November 24, 2023

Understanding Rehab for Drinking: Types, Treatments, and Effectiveness

If you're considering going to rehab for drinking, you're not alone. In fact, millions of Americans deal with binge drinking and general alcoholism.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Contributors & Editors

Susana Spiegel

Recovery Writer and Advocate

Last Update on November 24, 2023

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If you’re considering going to rehab for drinking, you’re not alone. In fact, millions of Americans deal with binge drinking and general alcoholism.

But there are various rehab options for drinking, so here we exploere the types, treatments, and effectiveness to help see which option works best for you or your loved ones.

Understanding these options is crucial for anyone seeking freedom from alcohol addiction.

The Basics of Rehab for Drinking

Rehab for drinking is vital avenue for overcoming alcohol addiction, and aims to guide individuals toward a path of recovery and sobriety.

Rehab is a structured program that employs various methodologies to address the physical, psychological, and social aspects of addiction.

The Initial goal is not only to stop drinking alcohol but also to equip individuals with the mental tools and mindset understanding necessary to maintain long-term sobriety.

Through the right combination of therapy, support systems, and sometimes medication, these programs attempt to mend the underlying causes of addiction, encouraging personal growth and healthier coping mechanisms.

Types of Rehab Programs for Alcohol Addiction


 Rehab Program Option

Inpatient Rehab Programs

Provides 24/7 medical and emotional support in a controlled environment.

Patients stay on-site, receiving intensive care that includes detoxification, therapy, and activities designed to address the root causes of addiction. 

Ideal for severe addiction or needing a focused setting away from daily triggers.

Outpatient Rehab Programs

Allows individuals to live at home while attending treatment sessions several times a week, offering flexibility and enabling participants to continue with work or family commitments.

Includes individual and group therapy, education on addiction, and skill-building for relapse prevention.

Suits those with mild to moderate addiction or as a step-down from inpatient treatment.

Residential Treatment

Combines the intensive care of inpatient programs with a more extended stay in a therapeutic community.

Patients reside in a home-like setting, often for months, fostering personal growth, accountability, and behavioral change in a supportive environment.

A long-term approach is practical for chronic addiction, offering ongoing therapy, life skills training, and community support to prevent relapse.

Can You Detox From Alcohol at Home?

Detoxing is a sensitive and crucial phase when overcoming alcoholism.

While detoxing at home may seem convenient and even maybe more comfortable, it’s important to understand why this approach can be dangerous.


Understanding the Process of Detoxification from Alcohol

The process of detoxification is when the body rids itself of alcohol and begins to adjust to its absence.

This period can be marked by severe and sometimes life-threatening withdrawal symptoms, including tremors, seizures, extreme anxiety, and hallucinations.


Why You Should Never Try to Detox at Home

Attempting to detox at home is risky because of the unpredictable nature and severity of withdrawal symptoms.

Without professional medical supervision, these symptoms can escalate quickly and dangerously.

Complications during detox, such as dehydration, seizures, and delirium tremens (a severe form of alcohol withdrawal), require immediate medical attention, which is not available in a home setting.


The Importance of Professional Rehab for Drinking

Seeking professional help from rehab for drinking ensures safety during the detox phase.

These facilities offer medical supervision, which can manage and ease withdrawal symptoms through medication and support.

As well as, rehab centers provide a comprehensive treatment approach, addressing not just the physical aspect of addiction but also the psychological and emotional factors.

Detoxing in a rehab setting lays a solid foundation for a successful recovery journey, surrounded by care and support tailored to individual needs.

Though it may seem that home detox might be a viable option, the risks involved make it a dangerous choice.

Professional detoxing at a rehab center is the safest and most effective way to start the journey towards recovery.

Approaches in Drinking Rehab

Rehabilitation for alcohol addiction utilizes a combination of approaches, each supported by significant research to validate their effectiveness.

Each approach is different in its own way, and creating a personal combination of strategies that can help your journey in recovery.


Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and motivational interviewing are foundation treatments in alcohol rehab.

CBT, in particular, has a strong evidence base.

A meta-analytic review encompassing 34 randomized controlled trials with 2,340 patients found that CBT effectively treats alcohol and drug use disorders. 1

Further, another study analyzing 30 trials reinforced the efficacy of CBT in treating alcohol or other drug use disorders.2

These studies emphasize CBT’s effectiveness in addressing the cognitive patterns behind substance abuse, offering strategies to manage and cope with addiction triggers.


Medication-Assisted Treatment for Drinking 

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) combines medications with therapy to treat alcohol use disorders.

A comprehensive review including data from 118 clinical trials involving 20,976 participants highlighted the effectiveness of medications like acamprosate and oral naltrexone.

These medications were shown to significantly reduce the likelihood of returning to any drinking and heavy drinking compared to placebo.3

This evidence supports the integration of pharmacotherapy with psychosocial interventions in alcohol rehab.


