Despite what many people have been led to believe, alcoholism is a very real and recognised illness of the brain, and one that requires treatment. The good news is that this illness can be effectively treated and managed with the help of one of many treatment centres throughout the UK. Breaking the cycle of abuse can be achieved with a medical detox, while a programme of rehabilitation will address the underlying issues that may have caused the illness in the first place.
Alcoholism is an illness affecting millions of people around the world. If you do not suffer with it yourself, you may know someone who does. Contrary to what many people think, alcoholism does not target those with no willpower or who are morally weak. It is not something that affects ‘bad’ people. Alcoholism is a chronic illness that requires treatment.
Thankfully, there are numerous organisations here in the UK and abroad offering first-class treatment to those affected by alcoholism. UKAT is one of the UK’s leading treatment providers; we have already helped countless individuals overcome their alcohol problems. We offer a top-class service that offers you the greatest chances of a successful long-term recovery from alcoholism.
We understand that alcoholism is a destructive illness. We know full well that the cycle of alcohol addiction can be hard to break. So we offer a range of effective treatments and programmes created for each individual and designed to treat the mind, body, and spirit as a whole. This person-centred approach helps patients get to the root of their addictive behaviours and eventually overcome their illness.
Alcohol Addiction Treatment
As alcohol addiction is a chronic illness, recovery requires effective treatment. The first step toward recovery is admitting that the problem exists. We understand that this is often the most difficult step. If you suffer from alcohol addiction, coming to terms with the fact that alcohol has become a destructive force in your life is tough. Still, we urge you to face up to the reality as soon as possible. The sooner you do, the sooner you can begin your journey to a clean, healthy, and sober life. We encourage you to do it sooner rather than later.
For most people with alcoholism, addiction treatment begins with detoxification. Detox is necessary before any rehabilitation can begin. Why? Because all traces of alcohol must be eliminated from the body in order for the patient to focus entirely on rehab.
Please understand that detox and rehabilitation are not the same thing. Entering a detox-only programme just to get clean will not make you better. It will only help you get temporarily clean. If you want to recover from alcoholism, you need to learn how to live without alcohol. This is achieved through rehab.
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What is Alcohol Addiction?
Alcohol addiction, also known as alcoholism or alcohol dependence, is a chronic illness and the most serious form of drinking problem a person can suffer from. It is characterised by a strong, often uncontrollable desire to drink. That desire is accompanied by a physical tolerance to alcohol.
For the average person who does not suffer from alcohol addiction, a drink every now and again is both normal and non-problematic. For the alcohol addict though, a single drink every few days is not enough. The addict’s body has become dependent on alcohol for daily functioning, while the mind is convinced that it is not possible to get through the day without drinking.
If you find it very difficult to enjoy yourself or relax without alcohol, you may already be psychologically dependent on in. If you show signs and symptoms of withdrawal between periods of drinking, you may already be suffering from some level of alcohol addiction. Those symptoms include sweating, nausea, and the shakes.
Being addicted to alcohol means that alcohol controls your daily life. It is part of the decisions you make, the people you choose to associate with, the places you visit, etc. Alcohol addiction interferes with your ability to work and the relationships you are trying to maintain.
Withdrawal from Alcohol
Withdrawal is a normal consequence of alcohol addiction. What is withdrawal? Is a physical and mental reaction to falling blood alcohol levels. Withdrawal is rooted in how the body responds to alcohol, especially in terms of brain function.
When you consume alcohol, it is carried throughout your body via the bloodstream.
Alcohol reaching the brain triggers certain responses that cause it to produce chemicals designed to overcome the alcohol. All of this happens whether you are a casual drinker or suffering from alcohol abuse.
Where alcoholics are concerned, their brains have become so accustomed to dealing with alcohol that the volume of chemicals being produced to overcome the effects of alcohol is excessive. As blood alcohol levels start to fall, those same brain chemicals start causing unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. The only two solutions are to either consume more alcohol or wait it out until the body readjusts.
