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Inpatient rehab is a common way to treat an alcohol use disorder (AUD). Treatment involves checking into a rehab center, participating in the program, and remaining there for the duration of treatment.
You’ll have access to medical professionals and other specialists 24 hours a day.
Inpatient rehab programs have a set schedule. This usually starts with breakfast and is followed by therapies, counseling, and activities for the rest of the day.
When considering treatment options for an AUD, you’ll come across a wide selection of programs and offerings.
Various factors will play a role in what type of treatment is suitable for you.
These factors include:
Inpatient rehab is widely considered the most likely treatment to help people successfully overcome alcoholism and achieve long-term sobriety.
Outpatient treatment may suit people with early-stage alcoholism. It might also work for people with prior knowledge of alcohol recovery programs who need a ‘refresher course.’ Outpatient treatment allows people to continue with daily activities like work or school, family obligations, and other responsibilities.
Inpatient treatment is important for people without stable home environments, the homeless, and people who live with others who drink alcohol and/or use drugs on a regular basis.
Inpatient treatment usually begins with medical detox. During intake, a medical professional will review your medical history and perform a thorough exam.
A medical professional will also speak with you about:
If you’re diagnosed with any other conditions, they will discuss specific treatment options with you.
Depending on when you last drank alcohol, you may have already begun to experience withdrawal symptoms such as:
These symptoms can be uncomfortable and may lead to underlying medical issues that will need urgent medical care.
Some people attempt to detox on their own by quitting alcohol cold turkey. This results in changes in the brain and body that require urgent and close medical monitoring. With inpatient care, professionals constantly monitor your progress and attend to your needs.5
When you’re ready, you’ll receive extra psychological and emotional support.
A typical day in inpatient care may include individual counseling, group therapy, and educational meetings.
Depending on the center you attend, other activities might be available. A focus on nutrition and physical exercise is also important
Once you complete an inpatient program, your care team will likely encourage you to enroll in outpatient treatment services. These services may be provided by the same center or may be available through community services.
Outpatient aftercare offers various therapies and activities. It will likely include ongoing individual counseling or group sessions, depending on what you discuss with your counselor.
It’s also important to follow up with your provider to discuss and maintain treatment for any co-occurring conditions you have.
The length of time for inpatient rehab varies by person. The shortest program at many centers is 30 days. However, many people need more time and stay for several months.
Other facilities may allow you to complete detox on-site and then switch to an outpatient facility afterward.
People with less severe forms of AUD may select a shorter program to remove any daily distractions or triggers. After completing rehab, they can continue recovery maintenance by joining local support groups, like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).
It takes a huge commitment not to fall back into alcoholism once you develop a new and healthy routine. A commonly heard saying is, ‘All you have to do is quit drinking, and change your whole life!’
Treatment may take longer for people who have suffered from years of alcoholism. This is due to alcohol’s effects on the body. Heavy drinking changes and restructures how the brain works.
Excessive drinking also gradually affects other major organs like your heart, lungs, and liver. Once you stop drinking, it takes a while for your body to return to a stable state. Some changes, especially to the heart, liver, and circulatory system, never return to normal.
Regardless of how long it takes to finish an inpatient program, treatment is always an ongoing process. Each day you’ll need to use the tools and techniques you learned in rehab for various situations.
Just because you’ve finished inpatient rehab doesn’t mean you won’t face challenges in maintaining long-term sobriety.
The cost of inpatient treatment varies between each facility. Some programs are free, while others cost thousands of dollars a day.
No matter your budget, there’s a facility available. The opportunity to recover is accessible to anyone if they know what resources can help them.
According to drughelpline.org, residential treatment cost can vary between $5,000 to $80,000, depending on the length of stay.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandated that health insurers provide alcohol addiction coverage.
In some states, such as California, you may also qualify for disability insurance for inpatient alcoholism treatment. It’s essential to understand your policy. Different health insurance companies cover alcohol rehab fees based on their own set guidelines.
Many insurance companies will only cover up to 30 days in inpatient care. This isn’t enough to help someone who’s suffered from alcoholism for many years.
Insurance can also affect the type of treatment you receive. In holistic care, therapies like yoga and massage may benefit someone recovering from alcoholism. However, an insurance company may not provide coverage for these therapies.
During individual counseling, a counselor will provide tools and steps to cope with your issues. You can use these tools both during and after treatment.
You’ll also have the chance to discuss any underlying issues, such as past trauma, that may have influenced your choices.
Group therapy enables you to join in discussions with professional therapists and others in rehab. This helps cultivate support, understanding, and empathy and develop a positive way of thinking.
Educational meetings allow you to understand how addiction has affected you psychologically and physically. A better understanding of alcohol’s effects on the body may help you see the situation in a better perspective.
Family and friends may also be able to join these meetings to provide additional support.
Alcohol treatment programs usually fall into one of two categories: inpatient or outpatient rehab.
While equally focused on rehab, each type has specific benefits to offer.
Inpatient rehabs are residential, intensive treatment programs designed to treat severe addictions and provide a safe living environment.4
Outpatient rehabs are part-time programs. They allow the recovering person to reside at home and keep attending work or school during the day.4
The person with an AUD, as well as their loved ones, must understand the differences before choosing a treatment program. Exploring all options before deciding can help you or a loved one on the road to long-term sobriety.
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