Your Guide to Alcohol Rehab and Treatment
Drinking is such a common social activity almost everywhere in the world, that people often get confused over the acceptable levels of alcohol consumption. How much is too much? And how frequently do you have to drink alcohol to be considered an alcoholic?
Sometimes it’s hard to tell. But this is something that should be discussed because alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction are very serious concerns that have to be tackled. Alcohol is the most commonly abused substance in the world, and millions of people suffer from alcohol use disorder.
Alcoholism In The United States
In 2014, 17 million people were reported to be struggling with alcohol use disorder, also known as alcoholism—and that’s only just in the United States. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) further states that less than 2 percent of those people actually received treatment for their disorder.
Considering the fact that alcohol abuse can affect a person’s life on so many different levels, this statistic is very alarming. Even for families with steady income levels, alcoholism can cause financial problems. Some people never seek out treatment thinking that it’s way too expensive to go to rehab. But in the long run, alcohol rehab is an investment that secures your future, keeps you healthy, and saves money.
On this article we will talk about everything you need to know about alcohol rehab and treatment. How does detox work? How long does it take? How much does it cost? Let’s find out.
Alcohol Treatment: What Is Involved?
Going to rehab for the very first time can be an intimidating experience. But it’s important to understand that it will give you the lift you need to adopt a sober lifestyle. The momentum you gain from alcohol rehab can easily be carried over to your life after treatment. You can regain control over your own path instead of letting alcohol take hold of the things that matter to you.
So What Can You Expect From an Alcohol Treatment Program?
The first thing you need to know is that there are no locks on the door. You’re free to go whenever you want. This is an important thing to keep in mind because at the end of the day, you are in control of your destiny. No one can help you get sober unless you’re also trying to help yourself.
Of course, leaving rehab can have its consequences, and it may slow down or stop your progress—but these are decisions you will make on your own.
Remember that no rehab or treatment program is going to work unless you are willing to change. Do not enter rehab knowing that you are just going to drink again. This may just be a waste of your time and money.
Should you choose to stay for the whole duration of the program, you can expect to be detoxified. Most residential rehab facilities have their own detoxification programs. Some centers require clients to complete detox before entering their facilities. Try to learn which one of these is offered in your local alcohol rehab center. If you need to get clean before entering rehab, you may have to look for one that offers medical detox.
Residential facilities differ in terms of facilities. The cheaper ones may offer camp-type settings. The more expensive ones can offer luxurious facilities with fine dining and private suites. Find out what programs and facilities are available in the rehab center near you.
Rehabilitation also involves education as one of its core components. Again, this may vary depending on the facility you’re going to, but the whole process of alcohol rehab is aimed at changing addictive behavior. And this cannot be achieved without providing some sort of education.
It helps alcoholic individuals take an honest and realistic look at their own drinking habits and understand why they must change it. It can help them change their attitude towards alcohol abuse.
Some people don’t even know that they are an alcoholic. But the main thing you should look out for is whether or not someone has control over their drinking habits. If a person doesn’t seem to know when to stop or how much is too much, then they likely have a drinking problem.
Signs of Addiction
If you know someone who drinks in the middle of the day, or has a habit of drinking alone, or drinking until they are unconscious, they are probably an alcoholic.
Understanding these things can help a person avoid addictive behavior in the future, as they work on recovering and tweaking their lifestyle for the better.
With education and information, treatment facilities can break through that initial denial stage that prevents people from committing to a sober lifestyle. By understanding the effects of alcohol abuse, they can have a clear idea of why they should steer clear of these substances.
Addiction treatment involves counseling and group therapy. No one should face this problem alone. It’s always great to have a support system that understands your dilemma and knows what you’re going through. Professionals and patients who are struggling with similar problems can really put things in perspective and help you understand that you are not alone.
A trained addiction counselor may help you through private, individual counseling. This way, you can reach a point where you understand the root cause of addictive behavior. You can acknowledge your drinking problem, or any other personal issue that might have caused it, and then addressing them. Only then can you begin the process of healing emotionally.
Group therapy helps you connect with other individuals and create a solid support system. Alcohol abuse treatment is tough, but it’s slightly easier when you know you are surrounded with people who also want to get better. Patients may begin to see that what they have is not an extraordinary circumstance, but a very common problem that affects so many families all over the world.
It makes the problem easier to tackle, knowing that the universe isn’t conspiring to ruin your life. It’s a problem with addiction, and addiction can be treated.
A support system is great if you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the effects of alcoholism.