We understand that withdrawal is uncomfortable. We also realise that the unpleasantness of withdrawal is that which persuades a lot of alcohol addicts to forgo treatment. The staff at our treatment facilities do their best to make patients as comfortable as possible and to help them through the difficult moments of withdrawal. The good news is that withdrawal is only temporary. It will eventually pass if you are willing to let it run its course.
Warning Signs of Alcohol Abuse and Addiction
There are varying degrees of alcohol misuse recognised by experts. This is to say that not all people who misuse alcohol are addicted. Some are moderate abusers while others are just a short way away from becoming addicts. The key to early treatment is recognising the warning signs that point to alcohol misuse of some kind.
Here are the warning signs of alcohol abuse:
You do not have to exhibit all these warning signs to be an alcohol abuser. Even just a few of them are cause for concern.
Here are the warning signs of alcohol addiction (note that alcohol addicts also exhibit the warning signs of abuse):
Again, you do not have to exhibit all these warning signs to be addicted to alcohol. Also note that while not every alcohol abuser is an addict, every addict is an alcohol abuser. The more warning signs you exhibit, the greater the chances that you are an alcoholic.
Effects: Short- and Long-Term
Alcohol abuse affects the mind and body in both the short and long terms. In the short term, alcohol can:
- make you tired during the day and cause insomnia at night
- increase both your heart rate and blood pressure
- aggravate other conditions, like diabetes
- negatively impact your personal appearance, including encouraging weight gain
- negatively affect your performance at school, work, and in sports
- negatively impact your relationships at home and elsewhere.
The long-term effects of alcohol abuse are progressively more serious the longer you drink. In the long-term, alcohol abuse can:
- contribute to mental illness including depression and anxiety
- cause significant liver damage, ultimately preventing the liver from functioning
- contribute to developing one of several different kinds of cancer
- increase your chances of developing heart disease
- increase your chances of using other drugs
- contribute to developing chronic hypertension
- lead to the loss of your job and, as a result, financial instability
- do irreparable harm to your marriage/family relationships
- lead you to a life controlled by addiction
- lead you to a life of crime as you seek to support your addiction.
Avoiding the negative effects of alcohol abuse requires overcoming your problem. That is what alcohol rehab is for. Through professional treatment and the right kind of support, you can head off any of the more serious effects of alcohol abuse you have not yet experienced. You might also reverse some of the damage that has already been done.
Why You Should Seek Rehab for Alcohol Abuse and Addiction
Alcohol abuse and addiction are serious problems that affect both the mind and body. They are not merely bad behaviours. As such, simply making the decision to stop drinking may not be enough. That’s why we offer professional rehab at numerous facilities throughout the UK.
The purpose for seeking rehab is to ultimately achieve the goal of overcoming alcohol abuse or addiction. Rehab is the ideal way to attack an alcohol abuse problem because treatment utilises the latest methodologies and practices that address every aspect of alcohol misuse. Patients are treated in mind, body, and spirit rather than just focusing only on the body.
As mentioned earlier, detox only gets you clean. It only addresses the body. Rehab is an all-inclusive strategy that addresses the body through detox, then goes on to address the mind and spirit by way of various rehab therapies. When complete, rehab has treated the recovering alcoholic holistically.
Alcohol Addiction Treatment
The best alcohol addiction treatment programmes combine detox with rehab therapies and follow-up with aftercare services. This is the kind of addiction treatment you need if you are suffering from alcoholism. It is a treatment that is administered with the knowledge that what you are suffering from is a chronic illness rather than just a lack of willpower.
UKAT treatment centres view addiction treatment as a way of giving you the best chances of long-term recovery from alcoholism. As such, treatments are individually designed with that goal in mind. Your addiction treatment will meet you where you are. Your treatment plan will be geared toward your unique circumstances, and it will lead you through the recovery journey and on to a healthier, happier life.
