Rehabs and treatment centers have long been associated with helping people who have drink problems. The name given to someone who has a drink problem is normally that of an alcoholic, but there are a number of other names floating around as well.
The most common is something like alcohol addiction, a dipsomaniac or someone who abuses alcohol. To be honest, the name is fairly irrelevant, but can be an important issue in helping the person accept and understand that they have a drink problem.
It is often recommended that someone who thinks they have a drink problem should get a formal assessment, either through a primary care giver, or someone who specialises in alcoholism/alcohol addiction.
Whilst this is generally good advice, the problem is that if someone is an alcoholic, they are likely to be in denial of it.
Admission and acceptance of a problem with alcohol normally takes quite a long time, and is normally precipitated by some disaster in the life of a problem drinker.
There is also an awful lot of medical information available as to what constitutes an alcoholic, or alcohol addiction. Again this can be valuable, but more likely for those who are trying to support or help the person with a drink problem, rather than the alcoholic themselves.
There is a saying in Alcoholics Anonymous that if drink this costing you more than money, then you have a problem.
This in many ways is often good enough to get someone to accept they may have a problem, and through seeking help are able to begin to address both the drinking, and any underlying emotional issues that may need to be dealt with.
Not everyone who comes of alcohol will need a detox, but it is probably true to say everyone coming of alcohol should really be assessed as to whether they need one or not.
This assessment can be done when someone enters a rehab, or by a primary physician beforehand.
Any alcohol rehab should have the necessary facilities to undertake a full and thorough medical assessment of whether the individual needs to be detoxed and not, and if they do, then rehab should have the facilities or access to the facilities in order to to be able do this.
Some rehabs will be able to do this on site, others may have arrangements with a local hospital or other clinical facility where it can be done.
This is especially important, as anyone who does need a detox from alcohol addiction needs to have withdrawal symptoms monitored and dealt with appropriately, which can sometimes involve medication.
Addiction treatment programs
These programs are at the heart of what happens in a rehab or treatment center.
When someone is admitted, and after an initial assessment, an individualised program needs to be put in place that covers all or some of the addiction treatment programs that the rehab facility has to offer.
These programs are primarily aimed at helping to begin the process of understanding the underlying emotional and behavioural issues that are part of someone’s alcoholism.
For someone who is an alcoholic, they normally see drinking as being the solution to their problems, not the problem itself.
This means that long-term recovery involves looking at and processing a number of emotionally turbulent issues that have normally fuelled their drinking
For many, this is a lifetime process, but begins in earnest in a rehab or treatment center.
The addiction treatment programs that a rehab offers, are a key element of this, and should be looked at carefully when deciding which to apply to for admission.
The vast majority of rehab and treatment centers utilise the experience of 12 step programs, primarily that of Alcoholics Anonymous. They will do this as part of a person’s treatment program, but also as an introduction to the main source of after-care available.
All 12-step programs have no affiliation with any rehab or treatment center, but local AA groups will normally work closely with any facility.
This can include hosting meetings at the facility itself, local AA members going into the facility to give talks, and local AA members helping to look out for people once they are released from rehab.
In addition, an alcohol rehab is likely to have its own after-care programme.
This is normally intended to bridge the gap between leaving rehab and re-entry to normal life.
Rehab is widely acknowledged as being a bit of a bubble, and this is often seen as being one of its primary benefits.
This bubble allows people to get away from their normal life, it can essentially buy them some time to begin to address the issues that they need to in relation to their drink problem.
It is also recognised that the need to re-enter life after this bubble needs to be addressed early on in treatment as well, and as such the after-care process becomes an important element early on in the treatment.
The after-care arrangements that the rehab makes itself can vary. It normally includes a regular meeting, quite often monthly, which ex-residents can attend and talk about their experiences.
These meetings can also be done online, and there’s quite often an annual social event, such as a barbecue, to which all ex-residents are normally invited.
Some rehabs will also offer to residents the opportunity to contact staff at the center once they have left, if they feel the need to talk to someone about any specific issues that may arise.
An alcohol detox is effectively the process of managing the side-effects both physical and mental of withdrawal from alcoholism, or from a prolonged use of alcohol and possibly other drugs or mood altering substances as well. The nature of an alcohol detox should not be confused with a possible debate about the nature of alcoholism or alcohol addiction.
If an individual has been seriously misusing alcohol for a significant period of time, then the process of stopping drinking needs to be carefully assessed and managed, irrespective of whether the individual is an alcoholic or not or thinks they may be. Those are questions and issues that can be dealt with afterwards.
The important thing about a medical detox is that it is properly assessed and overseen by qualified medical staff. An alcohol detox is most commonly done in the context of a rehab or treatment center, although there are other facilities that can perform the detox on its own.
If an individual is entering a rehab for alcoholism or alcohol addiction, then it is important that they check that the rehab employs sufficiently qualified and experienced clinical staff that can assess the need for a medical detox, and can manage the process of a detox accordingly.
Some rehabs do not have these facilities themselves, but do have arrangements with local clinical settings such as a hospital that can manage the detox on their behalf. This should be satisfactory, but is worth further investigation prior to admission to the rehab.
Alcohol detox– drugs
It is quite likely for an individual who has been addicted to or misusing alcohol to have also been addicted to various other types of drugs, both legal and illegal, prescription and non-prescription.
A rehab will normally indicate that has experience of managing the withdrawal process of a broad range of drugs, which are likely to include the following – benzodiazepines, cocaine, crack, crystal meth, Demirel, ecstasy, heroin, marijuana, methamphetamine, methadone, morphine, OxyContin, Valium, Vicodin etc.
Anyone entering rehab or considering a medical detox of any description needs to fully brief the clinical staff who are assessing the detox as to the alcohol and drug use over a significant period of time.
Not everyone who enters rehab or stop drinking needs a managed alcohol detox. However it is important that anyone entering rehab is typically assessed to establish whether or not such a detox is needed.