Depending on the scope of the program, alcohol rehab refers to the social, educational, psychotherapeutic,
and/or medical treatment processes required for alcoholism recovery.
It is worth pointing out that the ultimate goal of alcohol rehab is to help the alcoholic stop his or her
addiction so that he or she can avoid the destructive and negative emotional, legal, physical, financial, health,
and social outcomes that are commonly caused by alcohol addiction.
According to the "stories" told by alcoholics and to recent findings in the research literature, however,
abstaining from alcohol via alcohol rehab is apparently easier said than done.
The Brain, Tolerance, and the Effects of Alcohol
With the regular ingestion of alcohol, the brain slowly becomes acclimated to the alcohol so that "normal"
functioning can take place.
This process helps explain how physical tolerance develops. This acclimation process also explains why
increasingly more alcohol is required in order for the alcoholic to experience the same "buzz" or "high" with
When an abusive drinker abruptly quits drinking alcohol, he or she usually suffers from alcohol withdrawal
symptoms which can take the body days or weeks before it can return to "normal."
Due to the severity of alcohol withdrawal symptoms, it is important to emphasize the fact that all "problem
drinkers," heavy drinkers, or alcoholics need to get professional assistance when they decide to quit drinking.
The point: withdrawal symptoms are simply too serious to go through without quality, professional treatment.
The Alcohol Rehab Process
The alcohol rehab process has two focal points: psychological dependency and physical dependency. Treating
physical dependency typically involves managing the alcohol withdrawal symptoms in a safe manner.
Physical dependency also entails alcohol detoxification, a process that is intended to rid the body of alcohol.
Psychological dependency commonly involves teaching the addict new ways of interacting and functioning in an
Types of Alcohol Rehab Programs
There are many different programs that offer help in alcohol rehabilitation such as sober houses, out-patient
rehab clinics, local support groups, residential rehab treatment (in-patient) facilities, and extended care
Within these programs are different sub-programs such as medical model rehab programs, therapeutic community
alcohol rehab, Alcoholics Anonymous, and various religious-based rehabilitation centers.
Alcohol Rehab Success
The Success of Alcohol Rehab Programs and Approaches. Similar to other diseases, alcohol
addiction can be overcome with prevention, proper professional treatment, increased research efforts.
By providing more individuals with access to effective and productive alcohol rehab care, the costly drain on
society and the psychological, physical, and financial burdens alcoholism places on families can be significantly
reduced or minimized.
To emphasize some of the successes that are possible via the different alcohol rehabilitation programs, consider
the following: research has irrefutably demonstrated that successful prevention and alcohol rehabilitation
treatment results in significant reductions in strokes, HIV, crime, traffic fatalities, unwanted pregnancy, heart
disease, child abuse, and cancer.
In addition, quality, effective treatment and professional drug and alcohol rehab programs have been shown to
improve health, quality of life, and job performance while also reducing drug and alcohol abuse, family
dysfunction, and involvement with the criminal justice system.
Alcohol Rehab Approaches
There are several traditional alcohol rehab approaches that are fairly well established and seen as "mainstream"
methodologies. The following is a summary of these different alcohol rehabilitation programs.
Detoxification. Alcohol detoxification is the process of letting the body rid itself of alcohol
while managing the withdrawal symptoms in a safe environment.
Alcohol detox treatment is frequently done under the supervision of a medical doctor and is commonly the first
step used in an alcoholic treatment program.
Due, however, to the relatively long time-period needed for the alcohol detox process, these programs are
typically part of an inpatient, residential alcohol rehabilitation program.
Behavioral Rehab. Behavioral rehab consist of programs such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy,
Motivation Enhancement Therapy, and Alcoholics Anonymous.
A fairly recent study undertaken by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
found that each of these behavioral rehabilitation approaches significantly reduced drinking in patients the year
Although each of these programs was considered "successful," none of them, however, could be evaluated as "the
best" rehab program.
