Once someone has reached the point where they accept they have a problem with alcohol, the next step is to find the best alcoholism treatment to meet their personal needs. There are basically three options available to treat alcohol abuse as follows:
- Residential or inpatient treatment
- An outpatient program
- 12-Step recovery support (Alcoholics Anonymous)
Let’s take a closer look at these options:
Inpatient alcoholism treatment includes residential detox and alcohol abuse rehab programs that are delivered in a specialist facility under the supervision of medical staff. This is often the best solution for someone who has a history of prolonged alcohol abuse or who has a lifestyle that brings them into regular contact with alcohol.
Being removed from the environment that surrounds someone’s alcoholism allows them the space they need to explore why they have developed an addiction. When peer influences and enabling situations are removed from the equation, patients in residential treatment can focus completely on getting better.
Inpatient alcohol abuse rehab is highly recommended as some people can have severe withdrawal when they stop drinking. Patients are at particular risk of experiencing the more severe withdrawal symptoms if they:
- Are over the age of 60
- Are dual-diagnosis patients with co-occurring mental illness
- Have a history of using drugs such as sedatives
- Have experienced severe withdrawal episodes in the past
- Have not responded to other types of alcoholism treatment
- Have abused alcohol over a prolonged period of time
Outpatient alcohol abuse rehab differs from residential care in that it is often the better option for someone who is in the early stages of alcohol dependence. Outpatient care is also very effective as an aftercare option for someone leaving an intensive inpatient alcohol treatment program.
The main reason outpatient alcohol treatment is more effective for some is that it allows them to continue with their daily lives while they are getting the care they need. Outpatient care also allows people to be discrete about their problem which can be important for someone in a position of authority at work or who has dependents at home.
Although outpatient treatment is not for everyone, it offers exactly the same benefits as residential care but without the intense time-commitment. The services offered include medical treatment, cognitive behavioral therapy, group meetings and usually a good range of holistic practices and alternative approaches.
Outpatient alcohol treatment can provide a vital lifeline to people with alcohol use disorder as they have the support they need to cope with real-life situations that could result in relapse as they are taking place. For some people in alcohol treatment, this is exactly the kind of hand-holding they need to motivate them to remain abstinent.
12-Step Recovery Support Group
Most people are familiar with the 12-step support group, which was devised in the 1930s by the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous Bill Willson and Dr. Robert Holbrook Smith. Derived from Christian ideology, 12-step recovery has exactly the same goal in mind as other treatment facilities in providing people with a clear route towards sobriety.
By placing their recovery in the hands of their higher power, 12-step allows people to separate themselves from their illness and empowers them to make radical changes to find healing. 12-step is ultimately an abstinence program that provides therapeutic support in a group setting and is not in itself treatment for alcoholism.
The Factors to Consider When Choosing a Treatment Center
Because everyone is very different, each person requiring addiction treatment will respond to certain therapies better than others. They may also have too many day-to-day obligations to allow them to attend residential rehab or have a strong faith that prevents them from revealing their illness to others. Ultimately, when choosing the most appropriate facility to receive care, individuals should consider the following factors:
- The severity of alcohol dependence or alcoholism
- Work, home or school duties and responsibilities
- History of prior addiction treatment
In terms of time commitment, it doesn’t matter whether someone attends an inpatient, outpatient or 12-step program; treatment and support will last for however long it takes to prepare patients for a safe return to their daily lives.
Does Alcohol Abuse Treatment Work?
If the question is whether alcohol abuse treatment can be cured, the answer is always going to be “no”. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s pointless getting alcohol treatment because although the illness has no cure, there are very effective ways of overcoming it sufficiently to enjoy a happy life. Ultimately, any kind of treatment is better than none at all and it is always worth striving to find medical care and support once a person has recognized they have a problem.