Questions About Treatment?

Our knowledgeable team is ready to discuss your situation and options. Your call is confidential with no obligation required.

CALL US NOW

 The Dangers of Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol is a common substance that has been consumed in drinks for most of human history.1 However, alcohol can become extremely addictive. Alcohol addiction can destroy families, lives, communities and lead to painful suffering and death. Alcoholism, like most addictions, is a gradual process, and there are many signs along the way. When alcohol addiction gets out of hand, someone may need to find an alcohol addiction rehab.

What is an Alcohol Rehab Center?

Alcohol rehab centers provide rehabilitation to people suffering from alcohol addiction. It usually includes an alcohol detox center. Detox is the first step to recovery, and alcohol treatment centers are ineffective unless the client has gone through the detox process.2

An alcohol rehabilitation center provides the individual with everything they need to stop drinking alcohol, detox from the effects, and begin the journey to sobriety free from the harmful effects of their addiction.

Discussing Alcohol Use Disorder

Alcoholism and Age

Alcohol use and the risk for alcohol-related problems change over a person’s lifespan, and the risks are varied for different age groups. Along with many other factors, age will also influence intervention via alcohol rehab facilities and alcoholism treatment programs.

College students and young adults who often binge drink are more likely to experience alcohol poisoning, drunk-driving incidents, and assaults. On the other hand, older individuals who drink even moderately while taking certain medications run the risk of harmful drug interactions.

Additionally, patterns of alcohol use may differ across the human lifespan. For example, adolescents who begin drinking before age fourteen are more likely to develop a severe problem with alcohol later in life.

It is essential to understand how alcohol influences people across different life stages, especially when designing practical approaches for diagnosing, treating, and preventing alcohol abuse and any related problems.3

Alcohol Use Disorder and Age

Alcohol use disorders are consistently the most common substance use disorders in the United States amongst all age segments. This fact indicates the severity of the problem and the severe and ongoing need for alcohol addiction rehab facilities and alcoholism treatment programs.

  • In 2020, 40.3 million people aged twelve or older (or 14.5% of this population) had a SUD in the past year, including 28.3 million who had alcohol use disorder and 18.4 million who had an illicit drug use disorder.4
  • Respondents who used alcohol for six or more days in the past twelve months were classified as having alcohol use disorder if they met two or more of the DSM-5 criteria for alcohol use disorder.4
  • Among people aged twelve or older in 2020, 10.2 percent (28.3 million people) had a past-year alcohol use disorder.4
  • The percentage of people who had past year alcohol use disorder was highest among young adults aged eighteen to twenty-five (15.6% or 5.2 million people), followed by adults aged twenty-six or older (10.3% or 22.4 million people), then by adolescents aged twelve to seventeen (2.8% or 712,000 people).4

Mental Health and Substance Abuse

There is also a relationship between substance use disorders (SUDs) and mental disorders. The presence of a mental illness may contribute to the development or exacerbation of a SUD. Likewise, the presence of a SUD may contribute to the development or worsening of a mental disorder.

When SUDs and mental health disorders are both present, it is known as a co-occurring disorder, and research shows that co-occurring disorders often result in:4

  • More profound functional impairment
  • Worse treatment outcomes
  • Higher morbidity and mortality
  • Increased treatment costs
  • Higher risk for homelessness, incarceration, or suicide

Length of Alcohol Rehabilitation Center Treatment

Individuals progress through drug addiction treatment at various rates, so there is no predetermined length of treatment. However, research has shown unequivocally that good outcomes are contingent on adequate treatment length.

Generally, participation for less than 90 days is of limited effectiveness for residential or outpatient treatment, and treatment lasting significantly longer is recommended for maintaining positive outcomes.

The most important thing to consider is that positive outcomes are contingent on adequate treatment length. Treatment dropout is one of the major problems encountered by treatment programs; therefore, motivational techniques that can keep clients engaged will also improve outcomes.5

Factors Affective Rehabilitation Timeline

The length of stay at an alcohol addiction rehab center depends on several factors, including:

    • Length of addiction period – Clients who have had alcohol use disorders for an extended timeframe will usually require longer stays at the alcohol rehabilitation center.
    • The client’s age – Age also plays a role, although this factor is mainly dependent on other factors such as length of addiction and the use of other drugs.
    • The use of other drugs with alcohol – Individuals who have co-addictions almost always spend extended periods in alcohol addiction rehab. Addiction becomes stronger and more difficult to address when multiple drugs are abused.
    • Mental health disorders – When mental health disorders and alcoholism are both present, it will usually result in a longer time spent in an alcohol treatment center. Alcoholism treatment programs will usually take longer for these cases, as different therapy is required.

Signs of an Alcohol Problem

As mentioned, addiction is usually a gradual process, and as such, there are many signs along the way. However, when it comes to alcohol, these signs are often easier to spot than with other drugs and substances.

There are several reasons for this matter. Alcohol is usually consumed openly, unlike other illicit substances, and in many cases, you may not notice abusive behavior. However, it is essential to add that for severe cases of alcohol abuse disorders, individuals tend to drink alone or hide their drinking, and it becomes harder to detect.

