There are so many drug and alcohol rehab and alcohol detox facilities to choose from, so how do you know which addiction treatment centers will meet your needs and truly help you get on a path toward long-term recovery?
A good starting point is to understand your addiction and what withdrawal and detox from alcohol might look like. If you’re the loved one of someone struggling with an alcohol use disorder, the below information will be helpful to you as well.
Understanding Alcohol Addiction
Many people drink alcohol casually, but what happens when your use is more than that? Alcohol addiction, also known as an alcohol use disorder or alcoholism, affects people from all backgrounds. There’s not one single cause that could contribute to the development of an addiction to alcohol, although some factors can play a role. For example, genetic, environmental, and psychological factors are all part of substance use disorders.
Drug or alcohol addiction is a chronic disease, leading to brain function and chemistry changes. When you’re addicted to alcohol, you can’t control your drinking even when you want to, possibly causing other mental health and dual diagnosis conditions because of these changes in your brain.
According to the Mental Health Care Services Administration, the severity of an addiction to alcohol, the symptoms, and its impacts on someone’s life can vary from person to person, as can appropriate medical care and treatment options.
Symptoms of Alcoholism
Unfortunately, in our society, we often don’t see alcohol as being a problem. We turn to alcohol when we’re feeling down or celebrating. When we’re alone or with friends, we may think it’s normal to drink. That can become ingrained in our minds, contributing to an addiction.
The prevalence of alcohol use in daily life for so many people can make it difficult to discern the symptoms of an alcohol use disorder or substance use disorder, but these can include:
- Increasingly frequent drinking
- Drinking more
- High tolerance for alcohol
- Drinking at inappropriate times, such as in the morning or at work
- Avoiding situations where you can’t drink
- Changes in relationships, such as spending more time with people who also drink heavily
- Withdrawing from loved ones who don’t support your drinking
- Hiding alcohol or trying to hide your drinking
- Dependence on alcohol to function
- Depression or other mental health issues
- Professional or legal problems that arise because of alcohol use
Alcoholism is a progressive disease, meaning without treatment, it tends to get worse over time.
Alcohol Dependence and Withdrawal
Alcohol addiction and dependence are two separate scenarios but often occur together. When someone is addicted to alcohol, they’re very often physically dependent. Physical alcohol dependence means that you may have symptoms as your body struggles to adjust when you try to stop drinking or even cut down. These symptoms are known as alcohol withdrawal.
Alcohol withdrawal can be severe or even life-threatening for some people. The discomfort of withdrawal can be tough to deal with, creating a barrier to treatment and recovery. Factors that can play a role in the severity of alcohol withdrawal symptoms include how long you drank, how often, and how much.
Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can include:
- Cravings: With any substance withdrawal, there are often extreme cravings. You may have a strong desire to drink.
- Mood changes: Alcohol withdrawal means that your brain has to work to rebalance itself, impacting your mood. Your body will start to rebuild its natural balance, but it can take some time. You may feel depressed or anxious as your body works to adjust to a lack of alcohol and its mood-lifting effects. You may also have underlying feelings that contributed to your drinking in the first place, which come to the surface during withdrawal.
- Sleep disturbances: During withdrawal from alcohol, you may have insomnia or a hard time staying asleep.
- Nausea: Nausea, as well as vomiting, are part of withdrawal.
- Agitation: You may feel physical symptoms of agitation like sweating and an increased heart rate. You might have tremors or shaking hands and feel mentally agitated or edgy as well.
Less common but more severe symptoms of withdrawal can include:
- Hallucinations—these can occur on their own. They can also be part of something called delirium tremens or DTs. DTs are the most severe symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, but many people don’t experience them. Hallucinations mean you see, hear or feel things that aren’t there.
- DTs—Delirium tremens, as mentioned, can include hallucinations. Symptoms of DTs include aggression, confusion, impairments of consciousness, tremors, and seizures.
- Seizures—Seizures during alcohol withdrawal aren’t expected. Still, since they can happen, it’s a good idea to prepare for the possibility and seek medical help before you begin your withdrawal process.
