Man at Crossroads making decision about alcohol treatment pros and consIf you are seeking help for yourself or someone you know who has a problem with alcohol, there are many factors to consider.

Inpatient alcohol addiction treatment can be a great option but it’s important to know the potential pros and cons before making a decision.

The truth is that alcohol addiction, or alcoholism, is a progression. It isn’t a destination. In other words, a person might, when just beginning his habit, barely be an alcoholic. As he uses more and more, and as his tolerance increases, the progression continues, and his habit develops from something that might just let him “take the edge off” to the point where he depends on alcohol to function.

From there he gets to the point where he can’t function even with alcohol in his system, but at that point the physical repercussions of quitting are too dramatic for him to do so. What’s more, any time he tries to stop drinking, he experiences a mental craving so intense that he very often uses.

An inpatient alcohol treatment facility is always recommended for one who is even in a moderate state of alcohol addiction. The reason for this is that when you have professionals who are able to care for you from morning through the night, and who know what it takes to get you off alcohol, you have a much better chance of recovery.

That being said, there are several cons and also pros to look for when choosing an inpatient or residential alcohol rehab.

One of the first cons to consider about choosing an alcohol rehab is time and money. We bring these up first because these are the most common objections for someone seeking alcohol treatment.

Inpatient Alcohol Treatment Cons

The biggest con about time and money as it has to do with inpatient treatment is that it’s a major discouragement to people who would otherwise get help. As a family member of friend of an alcoholic, you might be completely willing to do what it takes to get that loved one off alcohol, no matter the cost or amount of time consumed. However, many times the alcoholic himself does not feel or realize the extent to which his alcoholism is damaging not only his own life but the lives of those around him. Because he does not realize this, he’s a much “harder sell,” so to speak.

Sometimes it’s more difficult to get him to agree to go to an inpatient facility because of his objections of time and money. He doesn’t want to spend the time it takes to complete an inpatient program and he doesn’t want himself or someone else to spend the money or he doesn’t want to owe it later.

So this is one of the major cons about an inpatient alcohol rehab facility. Not that it isn’t worth it or that time or money should be taken into consideration when you’re dealing with someone’s life, but because it can make it much harder to secure an alcoholic’s agreement to enroll in such a program. That being said, there are drug counselors who work at rehabs whose job it is to explain the process to alcoholics and help them understand why a residential facility is usually necessary for an alcoholic to quit, and how the program can help with withdrawal. Basically there is someone familiar with all the pros of inpatient withdrawal and rehab that you can use as a resource to communicate with your loved one and get them to understand they need to take the steps they need to take in order to make a change.

Another con about inpatient alcohol rehab facilities is that you have to be very careful to choose the right program. Because over 2.5 million people seek treatment for alcoholism every year in the United States alone, there are literally tens of thousands of alcohol abuse treatment programs all over the country. They have different philosophies, different success rates, and when you commit to an in-patient alcohol facility it isn’t like you can easily move to another program if you don’t like the one you’re in. Once you start a program, you’re to some degree stuck with it until you finish it. This is a time investment of anywhere from 28 days to many months. Some alternative programs might last over a year. So if you’re not very careful in how you select the rehab program you’re going to use, you might be disappointed. Mediocre programs have most over their graduates revert to drugs with six months after graduation.

There are several articles on this site that you can use to help identify the best alcohol rehab for you. There is also an article describing five questions you should ask a drug rehab counselor about his program, and this can be a tremendous resource for you to use. For example, one of the questions covered is you should ask one of the program’s graduates about what they thought about the program. This will give you the info straight from the horse’s mouth.

There are very successful programs out there. But for every one great program there are ten rehab programs that are about as successful as just trying to quit on your own. That isn’t said to discourage you but just to point out the fact that the facility you select has a lot to do with your potential for a successful outcome.

Inpatient Alcohol Treatment Pros

One of the pros of an inpatient alcohol treatment program is that an alcohol inpatient rehab is often able to provide the length of stay necessary for the patient to stably get off alcohol, because according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a government organization, a stay of much longer than one month is recommended for any alcoholic or drug abuser in a rehab facility. The longer a person stays in rehab, the more likely they are to have a successful outcome.

Common sense prevails here. If the person has been abusing alcohol for ten years, he is not going to get clean for the rest of his life and address all of the underlying causes of his addiction in a fourteen day outpatient program. People can change, but to make a lot of changes it takes time. It’s a process. Recovering from alcohol isn’t as simple as saying “no” to alcohol. That’s one decision. But there are literally thousands of decisions that the alcoholic has made both to continue his addiction and to deal with the problems in his life that caused him to go to alcohol in the first place. Changing his mind about those, helping him to do so and giving him the space and time to make those changes in his life can take more than 14 or 28 days. A residential facility gives enough time in order for the alcoholic to make a permanent recovery.

Another thing to consider about drug rehabs of the inpatient variety is that the alcoholic attending such a program does not have to stay in the place where he’s been abusing alcohol all this time. He doesn’t have to deal with the people. He doesn’t have to see that couch where he’s sat and gotten sloshed out of his mind watching TV every night. He doesn’t have to talk to those same drinking buddies from work. His environment is very much changes and he’s surrounded by people who are all trying to quit, who have all had their lives damaged by alcohol. This can be a perfect environment where he can make the changes that he needs to make in his life.