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Treatment and Therapy Options
Although there are several different options for alcohol rehab, most experts would agree that residential programmes offer the most effective types of treatments. Residential treatment, also known as inpatient treatment, is intense and concentrated. It offers a structured programme that most recovering alcoholics find helpful.
Overcoming alcoholism is extremely difficult, so this focused and structured approach is designed to give patients the time and space they need to fully commit to sobriety. Residential treatment is offered in a safe, comfortable environment free from the temptations of the outside world.
UKATs rehab centres are fully accredited and staffed with trained and experienced professionals who provide a top level of care and attention at all times. Our facilities are decorated to very high standards as well, ensuring patients are able to relax and feel at home throughout their stay. We believe this sort of environment is more conducive to overcoming addiction.
You should know that residential programmes tend to cater to a particular number of individuals who have access to private or shared occupancy bedrooms. The number of patients that can be catered to at any one time varies from one clinic to the next. However, all our clinics offer safe and secure surroundings.
During residential treatment, you can expect to live with other recovering addicts in a therapeutic environment. Together, you will all learn about alcoholism. You will be taught the necessary skills that will enable you to cope with sober living when you eventually return home.
As for programme length, residential rehab usually lasts between four and twelve weeks. Many experts believe that shorter programmes do not give patients enough time to recover while longer programmes run the risk of institutionalising patients and making them fearful of returning home. The one exception for longer stays is dual diagnosis. People recovering from a dual diagnosis circumstance may require longer stays.
Counselling for Alcoholism
Those recovering from alcoholism at a UKAT residential clinic can expect a quiet and supportive atmosphere where they will be given various treatments depending on their individually created treatment plans. Treatment may include individual counselling, group therapy, 12-step work, motivational interviewing, or cognitive behavioural therapy.
Patients should expect counselling to be a major component in the therapies they receive. This is necessary due to the way alcohol affects the mind. Counselling helps patients better understand their own addictive behaviours, what triggers those behaviours, and how to avoid the triggers. Counselling also helps them come to terms with how alcohol affects those around them.
Counselling is provided through both one-on-one and group sessions. One example would be cognitive behavioural therapy, a one-on-one therapy where patient and therapist work together to set and achieve a series of goals. Cognitive behavioural therapy encourages patients to take ownership of their recovery.
In terms of group counselling, it can take one of many forms. A group counselling session may look a lot like a support group meeting, where patients gather in a communal space and talk about what they are experiencing. Group counselling offers the added benefit of mutual support and accountability.
Group Therapy for Alcohol Treatment
UKAT treatment centres take advantage of group therapy as a means of treating alcohol abusers. However, our centres do not focus solely on group therapy at the expense of individual treatment. Group sessions are part of a much broader treatment modality that also includes one-on-one sessions, practical exercises, educational opportunities, and more.
The concept of group therapy encompasses a number of equally important goals. For example, one of the goals is to facilitate an environment in which recovering alcoholics can learn from one another. In your case, you have thoughts and experiences that could help someone else in the group. Likewise, what other people have to share could prove beneficial in your recovery.
Experiencing group therapy should help you by driving home the point that you are not alone. It should encourage you to know that others are going through the same things you are experiencing, and that many more have gone before you to successfully complete rehab and return to an alcohol-free life.
Lastly, group therapy prepares you for what lies ahead after your rehab. Upon your return home, you will be encouraged to participate in a local support group as part of your aftercare programme. The fact that you have undergone group therapy should mean you are already comfortable with a group setting once you start attending support group meetings.
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Meditation During Rehabilitation
Meditation is another technique utilised by addiction recovery therapists. It is a technique intended to help patients gain control over their thoughts and emotions during treatment so that they can keep them under control once they leave the residential centre.
