Alcohol abuse is a problem that is estimated to affect millions of people in the United States, including people of varying age groups, income levels, and racial and ethnic backgrounds.
Having a problem with alcohol use can be an isolating experience, and the stigma surrounding alcohol abuse can often make it difficult for people to reach out for help.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, a very small percentage of those who need treatment for alcohol abuse receive it.
For someone who feels out of control with their drinking, or who has become physically dependent on alcohol, this can present an enormous challenge.
Without professional treatment, recovering from alcohol abuse can be very difficult. Seeking help for a drinking problem can reduce the risk of relapse and provide the support necessary to address current issues someone is facing as well as the roots of their alcohol abuse.
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Treatment For Alcohol Abuse
The most effective way to overcome alcohol abuse is to seek professional treatment through an alcohol rehab center.
Treatment for alcohol abuse will often involve several components that address the physical, mental, and psychological sides of substance abuse.
Alcohol rehabilitation (rehab) programs typically include:
- medical detox services (as needed)
- individual behavioral counseling
- support groups
- educational and skill-learning groups
- aftercare support
The most important benefit of alcohol treatment is its ability to connect people who are struggling with a strong support system.
This can look different for each person, depending on the type of treatment sought and the setting in which they receive treatment.
The type of treatment recommended for someone who is abusing alcohol can depend on several factors, including:
- the severity of alcohol abuse
- duration of alcohol abuse
- prior history of alcohol detox or substance abuse treatment
- co-occurring mental health problems
- medical problems
- types of treatment covered by your insurance
- and other personal factors or needs
Treatment for alcohol abuse can be received on an outpatient basis or through an inpatient rehab program offered within a treatment center.
If someone’s drinking has become serious enough to meet the criteria for an alcohol use disorder, inpatient treatment may be required.
Inpatient alcohol treatment is a type of live-in treatment where people reside within a rehab center to participate in a residential alcohol rehab program.
Within an inpatient rehab program, patients can participate in a broad range of therapeutic activities and treatments designed to best facilitate their individual recovery.
Benefits of inpatient alcohol abuse treatment include:
- around-the-clock supervision
- medically supervised detoxification
- safe and sober environment
- allows people to focus solely on their recovery
- freedom from external distractions or obligations
- a structured treatment schedule
- access to medical, behavioral, and mental health care
- aftercare services to connect people to treatment resources within their communities
The length of an inpatient or residential treatment program can vary by location, but will typically last between 30 to 90 days.
Some rehab centers in the United States also offer long-term treatment, which can involve longer, more intensive treatment stays for people with severe substance abuse issues.
The types of treatments offered within inpatient treatment for alcohol abuse can also vary depending on the treatment center.
Different treatment centers will often prefer following certain approaches to treatment or may focus on certain aspects of alcohol abuse over others.
For example, at Vertava Health of Massachusetts, our inpatient alcohol abuse rehab program offers:
Medically Assisted Detoxification
Alcohol detox that involves 24/7 medical monitoring and treatment within a clean, secure environment
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
Individual therapy sessions that focus on recovering from substance abuse
Specialized therapeutic services for patients with co-occurring mental health disorders or a history of trauma
Psychoeducational groups, gender-specific groups, recovery-focused peer support groups, and more
Holistic Treatment Services
Our programs involve a variety of holistic treatment services in addition to traditional treatments, such as yoga, music therapy, art therapy, and other spiritual healing services
Alcohol abuse and common co-occurring mental health issues often result in nutritional deficiencies. To address this, our treatment center has a licensed dietitian to develop appropriate meal plans for patients.
People who enter inpatient rehab programs are assessed upon admission in order to receive a personalized treatment plan which meets their personal and mental health needs.
This is the most intensive type of treatment for alcohol abuse and is recommended for anyone who is experiencing negative effects on their health or their lives due to drinking.
Outpatient treatment for alcohol abuse refers to non-residential treatment offered through a treatment center or provided by private outpatient specialists. This is less intensive than inpatient treatment, as it does not involve living within a rehab facility.
Outpatient addiction treatment for alcohol abuse can involve:
- visits to a medical doctor
- weekly or daily support groups
- prescription medications for alcohol cravings or other mental health issues
The time commitment and intensiveness of outpatient treatment can vary depending on the level of care. A more or less-intensive level of outpatient treatment may be recommended based on the level of structure and support a person needs.
Types of outpatient or step-down treatment programs include:
Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP)
Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP) are the most intensive type of outpatient treatment. This involves spending five to eight hours, five to seven days a week attending treatment at an alcohol rehab center while returning home (or to sober living quarters) at the end of the day.
Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP)
Intensive outpatient treatment involves attending treatment at a rehab center for approximately three hours a day (usually in the evening), three to five days a week.
Standard Outpatient Treatment
Standard outpatient treatment can look different for each person, depending on how much support they need.
For most, this involves attending individual counseling sessions at least once a week. Attending support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) at a rehab center or in the community is also recommended.
Unlike inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment offers the flexibility that allows people to return to work or attend to other personal obligations within a flexible treatment schedule.
This can be most suitable for working professionals, parents, and caregivers who may not have the time to enter an inpatient program.
Outpatient treatment is not suitable for every person who has a drinking problem. This type of treatment is typically recommended following the completion of an inpatient rehab program.
It is not intensive enough on its own to treat people who are alcohol-dependent or in the early stages of alcohol abuse recovery.
More so than inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment is able to provide the benefit of offering long-term support. Many people recovering from alcohol abuse or addiction attend some form of outpatient treatment, such as counseling, for years.
The length of time a person attends treatment can vary based on personal needs and the recommendation of their treatment team.
When Should Someone Seek Treatment For Alcohol Abuse?
If you are concerned about your drinking and feel unable to control how much or how often you drink, seeking professional treatment is recommended. It is never too early or too late to seek a professional’s opinion.
By seeking the opinion of a professional, or calling a treatment specialist about finding treatment options near you, you can determine a treatment plan together that best suits your needs or those of a loved one.
It’s common for people struggling with alcohol abuse to be unable to recognize the severity of their problem or feel hesitant about seeking help.
If you or someone you know identifies with any of the following, it may be time to seek treatment:
- feeling unable to cut down on how much you drink
- continuing to drink despite it causing financial or personal strain with family, friends, or other loved ones
- experiencing problems at work or school as a result of your drinking
- having a physical and/or psychological dependence on alcohol
- experiencing withdrawal symptoms (e.g. nausea, sweating, shakiness, insomnia) once the effects of the alcohol in your system have worn off
Begin Your Recovery Journey At Vertava Health of Massachusetts
At Vertava Health of Massachusetts, we believe it is never too late for a person to begin their recovery from alcohol abuse and addiction.
Admitting you need help for your drinking can be scary, but it can also bring you one step closer to building a healthier and more hopeful future.
Vertava Health of Massachusetts offers an integrated approach to alcohol treatment that involves both traditional and holistic therapies to help patients achieve full and lifelong recovery.
By addressing the physical, mental, and emotional sides of alcohol abuse, we offer an effective path towards healing that is focused on motivation, balance, and personal growth.
Learn more about alcohol abuse and alcohol treatment at Vertava Health of Massachusetts by contacting one of our dedicated treatment specialists today.
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism — Treatment for Alcohol Problems: Finding and Getting Help