Alcohol is Everywhere

Alcohol Treatment Programs

At a Glance

Alcohol is a mainstay of American culture. Common at parties, weddings, brunch, and holiday gatherings, alcohol also forms the centerpiece of many people's weekends. Because it is so pervasive, knowing whether or not to seek treatment for an alcohol use disorder can be difficult. If you do want to explore whether or not an alcohol treatment program might be right for you or a loved one, read on to find out more about alcohol use disorder, different treatment options, and how to choose a treatment facility or program.

Alcohol Use Statistics in the United States

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) over 85% of people aged 18 and over report drinking alcohol at some point in their lives, with 54.9% having done so in the past month. The NSDUH estimates that 19.7 million Americans aged 12 and older have a substance use disorder. Of those, almost 74% struggle with alcohol use disorder (AUD) — what used to be called alcoholism, alcohol addiction, alcohol dependence, or alcohol abuse. This affects individuals from all walks and stages of life, from medical professionals to adolescents. Sadly, only 7.2% of these roughly 16 million people over the age of 12 with an AUD have received any treatment for their disease in the past year.

What is Alcohol Use Disorder?

Alcohol use disorder is a very common, chronic illness denoted by out-of-control drinking and a high preoccupation with alcohol. It is an addiction characterized by physical dependence and emotional or psychological dependence, as well as particular alcohol-seeking behaviors.

Symptoms of AUD

When someone has a drug addiction of any kind, certain symptoms emerge. In the case of an alcohol use disorder, physical, psychological, and behavioral symptoms often include but are not limited to:

  • Memory impairment.
  • Compromised coordination.
  • Slurred speech.
  • Aggression and agitation.
  • Impaired cognition.
  • Drinking until physically sick.
  • Drinking to "blackout" or passing out.
  • Wanting to stop drinking but not being able to.
  • Craving alcohol when not drinking.
  • Being secretive and/or lying about alcohol use.
  • Developing a dependence on alcohol so that more and more must be consumed to feel its effects.
  • Spending a lot of time and/or money on alcohol use.
  • Avoiding family, friends, and work to drink, to cover up drinking, or to recover from drinking.
  • Taking part in self-destructive or risky behavior, such as driving while intoxicated.
  • Experiencing distress at the thought of not being able to drink alcohol.
  • Continuing to drink alcohol even when doing so interferes or causes problems with family, work, or other responsibilities.

If someone with an alcohol use disorder were to quit drinking alcohol "cold turkey", they often experience withdrawal symptoms that can sometimes be fatal. If you are considering stopping drinking and you suspect that you suffer from alcohol use disorder, seek healthcare and alcohol detox services at a respected and licensed alcohol treatment center.

Alcohol Addiction Treatment Options

According to the CDC, approximately 95,000 people die from alcohol-related causes each year in the U.S., which averages to about 261 deaths per day. It is the third-leading cause of preventable death in the country. For most people with alcohol use disorders, however, quitting alcohol is difficult or impossible— without the help of trained medical professionals. Thankfully, there are a number of different treatment options available that vary based on the severity of someone's disease.

Regardless of which type of alcohol treatment model is chosen, quality addiction rehab centers and rehab programs offer:

  • A customized plan of care that is tailored to each individual in the program.
  • Assistance with dual-diagnosis and primary or secondary mental health conditions.
  • Doctor-directed Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) and medication management.
  • Group therapy sessions.
  • Education around life skills, stress management, relapse prevention, mindfulness, and the like.
  • Aftercare resources and follow-up support.

Inpatient Alcohol Treatment Services

Inpatient rehab, also called residential treatment, for an AUD, means that the person seeking treatment "checks into" an alcohol rehab facility and stays there throughout the length of their treatment. After an evaluation for admissions and detox, doctors and medical personnel will develop a treatment plan, and then the individual will follow a structured daily schedule. The schedule varies based on the treatment center, but in general, it will consist of daily meals, a variety of therapies — like group therapy, art therapy, family therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and the like — activities, yoga, meditation, and more.

