alcohol therapy

Alcohol Addiction Rehab and Detox Programs

Author: Thomas Roth

Last Updated: 11/11/2022

Alcohol is the most popular intoxicating substance in the world. A 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that more than 85% of people over the age of 18 consume alcohol. Furthermore, a similar survey found that 23% of all addiction rehab programs are for alcoholism.

Alcohol addiction rehab centers are for people who struggle with an addiction to alcohol. Rehab centers use a combination of therapy, medications, and peer-to-peer support to help recovering alcoholics. Alcohol rehab centers are highly effective and according to SAMHSA, 80% of people who enter into an alcohol rehab program remain sober after one year. Unfortunately, studies have found that only 11% of people who need rehabilitation for alcoholism have received treatment.

Many rehab programs are available for people suffering from alcoholism. Anyone who abuses alcohol will benefit from an alcoholism rehab program. Alcohol abuse is defined as an uncontrollable urge to drink alcohol. Another example of alcoholism is binge drinking.

In the United States, the average cost of alcohol rehab is between $1,000 and $6,500. The cost varies depending on the type of treatment and the rehab center’s location. States like California and New York typically have the highest costs for rehab. Additionally, treatment modalities like detox and outpatient therapy are less expensive than long-term inpatient programs (30 days or greater).

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What is an Alcohol Addiction Rehab Center?

Alcohol addiction centers are organizations that help people recover from alcoholism. Alcoholism is a dependency on alcohol that results in withdrawal, binge drinking, and uncontrollable urges to drink alcohol. Alcohol addiction rehab centers treat alcoholism with a combination of therapy, detox (medication), and peer support.

How does an Alcohol Addiction Rehab Center Work?

Alcohol addiction rehab centers work by treating alcoholism but different programs have different treatment modalities. Inpatient rehab centers use long-term treatment methods, which require patients to live at the rehab center. Outpatient rehab centers don’t require a full-time commitment. Instead, recovering alcoholics visit the rehab center a few times per week for therapy or counseling. Medications may be used at inpatient or outpatient rehab centers.

How to Choose the Best Alcohol Addiction Rehab Center?

To choose the best alcohol rehab center you need to evaluate your condition and speak with a medical professional. It’s also a good idea to reach out to several alcohol rehab centers and addiction professionals. There are also several tests like the CIWA-AR assessment that help with determining the best course of treatment.

Where to Find Affordable and Quality Alcohol Addiction Rehab Centers?

Affordable and quality alcohol addiction rehab centers are available. California has 1,734 rehab centers, Florida has 712 rehab centers, and Arizona has over 400. Historically, the best states to find alcoholism treatment are Wyoming, North Dakota, Montana, and Alaska. These states have the highest concentrations of detox facilities in the United States. Plus, the overdose and relapse rate is low.

It’s also important to leverage state funds to find affordable treatment. Many states like California have programs to help people with addiction. There are also federal insurance programs like Medicare and Medicaid. These insurance programs will cover the cost of alcohol rehab.

What are the Types of Alcohol Rehab Centers?

Several types of alcohol rehab centers exist. Each type has unique treatment methods, so understanding each type is essential before selecting a program. We list the types of alcohol rehab centers below.

  1. Detoxification alcohol rehab centers 
  2. Residential/Inpatient treatment
  3. Outpatient treatment 

1. Detoxification Alcohol Rehab Centers

Rehab centers that focus on alcohol detoxification are known as detox centers. Detox centers help people detox from alcohol with the help of medication and medical supervision. Alcohol withdrawal is dangerous and even fatal. Serious cases of alcohol withdrawal require a detox program to prevent relapse, tremors, and other uncomfortable symptoms. Detox programs also help recovering alcoholics manage delirium tremens, which are potentially fatal tremors/seizures.

Unlike outpatient or inpatient rehab programs, detoxification rehab centers are often hybrid programs. Therefore, people will take medication to help with withdrawal while engaging in counseling or therapy. 

Detox programs are available at outpatient rehab centers and inpatient rehab centers. Many inpatient rehab centers will start with a detox program if the patient exhibits severe symptoms of withdrawal.

