How Do I Find Help For My Drinking Problem?
Finding treatment for your drinking problem can be difficult, and at times feel impossible. Fortunately, there are resources to help yourself or a loved one start their journey toward recovery.
When Is It Time To Find Help?
There is a saying in addiction treatment: “the first time you recognize you have a drinking problem is a long way from the first time you ask for help.” There is truth in this statement for many people struggling with alcohol abuse. Many recognize that they have a problem with alcohol years before they decide to do something about it. There are many reasons people decide to wait to find help for their drinking problem, which often includes some form of thoughts such as:
“I can figure it out myself.”
“I can quit anytime I want.”
“It’s not that bad, I can control this.”
“it’s normal at my age.”
“I am not like my father/mother/uncle/brother/etc.”
“I don’t want people to think of me differently.”
The defining moment for those seeking help is when they move past these thoughts and start to care for themselves. Initially, finding treatment can feel like a confusing process. For many, the timeline for finding treatment may take months to years, sometimes even decades. However, the longer someone waits to seek out treatment, more damage from alcohol abuse can be inflicted on someone’s health, profession, and personal life.
Once you or your loved one has made the courageous step of recognizing there is a problem and agreeing to make a change to address it, the next step is to identify what treatment option would be most effective.
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What Kind Of Help Is There?
Historically, when people think of treatment for a drinking or drug problem, their first thought may be going to a residential treatment program, commonly referred to as a rehab. Throughout the media, whether it is a TV show like Intervention, a movie like 28 Days, or a gossip column about a celebrity attending rehab, there are many examples of people from all walks of life entering treatment centers for addiction issues.
There are certainly merits for attending a residential treatment center (also called an inpatient rehab), however that does not mean that everyone who struggles with a drinking problem automatically must attend an inpatient rehab program.
There are a variety of different treatment options that you or your loved one may benefit from. Different treatment approaches work for different individuals based on their lifestyle, needs, and severity of addiction. The options below can be discussed with a treatment provider.
We will start with the most common and well-known programs, the residential treatment program. This program will be at a treatment center where people stay for a set amount of time that can range from 7 to 90+ days. Most residential programs will encourage lengths of stay that are at least 30 days, however the gold standard for effective lasting care is at least 90 days.
These programs often include everything under one roof to help address all aspects of a person’s treatment needs. This type of treatment is considered one of the most “restrictive,” as it is meant for people who are struggling with severe drinking and addiction conditions. Programs will include medical detoxification (or partner with a local detox facility), at least 4-6 hours of group therapy daily, weekly individual therapy, psychiatric treatment, psychological testing, medical management for common conditions, drug screenings. They will also provide case management services after you leave treatment.
These centers are located across the world, with some centers likely being located in your home area. Some people find comfort in a location close to their home and other times they may travel to other states or even countries to attend luxury or well-known programs, or to have “time away” from their familiar stressors. Whatever choice you decide on, there are many rehabs out there. It is advised to contact multiple locations that fit your financial budget and are covered by your insurance provider.
Partial Hospitalization Program/Intensive Outpatient
This type of program is a step down from a residential treatment center. Patients will receive treatment services 3 to 5 days per week, between 3 to 6 hours per day. However, instead of sleeping at the treatment center, they have the luxury of returning to their own home at the end of their program each day.
Most programs include a diverse array of treatment staff, services, and even specific programs for different populations such as Veteran services, First Responder services, Medical Professional services, and LGBT+ specific services, among others. These services help with accountability maintaining sobriety through frequent drug screening.
This service is the more traditional version, where you see a therapist once a week. Most often this will be with a licensed therapist in a private practice or community behavioral health setting. Many people find themselves starting here for treatment as it is the most convenient of the options and may feel like less of an adjustment than attending an inpatient program for several months.
This level of treatment is considered the least “restrictive” due to the way its services are offered. Outpatient therapy is focused on treating people with mild conditions. For additional services like medication management, one would need to work with a doctor in the community, as well as other providers for other services. It is common for someone to start with this level of care and be recommended to a higher level by the professional, if they identify a need based on symptoms reported.
Most therapists will have a selection of reputable treatment programs for alcohol and drug use that are dependable.
Sometimes people do not choose to engage in any form of treatment and instead investigate some of the most well-known services for addiction issues. They turn towards 12 step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA). These programs have been around almost 100 years and have been proven quite effective for those who truly want to make a change in their lives. The most convenient aspect of 12 step programs is that they are extremely common, with a meeting on any given day in any given location within the US and abroad. AA & NA also hold meetings digitally, basically 24 hours a day. It can be a great starting place to find help and have questions answered around drinking and drug use problems.
Find Help For A Drinking Problem Here
The service that will be most effective for you or your loved one depends on the individual’s current condition. If there are active withdrawal symptoms, it is highly encouraged that you seek medical attention with your local hospital, detox center, or residential center. Detoxing without medical supervision can not only be extremely uncomfortable, but is oftentimes dangerous and can even be life-threatening.
If significant withdrawal symptoms are not present, you may find benefit in outpatient services and/or 12 step engagement to help you on the first step of the recovery journey. No matter what your condition is, the first step in recovery is to ask for help. If you’re ready to take that step today for yourself or your loved ones, contact a treatment provider here.
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