One of the first things you need to recognize to confront addiction is understanding it as a chronic disease. Alcohol use disorder is not a choice or a dangerous recreational activity; it is a chronic disease with no known cure. Like diabetes and cancer, alcohol use disorder can be treated and controlled, but it is not the individual’s fault, nor is it something chosen for oneself. It is important to understand this aspect of alcohol addiction to receive treatment successfully.
At Ashwood Recovery, our alcohol rehab program understands this and approaches treatment from this perspective. First, through alcohol detox and then through treatment, individuals can heal and recover.
Why Is Alcohol Withdrawal So Difficult?
Drinking alcohol (ethanol) heavily over a long period has a severe, pronounced effect on the brain. Since alcohol releases a flood of calming, happy chemicals like dopamine into the body, the brain will attempt to counteract this imbalance with excitatory neurotransmitters (stimulating chemical messengers) to keep its millions of processes in check.
When the flow of ethanol and happy chemicals is suddenly taken away, the brain’s compensation techniques will backfire. Now, your brain’s natural store of soothing and pain-relieving dopamine is completely depleted, but the excitatory chemicals are still being pumped out in abundance. These neurotransmitters – the same chemicals that cause anxiety, pain, and excitement – are now flowing unchecked with no counteracting dopamine to calm them. This results in a range of painful withdrawal symptoms that will continue until your body can balance its neural responses once again.
Types of Alcohol Detox
Many factors will influence which type of alcohol detox is right for you. Budget, work schedule, family obligations, and the severity of your addiction may all play a part in your decision. In general, these are the three types of detox treatment available:
- Outpatient alcohol detox: Offering several hours per week of treatment, outpatient rehab is often appropriate for functional alcoholics with a heavy work schedule or family obligations. It may not prove as successful for severe alcohol use disorder, however.
- Intensive outpatient alcohol detox: A step up from traditional outpatient therapy, intensive outpatient provides a more rigorous schedule of 12 hours per week of therapy or more. In this program, the patient can continue living at home and maintaining daily obligations while receiving detox treatment almost every day.
- Inpatient alcohol detox: Residential detox programs are provided at live-in facilities where patients sleep, eat, and receive treatment under constant supervision. While this is often the most expensive option, it may prove more successful for the severest alcohol addictions.
Alcohol Rehab After Detox
The alcohol detox phase generally lasts about a week, but it only solves a small part of the problem. Once alcohol withdrawal symptoms have subsided, your body’s physical addiction to ethanol will be mostly resolved, but the journey is far from finished. Psychological factors and physical cause addiction, and addressing the psychological aspects of addiction requires more time and assistance.
The psychological side of addiction will need to be addressed in a good alcohol rehab program. You will also be counseled on effective ways to confront and combat addiction during everyday life. Long-term sobriety rates increase by as much as half for those who complete alcohol rehab after detox. Some of the issues that rehab will focus on include:
- Other mental health conditions that may contribute to addiction
- The underlying sources of addiction
- How to handle addiction triggers and cravings
- Combating addiction in day-to-day life
- Damaged relationships with family and friends
- Finding positive new pastimes, such as goals or interests to redirect energy and focus
Over time, all of these things will be addressed during drug rehab through a combination of group therapy, counseling, educational classes, psychiatric care, and workshops. Ideally, these treatments can result in a sober mindset that will equip you with the tools you need to maintain recovery and avoid relapse.
Finding the Way to Sobriety at Ashwood Recovery
If you’ve tried to cut down on your drinking habits or quit entirely only to realize that you are unable to, you are not alone. If quitting were easy, there would be no need for detox and rehab programs at all. Some of the most successful people in the world have asked for help to achieve recovery, and that help has resulted in many long years of sobriety and prosperity.
Going through alcohol rehab will not be easy, but it will be worth it. Reach out for the help you need to start working towards your recovery by calling 208.274.8609. The rest of your life is waiting.