2. Residential/Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient rehab centers are rehab programs that require a long-term commitment. These are rehab centers that provide housing and other amenities along with alcoholism treatment. Ultimately, inpatient rehab programs are long-term programs and require patients to live at the rehab center.

Inpatient rehab programs are also unique depending on the location. Many treatment modalities are similar, such as therapy and detox, but the amenities at each location vary. Examples of amenities at inpatient facilities include private bedrooms, televisions, chefs that prepare meals, tennis courts, and more. Amenities are more common at expensive inpatient rehab centers.

Another unique element of inpatient rehab is the length of stay. Typically, inpatient rehab programs for alcohol addiction last for 30 days. However, some people remain in rehab centers for six months to one year. The benefit of a long-term stay is isolation from alcohol and triggers. Triggers are factors that cause alcoholics to crave or consume alcohol.

3. Outpatient Treatment

Treatment for alcoholism doesn’t always require patients to live at the rehab center. Outpatient treatment is available for people who struggle with a less severe addiction to alcohol. Rehab centers that offer outpatient services provide patients with therapy, counseling, and even detox.

Outpatient programs are more flexible and affordable. Instead of 30-day commitments or partial hospitalization, patients may only need to visit the rehab center once or twice per week. Some outpatient rehab centers will also prescribe medications like Naltrexone to help with alcohol cravings.

It’s also important to note that outpatient programs are useful after inpatient rehab. Some recovering alcoholics will attend therapy for months or years to maintain sobriety. According to data from SAMHSA (2010-2020), patients who transition from inpatient to outpatient care have a higher chance of maintaining sobriety.

How Long Does Alcohol Rehab Take?

Alcohol rehab takes between 30 days and one year. Ultimately, it depends on the severity of alcoholism. Severe cases of alcoholism might require lengthy stays at inpatient rehab centers. On the other hand, mild cases of alcoholism might only require a few weeks of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

Alcohol rehab is also a lifelong commitment for people who enter into support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.). These groups stress the importance of sobriety to prevent relapse. Many inpatient and outpatient rehab centers will recommend alcoholism support groups after primary treatment ends.

How to be Prepared for an Alcohol Rehab Center?

The most important part of the preparation for alcoholism rehabilitation is being mentally prepared. Understanding that recovery from alcoholism is not always a linear process makes recovery less daunting in the event of a relapse. It’s also important to deal with financial obligations before entering into a rehab program. Financial problems add stress to the equation, which makes it hard to remain sober after treatment.

Another good tip is to avoid going all-out before entering the rehab program. Many people will binge drink before going to rehab to get one last drinking session in. Binge drinking before entering rehab isn’t helpful and makes it harder to recover. It’s also a good idea to spend time with friends and family before checking into inpatient rehab programs. Knowing that people love and support you makes the isolation of inpatient rehab more tolerable.

What is an Alcohol Treatment Plan?

Alcohol treatment plans begin with a thorough planning phase. When applying to rehab programs, healthcare providers will have individuals take assessments. These assessments determine the severity of alcohol addiction.

Once the foundation of a treatment plan is created, the diagnostic summary begins. A diagnostic summary is similar to a physical from a general physical. However, the key difference is that rehab centers will examine substance abuse and the behaviors that cause them. Rehab providers will also verify someone’s mental health history and assess their general health.

After the diagnostic portion of the plan, a problem list is established. Problem lists allow patients to explain their addictions and triggers. Once the problems are identified patients and healthcare providers come up with goals. These goals give recovering alcoholics an idea of what sobriety looks like.

Goals are a big part of alcoholism recovery but goals are hard to accomplish without clear objectives. To help, rehab centers provide recovering addicts with objectives. These objectives slowly help someone reach their goal. The last parts of an alcoholism treatment plan include monitoring a patient’s ability to complete objectives. Rehab centers will also make sure patients are remaining sober.

Relapse prevention is another key part of alcoholism treatment. Once rehab ends, rehab centers recommend support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) or alternatives to alcoholics anonymous with similar principles of sobriety.

What is the Plan after the Alcohol Rehab Plan?

