Alcoholism & Alcohol Addiction Treatment

Treating Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) begins in alcohol detox and continues in an alcohol rehab program such as the inpatient alcohol addiction treatment at SJRP. Your sobriety and recovery are contingent on your learning the skills to cope with triggers and heal from underlying trauma or burdens of alcohol addiction.

At SJRP we teach clients how to overcome alcohol addiction through a variety of therapies and treatment programs that are designed to restore their physical and psychological health to the pre-addiction state.

So, you’ve determined that either yourself, or a loved one of yours, is struggling with alcohol dependence or addiction. You are worried about what could happen to you, or your loved one, if the issue does not go unchecked, and you’ve decided to do some research into what your next steps should be. You may be wondering if alcoholism is even treatable like other types of substance abuse. Overall, you may be very nervous, uncertain, and scared. But do not fear! Alcoholism is treatable, and you have many treatment options to look into that may be able to help you, on your road to recovery. First, it may be optimal to go over the signs of addiction again, in order for you to better understand why facilities use the treatments that they do for alcohol addiction.

Alcohol Abuse and Addiction
Alcohol Withdrawal and Detox
Alcoholism and Depression

Signs of Alcoholism

The signs and symptoms of an alcohol abuse problem can oftentimes be harder to distinguish in everyday life. This is typically due to the fact that people are often very secretive, especially if they believe they will be judged for any manner in which they are living their life, or if they feel ashamed. But what most people do not realize is that this type of secret keeping can cause themselves more damage, instead of offering personal protection. So, if your loved one may be trying to hide their alcohol problem from you, how can you determine if they are truly in need of help or not? Here are a few signs to look out for, when determine whether or not your loved one may or may not, have an alcoholism issue:

  • Development of a high alcohol tolerance.
  • Cravings for alcohol – ranging in severity.
  • Being unable to control the amount you drink, or limit how much you drink in any given sitting.
  • Using alcohol to cope with stress, negative emotions, or upsetting circumstances.
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms while not using alcohol – such as sweating, shaking, nausea.
  • Feeling guilty about alcohol use, but unable to stop, no matter how hard you try.
  • Spending a large amount of time drinking.
  • Failing to meet expectations or fulfil obligations at work, home, or school.
  • Avoiding friends, family, or “hobby” activities, in order to have more time to drink, or in an effort to keep your family members from noticing how much you drink.

Unfortunately, there is no specific man-mad test that can determine whether or not you, or a loved one, is suffering from an alcohol addiction. The physical signs of an alcohol addiction can be very subtle at times, but can have major mental and physical consequences. Typically, the early stages of alcohol dependence are paired with more behavioral issues than physical ones, but left unchecked, alcoholism can be a cause of some major, life-threatening diseases and situations, like cancer or coma due to alcohol poisoning. If you or your loved one decides to see a doctor about personal alcohol use though, oftentimes he or she will be able to ask a series of questions to help determine whether or not you, or your loved one, has a series problem, and is in need of treatment or not.

What to Expect in Alcohol Rehab

Now, with understanding a bit more about alcohol abuse symptoms and signs out of the way, it is time to begin discussing what alcohol rehab may be like. Like other types of substance abuse treatments, alcohol abuse rehab has a few steps you, or you loved one, will need to work through on your journey to recovery. There are four main steps, or stages, you will work through during your recovery:

  1. Assessment: Where you will self evaluate, determine whether you should seek out help, and then be looked over by your doctor to be professionally diagnosed with an AUD. In this phase, your personal treatment plan will begin to be laid out, dependent on your personal needs and goals for recovery.
  1. Detox:Where you begin to undergo the process of expelling all alcohol, and alcohol effects, from the body, and begin working on both the physical and mental stages of healing.
  1. Rehab: Where the real bulk of the work begins toward recovery. In this step, your facility support team will be working with you to discover the real heart of the AUD issue, like why it occurred, continued for so long, and why it became so out of control. All of these alcohol rehab processes can take place in either inpatient or outpatient settings, and have heavy group support system involvement as well. The rehab process involves several components, including:
  • Group and individual counseling (that can focus on a wide range of topics involved with healing, including trauma recovery, family dynamics, self-esteem, and more).
  • Individual and group traditional therapy (including cognitive and behavioral therapy).
  • Holistic, complementary and recreational therapies.
  • Co-occurring mental health disorders treatment.
  • Healthy living: diet, exercise, sleep, social interactions coaching and improvement.
  • General health care.
  • Discharge and aftercare plans.
  1. Aftercare: Like other types of substance addictions, alcohol use disorders are also viewed as a chronic condition. As such, the aftercare stage works to help you remember that your recovery is a long-term process that will need constant upkeep. Don’t let this discourage you, your support groups will be with you through every step of the way, even during the times where you feel tired, or may want to give up. The aftercare step helps to remind you of how far you have come, and that you don’t ever need to go back to where you started.