Moreover, alcohol does not come in a tablet or powder form and is consumed in a beverage. It makes alcohol easier to detect and sometimes smell since it emits a distinctive odor. Alcohol abuse produces specific physical symptoms, such as smelling of alcohol, red eyes, nausea, fatigue, and other signs.

Family, friends, and all those close to someone struggling with an alcohol use disorder should look for the signs and take action where necessary. It is better to try and catch these cases before they become severe enough to be life-threatening.

Diagnosis Through the DSM-5

In May 2013, the American Psychiatric Association issued the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM–5). The DSM provides guidelines to detect and diagnose disorders, including Alcohol Use Disorder, by identifying symptoms. These guidelines are helpful for self-diagnosing and others to gauge potential Alcohol Use Disorder.6

To be diagnosed, an individual must have at least two of the symptoms that tindicate Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)

The severity of the AUD is defined as mild being the presence of 2 to 3 symptoms, moderate being the presence of 4 to 5 symptoms, and severe being the presence of 6 or more symptoms.

Alcoholism Symptoms

The DSM-5 lists the following issues as signs of alcohol use disorder.6

  • Had times when you ended up drinking more, or longer, than you intended?
  • More than once wanted to cut down or stop drinking, or tried to, but couldn’t?
  • Spent a lot of time drinking? Or being sick or getting over other aftereffects?
  • Wanted a drink so badly you couldn’t think of anything else?
  • Found that drinking—or being sick from drinking—often interfered with taking care of your home or family? Or caused job troubles? Or school problems?
  • You continued to drink even though it was causing trouble with your family or friends?
  • Given up or cut back on activities that were important or interesting to you, or gave you pleasure, to drink?
  • More than once gotten into situations while or after drinking that increased your chances of getting hurt (such as driving, swimming, using machinery, walking in a dangerous area, or having unsafe sex)?
  • You continued to drink even though it made you feel depressed or anxious or added to another health problem? Or after having had a memory blackout?
  • Had to drink much more than you once did to get the effect you want? Or found that your usual number of drinks had much less effect than before?
  • Found that when the effects of alcohol were wearing off, you had withdrawal symptoms, such as trouble sleeping, shakiness, restlessness, nausea, sweating, a racing heart, or a seizure? Or sensed things that were not there?

It is important to note that these symptoms are a guideline for the diagnosis, and for a comprehensive diagnosis, you should contact alcohol treatment facilities or other medical experts. However, these symptoms are a beneficial guide to detecting a potential problem and intervening appropriately.

Recognizing the Signs

Treatment Options – One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Depending on one’s situation, different people will have different routes to recovery. There are many routes to recovery, but how do you know what direction is best? A complete assessment of a person’s condition will suggest what specific type of treatment would be best for that individual.

A person with a drinking problem should be evaluated by a health professional—a therapist or medical doctor who has formal training in addiction treatment. A health professional will usually ask about the areas listed below during an assessment.

  • Alcohol and other drug use and previous treatment
  • Drinking patterns or behaviors
  • Other substance use issues
  • The severity of alcohol or other drug problems
  • Prior treatment (if any) and how it went
  • Other medical or mental health conditions
  • Amount of support from family and social network
  • Stability of living situation
  • Access to transportation
  • Any drinking-related arrests, probation, or other legal issues that require coordination with the justice system or social services

Comprehensive Assessments

Here is how a comprehensive assessment can help set a course of action:

  • If the assessment finds that the client has a less severe AUD, a stable living environment, supportive friends and family, access to transportation, and relatively good health, then outpatient treatment with one-on-one or group therapy may be a good option. Outpatient counseling allows a person to maintain much of their regular daily routine.
  • Suppose the assessment finds that the person has a more severe AUD, unstable housing, limited transportation, few non-drinking peers, or has other health issues in addition to AUD. In that case, they may benefit from extended time in a private inpatient treatment program.
  • Private inpatient programs are also suitable for anyone who needs a more structured living environment with a predictable daily schedule. A person with significant health issues should consult their primary care doctor and consider a hospital-based inpatient program where medical staff is available.

Finding an option that best fits your situation is what’s important.7

Private Inpatient Alcohol Rehab Treatment

Alcohol addiction rehab treatment can be defined in general terms as the provision of one or more structured interventions. These interventions are designed to manage health and other problems resulting from alcohol abuse and improve or maximize personal and social functioning.8

Private inpatient alcohol addiction rehab treatment, also known as a residential program, is often needed when individuals require around-the-clock care. Regular inpatient treatment generally refers to hospitalization, whereas residential programs are in drug rehabilitation facilities. They can either be short-term or long-term programs.

Long-Term Residential Treatment

Long-term residential treatment provides care 24 hours a day, generally in non-hospital settings. The best-known residential treatment model is the therapeutic community (TC), with planned lengths of stay of between 6 and 12 months.