Rehab sessions are designed to teach patients skills that they’ll need to live life without the need for alcohol. You may learn how to recognize situations that may cause you to drink excessively, so you can avoid these circumstances. Coping skills make it easier for recovering alcoholics to adapt to the sober life.
Facilities have different ways of teaching these coping skills. It may involve actual 12-step meetings, group sessions, family therapy, couples therapy, or addiction education. Look for the kind of treatment that’s right for you.
For example, if you’re more comfortable having your family around to provide emotional support, there are facilities that offer that kind of program. Family and friends can be involved in the educational process to improve the outcome of rehabilitation. They can even help patients stay on track when they are around potential triggers and similar experiences.
Lastly, aftercare is one of the most essential components of any alcohol treatment program. It’s the part where the real challenge lies: staying sober after treatment has ended.
How Long Does Alcohol Rehab Take?
Your typical alcohol rehab will last about 28 days or longer, depending on the patient’s condition. This is a structured environment where their alcohol intake can be monitored. But beyond that, it’s all about the person’s willpower and their desire to pursue sobriety.
Some of the most successful rehab programs will incorporate a strong aftercare program plan to help guide you through aftercare. Your counselor may suggest the next step based on what they think is best for you. Follow these and you should remain on the right track.
An aftercare plan may include outpatient treatment, 12-step meetings, weekly check-ins with your counselor, or other similar steps that can help you avoid relapse.
Is Detoxing From Alcohol Dangerous?
Getting rid of toxins is something you hear regularly in lifestyle shows, advertisements, and online guides. This may lead some people to believe that detoxing is a simple an easy process with no risks involved.
Sure, getting healthy is something you can do with the right diet and regular exercise. But detoxing from alcohol is another story entirely.
There is no simple liquid formula, pill, or diet regimen that can quickly purge the body of its toxins. With that in mind, we can say that detoxing from alcohol is dangerous—if you do it on your own.
Only pursue detox through a licensed detox facility, where the process is supervised by medical professionals. They can give you round-the-clock attention and manage any complications that may arise.
Yes, complications do arise every now and then. Alcoholism, after all, is just like any other addiction. Your body will react negatively if you just suddenly stop drinking. You will go through withdrawal and make it harder for you to stay sober. These withdrawal symptoms can range from mild discomfort to life-threatening.
Alcoholics may also experience intense cravings, which will make it more likely for them to relapse.
Alcohol detox is perhaps one of the most dangerous ones to do. It’s not as simple as moderating someone’s drinking behavior. It’s also about addressing the physical effects of alcohol abuse.
The consequences of abruptly quitting alcohol can be deadly. It may cause convulsions, hallucinations, and even heart failure—which may result in death. It’s not to be taken lightly. Alcohol detox should not be attempted at home, especially if you’ve been drinking excessively for long periods of time.
The occurrence of these withdrawal symptoms indicates that the person is already dependent on alcohol. Their body has adapted to the near-constant presence of alcoholic drinks that it can no longer function normally without it.
Alcohol detox is usually a two-phase process done by medically-trained individuals. The first phase takes a few days, during which the person may experience withdrawal—but will be protected using medical intervention.
The second phase is much longer: alcohol detox is done over months, during which the brain begins to regulate and resume normal functioning.
During the second phase of alcohol detox, patients may experience lingering symptoms, but these are usually not as dangerous.
Not all withdrawal symptoms are fatal. Some minor symptoms of withdrawal may include anxiety, insomnia, nausea, vomiting, and shakiness.
What Is Detox Like?
When it comes to withdrawal, the severity and duration experienced by the alcoholic is closely related to the severity of their addiction. This also applies to alcohol detox. The process you go through may even be different from how we describe it here.
Everyone is affected by addiction differently—just like how everyone starts drinking for different reasons. That is why treatment is also unique for every individual. The most effective ones are highly personalized.
It is also nearly impossible to determine how effective a certain treatment may be, or how accurate the course will be.
But naturally, you can expect a combination of alcohol detox and counseling to some degree. Medications may be prescribed to help make the detox process more comfortable. The patient’s safety is also prioritized at all times.
Medications help them deal with cravings and withdrawal symptoms. These prescription drugs can help ease the transition from addiction to sobriety.
Expect these medications to be taken while closely following a schedule, because some of these drugs can also be misused or taken recreationally. You don’t want to substitute one addiction for another.
During the early stages of detox, the patient may feel sick, anxious, depressed, or irritable. They may have sudden spikes in heart rate or blood pressure. Some even suffer from nightmares. These complications have to be monitored. This is why alcohol treatment has to be done in an inpatient setting.
As the detox progresses, withdrawal symptoms will gradually reduce in their intensity. However, only continued sobriety can end long-term addiction.
