Alcohol is one of the most addictive and lethal substances impacting millions nationwide, yet it’s persistently viewed as a nonissue. While alcohol-related deaths continue to surge, many remain ambivalent about the seriousness of alcohol abuse, its impact on the quality of life, and its severe health consequences. Rehab options for alcoholics make it possible for many facing alcohol use disorder (AUD) to find effective treatment for long-term sobriety.
Increased alcohol consumption, drug use, and mental crisis continue to threaten communities large and small throughout the U.S. An exposed, fragile, inaccessible, fragmented, and stigma-driven system of care impacts how many Americans receive treatment for their AUD. American Addiction Centers reports that just one in ten people struggling with alcoholism receive treatment at a specialized AUD facility.
Who Is At Risk for AUD?
Alcoholism is known by a variety of terms, including alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence. In clinical settings, it’s referred to as alcohol use disorder. Regardless of the title, the disease is a serious condition that can drastically alter the quality of life and can increase the risk of illness and even premature death.
Today, the exact cause of AUD remains unknown, but certain factors may increase the risk of developing alcohol dependency. Known risk factors include consuming:
- More than 15 drinks per week for males
- More than 12 drinks per week for females
- More than 5 drinks per day once per week
Beyond excessive drinking, other factors that may contribute to an AUD diagnosis include:
- Environment – living with those who view alcohol as acceptable
- Genetic predisposition (having a parent with AUD)
- High levels of stress
- Low self-esteem
- Mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder
- Peer pressure
- Traumatic events and PTSD
People suffering from AUD will continue to drink even when drinking causes negative consequences, like losing a job or destroying personal relationships. In addition, alcohol dependency usually develops gradually, which makes it difficult to spot early on. Knowing the warning signs of abuse is critical. Rehab options for alcoholics can provide a support system helpful for the recovery journey.
What Drinking Does Over Time
Drinking alcohol, especially in large quantities or consistently, can negatively affect the body and mind. Alcohol is considered a depressant. While this doesn’t mean that it causes depression, it does reduce arousal and stimulation by depressing the central nervous system.
Alcohol slows down the signals that occur between the brain and the body. According to the Alcohol and Drug Foundation, this is why concentration and coordination are often slowed when drunk. In small doses, alcohol can cause a person to feel more relaxed and less inhibited – likely one reason drinking is used for socializing. Some also use it to reduce symptoms of anxiety. However, these “benefits” are always short-lived.
Acute issues with alcohol are well-known. Most of us, after all, have faced a drunken episode or two or have seen friends inebriated. The long-term effects, however, are much more severe and progressive. Early detection of AUD can make rehab options for alcoholics much more effective.
Over time, drinking can cause the following issues:
- Alcoholic hepatitis
- Developmental issues (in early drinkers)
- Diminishing of gray and white matter in the brain
- Loss of attention span
- Memory loss
- Fatty liver disease (Steatosis)
- Irregular heartbeat
- Throat, mouth, larynx, breast, liver, colorectal, or esophageal cancers
While not everyone with AUD will experience these conditions, many will. Also, alcohol influences psychological effects. For those with a dual-diagnosis, alcohol can cause or exacerbate mental health issues. For example, those battling depression are more likely to encounter persistent symptoms if alcohol use becomes a problem. Alternatively, alcohol abuse may trigger depression.
Rehab Options for Alcoholics
Alcohol use disorder occurs on a spectrum ranging from mild, moderate, to severe. It’s one of the most common diseases afflicting 14.4 million Americans ages 12 and older. Unfortunately, only about 1.1 million with AUD will receive help despite the efficacy and the myriad of rehab options for alcoholics. Many of those abusing alcohol are at an increased risk of developing neurological disorders that can progress to coma and death.
Why is Alcohol Rehab Needed?
Treatment is the best option for those abusing alcohol or suffering from AUD. Beating an addiction to alcohol requires eliminating the physical dependence on liquor, plus addressing behavioral issues and any underlying mental health disorders. It’s difficult to manage the psychological side of addiction without help from a professional. Similarly, the detoxification period for alcohol is one of the most brutal and, in extreme cases, can cause seizures and stroke. Detox in a medical facility is almost always necessary for those with severe AUD.
Rehab options for alcoholics make it easier for users to select a fitting program that can give them the best chance of recovery.
Types of Rehab Options for Alcoholics
1. Detox – While addressing dependency is undoubtedly an uphill battle, the very first step still prevents millions from receiving needed treatment. Alcohol withdrawal is known to cause life-threatening symptoms. An experienced physician must oversee the detox process and treat it accordingly.
2. Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) – A primary care clinician or board-certified addiction physician can prescribe non-addictive medications that can help people stop drinking and avoid relapse. These medications can also reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms and associated pain. Medications can include FDA-Approved Benzodiazepines, Disulfiram, Naltrexone, BetaBlockers, and more.
3. Inpatient/Residential Programs – Generally, this is the highest level of care after detoxification. It involves hospitalization in an actual hospital or a specialized treatment care facility. Inpatient treatments are usually medically-directed with 24-hour care services. These programs typically focus on stabilizing a client-facing alcohol dependency and withdrawal and establishing a new routine away from habitual alcohol abuse. Inpatient programs run anywhere from 28 days to six months. Medical care helps guard against relapse for severe AUD.
4. Partial hospitalization (PHP) – The continuum of care model is used by most treatment facilities throughout the nation. It offers a step-down approach for individuals requiring continued support after detox and inpatient treatment. However, more addiction clinicians and therapists are recognizing the spectrum of substance use disorders. Clients may display mild or moderate SUD and may still require help and, therefore, PHP may also be used as a step one approach to AUD treatment.
Generally, PHP involves residential living and AUD treatment modalities. It also expands its flexibility by allowing clients to begin focusing on long-term goals and creating relapse prevention plans. Individuals continue to see a therapist for mental health and also participate in group therapy on a daily or weekly basis.
5. Intensive Outpatient (IOP) – These programs typically don’t require detox and round-the-clock supervision. Instead, they enable patients to continue with their normal day-to-day lives, allowing more freedom and flexibility. Intensive outpatient still requires intensive care through group and individual therapy sessions. IOP can provide residence within sober living communities, as well. It also offers a robust and supportive base to help create an environment that is safe and effective as clients move forward with recovery.
The difference between IOP and PHP is the level of care and added flexibility. In addition, clients begin to focus on other skill development, such as adopting healthy routines, handling responsibilities, and learning coping mechanisms that prevent relapse when the client is ready to transition back into the community.
6. Outpatient (OP) – This program is designed for individuals who are usually facing a mild substance abuse problem that may have been caught in the early faces. Outpatient offers drug and alcohol treatment sessions that are flexible but effective. Clients can continue with their outside obligations like family life and work but are still required to check into treatment at scheduled times for counseling (group and individual) plus MAT management, if applicable.
7. Online Treatment – One of the newest rehab options for alcoholics is online treatment. Through telehealth services, treatment centers can offer programs like IOP and OP using secured video conferencing. Clients receive the same level of care in each program with group and individual therapy, plus direct one-on-one addiction support. The difference is that clients can obtain this care from the comfort of their home or wherever they’re able to find secure internet. In turn, this reduces the cost of treatment while increasing accessibility.
Online treatment is still in its infancy, but so far, research indicates positive outcomes for clients. In fact, some studies confirm that online treatment is just as effective as in-person IOP or OP.
8. Community Resources – community resources like alcoholics anonymous (AA) and personal therapy are still widely available for those who cannot use any of the programs listed above. AA is a free organization that hosts meetings in most communities statewide. It offers group support and can be repeated indefinitely. There are also support groups for family members through Al-Anon and Alateen.
SMART Recovery is a group-based addiction recovery model led by volunteers to offer individuals scientifically-based treatment for alcohol addiction.
Other resources include:
The important thing to keep in mind is that you’re not alone. There are avenues to recovery and many that are proven. For direct support for alcohol addiction, contact our 24/7 helpline at 833-90-REACH.
AspenRidge is Colorado’s leading alcohol addiction recovery center helping thousands to overcome excessive drinking and alcohol use disorder. Our various programs aim to treat AUD using different approaches, including dual diagnosis therapy, substance misuse help, cognitive therapy, holistic approaches, group therapy, and more.
The Joint Commission also certifies our center, and our licensed counselors are trained, specifically, in substance misuse and addiction. We offer the following programs through our online addiction treatment:
Each of our programs offers supportive services throughout treatment and long-term sobriety. We take a step-down approach as clients move from in-house to outpatient care. Or, if preferred, our staff can help work out arrangements for outside obligations that may prevent you or a loved one from receiving the help they deserve. In addition, we’re now offering an online treatment option that is expanding access for many Coloradans. Find out more about our online treatment programs through AspenRidge REACH.
Rehab options for alcoholics make it possible for recovery. However, staging an intervention can be difficult. We can help guide you through the next steps. It’s also critical to understand that treatment is different for everyone and, therefore, adjustments to the recovery approach should be made often. Contact us today 833-90-REACH to learn more about our alcohol addiction programs in Colorado.