As alcohol is a legal substance that is enjoyed in social settings, it can be hard for some people to comprehend the fact that it can actually be addictive or harmful. It is easy to forget that alcohol is a chemical substance and can cause similar problems to illegal drugs when abused. The UK Government has recommendations in place for safe consumption levels of alcohol for adults. These recommendations state that adults should drink no more than fourteen units of alcohol per week. These fourteen units should be spread across the entire week with a few days kept alcohol-free. However, there are millions of individuals across the country regularly drinking above these guideline amounts.
Drinking more than the recommended weekly amount puts health and lives at risk and could lead to deadly addictions. Those who find themselves struggling with addiction will often find that the only way to break free is with professional help. The good news is that even those with the most severe addictions can overcome their illness with the right help. So, what is alcohol treatment and who needs it?
Who Needs Alcohol Treatment
If you are struggling to get through the day without alcohol, or if you find that once you start drinking you cannot stop, you may require alcohol treatment. The hardest part of the recovery process is often admitting the problem actually exists in the first place. Moreover, if you are finding it hard to come to terms with the fact that you may need alcohol treatment, you are not alone. Many people find it difficult to get to grips with the fact that their alcohol consumption has reached problem levels.
What you need to know is that if you do have a problem that requires treatment, you are not to blame. There are so many misconceptions surrounding alcohol abuse and addiction that those affected often struggle to accept it as a reality.
Stereotyping has led many to believe that all alcoholics drink cheap spirits and spend most of their day under the influence of alcohol. It is also a commonly held belief that all alcoholics are rarely, if ever sober. This is not the case though.
The reality is that most alcoholics are just like everyone else. Some drink only beer or cider and most have nice homes and families who love them. Some will only ever drink at night when they get home from work and others will have days where they do not drink at all.
It is also important to remember that alcoholics can be any age. Some are well respected within their community and others will have plenty of money and come from a privileged background. Alcoholism does not pick and choose and there is nothing that will exclude a person from developing this illness, apart from abstinence. The only thing that all alcoholics have in common is that they could all benefit from treatment. But what is alcohol treatment like?
Overcoming an Alcohol Addiction
To recover from alcoholism permanently, it is necessary to complete a fully comprehensive programme of recovery, which will include a medical detox, rehabilitation, and aftercare. A detox is designed to tackle the physical element of the addiction, a rehabilitation programme will address any psychological issues, and aftercare will help with the maintenance of sobriety. Neglecting any one element could result in a recovery that is quite shaky.
Fear of detox and rehab can often prevent affected individuals from reaching out for help, but with the right programme, you could soon put your troubles behind you for good. Below is a brief outline of what to expect from each stage of the recovery process. If you have ever found yourself wondering ‘what is alcohol treatment like?’, read on.
What is a Detox?
The idea of a detox is to allow the mind and body to heal after years of alcohol abuse. It is necessary that this happens before rehab because you must have a clear outlook before you can tackle the challenging task of getting to the root of your problems.
A detox is a natural process that begins when you stop drinking alcohol, but it is important to be aware that it can be quite complicated. As alcohol affects almost every one of the body’s cells, withdrawing from it can be tough.
An alcohol detox will usually result in various symptoms occurring, and these will be mild to severe in how intense they are. The way the detox progresses will usually depend on several factors, including the severity of the addiction, whether there are any underlying mental or physical health problems, and your age. Someone who has been drinking heavily for many years is more likely to suffer a severe detox than someone who has realised quite early that he or she is in trouble.
You may have noticed in the past that whenever you needed alcohol you experienced symptoms such as headaches, nausea, sweating, shaking, and mood swings. These symptoms were probably eased when you had another drink. During your detox, these will probably be the first symptoms you notice.
Nevertheless, when your body realises that alcohol is not arriving this time, it will likely go into overdrive as it tries to get back to normal. Over the next few days, symptoms may get worse, increasing in intensity to moderate or even severe.