Alcohol Detox

To begin recovery from an alcohol abuse disorder, you must first undergo alcohol detoxification or alcohol detox. Alcohol detoxification, is the process in which you slowly rid your body of alcohol, and all of its toxic metabolites – meaning you, as gently as possible, wean yourself off of the use of alcohol, and into an easier alcohol withdrawal process. Ceasing all alcohol usage at once can be dangerous, as sudden cessation may onset intense alcohol withdrawal symptoms, or acute alcohol withdrawal symptoms, early on, and make them more difficult to manage. Some of these symptoms can have severe, life threatening complications, like the occurrence of intense seizures and delirium tremens.

Even without these more serious symptoms, alcohol withdrawal can still be very unpleasant to experience. Of course, if you wish to undergo recovery treatment for an AUD, the withdrawal process is inevitable. But it is important to remember that there is a better way to undergo detox and withdrawal, a way that is safer and that can alleviate some of the uncomfortable side effects associated with the withdrawal process.

The safest way to undergo the alcohol detox and withdrawal process, is by engaging in a medical detox program. A medical detox is a set of interventions, made with the use of FDA approved medications, to help manage acute intoxication and withdrawal symptoms. The purpose of a medically assisted detox is not only to alleviate more common withdrawal symptoms, but also to help lower the possibility of more severe, life-threatening complications from making an appearance.

Medical detoxification can take place in either a qualified hospital, a specialized inpatient detoxification facility or unit, or even in a closely supervised outpatient setting. The detoxification process normally takes about a week to work through, before you head off into your designated inpatient recovery program.

Alcohol Detox Medications

Medical detox can lead into long-term medication-assisted treatment (MAT), which helps to continue relieving withdrawal symptoms and cravings throughout the process of treatment in inpatient facilities. MAT’s are not meant to work alone, but as an add on to other counseling, therapy, and behavioral services, to aid you in healing in a more holistic manner, targeting the mind, emotions, and physical well-being. There are a few medications approved by the FDA to be used in this role, which you can discuss with your doctor which one may be right for you to use, including:

  • Acamprosate (Campral): Typically used by people already in recovery, who want to cut their cravings, and avoid using alcohol. Generally given to a client in tablet form, three times daily, beginning five days after sustained abstinence.
  • Disulfiram (Antabuse): Offered in tablet form and taken once a day, this drug is typically given to clients who are in the very early stages of their abstinence, but have already undergone their detoxification process.
  • Naltrexone: This drug works to decrease the euphoric effects associated with alcohol use, helping clients with an alcohol addiction to kick their old habits and behaviours, by not allowing their “drug of choice” take full effect if it enters into their system. Naltrexone has been proven to help people remain in their treatment programs for longer, and be able to regain their motivation to stick with their treatment program.
  • Benzodiazepines: Typically used in the detoxification period for short periods of time, benzodiazepines generally help to reduce seizure risk, and calm the general behavioral mood swings associated in the early stages of recovery.

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Don’t give up on yourself. Don’t allow addiction to take the lead and control another day of your life. This is your journey!


Alcohol Detox Timeline

The alcohol detox timeline is subject to change for everyone. Just like recovery never looks the same between two individuals, neither will your detox timeline. Why? Because alcohol itself affects people very differently. Three drinks may be far too much for you, if you only weigh around 100 pounds and didn’t eat before drinking, but for someone who just had a huge dinner, and weighs around 150 pounds, the story may be vastly different. There are different standards of drink sizes, depending on their alcohol content and type of liquor used, and typically the recommended drink size is far below what most individuals would think. These factors, and others, all need to be taken into consideration when trying to calculate a timeline. Other factors that affect the withdrawal timeline include:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Weight
  • Daily factors (how much you ate, if you worked out etc.)
  • General health
  • Health of the liver
  • How many times you have gone through alcohol withdrawal
  • Genetics / your biological makeup
  • Whether or not your detox is medically assisted

