ALCOHOL / DRUG REHAB AND TREATMENT
Most people have probably heard of the terms ‘going into rehab’ or ‘going to Alcoholics Anonymous ‘, and may have some idea of what they mean, but when it comes to actually getting help for anyone with an alcohol or drug problem, it can still seem a pretty daunting process.
It is important to know that there are no good or bad treatment options, but there are a number of different possibilities open to people, in part depending on where you live.
For most people recovery from alcoholism and drug addiction is a lifelong process and getting help at the outset can take a number of different routes. For some people it is a residential rehab, for others it is some type of day treatment, others go straight to meetings of AA / NA.
It is fair to say that the majority of people get sober and stay sober by going to meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. This can be done completely independent of a rehab or as part of a treatment program.
These are some of the questions to ask which can help make understanding the whole process, and choosing a rehab, much easier.
Drug and Alcohol Rehab – Five Important Questions
- What is an Alcohol / Drug Rehab or Treatment Center ?
- Does Rehab Work ?
- What is Alcoholism ?
- What is Alcoholics Anonymous ?
- What is a Drug Rehab ?
What is an Alcohol / Drug Rehab ?
An alcohol rehab is normally described as a clinical facilty, which makes it sound like a hospital.
In fact most alcohol rehabs are set in fairly luxurious surroundings, and are called clinical because they employ medical and therapeutic staff.
An alcohol rehab is normally residential. with clients or patients usually staying fot about 28/30 days.
Some alcohol rehabs or treatment centers offer ongoing treatment after this, also on a residential basis for up to several months, normally in blocks of 30 days or so.
An alcohol rehab can also be a facility which offer two types of outpatient care. These are usually known as Partial Hospitalization Treatment (PHT) and Intensive Out Patient Program (IOP) .
PHT refers to clients who attend a day program on a 9/5 basis, usually various types of group therapy and Life skills work, and return to their own home in the evening.
IOP normally refers to clients who continue to work at their normal job, and attend evening groups/classses doing similar work.
Is the Rehab Licensed and Accredited ?
Many people decide to go to an alcohol rehab or treatment center that is far far away from where they live, often in another country.
For this reason it is hugely important to check that the rehab is licensed and accredited in accordance with the local and national legal requirements.
These requirements vary state by state, country by country and should be checked carefully.
Does an Alcohol/Drug Rehab Work ?
Perhaps the most obvious question that people ask, is also the most difficult to answer. Someone enters an alcohol rehab normally on a residential basis for about 30 days or so.
This is a relatively short period of time, and as such only a limited number of key objectives can be achieved.
The work that an alcohol rehab or treatment center does, primarily consists of helping an alcoholic or an addict to understand the nature of their illness, and lay the ground for permanent sobriety.
Long-term sobriety depends on a number of factors, the majority of which are developed over time.
A few things are important, but the primary one is whether or not the individual has reached a point, internally, where they are willing to change the direction of their lives.
The seed for this may be planted in an alcohol rehab or treatment center, but this will not be known until much later on.
What does a Rehab cost ?
Alcohol Rehabs are generally quite secretive about their costs for treatment, as are hospitals, for similar reasons.
The majority of people entering an alcohol rehab will be covered under their insurance plans, and the rehab will negotiate directly with the insurance company.
Even if this applies, it is worth being aware that there will be certain costs that are not covered under an insurance plan and will be charged to the individual directly.
These should be specified and agreed at the outset or admission to the alcohol rehab so there are no nasty surprises at the end.
As a guide, Hazelden estimates that a 30 day stay in one of their alcohol rehabs or treatment centers will cost approximately between $25,000 and $30,000.
This is probably a fairly conservative estimate, and the cost could be considerably more.
The cost of a luxury alcohol rehab or treatment center in somewhere like Malibu is estimated to be approximately between $100,000 and $125,000 for a four-week or 30 day admission.