The risk of seizure lessens after the first 48 hours of detox. Medical observation may still be required going forward, because the risk of heart attack and stroke remains.
What Is Rehab Like?
So now that we know what detoxing from alcohol is like, let’s talk about the entire rehabilitation process. What happens during alcohol rehabilitation?
The first step is an initial assessment. Medical staff will screen you to assess your situation, so they could create a program that’s suitable for your needs. It will include a physical exam, a urinalysis drug test, an interview or psychological screening, and other means of assessment. This increases the patient’s chances of success.
Next comes the alcohol detox, which we discussed earlier. Withdrawal usually begins three to five hours after the last drink. Medical staff will monitor the patient 24/7 to ensure their safety during this stage of recovery.
After this comes the behavioral treatment. This is the part that makes use of counseling, psychotherapy, and other methods to ensure the patient’s emotional and mental recovery. Alcoholism has its physical effects, but in order to fully recover, the patient will have to heal psychologically as well. That’s why rehabilitation is mainly behavioral therapy.
This phase tackles the behavioral aspect of addiction. It deals with the main reasons for addictive or compulsive behavior. It is important for recovering alcoholics to work with counselors to address their current mental and emotional condition. This way, they can understand where it’s coming from.
Behavioral and attitudinal changes can help the patient stay focused, stay sober, and start living a happy life. The more dedicated you are to the program, the more likely you are to succeed beyond the short term.
Medications may be prescribed at any point during the rehab process. Some examples are antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, and even painkillers.
Alcoholism education will be incorporated in most programs to help understand the compulsion to drink, and the consequences of giving in to these impulses.
And then finally, aftercare will help patients stay on the right track even after treatment ends. Supportive social services may help empower a patient by connecting them to services that will keep them sober. It is a network of supportive people who can influence a patient’s life. This may include housing, health care, child care, nutritional guidance, and financial counseling.
Is Alcohol Rehab Covered By Insurance?
Now we’ll talk about one of the most common concerns people have when it comes to alcohol rehab: the financial side of things. Does insurance cover alcohol rehab? We’ll cover this today to reduce the roadblocks that discourage people from pushing through with their treatment.
If a person is ready to go to rehab, they must be able to do so. Financial blocks should be removed—and insurance certainly helps cover a lot.
In fact, insurance is almost always the first means of paying for addiction treatment. Most policies offer at least partial coverage. Insurance policies will have different coverage levels for alcohol rehab, so it can be hard to figure out what these are and what services are covered. Exclusions may exist.
It is also important to find out what specific treatment programs accept payment through insurance. Some do, while others do not.
Of course, most rehab centers will have insurance specialists who can help their prospective clients learn more about the specifics of their policies. You can also contact your insurance provider directly to know more about your policy and how much of the alcohol rehab it will cover.
Try to find out what types of addiction treatment are covered. Policies may vary depending on whether it’s a private insurer or a group insurance plan provided by employers.
Certain policies only cover the first time a person enters alcohol addiction treatment. If they relapse, this may be excluded from the insurance policy, despite the fact that relapse is still considered a part of recovery, according to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Addiction.
It is these simple nuances that you have to learn about if you’re planning to use your insurance coverage for alcohol treatment. But don’t let that discourage you. Your insurance provider will happily discuss this with you if you have any questions.
As a general rule, health insurance usually covers treatments that are medically necessary. This includes intervention services, alcohol detox, recovery maintenance, inpatient services at a hospital or care center, outpatient rehab, individual counseling, and group counseling.
Aftercare, and anything other than the ones mentioned above are less likely to be covered. But it’s still a good idea to check on your insurance policy to see what it covers.
Luxury Care Centers
When it comes to luxury rehab, don’t expect too much. It is unlikely for luxury services to be covered by most health insurance providers. But there are reasons to consider investing on luxury rehab off of your own money—it has its own set of benefits. For example: gourmet food, holistic care, and non-medical amenities that improve your mental and physical condition. Luxury rehabs have a high success rate—you might just enjoy alcohol rehab!
It is also important to note that while insurance plans can cover a great deal of your expenses, there are still certain costs that you might have to bear. For example, there are certain policies with lifetime limitations wherein they will only pay for coverage up to a certain point. You will have to be responsible for all costs after that.
Policies may also have deductibles, meaning you have to pay a certain amount before the coverage begins. These costs may be high or low—it depends on the type of insurance plan.
In order to use your insurance for rehab, you have to talk to your doctor first and find out your treatment needs. What kind of treatment do you require? Remember that this will heavily depend upon your condition. It will depend on the degree of abuse or addiction, and what type of treatment can help set it right.
