The prevalence of alcohol addiction in our society is hard to ignore. According to the NCDAS, an average of 140,557 Americans lose their lives because of alcohol yearly and one in ten people over 12 suffer from alcohol use disorder.
Because of these worrying statistics, the demand for specialized alcohol addiction treatment is always increasing. Hopefully, many alcohol treatment options are available to the public, including inpatient and outpatient treatment, residential treatment, partial hospitalization programs, and more.
In this guide, we dive deeper into what alcohol use disorder is, how it impacts physical and mental health, and each treatment path to consider for recovery. We’ll also go through the types of therapy that people can expect at an alcohol addiction treatment facility.
Table of Contents
- Understanding Alcohol Addiction
- Types of Alcohol Addiction Treatment Programs
- Components of Effective Alcohol Addiction Treatment Programs
- How to Choose the Right Alcohol Addiction Treatment Program
- Final Words
- Related Articles
Understanding Alcohol Addiction
In short, alcohol use disorder (AUD) is another word for alcohol addiction. AUD is a health condition where a person heavily or frequently consumes alcohol with disregard to its negative effects on their lives.
Even if it’s causing apparent emotional distress, relationship issues, physical harm, or poor productivity, a person with alcohol addiction will be unable to give it up on their own as they’ve become dependent on it.
Risk Factors and Causes of Alcohol Addiction
Many risk factors are associated with alcohol addiction, including:
- Genetic composition or having a history in the family of AUD
- Having mental health problems such as anxiety, PTSD, depression, eating disorders, or grief
- Having experienced traumatic events like domestic abuse, sexual abuse, life-changing accidents, disasters, war, etc.
- Consuming alcohol frequently or drinking at a very young age to deal with emotional struggles
- Environmental and cultural factors (peer pressure, influence of parents or role models, the glamorization of drinking in the media, etc.)
Effects of Alcohol Addiction on Physical and Mental Health
No one can deny the numerous negative effects of alcoholism on physical and mental health. Physically speaking, alcohol addiction can lead to:
- Immune system dysfunction
- Heart and liver disease
- High blood pressure
- Some types of cancer (breast, colon, liver, and mouth)
- Fetal alcohol syndrome
- Eye problems
- Bone damage
Likewise, alcoholism causes countless mental health problems, including:
- Bipolar disorder
In addition, alcohol addiction is associated with many issues that a person can face on a personal level. It works to destroy relationships, leads to money loss, jeopardizes a person’s safety, and affects performance at work.
Types of Alcohol Addiction Treatment Programs
People aiming to recover from alcoholism have a few treatment options that are worth looking into to take the first step in their healing journey. In this section, we provide an overview of each type of alcohol addiction treatment and who it’s most suitable for.
People in an inpatient treatment plan are admitted into an alcohol addiction rehab facility to live there for as long as their recovery requires. The average stay in this center usually starts at a minimum of 28 days and may extend to three months based on the severity of the addiction.
Some benefits of this treatment program include:
- A safe, enclosed environment for each patient to recover according to their individual needs
- Higher success rate than outpatient treatment because there’s no room for relapse
- Creates a sense of fellowship with the staff, medical team, and other recovering people
Inpatient treatment is the go-to option for people who have relapsed after recovering from AUD. It’s also recommended for individuals who have tried a less intensive alcohol addiction treatment to no avail or those experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms.
The opposite of inpatient treatment, outpatient care means that individuals are only present in the rehab facility during the day, but they go home at night.
While it’s not for everyone, outpatient treatment has a few advantages as it enables you to get the support you need from your loved ones every day, not to mention that it’s less expensive than inpatient care.
When to consider outpatient treatment for alcoholism? It works best for people who don’t have mental health issues or those who require some touch-ups after going through inpatient treatment.
Just like inpatient treatment, residential treatment programs offer homelike settings to people struggling with alcohol addiction. However, this type of treatment depends on longer stays—usually a lot more than 90 days.