The plan after alcohol rehab is to maintain sobriety. To maintain sobriety many recovering alcoholics will join support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous. Support groups help people maintain sobriety for the rest of their lives. Support groups are effective because of peer-to-peer support and accountability partners. 

What are the Statistics on Alcohol Addiction Rehab in the US?

Statistics show how dangerous alcohol is for millions of Americans. A 2009 study from SAMHSA found that more than 20 million people in the United States needed some type of rehab for alcohol or drug addiction. Another study from the World Health Organization (WHO) found that more than 5% of all deaths in the United States are caused by alcohol. Unfortunately, less than 10% of people with an alcohol addiction get the treatment they need.

Several other statistics also show how deadly alcohol consumption is. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that six people die every day from alcohol overdose. Teenagers and individuals who binge drink are more likely to overdose from alcohol consumption. Overall, the World Health Organization found that more than 100,000 people die from alcohol-related death each year in the United States (2020).

The outlook of alcohol abuse is also grim for underage drinkers. Underage drinkers are people who drink alcohol before the age of 21 in the United States. Teenagers and young adults have a high risk of developing alcoholism, especially if they live with an alcoholic parent. In fact, nearly 50% of all alcoholism cases are linked to genetics – according to data from SAMHSA. Additionally, the National Institutes of Health found that half a million people between 7 and 12 years old have an alcohol abuse disorder.

Alcoholism is dangerous but the data shows that treatment is effective. One study from the Butler Center for Research at Hazelden Betty Ford found that almost 90% of people who enter alcohol rehab programs remain sober after one year. Unique treatment modalities like the Sinclair Method also have an 80% success rate with medications like Naltrexone.

What is an Alcohol Detox Program?

Alcohol detox programs help recovering alcoholics manage the symptoms of withdrawal. When alcoholics stop drinking alcohol, withdrawal symptoms begin after 6 to 12 hours. Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include anxiety, depression, tremors, sweating, insomnia, and other uncomfortable symptoms. Some symptoms of withdrawal like delirium tremens are also deadly and occur in 1% of alcoholism cases – according to the CDC.

Alcohol detox programs help people get through these symptoms and last for several days or weeks. Before entering a detox program, professionals will have alcoholics take an assessment. The assessment helps healthcare providers understand the severity of the addiction. Understanding the severity of addiction helps doctors recommend the appropriate care.

Inpatient detox programs provide recovering alcoholics with 24-hour care. During inpatient detox programs individuals are kept comfortable and sometimes medicated. Inpatient detox is suitable for severe cases of alcohol withdrawal.

Outpatient alcohol detox is also effective. Instead of providing patients with 24-hour care, outpatient detox programs focus on medications. Medications help recovering alcoholics reduce cravings. Drugs like Suboxone are also useful for reducing tremors, headaches, and anxiety.

How does Alcohol Addiction Rehab Create Alcohol Detox Program?

Alcohol addiction rehab programs create alcohol detox programs in a few ways. Typically, it begins with an assessment to determine the severity of someone’s alcohol addiction. The assessment will measure someone’s symptoms and have alcoholics answer questions about their addiction.

After the assessment, healthcare providers come up with a plan to help someone recover from alcoholism. Depending on the case, patients are admitted to inpatient detox centers or provided with medication and therapy at outpatient rehab centers.

What are the Components of Alcohol Addiction Rehab Centers?

The Center for Substance Abuse Treatment came up with a standard model of care for rehab centers in 1997. These components of alcohol addiction rehab are still in practice today and have evidence-based results. That said, there are some modern amendments to this model that we’ll cover below.

Below we list the components of alcohol addiction rehab centers.

  • Positive screening
  • Suggestive symptoms
  • Brief assessments
  • In-depth assessments
  • Interventions (when necessary)
  • Prescription medications for cravings and alcohol withdrawal
  • Family interviews
  • 24-hour supervision at inpatient rehab centers
  • Therapy
  • Counseling
  • Housing (residential inpatient)
  • Aftercare programs (A.A.) and following up with patients

Many alcohol rehab centers help patients flow through the stages of recovery. Rehab centers will often start with detox, then move to inpatient rehab. Then, patients enter into outpatient programs and join support groups after completing them.

