What to Look for in an Alcohol Rehab
How can I help family into rehab?
Families can be a big help to people in need of alcohol rehab. These are just a few questions families should ask the treatment providers they are considering:
- Does the facility offer inpatient or outpatient care?
- Is medical detox provided?
- Are there treatment options for co-occurring disorders?
- What does a typical treatment plan look like?
- What staff and support team members are available?
- How is the facility set up?
- What are the costs involved?
In 2013, nearly 7 percent of Americans 12 and older were dependent on alcohol, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
They drank in their homes or in public places, they drank alone or in groups, and they wanted to stop but seemed unable to do so.
Alcohol abuse disorders like this can seem persistent and even a little bit unbeatable, but they can be treated. People who enroll in an alcohol rehab could pick up the skills they’ll need in order to say “No” to that next glass of alcohol, and they could be an inspiration to the thousands of others who need to get sober but just don’t know how to do so.
When someone drinks too much, families can be a big help. By investigating alcohol rehab options, they can present a person in need with a comprehensive treatment plan with all of the specifics nailed down. These are just a few questions families should consider as they begin their research.
- Does the person need residential treatment, or is outpatient care better?
An inpatient treatment program allows a person with an addiction to step away from the daily concerns of life in order to really focus on the specifics of recovery. It could be a particularly good approach for people with alcoholism.
Many people who enroll in treatment programs for alcoholism are middle-aged or older. For example, SAMHSA reports that about 15.2 percent of people enrolling in treatment programs in Alaska in 2014 for alcohol issues alone were 51-55 years. That’s the biggest age group of people enrolling for alcohol-only help.
When people are a little older like this, they have all sorts of stressors that pull on them on a daily basis. They may have:
It’s hard to really focus on the specifics of addiction care when there are all these other demands on a person’s time.
An inpatient program might be best for someone who seems unwilling or unable to put recovery first. An inpatient program forces that person to really focus.
- Does the person need medical detox, and is it available?
Alcohol’s effects can seem transient, wearing off in just a few hours, but the chemical changes that each sip prompts can linger deep within the brain. Sometimes, those changes become so severe that people develop life-threatening complications during withdrawal, including seizures.
A medical detox program takes place in an inpatient center, where medical teams can provide supervision and support around the clock.
It’s not the right option for everyone, but for people at risk of withdrawal complications, it could be ideal.
A facility that provides comprehensive mental health screening at intake is best positioned to both spot and treat these issues. That’s not a service every facility provides, but those that emphasize the need for help for co-occurring disorders might provide this kind of care as a matter of course.
An integrated care protocol for both alcoholism and a co-occurring disorder would provide therapies for both conditions at the same time, giving the person a comprehensive view of how the two disorders work together and what might be done to keep both issues under control.
For example, in a standard alcoholism program, therapists might provide coaching on common drinking triggers. They might advise clients to steer clear of bars, parties, or picnics until they’re sure they can attend without drinking. But with a co-occurring focus, a treatment team might also home in on the mental illness symptoms that could prompt someone to drink. Someone in therapy like this might learn to spot signs and symptoms of sadness and loss, and they might develop tools they can use to deal with that loss, so they don’t drink.
Mental illnesses like anxiety are sometimes treated with medications, and that might not be on the table in all treatment facilities for addiction. If the family thinks medication is the best route to wellness for someone they love, that’s an issue they should discuss as they research, so they’ll know just what treatment the person they love is apt to receive after enrollment.
- Individual therapy
- Group therapy
- Support group work
- Occupational therapy
- Relapse prevention
- Family therapy
While experts pull this plan together, people in need of help have the opportunity to weigh in on the treatment types offered. It’s a collaborative process between the person who needs care and the team that will provide that care.
There is no right way or singular way to deal with an alcoholism issue. In fact, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) says there is no one program that’s been proven more effective than another, when it comes to alcoholism. Just getting help is vital.
For those families worried that a particular program won’t be comprehensive, seeing a treatment plan can be a big relief. Clearly, the person will get help on many fronts, and that could help to ease concerns.
- Medical doctors
- Social workers
- Peers in recovery
- Art therapists
- Physical fitness trainers
Some facilities employ staffers with degrees specific to addiction. According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, people with an addiction specialist degree might be medical doctors or psychiatrists. They have special training on how addictions work and how they can be treated. Not all facilities offer staffers with this specialized knowledge.
A study in Psychiatric Services suggests that only about 10-15 percent of people with alcoholism understand that they need to get care. The rest think their problems are either minor or nonexistent. When people suffering from alcoholism meet others with the condition, they might be able to work through this denial. They’ll see that the disease can strike others, and it can strike people just like them. That could make a sense of denial begin to fade away.
No matter the price, however, the care is most often worth it. According to NIDA, every $1 investment in treatment tends to yield $7 in savings in crime-related costs. Families that ignore alcoholism due to concerns about cost could end up paying more in the end. It’s much better to invest in health and healing.
Why The Time Is Now
People of all ages and all races and all classes struggle with alcohol. It’s a potent drug, available everywhere, and it’s very hard to resist the call. That’s why there’s no shame in enrolling someone in a treatment program that can help. Thousands of people make that decision every day, and they emerge feeling stronger and much more in control.
Families that step up and help the people they love could be doing their communities, and the world at large, a huge favor. Armed with these questions, they can find the right programs and that could help the alcoholism impacting their families to fade for good.
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