Therapeutic Medications. This treatment methodology focuses squarely on the client taking
doctor-prescribed medications such as the benzodiazepines for treating alcohol withdrawal symptoms and disulfiram
(Antabuse) or naltrexone (ReViaT) to help prevent the alcoholic from returning to drinking after he or she relapses
and has ingested alcohol.
For example, antabuse is a drug given to alcoholics that elicits negative effects such as flushing, vomiting,
dizziness, and/or nausea if alcohol is consumed.
It almost goes without saying that antabuse has been effective in preventing relapses mainly because it is such
a strong deterrent.
Naltrexone (ReViaT), conversely, targets the brain's reward centers and is therefore effective because it
significantly reduces the craving the person has for alcohol.
Outpatient Alcohol Treatment and Counseling. There are various approaches to counseling that
teach alcohol dependent individuals how to become more alert and aware of the situational and emotional "hot
buttons" that trigger their problem drinking.
Equipped with this information, alcoholics can learn about different ways in which they can more effectively
deal with situations that do not include the consumption of alcohol.
It can be noted that these types of alcohol rehab approaches, unlike many detox and rehab methods, are usually
offered on an outpatient basis.
Inpatient Alcohol Treatment Programs and Residential Alcohol Rehabilitation. If there's a need
for both alcohol AND drug abuse rehab, if an individual needs alcohol poisoning treatment, if support-oriented and
outpatient programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous are ineffective, and if the individual's withdrawal symptoms are
severe, the person frequently has to enroll into an alcohol rehab facility or a hospital and receive inpatient,
residential alcohol rehab.
Such programs are targeted for relatively long-term alcohol rehabilitation and commonly include
doctor-prescribed medications to help the individual get through detox and the alcohol withdrawal process in a
The best known and one of the most successful alcohol rehab/recovery programs is Alcoholics Anonymous.
Alcoholics Anonymous is a worldwide affiliation of men and women who come from all walks of life and who
share their strengths, aspirations, and experiences with other members in the hope that they may solve their mutual
addiction problem and assist others in their desire to recover from alcoholism.
The only condition for Alcoholics Anonymous membership is a desire to stop drinking alcohol. As a
result, total abstinence from alcohol is advocated by Alcoholics Anonymous.
Members make a conscious effort to abstain from drinking and continue with their alcohol recovery/rehab "one day
at a time." Safe and sober living is achieved through mutual support as members share their experience, hopes, and
The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous
One of the essential components of the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) rehabilitation program is articulated in the
Based on the experiences of the earliest members of the organization the 12 Steps represent the documented
principles and practices, acquired through trail and error, the early members established in order to remain
The following represents the 12 Steps in the Alcoholics Anonymous rehab/recovery program:
- We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable.
- Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
- Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
- Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
- Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
- Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
- Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
- Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
- Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
- Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
- Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him,
praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
- Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics
and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
We have included some alcoholism videos so that you can see and hear
directly from various people about their struggles with this disease.
If you, a family member, or one of your friends has a "drinking problem," seeing what others have gone through
and how they attained successful recovery is much more "real" than any information you can read about.
Furthermore, watching these videos may help you understand what others with a drinking problem are experiencing.
So make sure you look at these excellent videos!
Conclusion: Alcohol Rehab
With all of the damaging and debilitating outcomes and effects caused by alcoholism, it makes sense for people
to learn how to refrain from drinking, to involve themselves in the alcohol rehab process, and to reclaim their
Whether an individual requires outpatient alcohol counseling, alcohol abuse rehabilitation, or inpatient,
residential alcohol detoxification, the goal of alcohol abstinence and sobriety is worth pursuing, especially when
the destructive and all too often fatal consequences of alcoholism are taken into consideration.
In the final analysis, however, it really does not make that much of a difference whether the alcoholic chooses
a more traditional program such as the SMART rehab program, the Alcoholics Anonymous 12-step program, or one of the
many other professional alcohol rehabilitation programs.
What DOES matter, however, is the following: those who are alcohol dependent need to acknowledge that they have
a drinking problem, they must want to stop drinking, and they need to find an alcohol rehabilitation program that
works for them.