How Do I Prepare For Alcohol Rehab?
Before starting alcohol rehab, it’s important to prepare by conducting personal research, as well as communicating with your admissions coordinator.
Preparing For Alcohol Rehab
Preparing for addiction treatment includes doing your homework to explore treatment options and decipher which program fits your needs. Knowing what to expect from treatment has been shown to improve patient outcomes. This means that those who take the time to consider factors such as costs, what to expect during treatment, and effectively prepare for alcohol rehab, are more likely to be fully engaged in the recovery process than those who take little time to plan.
What Is Rehab?
Rehab is the abbreviated term for rehabilitation; in the recovery field, alcohol and drug rehab treatment, also called substance use disorder treatment, is a program aimed at helping a person learn the tools needed to maintain long-term sobriety. Substance use disorder treatment helps individuals enhance health and social functioning and reduce relapse risk. A substance abuse rehab program can involve various treatment modalities and may take place in various settings.
Types Of Treatment
Learning about the various rehab treatment services can help you select the program that best fits your individual needs. Although some rehab treatment programs involve a standardized model, quality programs provide individualized treatment based on a person’s needs.
In the medical field, treatment modalities are based on science; the recovery field is not an exception to this rule. Research studies show which treatments are most effective for the best outcomes, such as program completion and maintaining sobriety after treatment. This type of treatment is called “evidence-based modalities.” Examples of evidence-based treatment modalities include:
- Medication Assisted Therapy – a type of treatment that uses certain medications, such as Antabuse or Vivitrol, which block the euphoric effects of alcohol consumption, helping to prevent relapse.
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – a type of therapy that provides tools for challenging negative thinking, supporting positive coping strategies, and employing problem solving.
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) – includes mindfulness, distress tolerance, and emotional regulation training.
- Motivational Interviewing – a counseling method that helps a person struggling with a lack of motivation, such as those court ordered to attend treatment.
- Contingency Management Programs – offers rewards or incentives for maintaining abstinence, aimed at increasing a person’s motivation to attain recovery focused goals.
- Individual and Family Therapy – psychotherapy sessions for individuals, or family members such as spouses, children, partners, or other family members.
Other important factors to consider when selecting a rehab treatment program is whether the facility offers medical care, for those with physical health concerns, and/or if the program is considered a dual diagnosis facility, for people with co-occurring conditions. Common co-occurring conditions for people with substance use disorders include depression or generalized anxiety disorder.
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Make Financial Arrangements
Recovery is about taking responsibility and addressing many aspects of a person’s life that may have been ignored during active substance use. Planning for alcohol rehab often involves arranging for financial responsibilities to be taken care of while you are away. Action steps for managing finances in your absence may include:
- Setting up automatic bill pay for monthly bills such as rent or mortgage payments, or other bills.
- Asking a trusted friend or relative for a loan to help pay for treatment and other expenses.
- Searching for programs with special financial programs, such as a sliding scale or discount for cash payment.
- Addressing outstanding financial obligations during treatment (e.g., work with your counselor to set up a payment plan with debtors).
Consider Program Costs
Understanding program cost in advance is part of taking responsibility for long-term financial planning and helps prepare you to meet your monetary obligations. If you have insurance, it’s important to learn what is and is not covered. For example, some policies pay for inpatient rehab (24/7 live-in treatment) for a certain amount of time, then coverage is only available for outpatient treatment. Some rehab services may not be covered by insurance and will need to be paid for out-of-pocket. Common out-of-pocket expenses include:
- Medical procedures
- Lab tests
- Medication management
- Certain types of therapy
Before you select a rehab program, be sure to find out which services your insurance company covers and whether pre-authorization is required for any services offered by prospective treatment facilities.
Selecting A Treatment Program
There are many considerations to keep in mind when preparing for alcohol rehab, examples include:
- Insurance coverage
- Treatment/Program options
- Housing provisions (residential vs. outpatient rehab)
- Accreditation (i.e., a quality indicator)
- Availability of medical or mental health providers
- Geographic proximity (i.e., local or remote facility)
- Availability (i.e., when treatment begins)
- Length of stay (i.e., number of treatment days)
- Aftercare program (i.e., continued support after discharge)
What Is Accreditation?
Drug and alcohol rehab programs undergo a thorough review of programs, providers, facilities, and more by a trusted source, such as the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) or the Joint Commission. The process is costly and takes a considerable amount of time. When a program is awarded accreditation by a reputable accrediting body, it means you can trust that the facility provides quality programming.
Length Of Stay
When considering the length of a potential alcohol rehab program, it’s important to note that studies show a direct link between program length and successful outcomes. In fact, according to the Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Community-Based Drug Treatment, nearly all studies reveal higher treatment outcomes equate directly to longer treatment stays and/or more treatment sessions.
If you are living independently, you may need to arrange for someone to care for your home and/or pets while you are in rehab. You may ask a trusted friend or relative to check on your home periodically to ensure it remains secure, pick up your mail, or water plants.
Pets may need to be left with a trusted person or boarded via a vet service, or local animal kenneling service during your absence. Treatment professionals recommend that program participants ask the person allocated to watch their home to clear out any remaining alcohol or other substances that could be a trigger when returning home.
If you need housing after discharge from rehab, be sure to address this need upon your initial intake assessment. Most rehab programs provide case management services to help arrange for affordable housing after discharge. Many people in recovery opt for long-term, residential programming, such as sober houses, after completing treatment.
Create A Rehab Checklist
A rehab checklist can help you prepare for treatment and get organized. It’s important to note that programs may differ in the initial steps to take before starting treatment. Each facility has its own list of personal items allowed or prohibited. Be sure to talk to your admissions coordinator or substance abuse counselor when creating a rehab checklist. Your checklist should include:
- Steps to take as part of the admissions process.
- Travel arrangements (for those attending a distance treatment location).
- Detailed list of things to do before leaving for treatment.
- List of things to pack (i.e., clothes, medications, toiletries, and other personal items allowed by your treatment facility).
- Other items as recommended by your admissions coordinator.
Taking The Leap: Employing The Initial Steps
Once you have selected a program, completed the intake assessment, and been approved for admission, it’s important to go over your rehab checklist with your admissions coordinator to ensure you have taken care of all items on the list. The next step is to show up for treatment. For more information on recovery options, contact a treatment provider today.
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