Group and Individual Counseling

Both group and individual counseling are critical components in the treatment of alcohol use disorders.

Research indicates that group therapy can be as effective, if not more, than individual therapy.

A study comparing the two modalities found no significant difference in treatment outcomes, suggesting that both are viable options.4

Group therapy may offer cost-effectiveness and the advantage of peer support.

In contrast, individual therapy provides personalized care and may be better suited for patients with specific co-morbid mental health disorders.

These approaches, supported by practical research, demonstrate the multi-faceted nature of alcohol recovery and the importance of a personally tailored treatment plan that can address the unique needs of each individual.

Evaluating the Effectiveness of Rehab for Drinking

Evaluating the success and effectiveness of rehab programs for alcohol addiction is complex due to the chronic nature of addiction.

Success rates and factors influencing the effectiveness of these programs can be gauged through various metrics, including relapse rates and long-term outcomes.



Success Rates and Influencing Factors

Relapsing after an attempt to stop is a very common part of this process.

Whether it be from stress, traumatic situations, or just a genuine slip-up.

Newer treatment methods are designed to aid in relapse prevention.

Studies indicate that relapse rates in substance use disorders are comparable to those in other chronic diseases.5

These results highlight the importance of ongoing treatment and adaptation of treatment plans.

Consistently leaning on healthy coping mechanisms adapted to your lifestyle can help prevent relapses.



Long-Term Outcomes and Recovery Measures

Recovery from alcohol addiction encompasses more than just stopping alcohol use; it involves a comprehensive process addressing the repercussions addiction may have on an individual’s health, family life, work, and community involvement.

Effective treatment programs are holistic, considering the individual’s medical, mental, social, occupational, and family needs.6

Long-term recovery success is therefore measured not only by abstinence but also by improved quality of life, better health, and enhanced social functioning. In summary, the effectiveness of rehab for drinking is multifaceted, focusing on both preventing relapse and improving overall life quality.

Recovery is a long-term goal and a constant contribution, which requires support and tailored treatment approaches; it’s really important to remember that.

Challenges and Solutions in Rehab for Drinking

Rehab for drinking, while a critical step towards recovery, is often fraught with challenges.

These are some challenges that happen in rehab and strategies on how you can overcome these challenges.

Understanding these challenges and the strategies to overcome them is key to effective treatment.

Challenges in Rehab Strategy to Overcome
Dealing with Withdrawal Symptoms Professional medical help for safe management of symptoms during detox.
Cravings and Temptation Employing relapse prevention techniques and skills from behavioral therapies like CBT.
Emotional and Psychological Issues Integrated treatment for co-occurring mental health disorders.
Social Pressures and Triggers Building a network of sober peers and supportive family relationships.
Aftercare and Continued Support Ongoing therapy, support groups, and follow-up programs for long-term recovery.

Each challenge in rehab for drinking requires a personal tailored approach, acknowledging the complexity of addiction and the unique needs of each individual in recovery.

Factors Relapse Prevention Strategy
Continuous Support

Engaging in ongoing therapy sessions, attending support groups like AA, and group therapies.

Staying connected with a sobriety support network.

Lifestyle Changes Adopting healthy routines, including regular exercise, a balanced diet, and sufficient sleep, to maintain physical and mental well-being.
Stress Management Learn and practice stress reduction techniques such as mindfulness, meditation, or yoga to manage triggers effectively.
Building Healthy Relationships Creating and nurturing relationships with people who support sobriety, avoiding environments, or individuals associated with past drinking habits.
Goal Setting Setting realistic and achievable goals for personal and professional life to foster a sense of purpose and direction.

Make The Life Saving Choice

Alcoholism isn’t something that should be taken lightly. 

If you or a loved one is dealing with alcoholism or mental health, please reach out.

We encourage you to contact us at Cornerstone Healing Center in Arizona. 

We have an evidence-based and individually tailored rehab for drinking programs in Arizona. 

Our treatment facility is grounded in evidence-based practices and specializes in dual diagnosis, promoting long-term recovery by addressing underlying issues.

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Author & Reviewers

susana spiegel recovery writer and SEO expert

Susana is a recovery writer and advocate with over 8 years in addiction recovery. She is passionate about sharing accurate and helpful information about mental health, addiction, and recovery. She holds a Bachelor’s in Christian Studies from Grand Canyon University and has over 7 years of working in the addiction field. 

lionel estrada lisac clinical director

Lionel is the Clinical Director of Cornerstone’s Scottsdale treatment facilities. He has had over 4 years at Cornerstone. He is personally in recovery and passionate about helping others overcome substance abuse and mental health challenges; he is trained as an EMDR, adopting a trauma-informed approach to treat the underlying issues.

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