Inpatient treatment services often include addiction medicine that reduces the desire to drink, like naltrexone, disulfiram, and acamprosate. Recovery programs of this type have many advantages including:

  • Safe, medically supervised detoxification treatment services.
  • A higher success rate than outpatient or 12-step programs.
  • Patients can concentrate on recovery with few outside distractions.
  • More therapy and services in a shorter amount of time.
  • Medical facilities that can provide any necessary level of care.

While anyone with an AUD would likely benefit from a high-quality inpatient treatment program, for some individuals (ex. someone with medically complex addiction recovery needs, someone who has been drinking heavily for a long time, someone who has tried to stop drinking before and could not, etc.), it provides the best chance at achieving and sustaining a life-long recovery.

Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP)

Partial hospitalization programs (PHP) form a middle road between inpatient and outpatient alcohol treatment services. Heavily structured, a PHP runs for multiple hours each day, usually at least five days a week for two to four consecutive weeks at a treatment facility. At the facility, the individual undergoes therapy, education, skills training, medical treatment, and more during the day and they return home each evening.

Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)

Less intensive than PHP, but more intensive and time-focused than outpatient treatment services, IOPs for alcohol abuse and substance abuse treatment allow patients to continue with some aspects of their normal lives, while also providing daily structure, support, therapy, medication management, and more to address their addiction. In IOPs, individuals continue to live at home while receiving treatment from clinicians.

Intensive outpatient programs also are used sometimes as a transition treatment for individuals leaving inpatient programs. They offer continued meaningful support and relapse prevention services for patients heading back home and back into work.

Outpatient Alcohol Treatment Services

Outpatient programs for alcohol rehab and recovery offer the least intensive form of alcohol recovery services. Patients undergoing outpatient treatment services for alcohol continue to live at home and go to work or school, and also attend outpatient treatment and work on behavioral health issues. They attend therapy sessions, meet with support groups, go to counseling, attend life skills training and stress management classes, and more in the evenings and weekends, although the hours may vary.

Outpatient alcohol and drug abuse treatment services, just like inpatient services, often include the use and management of medication that helps individuals manage alcohol cravings. The advantages of outpatient treatment include:

  • Usually less expensive than inpatient.
  • Individuals live at home and can still go to work or school and see family and friends.
  • Individuals can cook their own meals.
  • There is more freedom of time and movement while in treatment than with more intense treatment programs.

Outpatient treatment services for alcohol abuse are best for individuals with a stable support system, who are also not long-term serious drinkers.

How to Choose an Alcohol Treatment Program

There are many considerations to weigh before choosing an alcohol treatment program. In addition to the type of program you think would be right for you or a loved one — inpatient, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, or outpatient — and the location, you should also consider the company or organization running the treatment facility and treatment program.

Many people choose an addiction recovery facility or program based on its proximity to where they live, especially if they want to receive outpatient treatment services. For others, the most important consideration is cost and how to pay. For example, will health insurance pay for rehab or at least some of it? Does the program offer financing options or payment plans? Still others need certain amenities in order to feel comfortable. For some, reputation and success rates matter most. Ultimately the question, “What is the right treatment program?” is something for individuals entering an alcohol treatment program to answer for themselves.

The Caron Approach

Caron has specialized in treating addiction, substance use disorders, alcohol use disorders, and behavioral disorders for over 60 years. No matter how complex your medical, behavioral, and/or addiction needs, our clinically proven, evidence-based programs can meet those needs. All of our treatment facilities are staffed by physicians and therapists who are double-board or multiple-board certified. With Caron, high-quality and compassionate health treatment meets excellence in addiction medicine and recovery care. We also have facilities and programs that cater to young adults, older adults, first responders, executives, adolescents, and more.

To learn more about Caron’s alcohol treatment and substance use programs, reach out today.


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