Why is the Staff of Alcoholism Rehab Center Important?

The staff of alcoholism rehab centers is important because they’re the people looking after recovering alcoholics. A successful alcohol rehab center has a well-rounded staff that tends to the needs of its patients. Staff at rehab centers are also licensed professionals who help with medications, therapy, and other activities. Depending on the rehab center, staff ranges from chefs to general physicians.

What License do Alcohol Rehab Centers Have?

Rehab centers must have a license from the Department of Healthcare Services (DHCS). Without a DHCS rehab license, rehab centers can’t legally provide treatment for recovering alcoholics. Rehab centers may also apply for local or state licenses. These licenses vary from state to state.

What Treatment Methods do Alcohol Rehab Centers implement?

Alcohol rehab centers provide recovering alcoholics with many types of treatment but the most common modality is behavioral therapy. Behavioral therapy is an important component of alcoholism treatment because it targets the root cause of addiction. Rehab centers for alcohol addiction will also prescribe medications for severe cases of alcohol withdrawal. Peer-to-peer support and family counseling are also popular at inpatient and outpatient rehab centers.

Some inpatient treatment centers also have unique treatment methods. Luxury rehab centers, for example, will help provide yoga and other holistic treatments for alcoholism.

Overall, the type of treatment depends on the rehab center. However, there are some common practices among detox, outpatient, and inpatient rehab centers. A major similarity is that most rehab programs offer counseling and promote support groups after treatment like Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.).

Is a Luxury Alcohol Rehab Center better than a Regular Alcohol Rehab Center?

Yes, luxury alcohol rehab centers are better than regular alcohol rehab centers. Luxury alcohol rehab centers are better because they offer more amenities. Examples include private rooms, yoga, chef-cooked meals, massages, and more. The staff at luxury alcohol rehab centers is also better and more numerous. Still, regular alcohol rehab centers are also highly effective.

How Much Does an Alcohol Rehab Center Treatment Cost?

Alcohol rehab center treatment costs between $1,000 and $6,500 on average. Still, there are exceptions. Some support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) are free and luxurious residential rehab centers may cost up to $30,000 per month.

So, what is the average cost of rehab?

In most cases, outpatient rehab is cheaper because you pay by the hour for therapy or counseling. Therefore, sessions with a behavioral therapist may cost $100 to $200 per week. On the other hand, inpatient rehab centers charge for housing, so the cost is much higher.

Alcohol rehab is not cheap but there are ways to pay for it. It’s best to pay for alcohol rehab with insurance because it covers most of the cost. You’ll have to verify rehab centers to make sure they take your insurance. It’s also possible to pay for alcohol rehab centers with credit, loans, or cash.

How to Understand Whether you are an Alcoholic or Not?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an alcoholic is someone who abuses alcohol. Alcoholics have uncontrollable urges to consume alcohol and experience symptoms of withdrawal. Common risk factors for alcoholism include binge drinking, drinking more than 12 drinks per week (women) or 14 drinks per week (men), and drinking alcohol daily.

Some assessments help you determine if you’re an alcoholic. According to Doctor James Garbutt (MD), the CAGE questionnaire is effective for determining if someone is an alcoholic. The assessment measures the effect of alcohol on someone’s life, specifically if drinking alcohol causes negative reactions.

What are the Signs of Alcoholism?

Alcoholism research has evolved over the years. Initially, researchers like Morton Jellinek identified the signs of alcoholism and how it progresses through stages in 1946. Nearly a decade later, in 1954, Jellinek published one of the first papers about the stages of alcoholism, “Phases of Alcohol Addiction.” Today, a lot more is known about alcoholism and what causes it.

Several signs suggest that someone is suffering from alcoholism. There is a lot of research on the subject, so it’s never been easier to know and understand the warning signs of alcoholism. First and foremost, the CDC considers binge drinking to be a sign of alcoholism. Binge drinking is the act of drinking rapidly to get drunk faster. Someone who binge drinks will often consume four or five drinks in rapid succession. The CDC also considers more than three standard drinks per day for men or two standard drinks for women as moderate drinking, which increases the risk of developing alcoholism.

