When alcohol-addicted individuals enter alcohol treatment programs, they may find themselves worrying about what the process will entail, particularly if their enrollment marks their first residential treatment experience. Fashioned by addiction professionals, mental health experts and physicians, the majority of alcohol treatment programs have been carefully planned in order to facilitate lasting sobriety. However, alcohol treatment programs also place a premium on patient comfort – socially, psychologically, emotionally and physically – from the moment of intake to graduation.
What Actually Happens in Alcohol Treatment Programs?
By familiarizing yourself with the basics of recovery at alcohol treatment programs, you can alleviate any lingering fears and know what to expect during your personal recovery process.
Alcohol Treatment Program Intake Process
Upon your arrival at an alcohol rehab center, many alcohol treatment programs will begin with a process known as “intake.” During the intake process, logistics are handled and baseline measures are taken in order to customize treatment plans for maximized effectiveness. Generally, the intake process will consist of basic paperwork and insurance preparations (if not made prior to intake). Patients will generally be guided to their rooms and be allowed to tour the facility after intake is completed.
Diagnostic and Substance Abuse Testing
At some alcohol treatment programs, diagnostic tests may be given in order for treating staff members to be aware of any further treatments necessary for recovery. Diagnostic testing allows treatment staff to uncover any secondary issues involved with alcohol recovery, such as mental health conditions, special physical needs or potential complications that may factor into the treatment process. At some alcohol treatment programs, drug testing is performed, in order to facilitate recovery from any secondary addictions that may exist. Patients may be asked to give a mental health history, personal biography, and undergo a physical examination by a physician.
Physical Detoxification From Alcohol
The detoxification process commonly follows diagnostic testing, once a personalized treatment plan has been forged. Detoxification allows the body to remove alcohol from its system in a safe, comfortable environment. The length of alcohol detoxification will depend on the individual and the severity of alcoholism, but generally will last no more than two weeks.
Therapy Conducted by Alcohol Treatment Program Staff
As part of ongoing treatment once detoxification has occurred, patients will be encouraged to participate in therapy sessions. At the majority of alcohol treatment programs, one-on-one therapy sessions will seek to educate, encourage and empower alcohol-addicted individuals for recovery. Group therapy sessions, 12-step meetings, and family or couples counseling may also be made available. For those with special issues, alternative mental health therapies may be employed, such as trauma, stress reduction, exposure or expressive arts therapies.
Healing the Body from Alcohol Addiction
Alcohol treatment programs focus on returning the body to a healthy state as part of the recovery process. This physical healing is facilitated by exercise and nutritional support, often complemented by mind-body therapies, health supplements and group sports.
Transitioning to Sober Living
At the majority of modern alcohol treatment programs, aftercare planning has become a standard part of treatment, most often performed just before graduation. With a dedicated aftercare specialist, recovering individuals can assess alcohol use triggers, make plans for after discharge, and locate support systems that can provide encouragement and guidance upon the patient’s return home.