Alcohol is one of the most commonly consumed substances in the world and has led to the abundance of alcohol rehab centers. In fact, nearly 90% of people have had a drink at least once their lifetime. For the most part, people are social drinkers who enjoy the occasional sip now and then. In many countries around the world, alcohol is just another part of daily life and can be found at sporting events, music shows, and intimate gatherings.
However, alcohol is not entirely safe. From cognitive impairment to reduced inhibitions to more dangerous effects such as loss of liver function and alcohol induced neuropathy, alcohol is far from a harmless substance. Many people may develop what is known as alcohol use disorder, aka alcoholism.
Alcoholism, like other forms of substance abuse, is a disease. The problem leads to many symptoms including cravings, loss of control, physical dependence, and tolerance. These symptoms are major contributing factors to why alcoholics can’t stop drinking. Along with these problems, there is also the factor of changes in brain chemistry.
Brain chemistry plays an important role in alcoholism. Excessive drinking and positive reinforcement associated with alcohol use can eventually lead to changes with dopamine release in the brain.
Overall, there are an array of factors that contribute to alcohol dependence, not only with brain chemistry but underlying factors as well. Things like mental health, environmental influences, and genetics can all contribute to a drinking problem. However, one thing is clear: if you or a loved one has a problem with alcohol, or another substance, seeking out alcohol rehab centers should be a top priority.
What to Expect From Alcohol Rehab Centers
Some might believe that quitting drinking can be easy and is the safe thing to do, however, if the problem is serious enough, quitting cold turkey without medical supervision can lead to a number of health complications. The withdrawal period from alcohol can cause problems like seizures, delirium tremens, hallucinations, anxiety, depression, and can even cause death. Because of this, the early stages of sobriety poses a risk for many people.
With that said, sobriety is still achievable in a safe way. Alcohol rehab centers can offer patients a detoxification process that will allow them to deal with the initial stages of sobriety in a safe way under medical supervision.
Moreover, getting through the withdrawal symptoms early in treatment will free the body and mind for the later parts of treatment that deal with education and therapy. Here are the components of Alcohol Rehab Centers that you can find at most any facility or program.
- Expect to be there over 20 days to more than 1 month, depending on the program
- Build lifelong friendships
- Repair family relationships
- Work on yourself
Beyond the mental battle is the physical battle one must endure to kick any addiction. Alcohol harms the body, and while the occasional drink isn’t a cause for concern, regular heavy drinking and alcoholism has an overall cumulative negative effect. It causes malnutrition, dehydration, complicates diabetes and other diseases, infertility, a thinning of the bones, heart damage, cancer, fatigue, brain damage, and so much more.
Because of the impact on the body, a full detox is required to not only rid the body of the toxic substance, but to heal the body. Re-hydration is necessary. Eating the right nutrient-dense clean foods will be required. It will be one of the most important parts of the entire rehab process to achieve success.
In Group Therapy, patients will convene in a group setting with one or more therapists/counselors to learn about the recovery process. Topics can range from 12-Step, SMART Recovery, and Seeking Safety to broader topics such as family dynamics, the disease of addiction, and skills for fighting cravings. Group therapy may sound like the last place you want to deal with your personal issues, but the truth is that many patients share similar stories and points of view.
At many facilities, patients can receive more than 20 hours of group therapy per week. Group therapy helps foster openness and honesty and is a great chance to offer support to fellow patients in recovery. It may be difficult at first, but sharing stories can help build camaraderie, relieve burdens, and allow for emotional healing. Many friendships forged in group therapy can last well into recovery.
Patients may also participate in individual therapy. This portion of treatment forms the backbone of recovery as it provides the kind of personal and deep recovery work that an individual needs to maintain sobriety in the long term. Each individual therapy session takes place between the patient and their assigned therapist. Topics covered can include:
- Personal history
- Mental health care (dual diagnosis)
- Dialectical behavioral therapy
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one of the most useful tools used in addiction treatment centers. CBT is typically conducted in individual therapy because it asks the patient to address specific and personal triggers that lead to substance abuse.