What is Alcohol Detox?
When you go to treatment for alcohol addiction, a supervised detox should be the first step of the process and your treatment plan. During supervised detox, you receive medical supervision and care. This supervision is essential for alcohol withdrawal, especially since there is the potential for severe side effects on your physical health.
Medical professionals will make sure you stay safe during this type of treatment and comfortable, often using medication-assisted treatment and care from certified professionals.
It’s highly encouraged that anyone with alcohol dependence participates in a professional detox before their treatment program, residential or outpatient rehab. If you don’t, you may be more likely to relapse because you won’t have access to medications and treatments that can help reduce cravings and side effects. A medical detox tends to be a much more bearable experience for many people than trying to stop cold turkey on their own.
Alcohol detox is not in and of itself a treatment program for addiction. Instead, it’s a part of the process and the first step at a rehab center. Once you fully detox, from there, you can begin your individualized treatment program.
If your addiction isn’t severe, you may be able to detox in an outpatient program, using medication-assisted treatment while checking in with the alcohol detox center or rehab center. Many people participate in a detox in an inpatient program or even a partial hospitalization program. Addiction is very complex, and there are often several underlying contributing factors that need treatment for a sustainable long-term recovery.
You can expect the following in the detox process or detox program, such as what we offer at Opus Health’s addiction center:
- Intake: During this time in our addiction treatment programs, an addiction professional will undergo a comprehensive assessment to determine your underlying issues, including your medical and psychiatric history. The assessment phase is critical because we want to make sure we’re using the best approach to treatment for you. During this time, our treatment team will learn more about co-occurring disorders you may have for the most effective treatment and long-lasting recovery.
- Medication-assistance: Detox programs at alcohol treatment centers often include medications to help with specific symptoms you might go through during alcohol withdrawal.
- Balance: You might begin counseling so that you can rebalance your mind and body as your alcohol withdrawal symptoms begin to subside.
Outpatient Rehab is an effective treatment option that allows more flexibility than traditional treatment options. Finding a treatment option that fits into your lifestyle, while still maintaining a focus on sobriety is important. Alcohol rehabs aim to help with your recovery in whatever is going to be most effective for you.
We understand that there are many obligations in everyday life. It can be challenging to stray away from personal, family, and work commitments during the treatment process. Unfortunately, this leads to individuals not seeking the help and support they need to overcome alcohol addiction.
The benefit of outpatient rehab is that you are able to carry out all of life’s commitments while still attending a treatment program. An outpatient treatment option offers flexible meeting times designed to fit in with your schedule. You are still able to attend work, spend time with family, and be active in the community. Life can progress normally, but you can still focus on your alcohol addiction.
Outpatient rehab differs greatly from an inpatient program. Individuals enrolled in an inpatient program must live at the facility in which they are receiving treatment for a set amount of time. Having around-the-clock support from staff can be helpful for some, but an inpatient rehab does place a lot of restrictions on your schedule and life. For those who can handle treatment without living in a facility, outpatient rehab is an excellent choice. It offers the flexibility that many need to continue living their daily lives. Outpatient rehab is a treatment option that allows freedom, while still maintaining an active focus on recovery.
Intensive Outpatient Rehab
For those that do not require around-the-clock supervision but still need support while overcoming an alcohol addiction, an Intensive Outpatient Rehab program can be very beneficial. Intensive Outpatient Rehab offers the highest levels of care and support.
An Intensive Outpatient Rehab is more extensive than the standard Outpatient Rehab option. Daily visits are typically required in order to ensure the success of your treatment. Individuals that seek Intensive Outpatient Rehab, usually have more advanced challenges in overcoming an alcohol addiction but do not require the around-the-clock treatment that is provided through Inpatient Rehab.
If you have a supportive home environment with minimal triggers, an Intensive Outpatient Rehab program may be the ideal treatment option for you. Our treatment options at Opus Health offer the supportive framework needed to successfully overcome alcohol addiction. Having loved ones support your journey at home is also very beneficial to positive treatment outcomes.
If you or a loved one needs help, call us at 949-625-4019.