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Types of Alcohol Recovery Programs

Alcoholism is a chronic relapsing brain disease. It is characterized by:

  • Compulsive use of alcohol despite adverse consequences
  • Biochemical and neuroadaptive changes in the brain

4 Rehab & Detox Options for Alcoholism

For those seeking addiction treatment, there are many effective recovery programs available. 

Program types vary. The one needed depends on the severity of the alcohol or drug addiction. If the situation is severe, hospitalization might be necessary. 

Options include:

1. Inpatient Rehab 

To overcome severe addiction, people must check into a controlled, overnight environment. Inpatient rehab provides this service. It is also known as residential treatment. 

In an inpatient rehab, residents: 

  • Receive medical and emotional care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • Can focus on getting sober without distractions
  • Have schedules that professionals meticulously plan and account for

Inpatient recovery is guided by: 

  • Psychologists
  • Counselors
  • Psychiatrists
  • Medical doctors who are experts in addiction medicine
  • Nurses

These medical professionals interact with people individually and in groups. A regular inpatient program takes anywhere from 28 days to 6 months.

Inpatient rehab services include:

  • Medically assisted detox
  • Monitoring of patient's vital signs
  • Provision of necessary medication
  • 24-hour medical attention
  • Private and convenient solution for recovery

2. Outpatient Rehab 

Outpatient alcohol addiction treatment is less restrictive. In most of these programs, people will have to spend a few hours a week at a local treatment center.

Treatment sessions may include:

  • Addiction education
  • Individual counseling
  • Group counseling
  • Patient education on how to cope without substances

For someone with a minor addiction, outpatient drug rehab can serve as a stand-alone treatment option. It can also be part of a long-term treatment program.

Outpatient rehab can last anywhere from 3 to 6 months or up to a year.

Outpatient rehab services include:

  • Detoxification
  • Physical and mental check-ups during outpatient detox
  • Administering medications on-site to soothe withdrawal symptoms

3. Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHPs) 

Partial hospital programs (PHPs) are also known as day treatment programs. They: 

  • Provide a high level of care while allowing people to return home each night after treatment
  • Require treatment at least 5 days a week for 4 to 6 hours a day
  • Take place in a hospital setting 

A PHP is a type of outpatient rehab program. It provides similar services as a residential inpatient program. This includes access to mental health services if needed. 

However, with PHPs, participants aren't required to stay in the program for a long time. 

Partial hospitalization program services include:

  • One-on-one therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Family meetings
  • Medical services
  • Treatment of comorbid (co-occurring) mental health disorders
  • Medication management
  • Drug screening
  • Employment and educational assistance

4. Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) combines FDA-approved medications with counseling and behavioral therapies. This program treats substance use disorders (SUDs) in a holistic manner. MAT can treat both alcohol and substance use disorders.

According to research, MAT assists people in changing their behavior. It also encourages beneficial lifestyle adjustments that lead to long-term success.

Benefits of MAT include:

  • Reduced or eliminated cravings
  • Less-severe withdrawal symptoms
  • Lower possibility of recurrence
  • Decreased need to go to the hospital, in most cases
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Therapies for Alcoholism

For alcoholism, there are a variety of effective, evidence-based treatment alternatives. 

The following treatment practices are available in most rehab clinics. These therapies are customary to high-quality behavioral healthcare:

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy involves talking to a mental health professional to alter unhealthy thoughts and behaviors. During sessions, a person talks to a skilled psychologist, counselor, or therapist about their struggles and difficult experiences.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT is highly recognized in the behavioral health industry. Research has shown it can help reduce the effects of alcoholism. 

Identifying negative thoughts and behaviors and replacing them with positive ones is the foundation of CBT.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

Another type of evidence-based talk therapy is dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT). DBT also involves talk therapy. The DBT approach is based on: 

  • Mindfulness
  • Distress tolerance
  • Emotion regulation

Motivational Interviewing (MI)

MI is a popular treatment for substance misuse problems. Many people feel powerless over their addiction. They often benefit from using internal willpower to take action against addiction.

In motivational interviewing, a therapist will persuade a person to commit to a change. This includes stopping drinking or making lifestyle changes.

12-Step Programs

A 12-step program provides a supportive, safe environment for a group to openly share their substance misuse difficulties. 

These programs help everyone in the group stay clean by making them feel connected, valued, and accountable to others.

Support Groups & Relapse Prevention

Recovering alcoholics frequently require additional assistance in order to conquer their addiction. Aside from the ones already mentioned, it’s best to explore additional treatment options. 

Some support groups that help with relapse prevention include:

  • Alcoholics Anonymous (AA): Group sessions are available, as well as a "sober support" network.
  • Al-Anon family groups: A support network for people affected by someone else's alcoholism.
  • Alateen: A support group for the children of parents with alcohol problems.
  • National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD): Provides assistance in finding healthcare professionals.
  • National Association for Children of Alcoholics (NACoA): Provides training and education for clergy, teachers, doctors, and social workers.
  • National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA): Addicts, their families, and healthcare professionals can get free booklets and publications on how to deal with alcoholism and misuse.
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Signs of Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)

Depending on the number of symptoms you have, you can have a mild, moderate, or severe alcohol use disorder (AUD).

Common signs include:

  • Intentionally or unsuccessfully trying to cut down on alcohol consumption
  • Drinking a lot, receiving a lot of alcohol, or recuperating from drinking too much alcohol
  • Having a strong desire to drink alcohol
  • Due to recurrent alcohol consumption, failing to meet key duties at work, school, or home
  • Continuing to drink alcohol despite physical, social, and interpersonal problems
  • Taking a break from or limiting social, work, and leisure activities
  • Drinking alcohol in unsafe settings 

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Choosing the Right Alcohol Recovery Program

Taking the following steps will help you choose the right rehab program with the best substance use treatment services:

  • Make a list of your rehabilitation needs and goals
  • Consult a treatment provider
  • Examine a variety of rehabilitation options
  • Call an addiction specialist
  • Talk to your doctor and/or therapist

Other factors to consider when choosing addiction treatment services include:

  • Inpatient vs. outpatient options
  • Practitioner specialties
  • Available treatments and therapies
  • Facility amenities
  • Facility location
  • Cost
Updated on March 29, 2022
6 sources cited
  1. NIDA. "Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition) Types of Treatment Programs." National Institute on Drug Abuse.
  2. NIH. "Understanding Alcohol Use Disorder." National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
  3. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. "Chapter 5—Specialized Substance Abuse Treatment Programs."  A Guide to Substance Abuse Services for Primary Care Clinicians. 1997.
  4. APA. "Understanding alcohol use disorders and their treatment." American Psychological Association. 2012.
  5. "Treatment Planning for Substance Use Disorders." Southwest Michigan Behavioral Health.
  6. SAMHSA. “Examples of Screening and Assessment Tools for Substance Use Disorders." Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

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All content created by Alcohol Rehab Help is sourced from current scientific research and fact-checked by an addiction counseling expert. However, the information provided by Alcohol Rehab Help is not a substitute for professional treatment advice.

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