Alcohol rehab is the colloquial or even slang description for alcohol rehabilitation, which refers to the treatment process for alcohol addiction or alcohol abuse. While there are numerous varieties, locations, sizes, and philosophies, traditional alcohol rehab involves two primary methods of treatment: 1.) medical treatment and, 2.) psychotherapeutic treatment…
The alcohol rehab medical component usually involves chemical detoxification (alcohol detoxification) of the patient, when acceptable levels of alcohol are exceeded in the body system. The alcohol detoxification process must be initiated and carefully monitored by a capable and experienced medical professional, ideally a physician, to insure the least potential for medical complication in the patient, who is detoxifying from alcohol. The alcohol detox protocol typically involves the use of mood stabilizers and sedatives (benzodiazepines) in order to make the patient as comfortable as possible, including the management of cravings, during the alcohol detox period. Depending on the length of abuse and the level of alcohol in the system, the detox typically takes from 3-7 days, depending on additional factors, as well (I.e. age, weight, overall health, etc.). There are serious withdrawal symptoms, associated with alcohol abuse detoxification, which include seizures. Seizures can occur as a ‘rebound’ affect, when the brain has been sedated for a period time and is then ‘un-sedated,’ as through the removal of alcohol from the system. This reactive ‘over-activity’ in the brain function can cause seizures, which can be problematic and dangerous for the patient.
The psychological component of alcohol rehab, which typically commences after the patient has completed the detoxification process, in most cases, is the most critical part of the alcohol rehab process. The saying that ‘it’s easy to dry out, it’s just hard to stay dry,’ is a fact that is proven time and time again, in alcohol rehab patients. If the patient is only detoxified, but not educated and processed through the addiction implications, the odds of relapse are extremely high. It is for this purpose that there must be a psycho-dynamic aspect to alcohol rehab. The psychodynamic part of alcohol addiction treatment historically consists of education, step work (12 Step Process), and in some higher-end programs, extensive individual and small group therapy. Through these interventions and processes, the patient begins to understand and process the effect of alcohol abuse in his or her life and how to capably and effectively manage the stressors and triggers that have caused the alcohol abuse.
The last phase of primary care alcohol rehab involves the discharge plan. So often, patients improve, dramatically, and are able to function at a very high level, as a result of the highly structured alcohol rehab program environment that they are in for 30-90 days. However, upon re-introduction to their pre alcohol rehab existence, they often fall in with the same people, the same situations, in short, the same triggers, etc., which cause them to relapse. The best way to avoid this unsavory and unhealthy eventuality is to provide a structured, comprehensive discharge plan, which, when followed, helps the patient avoid the pitfalls of alcohol abuse. Most viable discharge plans include some or even each of the following: outpatient treatment referrals; 12-Step Program initiation/continuation, including finding a sponsor; Sober Living environments; drug monitoring; and life coaching.
Quality, comprehensive alcohol rehab programs can be highly effective, and even life-saving in the treatment of those addicted to alcohol and drugs. The earlier in the addiction process that an alcohol addict undergoes treatment, the higher the incidence of full recovery and future abstinence.