During the early stages of alcohol recovery, patients can be confused and scared. Their emotions can run high to the point that what they are thinking and feeling interferes with recovery. Meditation addresses these sorts of things. By helping patients relax and focus their thoughts inward, meditation eases patient fears and clears up confusion. Patients are more apt to benefit from treatment in this more relaxed state.
Meditation is all about focusing inward; it is about living in the here and now. Combining meditation with counselling enables patients to come to terms with themselves and the chronic illness they are dealing with. It focuses on what needs to be done now to get well. Each of the individual instances of living in the moment eventually add up to a lifetime of thoughtful living. Many recovering alcoholics find this way of thinking indispensable to their recovery.
Types of Alcohol Addiction Treatment
There are different types of alcohol addiction treatments divided into two primary categories: inpatient and outpatient. We have already discussed the fact that inpatient treatment is received at a residential facility where you would be living with other patients as you overcome addiction together. Outpatient treatment is a bit different.
In an outpatient setting, you would continue to live at home while visiting your clinic on a daily basis. You would still receive your treatment alongside others in the same treatment programme, but each of you would return home at the end of the day. The treatments themselves would be similar to those received in a residential setting.
Meditation is applicable to both kinds of treatment. It may be more difficult in an outpatient setting, due to the many distractions of the world around you, but meditation is still very helpful nonetheless.
When to Choose Inpatient vs Outpatient
Your search for alcohol abuse treatment may have led you to wonder whether you should choose an inpatient or outpatient programme. The first thing to know is that there is no right or wrong answer. The best kind of treatment is the one that offers you the greatest chances of success.
We tend to recommend inpatient treatment to patients suffering from alcohol addiction. An inpatient programme offers a safe and secure environment free from distraction. It provides the ideal atmosphere for allowing patients to focus solely on recovery without having to worry about anything else. And because inpatient treatment is more focused, it better facilitates the kind of long-term recovery we want for our patients.
Outpatient treatment may be more suitable for people who are alcohol abusers but not necessarily addicts. A good outpatient programme still employs treatments like detox, counselling, and even 12-step work. An outpatient programme should also include appropriate medical care. Remember that alcoholism is a chronic illness; it requires medical treatment.
If you experience severe withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking, we advise that a residential programme would be in your best interests. Severe withdrawal symptoms indicate alcohol dependence. Likewise, we recommend residential treatment to patients who have previously attempted rehab but failed to remain sober.
You may feel as though you can overcome your drinking problem if you can just get away from the life you are now living. If so, residential rehab is the way to go. A residential treatment programme will separate you from the outside world so that it does not pull you back in at the same time you are trying to recover.
Alcohol Rehab vs Detox Only
In addition to the question of inpatient vs outpatient treatment, you have to consider alcohol rehab vs detox only. The decisions you make regarding both will have an impact on your recovery.
When you choose a complete alcohol rehab programme, you are choosing to be treated holistically. That is, you are choosing to address your alcohol problem physically, mentally, and spiritually. We firmly believe this is the best way to go. Treating the whole person constitutes a comprehensive treatment. Treating just one aspect is equal to treating just one part of the problem.
A detox-only treatment focuses exclusively on the physical aspects of alcoholism. It absolutely will help you get clean. Within 7 to 10 days, your body will be completely free of the alcohol you were putting into it. But then what do you do? Where do you go from there? What happens when the urge to drink returns?
We would never say that a detox-only treatment programme should be avoided. We know people respond to treatment differently. There are those who embrace the detox-only method and are very successful in doing so. They go on to lead sober lives. But such patients are the exception to the rule.
For the typical alcoholic, detox alone is not enough. Their minds have become just as dependent on alcohol as their bodies. And, unfortunately, detox does not address the mind. Complete recovery requires going through a comprehensive therapeutic rehab programme immediately following detox. At the completion of such a programme, body, mind, and spirit have all been treated.
