The happy hour in the United States is a treasured institution. For an hour or two — usually after work — drinks, and sometimes appetizers, are offered a discounted price. Unfortunately, for many, happy hour is only the beginning of night-long binges. In 2015, it was estimated that 16 million Americans met the criteria for AUD or alcohol use disorder, and while some people can learn to control their drinking through outpatient care, some will need the help that an inpatient alcohol rehab center can provide.1
Intensive Care for Serious Problems
Like any form of a medical issue, there is a wide range of severity. People who have advanced cases of alcoholism often need more intensive help in order to change their habits and learn how to control their drinking. This intensive help is provided in inpatient alcohol rehab centers. Although inpatient rehab might not be right for everyone, for those with the most acute addictions, it is likely needed.
Alcoholism can cause serious damage to a wide variety of systems within the body, and those who have serious alcohol-related medical conditions might need intensive help in order to regain their health. Alcohol has the most detrimental effects on the heart, liver, pancreas, brain and immune system.2 People with medical complications due to alcoholism might need assistance with the following:
- Vitamin supplementation
- Nutritious eating plans
- Medication management
- Possible surgical interventions
- Safe detoxification from alcohol
Hospitals can handle many of these issues, but after acute physical care is complete, inpatient treatment is an important consideration. An alcohol binge on a weak body could have devastating consequences, and if there is Dual Diagnosis with a co-occurring mental health disorder, then specialized care is needed to ensure the patient is kept safe while healing mentally and physically.3
- A Safe Place to Stay +
During the recovery process, it’s vital that people do not return to alcohol use. Therapy will help them learn how to maintain sobriety for the rest of their lives, but in the early stages of recovery, those lessons haven’t yet been learned, and a relapse might is more likely. Because of the availability of alcohol,people with low willpower might be tempted stop for a drink in any familiar place, and if alcohol is in the home, the temptation is even greater. An inpatient program provides a safe, sober place for people to live while recovering addicts are developing their skills.The risk of relapse in an inpatient environment is quite low, simply because there’s no opportunity to even find alcohol or other illicit substances.It also provides a relationally safe environment away from the stress of home and work with family and friends. Stepping away from these issues for just a short period of time can be helpful as people will have the opportunity to develop their skills before they’re exposed to the potential pressure of everyday life.
- Intensive Therapies +
Developing new habits isn’t easy, but therapy can be an amazing help. One-third of people who complete treatment are still sober one year later. Treatment often involves group-counseling, medication and one-on-one behavioral therapy.Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one helpful behavioral option as it can help people to develop their own anti-drinking skills. By examining what led to the addiction and kept it going, patients can develop skills to live a healthier life in the future.Between sessions, clients might be asked to complete homework assignments like to read up on addiction, write in journals, watch educational videos or otherwise continue to think and learn about alcohol and how cravings can be kept under control.
Involving the Family
The alcoholic is not the only person affected by the addiction. Loved ones are often adversely affected in great ways. It can be incredibly challenging to live with an alcoholic who refuses help.There are entire programs dedicated to helping the family learn how to motivate an uncooperative alcoholic to accept the help a treatment program can provide.
Family therapy sessions provide ongoing care for families affected by alcoholism. These sessions strive to change the family’s communication patterns and coping styles. The entire group is the focus of the therapy, not just the person with the drinking problem, and the whole group works hard to learn more about how they can function more effectively as a unit. When this form of therapy is complete, people might feel more comfortable leaving their inpatient alcohol programs and returning home to their families.
Living in an inpatient program allows people to spend time with others who can identify with your struggle. The friendships formed in this way can be strong and enduring as you each transition back to normal life. In an inpatient addiction program, you might be asked to participate in support group meetings weekly or even more frequently. After transitioning home, many communities continue to offer group support on an ongoing basis.
In a traditional support group meeting for alcoholism, clients are asked to adhere to the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous, by studying alcohol abuse and sharing their own stories. People might be paired with a person who has been in recovery for a long period of time, and they might be asked to mentor other people who are new to recovery. Volunteering is another hallmark of this model as an opportunity to give back to the community.By continuing to participate in 12-step meetings, like AA, the likelihood of sobriety increases. One study shows that 49.5 percent of participants remained sober after a year of meetings.4
Inpatient programs often offer added amenities that contribute to overall health, including the following:
- Art therapy
- Cooking classes
- Meditation courses
- Outdoor adventures
These activities might seem recreational, but they can play a huge role in the recovery process from alcoholism. People need to learn new ways to relax and enjoy life, especially if the majority of their spare time was once spent drinking alcohol. By providing clients with opportunities to explore new hobbies, treatment centers are providing their clients with new hobbies and skills to develop when they’re living at home once more. Instead of drinking, they can draw, cook, paint, hike or meditate. It can be an entirely new way of life.
It can be difficult for outpatient alcohol programs to provide access to these kinds of treatments, as they may not have the facility space or the trained staff that can provide intensive lessons like this. Inpatient programs, on the other hand, may require people to take classes in these other arenas, and in time, a particular class may become a therapy clients look forward to more than any other. These sessions break up the time, and they’re often quite enjoyable.
Finding the Right Program
Some components of an inpatient alcohol rehab program might be covered by insurance. Some insurance programs won’t cover any type of inpatient program, however, and others might require that people obtain authorization before they enroll. Our admissions coordinators can answer questions about insurance, ensuring that all is well before treatment begins. In addition to issues of price, treatment programs can also vary by the following:
- Amenities offered
- People served
- Level of staff training
It’s a personal decision, and the person who needs care may have strong opinions about which program feels right. Listening to these opinions is important as people who feel emotionally connected to a facility are more likely to stay enrolled in care and receive a benefit from the care provided. Facilities are often willing to answer questions, provide pictures and reveal statistics that can help clients to make an informed choice.
Concerning his journey out of addiction, John at HeroesInRecovery.com shares, “My addictions started by me making one bad decision followed by another then in the same way, my freedom from addiction started by me making one good decision after another.”
Choosing to enter treatment for addiction is a great decision to begin your new life.
At The Oaks at La Paloma, we’re more than happy to answer any questions you might have about our alcohol treatment program. Call our24 hour, toll-free helpline to speak with a trained counselor and find out more about our Memphis treatment center. Please call now.
1 “Alcohol Use Disorder.” NIAAA
2 “Beyond Hangovers.” NIAAA. 2015
3 “Co-occurring Disorders.” SAMHSA. 2016
4 Gray, K. “Does AA Really Work? A Round-Up of Recent Studies.” TheFix.com. 2012