Logo of Man Motioning to Stay AwayThere are some alcohol detox centers that should be avoided at all costs. If you don’t stay away from these centers, the price you pay can be significant both monetarily and emotionally, with no results or even harm to you or your loved one seeking treatment.

First Time With Alcohol Detox Can Be The Last Time

Often, an alcoholic’s first time going to rehab is his last time, whether the program works or not. So if you’re seeking alcohol rehab, you owe it to yourself to have the best possible experience.

Alcohol Detox Can Be a Positive Experience

Good alcohol rehabs are actually to some degree a journey of self-discovery. Despite the fact that the circumstances surrounding going to a drug or alcohol rehab are painful and difficult, despite the fact that withdrawal from alcohol can actually cause a lot of physical and mental anguish and suffering, the overall experience at a good alcohol rehab can be quite positive.

Alcoholism Detox Center Brain Disease Myth

That being said, you should avoid any alcohol rehab that states in its mission statement, or in its goals or in its basic published philosophy, that alcohol is a brain disease. The reason for this is that alcoholism is not a brain disease. There is no medical or scientific evidence that suggests that it is a brain disease. If you got to an alcohol rehab that has this as one of its tenets, then at best you’re working with a rehab founded by someone uninformed on the subject of alcoholism. If they’ve missed the mark this much on their basic understanding of alcoholism, you can’t expect to get much out of their program.

Alcohol Brain Disease Myth Illustration

Why Alcoholism Isn’t Classified as a Disease

A disease is something that can be scientifically validated as actually existing through tests. There is no test for alcoholism. The way you know someone is an alcoholic is that they abuse alcohol and depend on it to get through life. You can detect the presence of alcohol in the bloodstream but you can’t detect the presence of alcoholism in their body. Rather, psychologically speaking for a moment, alcoholism is classified as a “disorder”. A disorder is a set of symptom identified as going one with another. The value of noticing a disorder is that if you identify some symptoms you can assume that others in the same set are present as well, thus allowing you to better understand and treat someone going through difficulties. For example, by understanding the disorder of alcoholism, you can know that, if this person has been abusing habitually, if he tries to quit he will experience obsessive thoughts about alcohol. So disorders are to some degree valuable for diagnosis but are very different from diseases.

Alcoholism – The Label Sticks

If you label someone with a disease, the label in and of itself has value because you can use this label to treat the underlying problem causing the illness. For example, if you label someone with pneumonia, then there is a series of steps a medical doctor takes to treat the disease with medication, etc. By calling alcohol addiction a brain disease, of the incurable variety. To make matters worse, many rehabs call alcoholism an incurable brain disease, meaning that it will stick with the person for the rest of his life no matter what. They call it a chemical imbalance, which isn’t based in science. The problem is that since you’re just sticking a label on this person not based on scientific fact, he comes to believe it. The last thing the addict needs is more justification for his habit, and this brain disease theory is the ultimate justification for his habit.

Alcoholism Doesn’t Need More Justification

He is already justifying his habit. The reason he hasn’t gotten up the gumption to quit already is because he’s justifying his habit. He’s coming up with reasons in his own mind why his habit and past actions are okay. Telling him that he has a disease in his brain that he can’t control is not only a falsehood but also divests him of whatever scraps of responsibility he has left. Not to mention the fact that it is demeaning in the extreme.

Self-Confidence Is Needed to Overcome Alcohol Addiction

To overcome addiction requires that the alcoholic regain his self-respect and self-confidence. Labeling him with a brain disease, labeling him as mentally disabled in some fashion, is very destructive to his self-confidence and self-respect. So avoid at all costs any drug or alcohol rehab that tells you that alcoholism is a brain disease. Not only will that program have a lot less chance to succeed, because it isn’t based on modern science, but it will also attempt to pound into your head day in and day out that you have a brain disease, and you’ll come away labeled as having a mental disability.

Why You Should Avoid 28-day Alcohol Programs

There are other programs you should avoid at all costs, including most 28-day programs. The reason you should avoid 28-day programs is because their alcohol treatment model is based not on what duration of treatment actually works best to help someone overcome alcoholism, but rather on the single question: “How can we bill the most?” Typically insurance covers 28 days of alcohol rehab treatment. So these alcohol rehab centers are designed to help you until your insurance runs out, and then it’s to the street.

The Facts About 28-Day Alcohol Treatment Programs

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a government organization, 28 days is actually a very short time in order to treat someone in a rehab. The longer the length of treatment, the more likely the rehab program is to succeed. There are some good 28-day programs out there, but they are few and far between, because to be truly successful in treating most alcoholics, you have to do everything possible to give that alcoholic a chance to succeed. The very formation of that drug rehab has to be “How are we going to get and keep alcoholics clean?” Every rehab needs finances in order to survive. We find that drug rehabs and counselors that are motivated by money, however, or who are profit oriented, do not service their clients as well as centers that are dedicated to getting people clean and have that as their first and foremost consideration.

We Recommend Non-Profit Alcohol Detox Centers

Because of that, we’ll often recommend that our clients go to non-profit drug and alcohol treatment facilities. Not only are frequently less expensive, but they also get better results on average. They are typically staffed by people who at some point in their own lives were touched by addiction, and for these people it’s personal that you or your loved one get free from alcoholism. They’re not there to make a buck; they’re there to help. That’s why a non-profit drug rehab, although it’s rarer than private for-profit centers, can get better results.

Avoid Secretive Alcohol Detoxes

You should also avoid at all costs any rehab that won’t tell you what their success rate is, that won’t disclose to you all their costs that will be charged or billed, or that in any way seems shady or to some degree untrustworthy.

The Key to Successfully Finding an Alcohol Detox Center That Works

There are tons of alcohol rehabs out there that are great, and are trustworthy, so you should be willing to reject a few. Your first shot at rehab is frequently the only shot you get, so you want to make sure you give yourself or your loved one the best chance.