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Choosing the Best Alcohol Rehab Centre
We believe that those in the midst of alcohol recovery need access to constant care and attention. The staff at our treatment centres answer the call. They are on hand 24 hours a day to ensure patients get the care they need, when they need it. We believe this to be one of the primary reasons for reaching out to us in your search for the best alcohol rehab centre.
Receiving treatment at a UKAT facility involves examining your life and identifying the causes of your addictive behaviour. Our staff will help you come to terms with your illness; they will equip you with the skills you need to overcome it.
One of the reasons we believe our clinics are among the best is the fact that we understand that alcoholism is a family problem. As such, we encourage interaction with family members. We offer comprehensive family programmes at all our facilities.
When you choose UKAT treatment you will be put into the hands of experienced staff who have the skills and knowledge to help you beat your addiction. Our staff will help you break the pattern of addictive behaviour that has been plaguing you and provide you with the skills you need to prevent relapse once you return to everyday life.
You have a lot of choices in rehab clinics. The biggest benefit of residential treatment at a UKAT facility is one of not having to worry about outside distractions or temptations. Our residential programmes are designed to help you concentrate wholly on your recovery and nothing else. This will give you the best chances of achieving sobriety and long-term success.
Specialised Treatment and Therapy Options
You may be in a position of needing specialised treatment and therapy options. Once again, our treatment centres are up to the task. We believe in the individual approach to treatment, not the old dynamic of funnelling every patient through the exact same programme without any variation.
For example, you may need a treatment programme that accommodates a dual diagnosis. We will discuss dual diagnosis more in the next section, but the fact remains that UKAT has access to the specialised treatment programmes dual diagnosis patients need. We do not believe it is helpful to put such patients through treatment programmes that don’t effectively address both problems they are dealing with.
We recommend residential treatment for people who need specialised therapy for the simple fact that specialisation is not always available in an outpatient setting. Outpatient treatment programmes tend to be more generic in nature, while residential treatment is more tailored to the individual. In short, we recommend residential treatment to anyone who needs specialised care and individualised therapy.
Dealing with Dual Diagnosis while in Rehab
A dual diagnosis condition is one in which a person is suffering from both addiction and a mental illness at the same time. One of the most common examples is that of co-occurring alcoholism and depression. Dealing with co-occurring conditions is never easy under any circumstances; it can be especially difficult in the rehab setting.
Co-occurring conditions require specialised treatments that can safely address both aspects of a dual diagnosis. Doctors and therapists work to create effective but flexible treatment plans that account for both conditions without treating one at the expense of the other. The delicate balance necessary to achieve a positive outcome suggests that residential treatment is the better option for dealing with dual diagnosis scenarios.
As a dual diagnosis patient, you could expect to work with doctors and therapists who are experts in treating the conditions you suffer from. Your treatment may be very different from what others in your facility are receiving. Your stay at the residential facility might be longer as well. But rest assured that you will get the specialised treatment you need to deal with your dual diagnosis.
Mental Health & Alcohol Rehabilitation
In keeping with the idea of dual diagnosis, it is clear that a big part of alcohol rehabilitation is improving mental health. Even people not clinically diagnosed with co-occurring disorders suffer mentally under the control of alcohol. This is why depression and anxiety are both warning signs of alcohol abuse. The fact is that alcohol affects how the mind works; it affects the thoughts and emotions.
A good residential treatment programme takes mental health seriously. Facility staff recognise that the mental health of patients will be impacted by treatment one way or the other. As such, they do everything they can to ensure that the impacts are positive. Remember, one of the goals of residential treatment is to treat patients holistically. That means treating them in body, mind, and spirit.
For many recovering alcoholics, the mental health aspects of treatment are the most important. Improving mental health means helping patients better understand the chronic condition they are suffering from. It means equipping them with the tools they need to control their thoughts and emotions, avoid addictive triggers, and just stay away from alcohol altogether.
