It can be overwhelming when you’re considering rehab or have a loved one seeking treatment. Information and education are part of the recovery process. To help ease some anxiety that can come with this challenging time. We’ve put together an explanation of the basic process of entering treatment. We hope to answer the questions we often hear: What is rehab like? And how long is alcohol rehab?
Intake and Detoxing
When you are struggling with a drinking problem and have been for some time, reaching out for help is the right step. After you’ve decided on the center you choose to go to and have made your appointment, it’s time to prepare. Remember to double-check the packing list from the facility to ensure you aren’t taking anything with you that is restricted. When you arrive, you’ll go through intake processing. This is the paperwork and forms process. There will be a lot of questions and likely papers to sign.
Once you are done with the paperwork for your inpatient treatment, you’ll likely be evaluated by a team member from the medical staff. They’ll assess your condition, and you’ll probably spend the first portion of your stay under medical supervision.
Detoxing is serious business, and it can be dangerous to go through without the help of medical professionals. Many facilities use a medical detox to help you overcome the withdrawal process without so much difficulty.
Detoxing can have nasty side effects, especially the longer you have been dependent on alcohol. During your detox and withdrawals, you will likely experience symptoms like anxiety, shaking, and difficulty sleeping. Possibly even worse problems like hallucinations, both visual and audio. If you go into Delirium Tremens, more commonly known as DTs, it can be life-threatening. You can also experience blood pressure instability and problems with heart rate. You should always seek medical advice and supervision before attempting to detox.
You may be given medication to help ease the symptoms during this process. Some medicines will help prevent severe problems like seizures and nervous system depression.
After you’ve been through the detox process, you’re ready to start your new journey.
How long is the Rehab Process?
Every facility and program have set times and limits on how long alcohol rehab takes. Some things are standard across the board. Most facilities offer multiple lengths of time for their patients because when it comes to recovery, there is no such thing as one size fits all.
Most recovery centers offer alcohol rehab programs that run for 30, 60, and 90 days depending on the needs of the patients.
Usually, the first time in rehab starts at the 30-day point, and at the end of those 30 days, you go through a reevaluation and decide on your next steps. Those steps can include outpatient therapy, support systems, or even a halfway house where you live with others recovering from alcohol abuse.
However, suppose you’ve tried other recovery programs or have tried outpatient therapy and have not been successful. In that case, your program director may advise you that you go through a longer stay.
What do You Do during Alcohol Rehab?
Again, this isn’t a one size fits all program. Each patient has a plan designed specifically around their needs. There are things that everyone who goes through rehab experiences and has at their disposal, however.
Most facilities now treat the person, not the problem. That’s a whole-body approach to alcohol rehab that means you will start to get to the issues behind your drinking. Yes, alcohol addiction is physical, but it is also a mental hurdle you must overcome.
There are often comorbid mental health issues that need to be addressed. Often people use alcohol to self-medicate to deal with things they haven’t been willing to confront. One-on-one therapy allows a safe and confidential place to talk through your problems with a trained professional. If you discover the underlying issues, you have a much higher chance of fully recovering without relapse.
Group Therapy Sessions
It may not start off as your favorite part of alcohol rehab. Still, it’s actually a critical portion of your recovery. Group therapy is a safe space, just like one-on-one therapy, to talk about your problem with alcohol and get input from your peers. Group therapy is a judgment-free zone and will help you forge new relationships with those on their way to a clean and sober life like you. These friendships can be a huge help in keeping on the right track.
Medical Reviews and Treatment
If it’s determined that you have comorbid mental health conditions. At the same time, in rehab, you may find that the medical professionals on staff recommend a medication to treat your problem. Things like depression can make recovery more difficult, but it’s a highly common problem. The medical team will work with you to design a treatment plan to help you overcome your depression or other mental health issues through medication management and therapy.
One study showed that people with a history of alcoholism were four times more likely to struggle with depression than those who don’t have an alcohol dependency.
Alcohol Recovery is A Journey, not a Race
Though we know you want a simple answer to the question of how long is alcohol rehab, it’s just not quite that simple. We have given you a short explanation of how long you stay at a treatment facility will likely be, from 30-90 days. It’s important to remember that the road to a truly full and fulfilling recovery is a long journey, not a quick race. Though you may only be in a treatment facility for 30 days, you will likely need support to remain sober for a long time. Some people even attend meetings and support groups years after they take their last drink.