All of these factors can have an effect on the alcohol detox timeline. Otherwise, the general alcohol detox timelines looks like this:

  • Mild to moderate symptoms begin to occur anywhere from 2 to 6 hours after your last drink.
    • Physical symptoms can include:
      • Trembling hands
      • Shaking
      • Feeling sick
      • Irregular heart rate
      • Headaches
      • Fever
      • Hypertension
      • Sweating
      • Loss of appetite
      • Abnormal respiration
      • Heart palpitations
      • Abdominal pain
      • Insomnia
      • Nausea
      • Vomiting
    • Psychological symptoms can include:
      • Anxiety
      • Mood swings
      • Depression
      • Irritability
      • Confusion
      • Foggy thinking
  • Mild to moderate symptoms peak within 24 to 48 hours after your last drink.
  • Mild to moderate symptoms can last from up to 1 to 5 days, or even a week, after your last drink was consumed, and then begin to taper off.
  • More severe complications and symptoms, such as delirium tremens (DTs) and seizures, may begin anywhere from 48 to 72 hours after your last drink.
  • Typically more severe symptoms last only 2-3 days, if treated correctly, and only occur within 2% – 9% of individuals who are dependent on alcohol.

Inpatient Alcohol Rehab

Inpatient alcohol rehab, or residential rehab, is the most commonly suggested form of rehab for someone suffering from an alcohol addiction to enroll in. Inpatient alcohol rehab centers are live in, 24 hour intensive care programs, that work to help you, or your loved ones, to have the medical and supportive care they need around the clock. There are a few different types of inpatient alcohol rehabs available to the public, including:

Remember that inpatient alcohol rehab is customizable, the goal is to get you healthy and away from your dependence on alcohol, so the days listed above are more of a general guideline, not a set in stone standard for treatment. Additionally, the amount of time you require for treatment is often defined by your health insurance which helps cover the cost of alcohol rehab. Florida inpatient alcohol rehab can last for as long as you need it too with additional payment options outside of insurance. Alcohol rehab at St. John’s Recovery Place includes treatment program options like:

Outpatient Alcohol Rehab

Outpatient alcohol rehab is the next step in your journey to recovery. Outpatient programs still include counseling, therapy sessions, and group support, but also actively allow you to engage in the public community again. Outpatient treatment programs can also be used as a first step response after detoxification if you are in need of a more flexible schedule, or still have large home, school, and work responsibilities, but normally, outpatient alcohol rehab follows inpatient treatment programs, to help you build upon those lessons you learned within residential rehab, while living at home again.

Counseling and Aftercare

To be perfectly honest, recovery from alcohol addiction is going to take time, dedication, and constant upkeep to prevent relapse or a return to old habits. This is where continued counselling and aftercare programs come into play. As someone who has struggled with alcoholism, but is now well into your recovery journey, you’ll want to keep in close contact with your support groups, and make sure you are still seeking out professional mental help, to help yourself destress in a healthy and positive environment.

Many aftercare programs include the use of half-way houses, where you can still access professional help if you run into trouble with your old habits, but also where you may live with a degree of personal freedom, working your own job and being free to come and go from the facility or unit. Aftercare planning involves taking responsibility for yourself and your habits, and piecing together a routine for yourself that will help you to remain abstinent in both the present, near future, and long-term.

Costs of Alcohol Addiction Treatment

With all of these discussions about care programs, counseling, therapies, inpatient facilities, outpatient programs, support groups, and aftercare living planning, you may be thinking “wow, this all sounds really great, but how will I pay for it all?” The fear of substance abuse treatment costing too much is what keeps many potential clients from checking into facility programs further, as they fear they will not be able to afford the treatment plan. However, it is important to remember that the costs of not seeking out treatment can and will be much greater than the cost of attending. Remember, if you or a loved one struggles with alcoholism or any other type of substance abuse, you need to seek out professional treatment in order to help you recover.

Most insurance programs are required to help you cover the cost of your treatment program. There are also grants available to individuals seeking treatment to look into, and many facilities will allow you to proceed with paying for your treatment on a payment plan. The cost of treatment may vary widely based on you, your individual needs, and the treatment programs you are involved with. At the end of the day, we want to see you get better, and be able to live a happy, healthy, and productive life, unencumbered by substance abuse or alcohol addiction. Call Saint John’s Recovery Place today, to get started on your journey towards recovery.


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