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Continuing Aftercare – What Comes Next
Whether you come to UKAT as a dual diagnosis patient or you suffer only from alcohol addiction, aftercare will be an integral part of your recovery. Aftercare is offered at the conclusion of your residential stay. The goal of aftercare is to provide ongoing support while also helping you put into practice the things you learned in rehab.
Aftercare includes things like one-on-one counselling, attending support group meetings, and continuing with 12-step work. Giving your full effort to aftercare will help you continue your journey to long-term sobriety. We urge you to take full advantage of all aftercare services offered as part of your treatment programme.
How long does aftercare last? That depends on your progress. You could be ready to finish up in a few months; you may need aftercare for up to a year. The most important thing is that you continue with aftercare services for as long as you need them to maintain your sobriety.
We focus a great deal on relapse prevention in our treatment programmes. We fully understand that relapse is often part of the recovery process, but we also know that preventing relapse within the first year can make a significant difference in the lives of recovering alcoholics.
For you, relapse prevention will be a daily task. That task will be made easier by availing yourself of aftercare services and participating in a local support group. Hopefully your family members and friends will also offer their support in the weeks and months following rehab. A strong support structure can do a lot for preventing relapse.
Should you relapse despite your best prevention efforts, do not abandon hope of long-term recovery. Just start again. Persistence will be the key to your success. Like any other chronic condition, you keep going with treatment until you fully overcome.
Treatment Payment Options
We want to close by inviting you to ask about treatment payment options when you contact UKAT. All your options will be thoroughly explained prior to admission. Know that once you are accepted for admission, a deposit will be required to secure your place in an upcoming treatment programme. The balance due will be payable on admission.
Private insurance often covers at least a portion of alcohol addiction treatment. Some policies cover it in full. In addition to insurance, we can talk about cash payments, credit cards, and your other options. We will do everything we can to connect you with a treatment facility that suits your budget.
Are alcohol rehabs private and confidential?
Yes, they are. We respect your privacy and your need for confidentiality throughout the entire process.
Is there an ideal length of rehab?
Though the typical rehab programme lasts from 4 to 12 weeks, there is no ideal length applicable to everyone. You might progress more quickly than others in your facility; you might need a longer stay.
What does treatment include?
Treatment includes a medical assessment, medically supervised detox, a variety of rehab therapies, and aftercare. Residential facilities also provide food and lodging; some offer additional amenities.
What are the factors I should look for in a rehab programme?
In addition to the treatment approach taken (rehab vs detox-only), we recommend considering the level of accommodation, the physical location of a facility, and the kinds of therapies offered. There are enough options to meet any need.
How much does treatment cost?
Due to the varying length of treatment programmes and the different kinds of accommodation available, is not possible to provide an accurate cost here. The cost of your treatment will depend on the options you choose. We can discuss cost when you contact us.
Are there treatment programmes for teens?
Yes, there are. Specialised programmes tailored to the unique needs of teenagers are available through UKAT.
How do you know if you're addicted to alcohol?
Alcoholism is a condition that manifests itself in identifiable symptoms and signs. If you exhibit any of them, you may be addicted. You can find more information about signs and symptoms here on our site.
How do clinicians recommend duration of stay?
Recommendations for the length of stay are made based on a patient's overall health and the severity of the addiction. Length of stay is established in the patient's treatment plan, though it can be modified as needed.
Does insurance cover alcohol treatment?
Though we cannot offer any guarantees, most private insurance policies do offer at least some level of coverage for alcohol treatment. Check your policy documents to learn what your insurance covers.
How does alcohol rehab work?
Alcohol rehab combines detox and rehabilitative therapies to help patients come clean and stay clean. Detox addresses the physical while rehab therapies address the mental and spiritual. The goal is to achieve and maintain long-term sobriety.
How effective is alcohol rehab?
Alcohol rehab has proven effective for countless people over the years. When approached with the right mindset and combined with professional, supportive care, rehab can form the foundation on which the recovering alcoholic can build a new, alcohol-free life.