Some alcohol rehabs do have their own credit facilities whereby they offer a loan with long-term repayments to an individual who is not covered by insurance.
This should be seen as a last resort and entered into with extreme caution.
What happens in a Rehab?
There are two things primarily that a rehab should focus on.
The first is that every alcohol rehab should have the ability to assess whether or not a detox is needed.
Any individual entering an alcohol rehab who has used alcohol and/or drugs for a considerable period of time runs the risk of serious withdrawals, potentially life threatening.
A rehab needs to be able to assess if a medical detox is needed. Some individuals will need a detox and others will not, but the alcohol rehab needs to be able to clinically make that judgement.
If a detox is needed, the alcohol rehab should have its own medical and clinical facilities to oversee and perform such a detox in a safe and professional manner.
If the rehab or treatment center doesn’t have its own clinical facilities then it should have arrangements with a local clinical facility such as a hospital who can oversee and performed a detox on behalf of the rehab.
Once a detox has been assessed and performed if necessary, the main work of an alcohol rehab will be of a therapeutic nature.
This can take many forms and directions, depending on the type and philosophy of the addiction treatment programs that the rehab offers, and the types of addiction that it offers treatment for.
The essential work of all these therapeutic programs should be to help the individual understand the nature of alcoholism or addiction as being an illness.
This can be done in a variety of ways, but the majority of alcohol rehabs are what as known as 12-step based rehabs, the type of work often being referred to as emotional sobriety
This means that they base their approach to addiction treatment on the 12 step model of Alcoholics Anonymous, although there is no direct connection with that organisation.
An alcohol rehab is likely to encourage individuals to attend meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous whilst in rehab, and once the individual has left as a way of support and after-care and ensuring long-term sobriety.
What is Alcoholism ?
Alcoholism has been around for many centuries and there are many different words and terms to describe it.
People still debate today what alcoholism really means, and often people will refer to problem drinking, dipsomania, alcohol dependence, alcohol addiction, alcohol abuse etc.
Alcoholism is generally understood to be a long-term progressive illness, and any individual suffering from it is thereby termed an alcoholic.
The exact meaning of alcoholism is much better understood in many ways by listening to people who are alcoholics and are sober give an account of how alcoholism has affected their lives, and how they have recovered from it.
It is worth mentioning, although too many people it is a bit of a moot point, that there is a distinction between an alcoholic and a really heavy drinker in terms of their ability to stop and give up, even though they may at some level be addicted to it.
The individual has to assess for themselves at some point whether or not they are an alcoholic and precisely what that means to them.
Does an Alcohol/Drug Rehab do Detox ?
An alcohol rehab or treatment center should absolutely have the ability, clinically, to assess an individual and make a medical judgement as to whether or not the individual needs to undergo a medical detox, depending on which drugs have been used recently, with or without alcohol.
An alcohol rehab should also have either its own clinical facilities or access to nearby clinical facilities were a detox can be performed and overseen in a safe and secure manner.
The majority of rehabs or treatment centers are fairly good on this but it is an important point to check prior to admission.
Some rehabs refer to what is known as an holistic detox which is a completely different process altogether.
The term holistic detox is often described in fairly vague terms, but normally refers to a process where the individual is cleansed internally of a number of so called impurities.
These impurities can range from caffeine to nicotine to thoughts about sex or other natural but difficult subjects.
Any rehab offering what is referred to as an holistic detox should be investigated carefully to see what they mean.
The term itself sounds very attractive, but often the rehab or treatment center is using it to lure someone into treatment rather than offering them a meaningful or really helpful recovery process.
Does an Alcohol Rehab make you go to Alcoholics Anonymous ?
The majority of rehabs will make it a condition of admission that the individual agrees to go to a number of meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous during their stay there.
The rehab will either host meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous on site, or will help the individual get to meetings that are local.
There are a number of alcohol rehabs or treatment centers that are not based on the 12 step model of Alcoholics Anonymous and these can be based on what might be referred to as a life skills model rather than the 12 step model.
