More than 17 million Americans—roughly one out of every 12 adults in the United States—struggles with alcohol abuse or addiction. Thankfully, there are a number of different programs available for those dealing with alcohol addiction, and they are as varied as the people who need them. Taking a closer look at the types of programs available can make it easier for prospective patients or their loved ones to determine the best course of treatment for alcoholism.
The first step in treating an alcohol addiction is typically a detox. This is a medically supervised program where patients cease all alcohol consumption. Generally, patients will experience withdrawal symptoms that range from mildly unpleasant to painful.
A detox can come in many forms, but the duration tends to be between seven and nine days for the average patient. Treatment facilities can opt to go natural for a detox, which means there are little to no pharmacological remedies offered, or they can opt for more prescribed medications and even sedatives to minimize discomfort. After the detox is complete, patients will be ready to explore their next options on the road to recovery, which will include a rehab program.
Short-Term Residential Rehab
Residential rehab, also known as inpatient rehab, is a 24/7 treatment option that includes virtually everything that a patient will need for the duration of the program. This will include accommodation in a sober environment where alcohol isn’t permitted, and it also includes meals, therapies and various treatment methods.
Although the exact duration of residential rehab can vary, short-term programs are the most common. These programs tend, on average, to last 30 days. This gives patients a foundation upon which they can create healthy habits and routines on their journey to recovery.
There are a number of different therapies and treatment methods that can be administered during a short-term residential rehab program. Individual counseling is often the bedrock of the curriculum, and it involves a one-on-one meeting between a patient struggling with addiction and a counselor, therapist or psychologist. Group therapy may also be included as a way to share experiences with others, learn from past mistakes and generally feel less isolated in the environment.
Long-Term Residential Rehab
In many ways, the format of a long-term residential rehab program will be the same as a short-term program. There will still be structure and accountability around the clock, and patients will still have all or most of their needs met right on the premises. However, long-term programs tend to last for six months or longer.
Long-term residential rehab programs can be beneficial for patients who struggle with a more severe alcohol addiction. They might also be recommended for people who have been through rehab several times in the past but need to make a serious time commitment to reshape habits, routines and perspective. Living in a controlled environment for an extended period of time can help to re-frame people’s worldviews, helping them to create coping strategies without the temptation of alcohol anywhere in the vicinity.
Partial Hospitalization Programs
Patients who have a stable living situation, and the support of family or roommates, may do well in a partial hospitalization program. This type of program allows for daily treatment in a facility that offers therapy as well as medical monitoring. There’s a daily accountability at play in this type of treatment, mandating that all participants retain their sobriety throughout the process. However, patients are free to go home each night after their 4–8 hours of curriculum is complete.
Partial hospitalization programs can be ideal for patients who need medical attention and a daily routine for structure. It’s also suited to those with families who don’t want to leave their spouse, their children or their parents for weeks or even months at a time.
Outpatient or Intensive Outpatient Treatment
Outpatient treatment programs for alcohol addiction are the primary alternative to residential programs. There’s no accommodation provided for patients in outpatient programs, so they spend each night independently in their own residence. During treatment, however, patients will participate in group counseling, individual therapy sessions and other treatment methods designed to help with their recovery.
The main difference between outpatient treatment and intensive outpatient treatment is the time commitment. Intensive outpatient treatment is the bigger commitment, often requiring patients to come in three or four days a week for several hours each time. Outpatient treatment, on the other hand, may only take place once or twice a week, and possibly in the evenings. Outpatient and intensive outpatient treatment may be best for those who need to take care of family during the day, attend school or maintain their careers while seeking sobriety.
Sober Living Facilities
Another option for alcohol addiction is sober living. When patients reside in sober living facilities, they are in a type of transition period between residential rehab and independent living. The environment is alcohol free, and residents are surrounded by other like-minded individuals with the goal of sobriety. Sober living facilities seek to eliminate temptations, and increase accountability, which makes it easier to stay on the right path and work toward a lifetime of sobriety.
An infrequent means of alcohol addiction treatment, but certainly an effective one, is sober companionship. This is the opportunity to have a sober counselor, or someone trained in addiction treatment and alcoholism, spend most or all of the day by your side or on call. This individual is someone that patients can talk to when they’re struggling with temptation to avoid falling into a relapse. Sober companionship can work best for those individuals who want to return to their careers quickly, but who don’t want to fall into old habits.
Alcohol addiction simply isn’t a condition that can be treated solo. Since there are so many different types of programs available, individuals struggling with an alcohol addiction can easily find a program or treatment method that fits their needs and their schedule.