Once these trigger moments are identified, the therapist will work to help the patient develop healthier responses to those triggers and defeat negative modes of thinking. In these one-on-one sessions, patients will be asked to open up and discuss some of their deepest insecurities, fears, and more. Although it may feel painful, the result is incredibly beneficial.
Family therapy is an option that some treatment centers offer for those who need it. Addiction is often called a “family disease” because it is typically inherited genetically and fostered in an unhealthy or dysfunctional family environment. Addiction can infect family relationships in a multitude of ways, so family therapy is useful as its own form of therapy because it can address and help to resolve the numerous issues that are present within a family that may be contributing to an addiction.
Meals & Activities
It’s equally important to spend time socializing with other patients as it is to get tasty and quality meals. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner offer a chance for patients to fraternize and learn about one another outside of sessions. Snacks are usually available to be requested at any time.
Patients may also be exposed to alternative sessions for treatment, such as music therapy, fitness activities, or other enrichment activities. Typically, patients will take part in group activities that add a little bit of levity and enjoyment to the recovery process. Sessions are assigned based on overlapping patient needs and further address topics that have been raised in prior sessions.
Patients in alcohol rehab centers also take part in a 12 Step or similarly structured meeting. In a 12 Step meeting, there is typically no set structure or topic to follow and patients are able to voluntarily give voice to their thoughts.
This can involve storytelling, feedback on activities, advice for other patients, questions about treatment, and more. These meetings provide a safe and structured environment for patients to unwind, process the day’s learning, and share with their peers.
Treatment centers generally offer both individual and group therapy sessions that can help patients learn more about the nature of addiction and how they can promote and maintain their own sobriety after inpatient rehab.
Following inpatient, it is recommended that people new to sobriety utilize an outpatient treatment program that can allow them continue to expand their sober support network while also being encouraged to live an overall healthy lifestyle.
Understanding the Disease of Alcoholism
Before we can conquer alcoholism and rehab, we must try to understand how people get addicted to alcohol in the first place. In a lot of ways, alcohol is ingrained into our culture. It’s a way to relax and unwind.
To the normal and/or social drinker, alcohol is a very pleasurable experience. It’s what we often turn to in both bad times and good. The problem can be the way our body works or complex chemical balance. When were down, stressed, or going through a rough patch, we may turn to alcohol a little more to get us through the day.
This is really how lot of addiction starts. Our bodies start to crave the more pleasurable substances. And well people who become addicted to alcohol are seen as selfish people who can’t control their inhibitions, science tells us something different altogether. It all starts and ends with the brain.
What to Expect in an Alcohol Rehab Center
Recent investments in how to study the brain have revealed how easy it is for people to become addicted to certain substances. It doesn’t even have to be a substance that we eat or drink. People can become addicted to gambling or sex. These things feel good to us during a period where we might feel we need a little boost to keep us going.
Individuals really get addicted not to the specific function or substance, but to the release of chemicals in our brain that make us feel better. A lot of it is genetics, which is why alcoholism can seem to permeate throughout an entire family. This means that someone can be predisposed to addiction. This is all due to a lack of dopamine receptors in the brain.
Once we realize that is not actually the alcohol, but it’s the feel-good chemicals that are released in our brain that we become addicted to, it helps us to understand addiction better. You can’t fight something if you don’t understand the enemy. And because it’s not a lack of willpower, an alcoholic will need help to overcome the issues in the brain.
Alcoholism is a debilitating disease that affects both mental and physical functioning. There are a number of contributing factors when it comes to excessive alcohol use. Everything from withdrawal symptoms to brain chemistry to environmental factors can all play a role in someone not being able to put the bottle down. Regardless of the reason, treatment should be a top priority for someone who is dealing with a substance abuse problem.
At Landmark Recovery, we can offer patients access to a detoxification program that will help them safely withdrawal from alcohol, or other substances, under medical supervision. Following detox, patients will have access to a number of therapy programs both during inpatient and outpatient treatment that can not only educate them on addiction-related issues but will also help to put them in touch with people in similar predicaments. If you are interested in seeking treatment from alcohol rehab centers for you or a loved one, please reach out to our admissions team today and visit our website to learn more.