What is a Christian Rehab?
Many people look on line and other places for what they refer to as a Christian rehab.
Strictly speaking this is normally a rehab that is much more of a long-term project than the normal 30 day admission, that speaks to dealing with addiction in a Christian context.
Often a Christian rehab will undertake to look after someone for between nine months and two years.
Often this is linked to a admission into a particular church that the rehab is connected to. The recovery process in a Christian rehab is normally exclusively Bible based or referred to as faith-based.
The daily routine will be a fairly strict regimen of prayer and worship and Bible study throughout the day.
Some people are attracted by this concept, for others it will seem to be a fairly intense almost cult like process.
Anyone wishing to enter a Christian rehab should also consider that the majority of rehabs or treatment centers base their addiction treatment programs on a number of therapeutic principles which are essentially spiritual, and that the majority of rehabs encourage individuals to establish some type of relationship with a God of their understanding.
Many people often really misunderstand that the process of recovery in Alcoholics Anonymous, but which often begins in a rehab, is essentially a spiritual one and is fundamentally based on the notion of a God centred recovery, with the additional freedom that the individual can decide what this means for them.
What is a Luxury Rehab ?
A luxury rehab is a relatively new concept in terms of treatment for alcoholism and other addictions.
For many people the idea of a rehab is that of a fairly stark place, where people are almost interned for about 30 days and live under a fairly strict regime in terms of diet and exercise and attending group therapy.
This is far from the case in the majority of rehabs or treatment centers , but still persists as an image that people have of what a rehab is about.
A luxury rehab sells itself on being the other end of the extreme, where the individual is looked after and pampered to their hearts desire, both literally and professionally.
A luxury rehab is often situated in somewhere like Malibu or other exotic locations, and the accommodation and regime would be akin to a top hotel or country club, with levels of service to match.
Many people view the term luxury rehab with some caution, as it appeals to individuals who would shy away from the more traditional image of a rehab.
Some people also argue that the slightly austere regime in a number of alcohol rehabs or treatment centers are a key element in helping the alcoholic or addict to break down the defence mechanisms that they have established as a way of protecting themselves and protecting their illness.
The argument is that a luxury rehab goes against this principle, and in some ways reinforces the very embedded or strong emotional coping mechanisms that the alcoholic has established as part of their illness .
The counter argument people will put forward is that a luxury rehab will entice people into a rehab where they would otherwise not be willing to go, and the level of therapeutic work can be done in any environment, irrespective of its austerity or luxury.
There is also a belief that a luxury rehab, because of its cost and enticement, takes advantage of people who are vulnerable, even though they may have a considerable amount of money.
Alcohol/Drug Rehab Staff
When deciding what rehab to choose, one of the criteria that should be used is the number of clinical and therapeutic staff employed by the rehab, along with their qualifications and level of experience.
Whilst this doesn’t necessarily guarantee anything, it is reflective of the intent of the rehab to provide high level clinical care.
Given that the rehab should be overseeing a medical detox and its own therapeutic programs, quality of staff is very important.
Rehab Admissions Process
The admission process normally begins with a phone call to the rehab or treatment center , and whilst they will want a lot of information from you, it is also your opportunity to check and clarify information with them that may not be clear from their website, regarding staffing levels, therapeutic programs and the day to day structure of the rehab.
Most rehabs have a very specific and detailed policy about what can be bought into and used in a rehab – this is one fairly typical example. Many people find these types of restricion very difficult to handle, and it can be a good idea to clarify these rules prior to entry.
What is a Drug Rehab ?
Most rehabs or treatment centers will style themselves as drug and alcohol treatment centers. A rehab should specify on its website the types of drug, both prescription and non prescription that it has experience dealing with.
This is particularly important if a medical detox is needed.
The work of the rehab should be largely therapeutic once any detox has been done.