What to Expect at an Alcohol Treatment Center
If you are struggling with alcoholism, your recovery begins from the moment you check into treatment. Upon arrival, it is often expected that you have been through a lot leading up to finally reaching the treatment center, so generally, staff will greet you at the door and take you into a private room where you can begin to relax and start the process. A patient care specialist will wrap up the paperwork, and then the medical staff will complete an assessment. This information indicates your current physical condition, medical, mental health, and addiction history which also helps the staff create an individualized rehab and drug treatment plan geared towards your unique needs, circumstances and health.
Once the assessment is completed, if necessary, you will move onto detox. After detox, you will enter treatment in which you will have the opportunity to engage in a variety of therapies, education sessions, holistic activities, and more in order to promote long term sobriety and overcoming alcoholism. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, in 2013, approximately 7% of US adults had an alcohol use disorder but 7.8 percent of those individuals got the treatment they needed.
There are a wide variety of reasons that individuals refuse to seek help for their alcoholism. Some individuals do not seek help because they are unsure of what to expect from an alcohol treatment center. It is important that the individual knows what to expect at each phase of the treatment process. Motivation to complete the program and achieve sobriety is a key component in the overall success of the individual seeking to overcome his/her alcoholism.
For most alcohol treatment centers, the recovery process begins from the moment the individual begins the intake process. Medical staff members often begin this process by having the individual fill out a questionnaire or complete an intake interview. This process will help the staff identify more about the person’s medical history, mental health, nature of alcoholism, as well as any potential co-occurring conditions.
The intake process is an important step for the treatment process because this is how the clinical staff will customize an individualized treatment plan. The goal of the intake process is to properly assess the individual and to devise a treatment plan that properly addresses the physical and psychiatric needs of the individual. According to the guidelines set by the National Institute of Drug Addiction, this is one of the essential aspects of addiction treatment.
The first step in any alcohol treatment center is for the individual to be properly and safely detox from alcohol. Oftentimes, this can be the most difficult part of the treatment of alcoholism. Withdrawal from alcohol can be uncomfortable, dangerous, and potentially fatal – without proper medical supervision and treatment.
Physical Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal
- Involuntary Shakiness
- Irregular Heartbeat
- Cold Sweats
- Irregular Blood Pressure
Psychological Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal
- Mood Swings
- Nightmares/Night Terrors
- Panic Attacks
The most dangerous symptoms of alcohol withdrawal are fever, seizures, and hallucinations. These symptoms are often signs of severe alcohol withdrawal commonly called delirium tremens (DTs). DTs can be life-threatening, which is why medical detox is a vital component of treatment for alcoholism.
In a proper medical detox setting, medical professionals can monitor and administer proper medications and other treatments to ease the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. Seeking professional help in assisting with detox from alcohol can help mitigate the symptoms while making the detox process as safe and comfortable as possible.
Therapy and Treatment
Once detox has been completed, therapy begins. There are a variety of therapies utilized in treating alcohol addiction such as group therapy, individual therapy, family therapy, couples therapy, holistic therapies, and life skill-building workshops.
Behavioral therapy is the most common form of therapy utilized in research-based alcohol treatment centers. Treatment will often include group and individual therapy in order to help individuals understand the motivations behind their behaviors while identifying triggers for alcoholism. When an individual is able to identify and understand his/her triggers, for unhealthy behaviors, the individual is able to learn and develop healthy coping skills.
Some forms of behavioral therapies offered in alcohol treatment centers include:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – The goal of CBT is to help individuals identify their thought patterns and behavioral responses. Through this form of therapy, the individual will learn how to implement more positive behaviors and coping skills.
- Trauma-focused CBT – This form of CBT will help the individual make the connection between their trauma and behaviors. The goal of Trauma-focused CBT is to help the individual break the link of coping with trauma by self-medicating and encourages healthy coping skills.
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) – Motivational enhancement and behavioral skills are taught as a way to manage alcoholism and other co-occurring disorders through DBT. This specific type of therapy is especially beneficial for individuals struggling with co-occurring disorders.
- Family Therapy – Addiction is said to be a family disease. Oftentimes, family dynamics and relationships contribute to the way an individual responds to alcohol addiction treatment. Family members will often learn how their patterns of behaviors have been unhealthy and will learn how to become reliable supporters of recovery. The goal of family therapy is to provide a source of strength, support, and self-esteem for the individual in treatment.
Life Skills Training
Alcoholism is not a disease that discriminates. This disease can affect people from all walks of life. A crucial step in helping alcoholics recover is teaching alcoholics how to learn from past mistakes and equip them to avoid engaging in their detrimental patterns by implementing life skills training. While in an alcohol treatment center, it is vital for the individual to learn core life skills. Through living in a structured , safe environment and engaging in therapy, experienced staff members will guide the individuals to apply these core life skills as they leave treatment.
Creating a Healthy Daily Schedule
A key component of maintaining long-term sobriety is discipline and structure. This can be achieved by creating a daily schedule that is full of healthy activities. Clients will learn how to plan their day to include meetings, exercise, work, family commitments, sleep, and other recovery-centered activities.
Another key to help promote sobriety is to gain long-term employment. In treatment, clients will learn how to properly interview for a job, compose a resume, and utilize proper community resources to find fulfilling employment.
Most alcoholics have experienced a lack of money management skills. In treatment, clients will learn the basics of creating a monthly budget, prioritize expenses, and learn how to save/invest their money for the future.
Building Effective Communication Skills
One of the most important tools a recovering alcoholic must learn is how to re-establish important relationships with family, friends, and in the workplace. Having the ability to repair and restore these important relationships can help foster trust and rebuild the support system needed to sustain recovery. Learning effective communication skills will ultimately decrease common stressors that often lead to relapse.
At Comprehensive Wellness Centers, we fully understand the physical, psychological and spiritual impacts of addiction. As recovering addicts or family members of those suffering from substance abuse, the treatment staff at our drug rehab center in Florida has the experience, drive and dedication to help you reach your goal of a successful and lifelong recovery. No matter how severe your addiction may be, Comprehensive Treatment Centers can tailor an individualized program that meets your unique needs. If you or your loved one is looking for an alcohol treatment center, give Comprehensive Wellness Center a call today!
Medically Reviewed: August 22, 2019
Medical Reviewer | CWC Recovery Staff
All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.