Alcohol Rehab: How Effective is It?
Table of Contents
- Alcohol Rehab: How Effective is It?
- Avoiding Alcohol Abuse in the Short-Term
- Long-Term Recovery from Alcohol Addiction
- Is Alcohol Rehab Effective: Understanding Relapse Rates
- What are the Warning Signs of a Drinking Relapse?
- Why You Should Seek Professional Substance Abuse Treatment
- The Different Levels of Care in the Alcohol Rehab Process
- The Importance of an Individualized Treatment Plan for Rehab Success
- Addiction Treatment Methods Used in Alcohol Rehab
- Find Alcohol Rehab Programs Today!
- Medically Reviewed By
Alcohol rehabilitation (rehab) is a common recommendation for people affected by serious drinking-related problems. Without proper care, alcoholism and alcohol abuse can exact widespread damage to every aspect of your daily life. But is alcohol rehab effective?
Before you enter rehab, you may wonder about the effectiveness of alcohol treatment programs. Do such programs actually work? The short answer is yes, but context is important. Treatment of alcohol use disorders shows a similar level of effectiveness as the treatment of other chronic diseases and conditions.
Alcohol rehab works for a significant percentage of people who enroll in treatment, and weighing AA versus rehab can help you look at exactly what form of treatment is right for your needs. However, a range of factors can have an impact on the outcome for each alcoholic.
Let’s take a closer look at this critical issue and get a better idea of the potential results of rehabilitation.
Avoiding Alcohol Abuse in the Short-Term
When discussing alcohol rehab success rates, a good starting point is to identify the number of people who relapse shortly after completing treatment. (Relapse is the term experts use to describe a return to a harmful pattern of substance use by someone in recovery.)
There is no single study that provides a comprehensive view of short-term, alcohol-related relapses. However, many researchers have explored the issue in substantial detail. One recent example comes from a small-scale study analysis published in the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism.
The research team conducting this analysis found that about 42 percent of those in rehab managed to remain relapse-free for a 20-week period following the beginning of treatment. In other words, while relapses were relatively common, many people experienced short-term benefits from their time in rehab. For an alcoholic the short term success is important.
When it comes to addiction treatment outcomes, those who do not seek continuing support after initially completing alcohol or drug rehab programs will be more likely to relapse.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) states that treating addiction is an ongoing process. This is why successful addiction treatment most often takes place for those who continue to participate in ongoing care services even after they have left their rehab centers.
Long-Term Recovery from Alcohol Addiction
Longer-term success rates for alcohol rehabilitation are significantly more difficult to research accurately than short-term rates. It is easy for an alcoholic to hide their struggle with addiction since alcohol is legal. Some of the best available information on this topic comes from an ongoing federal project called NESARC (National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions). NESARC takes a periodic, nationwide look at the outcomes of people recovering from alcoholism and/or alcohol abuse.
Moderation vs Abstinence in Recovery
The latest available results from this survey show that long-term success rates vary greatly among three categories of alcohol usage:
- Returned to use (relapse): Those who return to a risky pattern of drinking despite their known alcohol problems.
- Modified use: Those who still drink, but cut their intake down to a less risky level.
- Abstinent: Those who quit drinking entirely.
A little over half of people who return to risky drinking behaviors will relapse back into a diagnosable state of alcohol misuse within three years. Among people who make significant cutbacks in their drinking levels, the relapse rate falls to about 27 percent. And among those alcoholics who stop drinking altogether, the rate falls to 7 percent.
The dramatic decrease in diagnosed alcohol use disorders with modified drinking and abstinence explains why abstinence is typically viewed as the recommended goal for people going through alcohol rehab.
Is Alcohol Rehab Effective: Understanding Relapse Rates
The statistics on the short- and long-term outcomes of alcohol rehab point to a stark overall reality. Namely, about 40 percent to 60 percent of all people recovering from alcohol addiction will relapse at some point.
This percentage range holds true for people addicted to other substances. If you considered these facts by themselves, you might think that the average success rate of rehabilitation makes the process not worth the effort.
However, this is far from the case. There is an important context to these statistics: alcohol use disorders, like other addictive disorders, tend to follow the same patterns as other chronic medical conditions.
Many chronic medical conditions — which are not cured but managed by both providers and patients — have similar relapse rates. For example, asthma relapse rates hover around 52% in some studies, and relapse rates for diabetes are above 35%, even after a major intervention
What are the Warning Signs of a Drinking Relapse?
Addiction specialists are well aware of the risks of relapse. They also understand that relapses, while serious, don’t have to derail your chances for eventually achieving a stable recovery. In addition, experts in the field have developed recommendations to help you avoid returning to use.
