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When you’re struggling with an alcohol use disorder (AUD), you may feel as though there’s no end in sight, but you don’t have to suffer alone. There are many treatment options available today that will help you recover from alcoholism and get back to living a healthy and fulfilling life.
Various factors such as your medical history, support system and personal motivation can all play a role in the success of your recovery. Treatment should be supervised by a team of medical specialists at a rehab facility. Throughout the country, alcohol treatment centers are staffed with professionals who will guide you through each step of the recovery process – from detox to life after rehab. Think of them as your 24/7 support system who are there to celebrate your successes and work with you through any challenges.
Remember though, overcoming alcoholism is a process. Less than half of individuals relapse after achieving one year of sobriety. That number reduces to less than 15 percent who relapse after five years of sobriety. For the greatest chance of long-term sobriety after completing an inpatient or outpatient program, you should participate in local support groups and continue with counseling. Treating alcoholism is an investment in your future. It will not only make a huge difference in your life, but also the lives of those around you such as family members and friends.
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When Is the Best Time for Treatment?
Before starting the treatment process, a person must first recognize their condition and have a desire to quit drinking. Sometimes, an individual may acknowledge they have a drinking problem on their own. Other times, family members or friends may stage an alcohol intervention. This involves loved ones expressing their concerns about the person’s excessive drinking patterns. An intervention also helps to start the discussion about treatment and support options that are available.
Some alcoholism warning signs family members and friends may watch for are:
- Frequent binge drinking
- Perpetual shifts in mood
- Poor performance at work or school
- Excuses for neglecting responsibilities
- Denial of excessive alcohol use
- Acts of violence or crime
- Decreased interest in hobbies
There is no right or wrong time to seek treatment for an AUD. However, if left untreated, alcoholism can trigger a wide range of additional problems such as health complications, financial troubles, relationship issues and professional disruptions. The sooner you or a loved one gets help, the greater the chance for lasting sobriety.
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Types of Treatment for Alcoholism
Choosing to get help for alcoholism is one of the biggest decisions a person will make in their life. Before starting treatment, you should understand the various services each program offers. For instance, a comprehensive program focuses on the person as a whole, rather than just their alcohol use.
Many comprehensive treatment programs employ several or all of these factors:
Detoxification is the initial step in treating alcoholism, and it can also be the most difficult. Within the first few days after you quit drinking, you may experience extremely uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Because of this, the alcohol detox stage should only be completed under professional medical care. Treatment specialists will also be able to provide you with medication to help ease the pain. This allows you to focus on getting better. After detox, you will be able to move forward with other forms of treatment and therapy.
An inpatient rehab facility is the most structured treatment environment for those overcoming alcoholism. Generally, these rehabs are geared toward treating the most severe forms of alcoholism and require individuals to remain on-site for the duration of the program – 30, 60 or 90 days. Treatment specialists provide around-the-clock care and will prepare you for life after rehab. This may include information on how to overcome triggers, the importance of sobriety maintenance programs and what to do in the event of a relapse.
Frequent meetings with an alcohol counselor are important for individuals to communicate and receive guidance during their recovery. Counseling opens a line of communication during the good times, as well as the difficult times. Your therapist will also be able to work with you on any underlying issues that may be triggering your drinking problem such as peers, family relationships, work or other circumstances. This will give you an opportunity to learn more about yourself, as well as how to keep your body healthy both inside and out.
In the United States, there are many government-issued services and resources that can help with alcoholism. One of the most common, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), serves as an information hub and treatment referral service. Additionally, more states are focusing on affordable treatment options to make sure anyone who is in need of treatment receives help. Unfortunately, with an increasing demand for alcoholism treatment services, many government-funded programs have wait lists and other requirements such as financial and medical need.
Treating Alcoholism Statistics
- Roughly 95 percent of Americans struggling with alcoholism do not feel they need treatment for their condition.
- Each year, more than 30 percent of individuals who receive treatment for alcoholism use public or private insurance as a means of payment.
- In 2014, 431,000 women and 1.1 million men received treatment for an alcohol
What Are the Stages of Treatment?
While there is no one-size-fits-all alcoholism treatment plan, many rehab facilities follow a general guideline. These offer a baseline for putting together a comprehensive recovery plan that will provide the greatest chance for lasting sobriety.
The three stages of alcoholism treatment include:
When you stop using alcohol altogether, you may experience withdrawal symptoms. The detoxification stage is the first step in the recovery process. It involves eliminating alcohol from your body completely. The most severe withdrawal symptoms generally surface within the first 24 to 48 hours after your last drink. While some symptoms are minor, others can be more serious. Your treatment specialist will be able to give you medications in order to help alleviate some of the pain.
After the detoxification stage, you will begin rehabilitation. This involves a wide range of different therapies and treatments to help you combat drinking urges and triggers. During this stage, you will also learn coping skills that can be applied to everyday situations after leaving rehab. The rehabilitation stage may take place in an inpatient or outpatient setting, depending on the severity of your alcoholism and what your doctor recommends.
Once you complete the rehabilitation stage, you will begin to gradually acclimate yourself to daily life. It’s important to give yourself time to ease back into the swing of things. Attending support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Al-Anon, that offer encouragement and engagement with others in recovery, group leaders and sponsors can be a positive way to make a lifestyle change and maintain sobriety.
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