Rehab, or rehabilitation, is a program of treatment for persons with an addiction. Alcohol rehab is a treatment program designed expressly for persons addicted to drinking. Alcohol rehab consists of medically supervised detox and withdrawal, vitamin therapies, nutrition, exercise, individual and group counseling, relapse prevention, aftercare services, and any other forms of necessary individualized treatment.
Alcohol abuse is one of two alcohol abuse disorders (AUD) as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV. The definition of abuse refers to the continued use of alcohol and experiencing at least one of four abuse symptoms that lead to "clinically significant impairment or distress." The four symptoms described include:
Alcohol abuse does not have any obvious physical signs or symptoms. Damage from abuse is occurring in the brain, and in some vital organs at this point. Signs noted in the four symptoms above are psychological, mental, physiological, and behavioral in nature. There may be signs, when inebriated, such as slurred speech, off-balanced stride, relaxed facial muscles, and fatigue.
Substance abuse easily transitions to addiction by drinking on an increasingly frequent basis and in larger amounts due to a development of tolerance. Addiction constitutes a physical and mental dependence on drinking.
Alcohol goes untreated due to many factors. Drinking is legal, socially acceptable, and seen as traditional in many respects. When drinking becomes a problem there is most often an initial denial that a problem exists. Ushering an abuser or addict to the point of admitting a drinking problem is half the battle. The other half of the battle is in getting the addict to want help. The addict is often embarrassed, fearful and dreads negative consequences.
Work is an important issue, as the alcoholic often worries about losing their job and being able to provide for their family. The cost of treatment is an understandable issue. Most treatment centers have some form of financial aid to help with the cost. Insurance is most often accepted as well.
There are other social, economic, family, and personal factors that cause a person to resist getting help. Very often the addict resorts to making excuses and the blaming of others. If attempts to get the alcoholic to seek help are unsuccessful, it may be time for intervention.
Alcohol rehab treats the mind and the body as a whole. Physical health, psychological and emotional issues, family interaction, and personality elements are all examined and evaluated. Rehab is a transformation; the ultimate goal is long-term, successful recovery.
Rehabilitation begins with abstinence, detoxification, and withdrawal. After any physical issues are addressed and the patient is stable, the full structure of the program is applied. Individual therapy delves into the personal issues that may be behind one's drinking. Family and social issues are explored. Regular group sessions are conducted and are important to recovery. The emotional support and understanding peer environment is a useful tool and the feeling of community is invaluable.
Rehab programs involve health-building exercise routines, educating the patients on health and nutrition, and offer vitamin therapies. Relapse prevention and an effective aftercare program are also vital elements of rehabilitation and further instill the education and training provided the recovering alcoholic that cements their understanding of the disease and contributes to long-term recovery.