Perhaps the most important thing you can do is learn the telltale signs of a potential relapse. While they differ from person to person, these signs can include things such as:
- Dreaming about drinking while you sleep, and then keeping it to yourself.
- An expansion of mental health symptoms or stressors that can lead to drinking
- Reminiscing, either by yourself or with other people, about the “good times” you had while drinking.
- Feeling like you have enough control over your condition to start consuming alcohol again.
What are Some Steps for Preventing Relapse?
Additional steps you can take to prevent relapse during your recovery include:
- Speaking to your doctor, therapist, or non-drinking friends about any urges you have to drink
- Avoiding places or situations that you know increased your desire to drink in the past
- Reviewing the factors that may have contributed to any past instances of alcohol relapse
If a relapse does occur, the best thing for an alcoholic to do is to seek professional alcohol and drug addiction treatment services immediately. Leaving home to go back to rehab does not have to be scary, it can be a turning point that leads to positive changes. In turn, this will make it easier to get back on track and resume your recovery.
Why You Should Seek Professional Substance Abuse Treatment
Addiction is a serious illness that affects millions of people around the world. It can have a devastating effect on one’s life, leading to physical and mental health problems, financial strain, and interpersonal issues. If you are struggling with addiction, seeking professional treatment can be a critical factor in your ability to successfully achieve sobriety.
Professional addiction treatment is the best way to address addiction and its underlying causes. Through a combination of evidence-based therapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), mindfulness, and psychotherapy, individuals in treatment can gain the skills and understanding needed to take control of their lives and successfully recover.
Professional treatment programs also provide medical and psychological support, as well as access to resources such as 12-step meetings like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), support groups, and sober living facilities, that can help individuals stay on track and maintain long-term sobriety.
These rehabilitation services can also provide individuals with the opportunity to build a strong support network. In treatment, individuals can connect with peers who understand the unique challenges of addiction and who can provide emotional support and understanding.
Most importantly, professional drug and alcohol rehab programs can help minimize relapse rates for recovering individuals, giving them their best chance at successfully achieving and maintaining their sobriety.
The Different Levels of Care in the Alcohol Rehab Process
There are various types of holistic rehab and medical treatment services available to those struggling with alcohol or drug addictions. The most effective treatment will consist of an integrated recovery approach combining multiple levels of care in order to properly address both the mental and physical health of the individual.
When measuring treatment effectiveness, those who have proved most successful in their recovery usually participated in several different rehab programs, including:
Inpatient alcohol rehab is a type of treatment program designed to help people overcome their alcohol addiction. This type of rehab typically involves 24-hour medical care and supervision.
During a stay at inpatient rehab, you’ll have access to a variety of therapeutic activities, such as group therapy, individual counseling, and educational classes.
There are many benefits to inpatient alcohol rehab. One of the biggest advantages is that it provides a safe and structured environment.
This is beneficial for those who are struggling with alcohol addiction, as it removes them from their everyday stress and temptations. Additionally, inpatient rehab offers 24-hour medical care, giving you access to treatment day and night.
Partial Hospitalization and Intensive Outpatient Treatment
Partial hospitalization, also known as day treatment, is a form of addiction treatment that allows individuals to receive care from a psychiatric hospital during the day, while returning home at night.
This type of treatment provides a level of care that is higher than traditional outpatient care, but lower than inpatient hospitalization. It is intended to bridge the gap between outpatient and inpatient services, providing the support needed to make a successful transition back into the community.
Intensive Outpatient Treatment (IOP) is a comprehensive form of psychotherapeutic care designed to address the needs of those struggling with mental health issues, addiction, and other behavioral health concerns. This type of treatment is often recommended for those who may not require full-time residential treatment, but need more than traditional outpatient services.
A partial hospitalization or intensive outpatient program can be ideal for individuals who need more intensive treatment than can be provided in an outpatient setting, but who are not in need of inpatient hospitalization.
They are designed to help individuals make a successful transition back to the community and to provide them with the necessary treatment and support to maintain their recovery in the long term.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment
For someone struggling with simultaneous alcohol addiction and mental illness, it can be difficult to find a treatment center capable of addressing both of their conditions at once. Fortunately, there are rehab facilities that address this specific issue.
The most effective treatment for dual diagnosis is an integrated approach that combines mental health and substance use treatment. Dual diagnosis treatment is designed to address both the mental health disorder and the substance use disorder at the same time.
The Importance of an Individualized Treatment Plan for Rehab Success
With all this in mind, how can you maximize the odds of receiving the greatest possible benefit from alcohol rehabilitation? In order to find the highest success rate rehab, for an alcoholic you must find a program that offers individualized treatment plans.
