Alcohol rehab typically involves detoxification and medication treatment, with patients also directed toward ongoing therapy and counseling programs. Alcohol rehab helps people get sober in a safe and secure medical environment, while also offering them the chance to receive further treatment and tackle the underlying cause of addiction.
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Alcohol rehab enables patients to cease alcohol consumption is a safe setting, with drug treatment generally prescribed to manage the withdrawal syndrome. Once a patient has been evaluated and stabilized, they may also receive further treatment or be directed toward specific recovery programs. The alcohol withdrawal process can be dangerous and even fatal if not treated correctly, with medical supervision always recommended to anyone going through withdrawal.
While detoxification and withdrawal management are the cornerstones of rehabilitation, effective treatment also requires ongoing therapy and relapse prevention. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), behavioral therapy and aftercare programs should always play a role in alcohol treatment.
If left untreated, abuse can quickly lead to dependence, with the existence of withdrawal symptoms the hallmark signs of physical addiction. Alcohol rehabilitation clinics can deal with the entire range of substance use disorders, from heavy drinking and other forms of abuse through to full-scale dependence.
A number of treatment options are available to alcoholics, depending on the extent of addiction and expectations regarding treatment. Intensive residential programs are often recommended for long-term alcoholics and those entering treatment for the first time, with programs typically lasting from 30-90 days. Partial hospitalization may be required in some cases, with these treatment programs set up to monitor patients for 3-5 days a week, 4-6 hours per day.
Intensive out-patient programs are also available from some treatment centers, with patients living at home but meeting a few times a week for 2-4 hours per day. Counseling programs are less intensive, with individual, group, and family counseling a great option for recovering alcoholics or those with a mild problem. Sober living and brief intervention represent different models of treatment, with some centers specializing in a particular approach and others offering a range of programs.
Treatment can take place both with or without medication treatment, with drugs generally used in moderate and severe cases to manage the withdrawal syndrome. There are four medications currently approved for alcoholism in the United States: disulfiram, two forms of naltrexone, and acamprosate.
A range of additional medications are also used on a regular basis, including benzodiazepine drugs such as Valium and Serax. Benzodiazepines are useful in the management of acute alcohol withdrawal, with these drugs typically prescribed to alcoholics for insomnia and anxiety management. The administration of vitamins also plays an important role in some treatment programs, as does nitrous oxide and sodium oxybate.