A drug counselor checks a young woman into an alcohol treatment programWhile alcohol treatment programs use a wide variety of methodologies and philosophies for treating alcohol abuse, the most successful alcohol rehab programs are based on scientific research. Because of that they share many principles that are fundamental to their success.

Knowing these fundamentals can help you get the most out of a rehab program, or better understand what your loved one is going through in terms of treatment. Understanding these fundamentals can also help you identify whether or not an alcohol rehab program that you are considering attending is one that is scientifically based and will help you to have the best chance at succeeding.

Withdrawal (or detox)

The process by which a person comes off their drug of choice, such as alcohol, is referred to in the drug abuse rehab field as “detoxification.” Detoxification in this sense means something different than “detox” in the alternative health sense of flushing toxins out of the body. Detoxification in a rehab just means that the toxins which are normally being introduced by the alcoholic into his body are no longer present.

There may be drug residuals left over in the patient’s body after the detoxification phase, but the rehab isn’t concerned with this at that point. What they are concerned with is eliminating the constant stream of alcohol that the body has come to depend upon utterly. Withdrawal describes the symptoms that an alcoholic goes through as a result of detoxification. However, these terms are easily flipped one with the other, but when an alcoholic detoxes, he experiences withdrawal symptoms.

The successful drug rehab programs know that withdrawal symptoms are one of the main causes for rehab failure. A lot of attention is placed on getting the alcoholic through that first week or so of rehab. The best programs assist with the physical symptoms of withdrawal through proper nutrition as well as the introduction of the appropriate amount of fluids and electrolytes as well as vitamins at proper levels. These can actually curb withdrawal symptoms.

Improperly handled, the withdrawal symptoms of alcohol can be fatal, and are fatal in five percent of all cases of people who have tried to quit.

Detox programs that are medically based will wean someone down. Depending on the circumstances of the alcohol abuser, it is not recommended that they quit “cold turkey” but rather allow their body to adjust to lower and lower levels of alcohol until they’re finally able to stop. This process is referred to as “weaning” or “weaning off of alcohol”.

The alcohol detox program is concerned mainly, and prepared for, three main phases of withdrawal, which we discussed in another article, but basically what first becomes pronounced is the mental craving for the drug, and then the physical suffering really begins.

There are some rehabs that are able to provide a nearly pain-free withdrawal, even from alcohol, and these are some of the most respected and workable rehabs in the field.

Alcohol Treatment Program Focuses

After the withdrawal phase, there are several different areas that can be addressed, and this is where you see the most variation in terms of rehabs. Some rehabilitation programs put a lot of emphasis on work and getting the alcoholic working once more in some function or facet. Many alcohol rehab programs will focus on counseling, and getting the person talking about his addiction and the decisions and choices he made. With the counseling they seek to help him come to terms with some of the guilt and pain in his past.

Nutrition and Health are Important for Alcohol Recovery

One thing that separates out some of the best rehabs from the mediocre ones is the care and attention that is put into restoring the alcoholic back to health. Once one has been abusing alcohol for a long time, his body reaches a point where he is very nutritionally deprived. He just doesn’t feel good. Rehab centers that put some attention on proper nutrition and exercise for the addict, getting him back in shape, actually have better outcomes than centers that don’t.

Re-entry As a Part of the Alcohol Treatment Program

After a period of counseling and nutritional assistance, good rehab programs end with a re-entry phase wherein the alcoholic re-enters society. This starts by laying out step-by-step planning with the drug counselor who has helped him throughout treatment, and this phase proceeds into follow-up wherein the drug counselor will call him to check in with him and find out how things are going. The graduate of the program has a chance to voice his concerns or ask any questions that he feels need to be addressed. It’s from here, too, that drug rehabs are able to determine their success rate because they’re able to identify people who have reverted back to abusing alcohol. They can discover, as well, if the person needs further help.

The Basic Fundamental of Alcohol Abuse Treatment

The basic fundamental of alcohol abuse treatment is getting the person off alcohol and getting him into the frame of mind where he no longer needs alcohol. Not only does he not crave it any more, but he does not desire it. He has made a decision and a lifestyle change about alcohol. He has decided to no longer depend on alcohol in order to cloud out his problems. It’s at this point that he has fully recovered.