Alcohol Rehab and Treatment Centers

Alcohol Rehab and Treatment Centers: Your Pathway to Sobriety

In this article you will learn about the different types of Alcohol Rehab and Treatment Centers and the factors you should consider in choosing the best one for you.


In any given year, somewhere between five and 10 percent of the adult population will suffer from an alcohol use disorder. The lifetime occurrence of such conditions approaches 30 percent, guaranteeing that every family will be touched by problem drinking at some point. However, only one-in-five people with alcohol dependency will seek treatment for their disorders, which is highly unfortunate since alcohol rehab and treatment centers offer evidence-based solutions that can help problem drinkers find and maintain long-term sobriety.

Alcohol Rehab and Treatment Centers

Why consider an Alcohol Rehab and Treatment Center?

Treatment centers are staffed by medical professionals and addiction experts with extensive training in rehab and recovery methodologies. If alcohol has taken control of your life, you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help, and a rehab facility can provide you with the personalized care and customized treatment services you need to regain your health and rescue your future from the cruel, icy grip of alcohol dependency.

What Types of Programs Do Alcohol Rehab and Treatment Centers Offer?

Treatment programs at alcohol rehab centers fall under two broad categories: inpatient and outpatient.

Those who enroll in residential, inpatient programs are required to live in rooms, homes or apartments located on treatment center grounds. Patients attend therapy sessions or other wellness-related activities during the day, and sleep onsite during the night. Appropriate medical care and crisis intervention services are available for patients on a 24-hour basis, and while patients aren’t allowed to leave unless accompanied by treatment center personnel, they can see family or friends during visiting hours.

Inpatient programs generally last for a period of 30-90 days, although longer stays may be approved if considered medically necessary by staff and management.

Outpatient programs are an alternative to residential treatment. In these programs patients attend therapy sessions or participate in other related activities for several hours per week or per day, before returning to their homes to sleep, work and otherwise pursue their normal activities.

Outpatient treatment is more flexible than inpatient treatment, and various treatment centers may offer the following three options:

  1. Conventional outpatient. Flexible with no pre-determined structure or time requirements. Individualized outpatient programs can be designed for those who have outside responsibilities they cannot neglect.
  2. Intensive outpatient. Recovering alcoholics spend 10-20 hours per week at alcohol rehab and treatment centers, for two months or longer. The structure of intensive outpatient treatment mimics inpatient treatment regimens, but without onsite overnight monitoring or care.
  3. Partial hospitalization. Patients in rehab spend several hours each day at a rehab clinic (or associated hospital) staffed by trained medical personnel and stocked with a full complement of medical equipment, receiving treatment customized for their addiction plus other pre-existing health conditions.

While there are exceptions, outpatient programs are not usually recommended for people with severe alcohol abuse problems, an extensive history of relapse or a dual diagnosis (alcohol dependency plus another condition that requires mental health treatment, such as depression, bipolar disorder or drug addiction). However, they may be an ideal choice for people who:

  • Suffer from moderate drinking problems that don’t require full-time monitoring and care
  • Have career, family or educational responsibilities that make inpatient programs impractical
  • Come from stable or supportive home environments
  • Face financial or insurance limitations that make inpatient treatment unaffordable

If you decide to seek help at an alcohol treatment center, you should consider all factors carefully and thoroughly before deciding what type of treatment program to enter. Once you make your choice, to achieve results you must remain committed to your program throughout the duration of your inpatient stay or outpatient enrollment.

What Types of Treatment Methods Are Used in Alcohol Rehab and Treatment Centers’ Facilities?

When you enter a rehab facility, your alcohol addiction treatment team will work with you to create a multi-dimension healing regimen that addresses all of your physical, psychological and emotional needs. Any factors that might prevent you from achieving wellness during your time in rehab will be confronted as part of a comprehensive plan to help you transcend your chemical dependency and learn to cope with the hidden conflicts and unacknowledged personal issues that have supported and sustained it.

Your list of treatment recommendations will likely include some combination of the following:

  • Detox. Medically supervised management of withdrawal symptoms, some of which can be dangerous. If detox is required it will generally last for 7-10 days, although it could be longer if your withdrawal symptoms are severe.
  • Individual psychotherapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is frequently used in alcohol rehab, since patients tend to respond to it positively.
  • Peer group therapy. 12-step meetings plus other, more informal gatherings where alcohol disorder victims discuss their lives and the challenges they face.
  • Family or couples therapy. Dysfunctional family dynamics and damaged relationships will be addressed.
  • Holistic mind-body therapies. Practices like meditation, massage, biofeedback, Tai Chi, yoga and acupuncture are useful for stress reduction
  • Expressive therapies. Art, music, dance or theater can help you open up and reveal your deepest emotions.
  • Outdoor challenge therapies. Outdoor activities (rope climbing, backpacking trips, equine therapy, etc.) that require teamwork and cooperation can teach trust and help you form more productive relationships.
  • Trauma therapies. Eye movement desensitization reprocessing (EMDP) and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) are two examples of therapies that can help you learn to cope with past trauma.
  • Educational therapies. General life skills training, techniques for preventing relapse and nutritional therapies that improve your diet and overall health may be offered in classroom settings, along with other self-help related subjects.
  • Drug therapies. Naltrexone, Acamprosate, Disulfiram and benzodiazepines are just some of the manage withdrawal symptoms or improve your odds of recovery.

Alcohol dependency treatment is designed to rebuild your self-esteem, reduce your vulnerability to stress, restore your personal autonomy and reorient your lifestyle in a healthier direction, all of which will decrease your chances of relapse and empower your efforts to change.

A 30-, 60- or 90-day stay in an alcohol treatment facility, or the equivalent in outpatient treatment, does not guarantee you a lifetime of sobriety. Treatment professionals will introduce you to different ways of thinking, behaving, socializing and reacting, but it will be up to you to translate those life lessons into meaningful action.

What Will Happen After My Time in Rehab is Over?

After treatment is complete, you’ll be asked to participate in an aftercare program that will reinforce everything you learned in rehab. Aftercare will likely include individual counseling with a psychologist, psychiatrist or addiction counselor, regular attendance at 12-step meetings or similar group therapy programs and continued use of medications if they were prescribed to help you manage withdrawal or prevent relapse.

In some instances, people who finish inpatient treatment for alcohol use disorders will transfer to sober living homes, where a more intensive, structured approach in a peer group setting can help those with significant alcohol abuse challenges make a long-term transition to an alcohol-free lifestyle. If your family situation is chaotic or likely to cause trauma, that may be another reason to consider sober living.

How Will You Know if You Have an Alcohol Use Disorder?

Many alcoholics don’t recognize their unfolding addiction until it’s far too late, and in some instances they may never admit the truth no matter how much havoc their dependency causes.

Don’t fall into this trap. Here are some telltale signs that may indicate you have a serious drinking problem:

  • People close to you have suggested it.
  • You’ve been lying about your drinking-related activities.
  • You’ve been late for work or school several times lately, or have been absent entirely.
  • You’ve been forgetting appointments, deadlines or special occasions.
  • You’ve been intoxicated in situations where it wouldn’t be expected.
  • You’re drinking every day, or to the point of intoxication every time.
  • You’ve been involved in fights or arguments while drinking.
  • Old friends have abandoned you, and your new friends are self-destructive or irresponsible.
  • You’ve suffered blackouts or memory loss after drinking.
  • Your work performance has declined, or your grades have been slipping if you’re a student.
  • You’ve suffered accidents or injuries somehow related to your drinking.
  • You’ve had run-ins with the law enforcement, all somehow related to alcohol.

These symptoms suggest a loss of control over your drinking. If they sound familiar, you need to stop denying reality and seek help soon.

Schedule an appointment to see a physician, and if they agree you have reason for concern they may recommend you visit a rehab center to discuss your options. While there you’ll be fully evaluated by a alcohol treatment professionals, and if you do need help they will design a rehabilitation program that is carefully customized to meet your personal healthcare needs.

Choosing the Right Alcohol Treatment Center for You

When you’re ready to begin treatment, you need to choose a rehab center that will provide you with the exact combination of services you require. There may be other factors to consider as well, depending on your personal, family and financial circumstances.

Here are some questions to consider when you’re evaluating the worthiness of alcohol rehab and treatment centers:

  • Where are they located?
  • How long have they been in business?
  • How experienced are their treatment experts?
  • Do they follow a specific philosophy or have a spiritual orientation?
  • What kind of client reviews do they have?
  • Are they quick to answer questions and willing to let you speak with treatment center personnel?
  • How much do their inpatient and outpatient programs cost?
  • Do they offer alternative therapies in addition to the basics?
  • Do they have programs to treat patients with a dual diagnosis?
  • Do they provide detox services onsite?
  • Do they prescribe medications that help recovering alcoholics maintain their sobriety?
  • Are they ready to include family members and friends in your therapy sessions?

Picking the right rehab center is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make. Your future literally depends on it. But even if you make a solid choice, in the final analysis your success or failure in rehab will depend on your determination to change and your willingness to confront your personal history head-on, without rationalization, defensiveness or denial.

Overcoming alcohol abuse is possible, but only if you take responsibility for your own recovery