What Is Alcohol Addiction Treatment Like?

An alcohol addiction occurs when someone allows his or her use of alcohol to spiral out of control. While most people who drink alcohol do so in moderation, others regularly drink to excess. The UK government has guidelines in place for the safe consumption of alcohol, stating that no more than fourteen units per week should be consumed by adults. The guidelines also say that these units should not be used in one go and should instead be spread across the week, with a few days kept free of alcohol.

Staying within these guidelines is considered low risk when it comes to the development of certain illnesses, but it can also help to prevent the onset of alcohol addiction. Those who drink more than the recommended weekly allowance of alcohol raise their risk of becoming physically dependent on the substance and of subsequently developing an addiction.

Once an alcohol addiction develops, it is likely that the affected person will need treatment to get better. But what is alcohol addiction treatment like? Do you need it?

Do You Need Treatment for an Alcohol Addiction?

If you have developed an alcohol addiction, you will need to be treated with a comprehensive programme of recovery. But before you can even find out what is alcohol addiction treatment like, it is important to consider how serious your situation is and whether it actually warrants treatment or not.

Most of those who have developed an addiction to alcohol will be unable to see it for themselves. As their minds are clouded by alcohol, they find it hard to think clearly, with many being in denial about their problems.

It is often family members and friends who will spot the signs of abuse and addiction, and this is usually long before the addict is ready to accept help. If your loved ones have raised questions about your drinking, then maybe it would be a good idea to listen to them.

Consider your drinking habits for a moment and whether you are drinking more now than you did in the past. If this is the case, it is probably the result of an increased tolerance to alcohol. This is what happens when your brain and body adapt to alcohol and produce fewer feel-good chemicals when you drink. So, while one glass of wine might have been enough to relax you and make you feel good when you first began drinking, you may find that now you need two glasses to give you the same satisfaction.

An increased tolerance to alcohol means that you are likely to have increased your consumption levels. You should know that this is a cycle that continues and the more alcohol you drink, the more likely it is that this too will not be enough after a while.

Continuous abuse of alcohol often leads to physical dependence, which causes your body to react when the effects wear off. At this point, you might find that you experience withdrawal symptoms as your body craves the substance it has learned to rely on.

Crossing that line from alcohol abuse to alcohol addiction is often hard to see. But if your alcohol consumption is now having a negative impact on your life, it is likely that you are already addicted.

How Can Alcohol Addiction Affect Your Life?

If you are addicted to alcohol, you will probably find that no matter how much you want to stop drinking, you are unable to. You might have tried to quit already but found yourself going back again and again. You will drink alcohol even though it is causing problems within your relationships and for your finances because you have no control over your need for it.

Your continuous need for alcohol is likely to be putting a strain on your relationships with those around you. Your family members and friends will more than likely not understand why you continue to abuse alcohol and why you do not just stop drinking – especially when it is causing harm to your life as well as theirs. They will not understand that you have no choice over your drinking and that you are caught in a cycle of abuse that you cannot extricate yourself from.

Aside from that, you may not be thinking clearly anyway. To you, alcohol might still be something good and the only thing that makes you feel better. Up until now anyway, you might not have been able to see alcohol as the root of your problems.

But what you should be aware of is that alcohol addiction can destroy your life. Alcohol has been linked to hundreds of different illnesses and chronic abuse of it can result in life-threatening conditions developing, such as heart disease, liver disease, and some forms of cancer. In the short term, you could find that your blood pressure increases, your weight goes up, and your risk of developing type 2 diabetes increases.

Finances are also profoundly affected by alcohol addiction. As you are probably already aware, funding an alcohol habit does not come cheap. As your need for alcohol grows, you will need to spend increasingly more money on it, and because your ability to function is also be impaired, you will find it harder to earn an income. You will be in danger of losing your job and if this is the case, your financial situation will take a hit, which further impacts your relationships with those you love.

What to Expect from Alcohol Treatment?

If you know that you have a problem with alcohol and that you are going to have to get help, it is natural to be asking the question ‘what is alcohol addiction treatment like?’. After all, you are not going to want to sign up for something until you know what to expect.

What you should know is that alcohol addiction treatment takes time. This illness is not something that you can recover from overnight. But if you are prepared to commit to a recovery programme and are willing to be in for the long haul, there is no reason at all that you cannot make a full recovery.

Treatment typically begins with a programme of detoxification. This is the process that will help you break free from alcohol, and it starts when you quit drinking. It is your body’s way of healing itself and trying to get back to normal after possibly years of abuse.

If you have been a heavy drinker for many years, then it is wise for you to complete this process in a special detox clinic. Alcohol detox can be a complicated process and you will need to be monitored at all times. In a detox clinic, staff will take care of your needs and make you more comfortable. They will also ensure your safety throughout the process.

Alcohol detox typically takes between seven and ten days, during which time you are likely to experience a range of withdrawal symptoms that could make you feel quite unwell. However, within a detox clinic, many of the symptoms can be prevented while those that do occur can be effectively managed.

What about Rehab?

Rehab begins after detox and is the process that will give you the tools required to live a sober life going forward. Rehab involves a lot of counselling and takes place in either a residential or outpatient clinic.

You will more than likely get a personal treatment plan tailored to you and your requirements. Although your plan is individual to you and your personal situation, it is likely to include some of the following:

  • Individual counselling
  • Group therapy
  • 12-step therapy
  • Psychodynamic therapy
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy
  • Motivational enhancement therapy
  • Dialectical behaviour therapy
  • Contingency management
  • Family therapy.

Your plan might also include holistic treatments that are used alongside traditional therapies to help provide a whole-person approach that treats your mind, body, and spirit rather than just the illness itself.

‘What is alcohol addiction treatment like?’ is a question that many alcoholics want the answers to before committing to a programme of recovery. For more information about any aspect of the recovery process, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us here at Middlegate.

close help
Who am I contacting?

Calls and contact requests are answered by admissions at

UK Addiction Treatment Group.

We look forward to helping you take your first step.

0808 250 2196