In a dedicated detox facility, experienced staff will be on hand to manage any withdrawal symptoms you experience. They can make the detox more comfortable and safer than it would be if you were to detox at home. In some instances, medication and nutritional supplements can be administered to either ease existing symptoms or prevent the worst symptoms from occurring.
Where to Get Alcohol Treatment
After your alcohol detox, you will need to start a rehabilitation programme. Rehab is designed to help you get to the cause of your addictive behaviour through a series of therapeutic treatments administered by professional counsellors and therapists.
There are a couple of choices for those who want to get started on a programme of alcohol rehab. You can choose an outpatient or inpatient programme; there are a number of different organisations that provide them.
For the most part, inpatient programmes are provided by private clinics. These residential programmes are the best choice for those who want to recover in the shortest space of time. The programme is concentrated and intensive and typically lasts for between six and eight weeks. Nonetheless, those who have been abusing alcohol along with another chemical substance may require a longer programme, as will those with both alcoholism and mental health problems.
If you choose an inpatient programme, you can expect to leave your everyday life and move into the clinic, where you will spend almost all of every day in treatment. The environment will be free from distractions and there will be no access to any temptations that might get in the way of your recovery.
One of the biggest advantages of an inpatient programme in a private clinic is the fact that treatment can usually begin within a couple of days. If there is a pressing need for treatment, the patient can usually be admitted immediately.
The alternative to an inpatient programme is a day care based outpatient programme that is provided by various organisations including charities, local support groups, local counsellors, and the NHS. This approach to recovery is less intensive than inpatient programmes and, as such, programmes tend to run for longer.
With free programmes provided by local support groups, charities, and the NHS, there tends to be waiting lists because these organisations often struggle to keep up with the demand and they rely heavily on funding and their own fundraising efforts.
Choosing the Best Rehab Programme
Knowing the differences between the two types of rehab programme may help to give you a better idea of what to expect. However, that might not make it any easier for you to understand what type of programme is best for you.
Before you decide on an inpatient or outpatient programme, it is a good idea to consider your own needs. For example, those with a severe alcohol addiction may fare better in a residential programme where they have no access to alcohol. The structured environment may also help in terms of forcing them to focus on their recovery and nothing else. People with a less severe illness may benefit from a programme of detox followed by an outpatient programme.
Nevertheless, there is more to consider than just how severe the illness is. For example, there are some people who have a very severe addiction to alcohol but who could not spend weeks away from home or work and would therefore need an outpatient programme to recover.
Here at Middlegate, we understand that there are a lot of things to consider before deciding on the best rehab programme. If you would like help finding the best rehab programme in your area, please give us a call and we can help.
What is Aftercare for?
Once a programme of detox and rehabilitation has been completed, the journey does not end. Moving from an addiction to a substance-free life is not easy and some people find the transition quite challenging.
Studies have shown that the first year after rehab is a time when most recovering addicts are vulnerable to the threat of a relapse. Aftercare is usually included as part of a rehabilitation programme and gives the patient the opportunity to continue with regular counselling or phone contact as and when required.
Aftercare is also provided by way of local fellowship support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous. Getting involved with a fellowship support group can be an effective way to keep sobriety on track, and you will get the opportunity to get involved with a completely new network of like-minded individuals.
In the early days, you may need to attend group meetings quite often to help you maintain your sobriety. As time goes by and your recovery gets stronger, you may want to reduce the number of meetings you attend each week or month. However, some recovering alcoholics will continue attending meetings for the rest of their lives so that they avoid complacency and are always reminded of why they wanted to get sober in the first place.
If you would like more information on alcohol addiction and the recovery process, please do not hesitate to get in touch with Middlegate. We have a team of advisors ready to take your call to provide the information that you need to get yourself or a loved one back on track.
No matter what time of day or night, we are here to take your call. Whether you want advice or simply someone to talk to, you can call us today.