Alcoholism is a progressive disease that gradually takes over a person’s life and has devastating impacts on those that love them the most. In order to effectively break the vicious cycle of addiction, those who are struggling with alcoholism need the professional help and guidance that is offered by an intensive alcohol rehab program.
In your search to find the treatment options that best fit your needs or the needs of a loved one, you have many things to consider. While factors such as therapy options, insurance, experienced staff, and location are all important, looking a long-term addiction treatment is something that can be overlooked by many people.
Why Long-Term Alcohol Treatment Works
When you are looking at treatment options to address your alcohol dependence and addiction issues, it probably seems a little strange to think about putting a time limit on treatment. We know that recovery is a lifelong process, and those who enter alcohol rehab should be able to choose a treatment program that will give them all the time they need to give them the best chance at lifelong sobriety, such as a Christian alcohol rehab or outpatient alcohol rehab program. While many inpatient alcohol treatment facilities offer alcohol treatment programs that last for 30 days, pursuing long-term alcohol treatment has been proven to be more beneficial in helping those who struggle with alcoholism find lasting and meaningful recovery. If you are unfamiliar with long-term alcohol rehab, it is important to become familiar with what they are and how they can help those who seek recovery from substance abuse.
What Is Long-Term Alcohol Treatment?
Long-term alcohol treatment programs require clients to undergo treatment programming in a safe, secure, and closelysupervised setting for 90 days or longer. These programs offer those who struggle with alcohol abuse a wide variety of treatment options and will give them ample time to address the underlying issues that lie at the root of their disease. In comparison to the most traditional 28 to 30-day programs, long-term alcohol rehab places emphasis on thorough medical detoxification to ensure clients enter the intensive portion of drug treatment in a substance-free and stable state.
Along with a more comprehensive medical detox and evaluation process, long-term alcohol treatment features more intensive forms of individual and group therapy, life and coping skills training, as well as comprehensive aftercare programming and support. If a client’s alcohol issues are too complex and severe for a long-term alcohol treatment program, or if they have social and psychological issues that cannot be addressed in this treatment setting, they can undergo treatment at therapeutic communities where they can receive treatment and support in a drug-free residential setting for even longer periods of time.
Why Long-Term Treatment?
For many who have chronic alcoholism and need a long-term alcohol treatment program, the length of time they have to spend away from family and others who support them is a formidable obstacle. While the extended time away from their home environment is lengthy, long-term alcohol rehab will provide those in the grips of alcohol addiction numerous benefits that will allow them to achieve long-term recovery. These benefits are the following:
More Time To Address The Underlying Issues
Time spent in a long-term alcohol treatment program will give clients more time to
address and resolve the underlying issues that are causing their alcoholism. When clients arrive at a traditional 30-day program, they often have to undergo detoxification first. After detox is complete, they have to adjust to the structure of being in residential treatment. Considering that detox and the acclimation to intensive drug treatment can last upwards of two weeks, it means that the first part of the process is already spent just getting adjusted. In a 30-day program, having only 14 or so days left is not likely to be enough time for alcoholics to fully address their issues.
Extended Time Free From Distractions
Long-term inpatient treatment centers that feature programs of 90 days or longer give the client a much better chance of breaking the cycle of dependence. It does that by providing a safe space to remain sober for extended periods. With extended time away from the distractions and temptations of the outside world, it means that the patient can focus on recovery.
Extended Treatment Gives Patients More Time To Heal
Alcohol abuse takes a tremendous physical toll on the body. Longer term rehab options provide an extended period of physical rest and care. Longer times in an alcohol rehab program allows patients to begin sleeping and eating better and they feel an overall sense of physical well-being. In addition to the marked improvement of a client’s physical health, long-term alcohol rehab also allows their emotional and spiritual health to improve. Having improved overall health will reduce the need to use alcohol in the future.
Greater Focus On Destructive Patterns Of Thought And Action
Alcohol addiction is not a ‘new’ problem that has suddenly surfaced. For many alcoholics, the problems they encounter and the consequences they face were gradual in their development and may have taken many years. Long-term alcohol rehab programs focus on identifying and addressing the destructive habit patterns that clients follow and will help them identify and eliminate these patterns. This goes beyond merely getting the patient sober; it means understanding the deeper internal issues and learning to find healthy and proactive ways to deal with them without having a possible relapse down the road.
Long-Term Alcohol Treatment Plans
Long-term treatment for alcohol use disorders typically involves a continuum of care that starts with more intensive treatment that scales down based on your individual needs. The more you progress, the more your treatment plan wiill lower in intensity. Depending on your needs, you may start with medically monitored detoxification and move all the way to aftercare programs that are focused on relapse prevention.
Each treatment plan is tailored to the individual’s personal history and needs. When you enter a treatment program, you will go through the intake phase where you sit down, typically with your primary therapist, and talk about everything from your family history to your experience with alcohol use. The questions will become personal, but the purpose is to help create a treatment plan that is the most effective for you. According to the National Institute on Drug Addiction, an effective treatment plan will involve you, the client, in the treatment planning process. NIDA says, “Matching treatment settings, interventions, and services to an individual’s particular problems and needs is critical to his or her ultimate success…”
During intake, your medical needs will also be assessed and you may be placed into a level of care that involves medical care or monitoring. Treatment typically follows Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, where immediate physical needs like safety and security are met first. Then deeper needs can be addressed.
Levels Of Care
The levels of care are designed to meet you where you are in relation to alcohol use as well as physical and emotional needs. A person in withdrawal isn’t going to do well if they dive straight into intensive cognitive therapy. And a person with limited physical needs doesn’t need to waste time in an intensely medically focused level of care. The following are the five basic levels of care. Keep in mind that many levels also have subset levels as well:
- Detox – Most people entering treatment for alcohol abuse start with medical detoxification, because alcohol dependence can come with potentially deadly symptoms. Post-acute withdrawal symptoms for alcohol can come with seizures and delirium that may be fatal without medical attention. Medical detox can come with 24 hours of medically managed treatment. This means that medical professionals will treat you with any medication you might need to curb withdrawal symptoms and monitor and respond to any complications. The goal is to guide you safely and comfortably through withdrawal and relieve you of your chemical dependence on alcohol. If you’ve developed a tolerance to alcohol or felt withdrawal symptoms before, you will want this level of care.
- Inpatient – Inpatient programs are intended to treat people with a medical need that aren’t necessarily as at-risk as someone with post-acute withdrawal syndrome for alcohol. In the highest level of care in this category, you would receive 24 hours of medically monitored care. While you may not be medically treated around the clock, you will be monitored so, if a need arises, medical professionals are available to step in and handle complications. At the lowest level in this category, 24 hours of living support and clinical structure. You will also spend at least five hours each week in clinical services.
- Intensive Outpatient – Intensive outpatient (IOP) services are more intensive than inpatient care but still involves nine or more hours of clinical services each week. IOP is ideal for people dealing with the complex needs of alcohol use disorders, underlying issues, and co-occurring disorders.
- Outpatient – Outpatient services involve less than nine hours of treatment. This level is ideal for people who have gone through more intensive levels of care and are ready for more independence and to apply the relapse prevention skills they have learned.
- Aftercare – Aftercare programs involve alumni services, support groups, and 12-step programs that occur after treatment is completed. Staying involved in recovery programs even just one or two times a week can help you continue to learn about recovery and avoid relapse.