Once you know what treatments are needed, you can find the appropriate rehab program. You can then learn about that treatment facility’s insurance policies: what kind of insurance they accept, etc.
Your doctor may suggest a rehab program, and it is good to take this into consideration. Verify which parts of treatment required are covered by your insurance policy. Determine whether you are allowed to use insurance in the first place.
If the treatment facility accepts the patient’s specific plan, then they are good to go. It’s important to know which parts of treatment are not covered.
If certain parts of the alcohol treatment process aren’t covered by your insurance, the facility might offer convenient methods of payment that may suit you. Some allow you to pay in installments, for example, for treatments that require you to pay with your own money. Ask about the alcohol rehab’s financing options.
How Long Does Detoxing Take?
Detoxing is an uncomfortable process. Come to think of it, it’s a chemical change within your body that’s eliminating something that’s been influencing it for a while—alcohol. It’s bound to get a bit uncomfortable. Anyone going through it just might think: “how long does rehab take?”
The truth is, just like everything else involving alcohol addiction and rehab, it varies from person to person. The duration of alcohol detox is different for everyone.
Withdrawal may occur at any time between three hours after the last drink and up to a few days later. Symptoms may peak by 24 to 72 hours. It can also go on for weeks. That’s why the first phase of alcohol detox may take more than a few days.
Expect the acute withdrawal stage to be when the worst of the withdrawal symptoms manifest.
While we can’t say for sure how long alcohol rehab may take for each individual, we can at least name some of the factors that influence the alcohol detox timeline. If you are affected by more than a few factors, then you might be in for a longer rehab process.
For starters, a person’s drinking habits is one of the main factors that affect the timeline of recovery. How long has the person been drinking? How often do they drink? And how much alcohol did they consume regularly?
These factors will influence the extent of damage, both physical and emotional, that alcoholism can cause. This means there will be more factors taken into consideration during treatment, more adverse health problems to manage, and perhaps deeper emotional reasons for drinking, etc.
A person’s general health will also affect the length of alcohol rehab. Their weight, gender, age, and other nutritional considerations may factor in as well.
If a person has co-occurring mental health issues like depression, anxiety, or eating disorders, these have to be considered as well. Counseling and medications may help tackle these conditions.
Can You Smoke in Alcohol Rehab?
It is actually difficult for researchers to conduct studies on the frequency of smoking during alcohol rehab. That’s because 12-step programs are often anonymous in nature. However, one study conducted in 2007 suggests that cigarette smoking is common among Alcoholics Anonymous members in Nashville, Tennessee, with 56.1 percent of the surveyed members reportedly being active smokers.
This data doesn’t tell us enough about the prevalence of smoking in alcohol rehab. So if you must smoke during detox, you can ask your specific treatment facility if it is allowed within the premises.
We should question the necessity of smoking during recovery, however, because it may present other dangers and complications that are otherwise absent.
Tobacco use is the largest preventable cause of death in the United States, even up to this day. Active efforts are being made to dissuade use, but around half a million people still die each year from tobacco usage.
Smoking cigarettes while in recovery comes with the same dangers that affect any smoker. As you try to get sober from alcohol, you may find it easier to get healthy and start anew if you try not to smoke during alcohol rehab. After all, smokers are more likely to develop heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer. These are complications that may even make your alcohol recovery process more difficult in the long run.
So while some may ask if smoking is allowed in alcohol rehab, it is more important to question whether or not smoking during recovery is even worth it.
Cigarettes remain a popular presence in the recovery culture. Some use it to relieve stress. 12-step programs aim to wean people off of the substances they are dependent on. But if smoking will improve your chances of successfully recovering from alcohol use disorder, then it may be worth weighing the pros and cons.
If you are only beginning to get sober, quitting smoking may sound like a bad idea. You’re already quitting alcohol, you might think, why go through the extra trouble? But if you start off alcohol recovery while still smoking, you can later drop the habit as you get past the more difficult early phases of alcohol detox.
If it relieves your anxiety and stress, smoking may be acceptable during the early parts of recovery. The goal is to quit addictive behavior and strive toward a healthier life. Later on, as you get comfortable with drinking less, you may find it easier to drop smoking as well.
But like we said earlier, only you are in control of the situation. Medical professionals can heal you, counselors can guide you, and your loved ones can strengthen you—but at the end of the day, it is up to you to decide your own fate. Do the benefits outweigh the dangers? Think about it and consider what will be best for you.
How Much Does It Cost?
Prices will vary based on the patient’s condition. But here are the prices for some of the most components of an alcoholism treatment program.
