Alcoholism, or alcohol use disorder (AUD), is now considered by the healthcare community a primary, progressive disease with strong genetic implications. Alcoholism is primary because it is not caused by another disease but often causes other diseases such as liver, kidney and heart disease. AUD is also progressive unless treated. Signs of worsening alcoholism include blackouts, hallucinations, severe withdrawal symptoms and cirrhosis of the liver. Finally, alcoholism is a chronic disease that demands intense medical and psychological treatment provided by experienced and professional addiction treatment specialists. Call today for a free, easy and confidential alcohol treatment assessment 855-535-8501.
What is a Medically Supervised Alcohol Detoxification?
Alcohol treatment starts with a medically supervised detoxification. While undergoing alcohol detox, patients are monitored continuously by physicians, psychiatrists and counselors who understand how difficult it is to withdraw from alcohol. Crisis counseling is available for people who are suffering undiagnosed mental health issues such as depression, anxiety or posttraumatic stress disorder. In many cases, our patients have used alcohol to self-medicate symptoms of psychological disorders. During the detoxification process, signs of mental illness may fully emerge which require our immediate attention.
Alcohol detoxification can take from two to seven days, depending on how long the person has been abusing alcohol. We provide our patients with extensive emotional and medical support necessary for ensuring detox is as comfortable as possible. A blood test determines whether patients are fully detoxed and ready for the next phase of an alcohol treatment program.
Medically supervised alcohol detoxification also involves administration of medications to help reduce withdrawal symptoms. Medical detoxification allows patients to withdraw more slowly from alcohol without suffering severe symptoms.
Benzodiazepines or carbamazepine may be given to detox patients for relieving nausea and insomnia and for preventing delirium tremens or seizures. Withdrawal symptoms like tachycardia, spiking blood pressure and tremors respond well to beta-blockers such as Propranolol, which reduces most autonomic nervous system symptoms. Clonidine is also commonly given to people detoxing from alcohol to decrease severity of general withdrawal symptoms.
Inpatient alcohol detoxification is strongly recommended for those suffering long-term AUD and have been diagnosed with serious health problems that make it dangerous for them to continue abusing alcohol. In addition, entering a medically supervised detox program means they are removed from stressors that may be contributing to their alcoholism. Common “triggers” associated AUD and relapse include having acquaintances who drink, living in an area where many bars and convenience stores operate, involvement with dysfunctional families or exposure to domestic violence.
Alcohol Treatment After Detox–Addressing Underlying Reasons for Alcohol Abuse
Recovering from alcoholism involves intense individual counseling, group counseling, relapse prevention counseling and cognitive behavioral therapy techniques to give our patients the inner strength, insights and empowerment necessary to defeat AUD. Therapists use evidence-based psychotherapeutic methods for helping recovering alcoholics discover what led them to abuse alcohol in the first place and how they can deal with past traumas and current mental health problems that trigger the urge to drink.
Our patients also benefit from a form of therapy called motivational interviewing. More of a counseling method than psychotherapy, motivational interviewing is an empathetic, discerning way of counseling alcohol abusers in recovery using techniques that emphasize listening rather than lecturing. The premise behind motivational interviewing involves our counselors establishing a rapport with the patient by adjusting to resistance to treatment by respecting and supporting the patient’s feelings and beliefs. To help patients overcome resistance they may feel towards treatment, counselors gently but firmly reveal disparities in the patient’s belief system.
Our addiction therapists always take the time to cultivate empathy and trust with patients who may have deep-seated issues trusting others due to unsatisfying dysfunctional and even violent relationships with family, spouses or so-called friends. Alcohol abusers in recovery will learn how to manage painful emotions they never let themselves come to terms with as well as stress-reducing techniques for redirecting disturbing, obsessive emotions and thoughts into meaningful, productive activities.
Identifying what may have led someone to abuse alcohol involves our therapists delving into a patient’s personality, beliefs, values and attitudes toward life. Many alcohol abusers (and drug addicts) have forceful, nonconforming personalities that clash with the expectations of societal norms. To them, conformity does not allow for individuality or for feelings of dissatisfaction with being forced to accept responsibilities. Depression, anxiety and unsettling feelings of depersonalization may also plague alcoholics when constant stressors in their life force them to obsess about life, death, meaning and why they should suffer when they see others being content and happy.
It is entirely normal for anyone to experience despair and hopelessness after an unsettling life event, like a death in the family, a fire destroys their home or someone they love abruptly leaves them. For alcohol abusers gripped by a relentless sense of hopelessness, alienation and thinking everybody is just “pretending” to like them, alcohol is their only escape.
Nearly all people entering our alcohol treatment are diagnosed with clinical depression resulting from years of feeling unloved, unhappy, unfulfilled and abused. Taking refuge in alcohol is typically the first step towards full-blown alcoholism and is usually triggered by one or more of the following:
- Death of a loved one or friend (often forces the person to realize their own mortality)
- Job loss, lack of steady employment or being forced to take jobs they do not want
- Being diagnosed with a chronic or incurable disease
- Experiencing short or long term psychological or physical trauma as a child or adult
To address alcohol abusers diagnosed with comorbid disorders involving depression, anxiety, PTSD or depersonalization, our addiction therapists will evaluate patients leaving detox and entering psychotherapy to develop a treatment plan unique to that person’s needs. Exploring each patient’s past, present and future goals is necessary to help the individual understand what they are feeling, why they are feeling this way and how they can cope with triggers without resorting to alcohol once they leave our program.
With the caring, insightful assistance of compassionate and skilled addiction therapists, patients will leave our alcohol treatment program full of hope, excitement and a powerful sense of self-worth essential for living an alcohol-free life.
Call now for a free, confidential consultation with an addiction professional 855-535-8501.