Researchers from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism also found several risk factors for alcoholism. Recent data from 2010-2020 suggests that 50% of all alcoholism cases are genetic. Therefore, children with parents who abuse alcohol have a higher risk of developing alcoholism. Another recent survey conducted in 2019 by SAMHSA found that drinking at an early age increases the risk of developing alcoholism.

It’s also important to note that there are some new and alarming signs of alcoholism. A study published in the Journal of Psychological Medicine 2017, “A Meta-Analysis of the Acute use of Alcohol and the Risk of Suicide Attempt” found that suicidal thoughts that occur when drinking alcohol are a sign of late-stage alcoholism.

What are the Social Consequences of Alcoholism?

The social consequences of alcoholism include losing friends and damaging relationships with family members. These consequences start small but progress as someone continues to abuse alcohol. Mending lost relationships is one of the primary focuses of alcohol rehab. 

What Tests do Alcohol Rehab Centers use for Patients?

Alcohol rehab centers use several tests to assess patients. One example is the CIWA-AR assessment, which assesses alcohol withdrawal symptoms and their severity. Rehab centers will also use CAGE questionnaires to evaluate someone’s alcohol addiction.

Another common alcohol test is the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT). According to researchers Yvonne Forsell and Andreas Lundin, it’s an effective test that gives healthcare providers an accurate assessment of someone’s condition. Data about the AUDIT test was published by these researchers in “Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.”

Depending on the rehab center these tests will vary.

What Medications do Alcohol Rehab Centers use?

Several medications are effective for alcoholism. Depending on the severity of alcohol addiction, different medications may be useful. Below we list the common medications that rehab centers use.

  1. Acamprosate
  2. Naltrexone
  3. Vivitrol
  4. Disulfiram 

1. Acamprosate

One of the most effective medications for alcoholism treatment is acamprosate. It was introduced in Europe in 1989 and has since been prescribed for more than 1.5 million alcoholism cases. It was approved by the FDA in 2004 and helps people recover from alcoholism by reducing the urge to drink alcohol. Acamprosate commonly goes by the brand name Campral and its effectiveness has been tested in more than 20 double-blind placebo-controlled trials. 

Acamprosate works by stabilizing brain chemistry. When someone abuses alcohol, the alcohol interacts with GABA receptors and replaces natural hormones and chemicals. Withdrawal from alcohol occurs because the brain can’t maintain balance without the intake of alcohol. To help, acamprosate interacts with GABA receptors to restore balance.

Overall, it’s an effective and safe medication with some mild side effects. 

2. Naltrexone

Naltrexone is a medication that’s been around for decades. It’s FDA-approved and it’s useful for treating opioid and alcohol addiction. Naltrexone is effective because it’s an opiate antagonist. Opiate antagonists make the effects of opioids and alcohol undesirable. Therefore, naltrexone helps people reduce their alcohol cravings. 

Naltrexone binds to similar receptors in the brain that alcohol connects to. Mixing the substances leads to uncomfortable side effects that cause people to dislike the effects of alcohol or opiates. Naltrexone is taken orally in doses of about 50 milligrams. Most people who take naltrexone take it daily but some people may take a higher dose (150 milligrams) that lasts for several days.

3. Vivitrol

Vivitrol is a brand name for naltrexone. Naltrexone makes the effects of alcohol or opiates undesirable. Vivitrol is useful for both opioid and alcohol addiction, which makes it popular for addiction treatment. It’s FDA-approved and can be taken orally or via injection. 

Vivitrol requires a prescription from a licensed physician or mental health professional. Many alcohol rehab centers across the United States prescribe Vivitrol to help patients manage alcohol cravings.

4. Disulfiram

Disulfiram has been around for several decades and its effectiveness for alcoholism is well-known. SAMHSA surveys continue to find that disulfiram (brand name Antabuse) is highly effective for treating alcoholism. Disulfiram is effective because it prevents the body from breaking down alcohol. When alcohol can’t be broken down in the body, negative side effects occur that cause people to stop drinking alcohol.