Why is this true? Simply put not all approaches to alcohol treatment work as well for everyone who enrolls in a program. To achieve the best results, doctors must do two main things.
First, they must use methods proven to provide a real benefit for at least some people with alcohol problems. In addition, they must determine which of the proven treatment options will work for each person receiving help.
Addiction Treatment Methods Used in Alcohol Rehab
The primary goal of alcohol rehab is to help individuals abstain from drinking and to teach them how to manage their drinking behavior. During the alcohol rehab process, individuals learn to change their thinking and behavior patterns that lead to drinking and replace them with coping strategies that are more healthy and beneficial.
The treatment plan for alcohol rehab typically begins with a comprehensive assessment of the individual’s drinking problem. This assessment will help to identify any underlying mental health issues that may be contributing to the drinking problem, and provide an opportunity to discuss necessary lifestyle changes.
Once the assessment has been completed, individuals will typically then move onto a medical detox program. This will help provide the medical support needed to make it through the alcohol withdrawal period.
Inpatient Treatment: The Foundation for Ongoing Sobriety
The next step in alcohol rehab is typically an inpatient or residential treatment program. During this time, individuals are encouraged to participate in individual counseling and group therapy sessions. These sessions will help individuals learn to manage their drinking behavior and develop a healthy lifestyle.
After completing an inpatient treatment or residential rehab program, many individuals choose to take part in an outpatient program. This program helps individuals maintain their sobriety by providing support and guidance as they transition back into their regular lives.
No matter what type of alcohol rehab program is chosen, the key to success is consistency. Individuals must be willing to commit to the treatment process and follow through with the recommended changes in order to achieve success. With determination and dedication, individuals can achieve lasting sobriety and make positive changes in their lives.
Medical Detox for Alcohol Addiction
For those recovering from alcohol and drug abuse, medical detox is often a critical first step in the recovery process. Detox is the process of removing alcohol from the body and providing medical support to manage withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
Without proper support and supervision, those struggling with alcohol abuse will typically experience severe withdrawal symptoms. Some, of which, can even be life-threatening, as well as significantly increase their risk of relapse.
At a medically-supervised alcohol detox facility, those recovering from alcohol addiction will receive 24-hour medical care and support. Their team of medical professionals will monitor their withdrawal symptoms and provide medications to help manage them.
Detox can last anywhere from three to seven days, depending on the severity of the addiction and the individual’s response to treatment.
During detox, individuals will receive counseling and other forms of therapy. Counseling helps individuals develop the skills they need to manage their addiction and make healthy lifestyle changes. Therapy can also address underlying issues that may have contributed to the addiction, such as depression or trauma.
Medical detox is not a cure for alcohol addiction, but it is an important first step in the recovery process. Following medical detox, individuals can continue their treatment at an inpatient or outpatient rehab facility.
What Therapies Are Used to Treat Alcohol Use Disorders?
When participating in an alcohol addiction treatment or recovery program, your treatment provider may allow you to participate in various different therapies to help address and manage your drug and alcohol use. This may include:
- Individual therapy
- Group therapy
- Family therapy
- Motivational enhancement therapy
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Contingency management
- Mindfulness-based relapse prevention
- Brief intervention counseling sessions
Using behavioral therapies and holistic treatment methods can help address any co-occurring mental illnesses that may be contributing to a person’s addiction. Addressing both the substance use disorder and the mental health condition can lead to better recovery outcomes and treatment effectiveness.
Medications Used to Treat Alcohol Addiction
The approved alcohol detox pills and medications for treatment are acamprosate, naltrexone, and Antabuse, also known as disulfiram. The way these medications work is extremely diverse, but they all have similar effectiveness rates in alcohol use disorder treatment.
In general, those who receive medication-assisted treatment can overcome their drug or alcohol addiction by minimizing their withdrawal symptoms and cravings, which are two of the leading causes of relapse for most people in recovery.
Find Alcohol Rehab Programs Today!
Recovering from drug and alcohol addiction can be hard, but it is possible with the right tools and support. If you or a loved one is ready to seek treatment and start the alcohol rehab process, the Find Addiction Rehabs team is here to help.
You can call our 24/7 hotline anytime, anyday to find addiction treatment centers and recovery services nationwide that can support your recovery needs. You deserve a chance at sobriety. Call now, and we will help you start on the path to a happier, healthier, and alcohol-free life!
Brandon is a highly skilled content writer and behavioral health marketer with over a decade of experience. In his own words: in my work with Find Addiction Rehabs, I have dedicated my expertise to a cause close to my heart – substance abuse recovery. Through my passion for the field, I’ve successfully compiled a track record of crafting compelling content that educates, inspires, and supports those on their recovery journeys.