This program focuses on the resocialization of the individual and uses the program’s entire community – including other residents, staff, and the social context – as active treatment components.

Addiction is viewed in the context of an individual’s social and psychological deficits, and treatment focuses on developing personal accountability and responsibility and socially productive lives.9

Short-Term Residential Treatment

Short-term residential programs provide intensive but relatively brief treatment based on a modified 12-Step approach. These programs were initially designed to treat alcohol problems, but during the cocaine epidemic of the mid-1980s, many began to treat other types of substance use disorders.

The original residential treatment model consisted of a 3 to 6-week hospital-based inpatient treatment phase followed by extended outpatient therapy and participation in a support group, such as AA.

Following a stay in residential treatment programs, individuals often need to remain engaged in outpatient treatment programs and aftercare programs. These programs help reduce the risk of relapse once a client leaves the residential setting.9

What Happens in an Alcohol Addiction Treatment Program?

The goal of any addiction treatment program is recovery. Treatment programs aim to provide clients with alcohol dependency recovery, and the first phase is the detox.

What is Alcohol Detox?

The first step in any treatment program for alcoholism is to detox from the substance. Unfortunately, this matter is often the most challenging part of rehab because alcohol withdrawal can create uncomfortable, and even dangerous, physical and psychological symptoms.10

Most alcohol treatment centers include detox, but clients can choose a dedicated alcohol detox center.

Physical symptoms can include:

  • Shakiness
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Sweating and clamminess
  • Fever
  • Seizures

Psychological symptoms can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia and nightmares
  • Mood swings
  • Agitation
  • Hallucinations

Treatment after Detox

Once a person has completed detox, they typically move into therapy. Therapy comes in various forms, and a typical day in rehab may include:

  • Group therapy
  • Individual therapy
  • Family or couples therapy
  • Skill-building workshops to prepare for life after treatment


Many types of behavioral therapies are used in reputable, research-based rehab programs. Treatment often includes group or individual therapy to help people understand the motivations behind their behaviors and recognize their triggers for alcohol abuse.


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
This type of therapy helps people recognize their thought patterns and behavioral responses, so they can learn to interrupt the responses and substitute more positive behaviors for those that involve alcohol.


Trauma-Focused CBT
A type of CBT that takes trauma, and its effect on behaviors, into account. As a result, it enables people to connect their trauma and their behavior and consciously break the link with the behavior of drinking alcohol.


Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
DBT is particularly helpful for dual diagnoses. It provides a way to manage both alcoholism and other disorders via behavioral skills and motivational enhancement.


Interpersonal Therapy
Building a social network and other support structures that moderate depression, loneliness, and other emotional drivers of addictive behaviors can strengthen one’s resistance to relapse

Alcoholism Treatment Medications

In some cases, medication is needed to assist in the treatment process. Common drugs used to treat alcoholism include:10

  • Antabuse (Disulfiram)
  • Naltrexone
  • The Sinclair Method (Revia or Vivitrol)


A Further Look at Medication for Alcoholism

Healing with Great Oaks Recovery Center

Alcohol addiction is a severe and potentially life-threatening affliction. However, there is hope with the support and vigilance of friends, family, and loved ones and through professional recovery programs such as at Great Oaks Recovery Center.

Great Oaks Recovery Center offers a number of different programs, including professional detoxification, residential treatment, family programs, and more.

Detoxification at Great Oaks

The detoxification program at Great Oaks is led by our highly-qualified medical team and guided by our medical direction. Our specially-trained and licensed nurses are available 24-hours-a-day to provide you with safe and effective care.

Residential Care at Great Oaks

Great Oaks Recovery Center’s residential program includes a number of beneficial aspects, individual counseling, group therapy, recreational and nutritional services, and much more. We are dedicated to helping you achieve long-lasting recovery.

Family Program at Great Oaks

We recognize that a supportive family system is essential to life-long recovery. At Great Oaks, we offer our Family Program to help educate your family members on the illness of addiction and come to understand how they can aid in the recovery process.

To learn more about recovery with us, contact our team at Great Oaks Recovery Center today.

Resources

  1. https://www.newscientist.com/definition/alcohol/
  2. https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/alcohol-detox-programs#1
  3. https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/aa74/aa74.htm
  4. https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/reports/rpt35325/NSDUHFFRPDFWHTMLFiles2020/2020NSDUHFFR1PDFW102121.pdf
  5. https://nida.nih.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/frequently-asked-questions/how-long-does-drug-addiction-treatment-usually-last
  6. https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/alcohol-use-disorder-comparison-between-dsm
  7. https://alcoholtreatment.niaaa.nih.gov/what-to-know/different-people-different-options
  8. https://www.unodc.org/docs/treatment/Guide_E.pdf
  9. https://nida.nih.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/drug-addiction-treatment-in-united-states/types-treatment-programs
  10. https://www.verywellmind.com/medications-for-alcoholism-67514

Questions About Treatment?

Our knowledgeable team is ready to discuss your situation and options. Your call is confidential with no obligation required.

CALL US NOW