Alcohol addiction, or alcoholism, is a terrible disease that affects enormous numbers of people. It is estimated that there are 1.4 million individuals in the UK alone who are struggling with alcohol addiction while approximately 33,000 of these die each year from illnesses associated with alcohol or accidents caused by drinking. Coping with alcohol addiction is almost impossible alone, but for many alcoholics, the prospect of going through alcohol rehab can be quite daunting. Knowing what to expect from rehab can make this prospect a little less scary, however.
There are three distinct stages to recovering from alcohol addiction. The first is alcohol detox, the second is treatment, and the third is ongoing support.
Alcohol detox involves stopping drinking altogether and can be a particularly daunting process for someone whose primary focus has been alcohol for some time. However, this step is imperative, and recovery from alcohol addiction cannot begin until a person can start to live without alcohol in their life. Alcohol detox can have a number of withdrawal symptoms, some of which can be unpleasant and even dangerous, so it is important that this step is undertaken with medical supervision. This would preferably take place on a residential basis so that medical staff who are used to dealing with alcohol withdrawal are on hand to provide help as and when needed.
Once the detox phase has been successfully completed, the treatment stage can start. The objective of this stage of recovery is to help the recovering alcoholic to understand the reasons behind his or her alcohol addiction, and to give them the tools required to live an alcohol-free life going forward. The therapies used will depend very much on an individual’s circumstances and needs, but will usually include group therapy as well as individual counselling. Patients may be able to access art or music therapy as well, which helps to provide a focus away from alcohol. They may have cognitive behavioural therapy to help change their way of thinking about alcohol, and situations where alcohol is around.
Aftercare and ongoing support are just as important as the detox and treatment stages. Particularly for patients who have been in a residential treatment programme, returning to everyday life can be a scary prospect. Ongoing support is needed to help prevent relapses and give confidence to patients trying to rebuild their lives after alcohol.
How long it takes to progress through the first two stages depends entirely on the individual patient and their circumstances.
For both the detox stage and the treatment stage, it is highly likely that the longer and more heavily someone has been drinking for, the longer it will take them to recover. In the detox phase, those who have been drinking for a long time, or those that have been drinking very heavily, are much more likely to have severe symptoms of withdrawal. This does vary a lot from patient to patient, however. The treatment phase will also be likely to take more time if the patient has been a long-term alcoholic, as their behaviours and attitudes to alcohol will be very deep rooted and will take time to change and adjust. As treatment progresses, it is possible that expected timescales will need to change, depending on how the treatment is progressing. People are not machines, and so we cannot really predict how long recovering from something as serious as alcohol addiction will take.
Realistically, yes, private treatment is the better option, and it is more likely to result in a successful recovery.
There is some treatment available for alcohol addiction on the NHS. However, they have very limited budgets, and so the treatment options available are more limited, and places are, therefore, very limited as well. Most NHS treatment is carried out on an outpatient basis, with services operating during normal working hours. Since you may need assistance at other times of the day, these services are really not ideal.
Private clinics are able to offer a much more comprehensive package of care, with trained medical staff available twenty-four hours a day. By attending a residential clinic, patients have the best possible chance of making a full recovery, and getting away from the routines and habits that have been part of the alcohol addiction are very beneficial. Private treatment centres are also able to offer much more comprehensive support and aftercare once their patients have returned home again.
At UKAT, we have several excellent treatment centres and can offer you comprehensive advice on the type of treatment that would be best for you.
If you are struggling with alcohol addiction and would like to know what options are available to you, please call us today.
If you successfully complete our 90-day inpatient treatment program, we guarantee you'll stay clean and sober, or you can return for a complimentary 30 days of treatment.