Intervention is for alcoholics who are yet to acknowledge that they have a condition that needs to be treated by medical professionals. While most families may conduct this informally by sitting down as a group and having this conversation, some may opt to hire some outside help. This is essential for those who don’t fully understand the seriousness of their drinking problem and its consequences.
Interventions may have a flat fee between $2,500 and $10,000. The price may increase depending on other costs involved in the intervention process. This is an important part of rehabilitation—the part where the person realizes that they need treatment. But if the price is way too high and would only cause more financial burden, then you may consider doing your own research and conducting the intervention informally.
Medical detox is another core component of alcohol rehabilitation. The price of residential care may be different from outpatient care. Residential care tends to be more costly, because the patient has to stay in a treatment facility for days, up to weeks. Their needs will be provided, alongside the medications and other rehab essentials. Once this part of the program is complete, the patient may receive further treatment through counseling.
Residential care may cost $500 to $650 per day. Programs tend to last for several days, so plan ahead. Expect the prices to be way higher if you’re entering a luxury inpatient treatment facility. It is called luxury for a reason.
Partial hospitalization is less expensive, but also less focused. The patient won’t be monitored 24/7 because they will only be partially hospitalized. They will continue to stay at home, so they don’t need to pay for lodging or for food. But they will have to drive to the facility every so often.
Prices for partial hospitalization may be lower than $350 per day, up to $450 per day.
Outpatient care is very similar to partial hospitalization, but there is almost no monitoring involved. It seems like a bargain, with prices that range from $250 to $350 per day only. But this type of alcohol rehab doesn’t have a high success rate because patients are not closely monitored by professionals.
However, the benefit here is that patients can still attend to their usual responsibilities. It is the least restrictive type of alcohol rehab. Relapse is more common in this type of treatment, so keep that in mind when choosing a rehab for you.
Sober living facilities are for those who have already received treatment, but are still unprepared to go back to the “real world”. They may need time to adjust to the sober life. Sober living houses ease them into the sober lifestyle. This is for patients who no longer need inpatient support. In a sober living house, they can start readjusting to their usual responsibilities and feel functional once more.
Sober living homes provide a boost in a person’s “sobriety skills”.
Costs may vary, but the average is about $1,500 to $2,500 per month.
Aftercare, for those who need additional assistance, can really help reduce the chance of relapse. It may come in the form of outpatient assistance from a mental health provider. Costs vary dramatically, so there’s no way to estimate this. It all depends on the kind of aftercare you’re receiving.
Addiction treatment may be costly, but think of it this way: staying addicted is even more expensive. It prevents you from functioning properly, hindering you financially; and you spend lots of money on alcohol. You will also have to deal with all the health problems caused by alcohol abuse. Staying addicted should not be an option.
There are various financing methods for most rehab programs out there—you just have to be patient when looking for the perfect match. You can also use your insurance.
If you’ve been struggling with alcohol use disorder, do not attempt to quit on your own. It might be dangerous for your health. You need to seek outside help.
Even for less severe cases, you are more likely to get sober if you receive care from an alcohol treatment facility. Remember that investing in your health is never a waste. This is your life we are talking about. It’s your most precious possession. Take care of it.
How Much Is Private, Luxury Rehab?
Of course, now that we’re talking about luxury rehab, we can expect it to be even more expensive. And because of its “luxurious” nature, your insurance may not be able to help you with this. But we’re talking about it because some people think private rehab is only for celebrities.
It is a valid option for anyone with the resources to spare. Sure, it’s not for everyone, but if you have the means, you have to consider it. The benefits are undeniable.
Luxury rehab is holistic, and will offer you your own private suite for the length of your stay there. It consists of the same rehab combination of medical detox and behavioral therapy. But it also makes your stay extremely comfortable. Cost may vary depending on the amenities offered. Prices vary widely.
A luxury rehab center is designed for clients who want to live in a high-end, luxurious setting throughout their treatment. It can keep your mind at ease with the relaxing, nature-oriented facilities.
The reason people go for luxury rehab is the comfort, the amenities, and the level of care provided. It takes the intensive care of residential treatment and increases it at every turn.
You can have your laundry done for you, you can receive daily group counseling, you can have access to holistic treatment techniques like acupuncture, art therapy, music therapy, and homeopathic medicine, etc. This way, you can focus on the one thing that matters during alcohol detox: getting sober.
You don’t need to go for luxury alcohol rehab. But it’s nice to know that it’s a great option for those who want nothing but the best results.
No matter what type of treatment, and no matter what the cost, it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible. Look for an alcohol addiction treatment facility near you today and fight the effects of alcohol use disorder.