Despite disulfiram’s effectiveness, new research shows that it’s not always the best medication for alcohol rehab. A study published in the National Library of Medicine found that disulfiram increases the risk of developing hepatitis. The study found that 1 out of 30,000 patients taking disulfiram experienced a fatal case of hepatitis. Still, the benefits outweigh the risks and complications are unlikely.

What are the Steps for Alcoholism Treatment in Alcohol Rehab Centers?

The steps of alcoholism treatment in alcohol rehab centers vary. Most alcohol rehab centers still follow the treatment model outlined by the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment in 1997. Depending on the alcohol rehab center there are some variations.

The first step always begins with evaluating the patient. Assessments like the AUDIT test and CIWA-AR assessment are given to patients to determine the severity of alcoholism. After the assessment, alcohol rehab centers recommend inpatient, outpatient, or detox programs. Throughout the process licensed addiction specialists help patients come up with a goal for sobriety. After a goal is established, objectives that help patients achieve the goal are provided.

The typical progression for someone with a severe case of alcoholism is to begin with an alcohol detox program. From there, patients enter into inpatient rehab programs. When more treatment is required, patients will continue treatment at an outpatient rehab center. Many recovering alcoholics will also spend time in support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous to maintain sobriety for life.

How to Understand Whether a Doctor in an Alcohol Rehab Center is Good or Not?

The best way to determine if a doctor in an alcohol rehab center is good or not is to have a one-on-one meeting with them. During the evaluation, they should be asking you relevant questions about your addiction. After the initial consultation, you’ll have an idea of whether a doctor is a good fit for your treatment needs.

It’s also a good idea to consult with other patients and read reviews. Many rehab centers have reviews about the facility and the staff. Alcohol rehab centers that don’t maintain a 4-star rating or higher on Google are not the best choice. To view reviews, simply enter the alcohol rehab center into Google’s search tool. 

How to Communicate with the Staff in the Alcohol Rehab Center?

Communication with alcohol rehab staff is straightforward. The most important tip is to slow down and listen to the professionals. Instead of interrupting staff members, give them time to speak and listen. When you listen to alcohol rehab staff it’s easier to follow their instructions. It’s also important to include loved ones in conversations with rehab staff if the rehab center permits it. Having your loved ones understand the addiction makes it easier to maintain sobriety at home.

Communicating with staff in a one-on-one setting is also helpful. Allow the staff members to manage the meeting and answer their questions honestly. To recover from alcoholism, being honest with alcohol rehab center staff is essential. Also, make sure you make your concerns and discomfort apparent so the alcohol rehab staff can help you.

How to Use Health Insurance for Alcohol Rehab?

Medical insurance typically covers the cost of alcohol rehab but it depends on the insurance. Fortunately, the Affordable Care Act that was passed in 2010 requires many alcohol rehab centers and providers to cover the cost of care. In fact, it’s not uncommon for medical insurance to cover inpatient alcohol rehab.

To use medical insurance for alcohol rehab it’s important to start by researching the rehab center. Either call the rehab center or check online to see if they accept your insurance. Individuals who have Medicare or Medicaid can also use insurance to cover the cost of alcohol rehab. It’s important to note that there might be co-pays, medication, and other fees that you have to pay for yourself.

To help you use insurance for alcohol rehab, many addiction treatment centers have insurance professionals. These professionals will recommend alcoholism treatment plans that are covered by your medical insurance. It’s also smart to contact your insurance provider to determine what types of alcohol rehab they’ll cover. 

Which Alcohol Rehab Centers Treat Online?

Many alcohol rehab centers treat patients online. These programs are known as telehealth and online treatment programs. There are also online alcohol rehab programs that allow individuals to recover at their own pace. An example is CheckUp & Choices, which is a self-help program for recovering alcoholics. Online therapy from applications like BetterHelp also has access to 20,000 licensed mental health professionals.

Online alcohol rehabs work best for people who don’t have a severe case of alcoholism. Therefore, it’s suitable for recovering alcoholics who have already gone through an alcohol detox program. Online rehab is also great to use in addition to support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous or outpatient rehab.