People with challenging cases of alcoholism are the right candidates for this program, as they’ll need long-term, 24/7 care.
Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP)
Partial hospitalization programs can be described as intensive outpatient programs, allowing individuals to receive more focused care during the day. In most cases, PHPs require patients to receive 20 hours of therapy per week.
This type of treatment program is good for people who want to recover from addiction without giving up on their daily routines and responsibilities. It’s suitable for a person who needs intensive care but is highly unlikely to drink if they’re staying outside a controlled environment.
Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP)
IOPs sit between PHPs and outpatient treatment programs, as they provide around nine hours of addiction treatment services a week.
These programs are ideal for people who have just gone through the medical detox process but want to keep on going to work or school. They’re also good options for individuals who don’t require 24/7 care.
Components of Effective Alcohol Addiction Treatment Programs
Whether you go for inpatient or outpatient treatment options, an effective alcohol addiction treatment program must include the following steps:
The below therapies have been thoroughly researched and tested, yielding positive results in recovering from alcohol addiction.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): Focuses on helping individuals understand and adjust their thought patterns and behavior using psychotherapy to find healthy solutions for their addiction
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT): A form of CBT that concentrates on people who let their emotions be the major determiner of their actions, helps individuals accept their difficult feelings, and gives them the necessary skills to manage them
- Motivational interviewing (MI): A counseling technique that addresses each person’s inner power and meaning to help them find motivation for change
- Contingency management (CM): A form of behavioral therapy that provides motivational incentives to treat people dealing with alcohol use disorders
Group and Individual Counseling
Alcohol addiction treatment programs also offer individual and group counseling.
In individual counseling, a trained professional treats the person recovering from AUD in one-on-one sessions. These personal interactions help patients explore themselves, understand and identify their issues and triggers, set personal goals, and uncover the best strategies to achieve them.
Group counseling is equally important when recovering from addiction, and this is where a professional works with several people who are all trying to recover from addiction.
These group discussions can help individuals feel like they’re not alone, and this feeling of shared struggle pushes them further on the road to recovery.
Family Therapy and Support
Family therapy can be a great way to provide support to the person suffering from alcohol addiction by working as a supportive group to aid with recovery.
Sessions of this therapy focus on educating at least one family member on the best way to adjust to the treatment journey of an individual. They also focus on how to improve the environment at home to suit the requirements of the person recovering from alcoholism.
Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)
An alcohol addiction treatment program often incorporates medications to aid with the recovery process. Some examples of medications that help treat alcoholism include:
1. Disulfiram (Antabuse)
2. Naltrexone (Vivitrol, Revia)
3. Acamprosate (Campral)
Relapse Prevention and Aftercare Planning
Finally, addiction treatment plans include relapse prevention strategies and aftercare planning that help people identify the risks that could hinder their progress.
These strategies also involve staying away from triggers, learning the proper ways to deal with cravings, defining the best actions to take if a person thinks they’re about to go back to drinking, and more.
How to Choose the Right Alcohol Addiction Treatment Program
After learning about the different types of alcohol addiction treatment programs, settling on the perfect one for your needs can be a struggle. Here are a few tips to follow to make the decision-making process easier:
- Think about your needs and preferences.
- Consider other factors like the location of the treatment center, the duration of the treatment program, and whether or not it’ll fit into your budget.
- Ask a healthcare professional or a support group for recommendations and reviews.
- Research different programs and compare them to find the ideal match.
For a person recovering from alcohol addiction, an effective treatment program is crucial for long-term recovery and a low risk of relapse.
Despite the existence of many tried-and-true treatment approaches, there’s still the need for further research and development of more addiction treatment options.
We encourage you to seek help and support to overcome alcohol addiction by getting in touch with a reputable treatment center. Here at Illinois Recovery Center, we’re dedicated to offering you the ideal environment to help you battle alcohol addiction and lead a happy, healthy life where you’re the one in charge!