens, or even causes other physical or mental illnesses?
For example, stomach problems, psoriasis, malnutrition or weight gain.
- Are you developing a tolerance for alcohol? This could show up as a decreased effect after drinking the same quantity of alcohol that you used to use, or having to drink more and more alcohol to achieve the desired level of intoxication.
- Have you experienced withdrawal symptoms after not drinking any alcohol for a while? These include a racing heart, trouble sleeping, shakiness, sweating, fever, restlessness, nausea, or even auditory or visual hallucinations. Does more alcohol relieve these feelings?
“OKAY, SO MAYBE I DO NEED TREATMENT, BUT REHAB IS SO EXPENSIVE!”
By far, the #1 reason people choose not to enter addiction treatment is because of financial concerns. So many of us believe that rehab is only available for the rich, but that’s not true! There are financially feasible options out there for every family struggling with addiction.
Here at intervention.com we make use of all available resources to make rehab as accessible to as many families as possible. We understand that for treatment to work, it has to be affordable for the people who need it. Some of the financial tools available to you include:
- Insurance (did you know that rehab is covered by the affordable care act?)
- Sliding-Scale payment plans
Alcohol Addiction Treatment Options
Rehab isn’t a ‘one-size-fits-all’ kind of thing. There are so many different individual facilities to choose from, each of them offering their own unique style and treatment approach. Where do we begin the work of sifting through all of these rehab centers to find the best one for us?
First, let’s take a look at the 3 main categories of addiction treatment programs.
Of the 3 main categories, inpatient treatment is by far the most effective (and intensive!) form of addiction treatment. Inpatient programs require you to move into the facilities for the duration of your treatment plan so you can get away from life’s stressors and immerse yourself in treatment 24/7. Typically, inpatient programs last 30, 60, or 90 days. During that time you will be detoxifying your body of alcohol, learning new life skills, and participating in both individual and group therapy.
For more information on inpatient treatment programs, click here.
If you choose an outpatient program, you won’t be required to move out of your current home. You can stay where you are, and visit the treatment facility for specified hours every day or week. The main benefit of an outpatient program is that you can still maintain responsibilities like work, school, or family while receiving treatment.
A Combination of the Two
Sometimes an inpatient program isn’t possible because of our obligations, and an outpatient program won’t provide enough support. If this is the case, some rehab facilities will customize a schedule of inpatient and outpatient phases of treatment that meet your needs. Other programs offer a pre-planned mix of inpatient stays and outpatient meetings. No matter what you have going on in your life, there’s a rehab option that will work for you.