Alcohol Addiction Recovery Options

Alcohol addiction recovery is different for everyone. Some alcoholics need to go to off-site treatment centers while others can receive on-site treatment. Some alcoholics recover after they’ve gone through recovery once. For others, recovery takes years. No matter what kind of treatment the alcoholic receives or how long it takes them to complete the program, they will always have to resist the urge to drink.

Off-site Addiction Recovery

Off-site addiction recovery is the most commonly used alcohol addiction recovery source. Off-site addiction recovery means that the alcoholic is allowed to live at home and can go to work while they’re going through the recovery process. Though they aren’t technically "allowed" to go to bars, they could go to a bar because they don’t have anyone watching over their shoulder 24 hours a day. This is different in an on-site recovery center.

The most well-known off-site alcohol addiction recovery center is Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). AA sets up meetings where alcoholics can go and talk about their addiction. Other recovering alcoholics help counsel the addicts. They also use a 12-step process to move through their recovery. AA teaches alcoholics to take their recovery a day at a time. This is helpful because recovering from an addiction is a very daunting task. Setting daily goals makes the recovery more manageable.

One distinct advantage to off-site alcohol addiction recovery centers is that they force the alcoholic to learn how to avoid alcohol even when they technically have access to it. This can also be a disadvantage because it makes it easier for alcoholics to get drunk.

In-House Recovery Centers

In-house alcohol addiction recovery centers require the alcoholic to spend a period of time in the center. Some of these centers are considered outpatient centers. This means that the alcoholic can go home each evening, but must return for scheduled treatments.

An in-patient recovery center requires the alcoholic to stay at the center until the clinicians decide that they’re ready to try their alcohol-free life at home. Often times alcoholics are brought to these centers after they’ve tried several other programs. Sometimes family members bring the alcoholic to these in-house recovery centers when the alcoholic is drunk. The alcoholic is then put through a detoxification process, which means they are deprived of alcohol for at least seven days. Detoxification is physically painful and can cause the alcoholic to have hallucinations.

One downside to in-house recovery centers is that they can be very expensive. Many insurance companies will pay for a portion of the treatment. Many will not. Another downside is that when the alcoholic is released, they return to their every day lives. This means they have daily access to alcohol if they want it. Alcoholics in off-site recovery centers learn to resist alcohol every day.

Alcohol addiction recovery is very difficult. One of the most disappointing aspects of it is that it doesn’t mean the alcoholic will get well. Alcohol addiction recovery can give the alcoholic the tools to get better, but it can’t force them to stop drinking.

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The Ugliness of an Alcohol Detox Symptom

A single universal alcohol detox symptom doesn’t exist however, there are several different symptoms an alcoholic might encounter.

First, we need to understand what alcohol detox is. Detox is short for detoxification, which means cleansing the body of all harmful substances. In the case of alcohol addiction, this means ridding the body of alcohol.

When a person is physically addicted to alcohol, their body craves it. They need it every single day or they don’t feel like they can function. Coffee drinkers are notorious for saying that they "need their morning coffee" or they just can’t function. If they don’t have it they get tired and irritable, which has a negative impact on the rest of their day. Alcoholics feel the same way, only on a much larger scale.

When an alcoholic is put into detox, they are removed from all sources containing alcohol. This includes mouthwash and hairspray. Both of these substances include some alcohol and a desperate alcoholic might try to drink one or both to feed his or her habit.

Once the alcoholic is placed in detox, their body starts to go through alcohol withdrawal. This is when the alcohol detox symptoms kick in. Mild detox symptoms include profuse sweating, clammy hands and stomach cramps. More intense alcohol detox symptoms include hallucinations and seizures. The withdrawal symptoms subside after the alcoholic’s body gets used to not having alcohol. This usually takes around seven days.

The doctors overseeing an alcoholic’s withdrawal and detox can give the alcoholic medication that will help curb some of the symptoms. However, many doctors opt not to do this especially if the symptoms aren’t too severe. Many doctors feel that it’s important for the alcoholic to get rid of their physical dependence without the aid of another substance. When a person is in detox, they are also deprived of other potentially addictive substances including sleeping pills. The last thing the doctors want is for the alcoholic to trade one addiction for another.

A Temporary Stay

Just because an alcoholic goes to detox doesn’t mean that they’re going to complete an alcoholic treatment program. For many alcoholics the detox program is the first step in an alcoholism recovery program. However, others will leave the hospital or facility once they’ve gone through detox. This is really up to the alcoholic, especially if they’re of age.

College kids sometimes get thrown into a detox center after a hard night of binge drinking. This can happen if someone calls the police because they’re worried that their friend has had a dangerous amount of alcohol. It can also happen if cops are called to a party and notice underage kids that are extremely inebriated. Minors who are taken to detox must get a parent’s permission to leave the facility. These kids may or may not have an alcohol detox symptom or two while sitting in detox.

Finding an Effective Alcoholism Cure

There’s a debate among the medical community and alcohol treatment centers as to whether there is actually an alcoholism cure.

You certainly can’t take a pill and be cured of alcoholism. It’s not like alcoholics can walk to a doctor and get a prescription that will cure them in the week. Alcoholism is not like strep throat. A cure for strep throat attacks the virus and helps the body’s immune system fight the sickness. With alcoholism, you have to fight the person’s desire to drink alcohol.

12-Step Programs

Most experts say that a 12-step program is the most effective alcoholism cure, though it’s better defined as a treatment rather than a cure. Alcoholics are never truly "cured" of their disease. An alcoholic can slip back into the depths of the disease as soon as the pick up a drink. This is a very tricky aspect of alcoholism.

What alcoholics really need is emotional and physiological help to quite drinking. They need to figure out why they drink and what things trigger their drinking. They also need to learn how to remove themselves from situations where they might drink. They need to cope with the issues that have led them to alcohol. A 12-step program creates a supportive atmosphere for alcoholics. These programs are made up of recovering alcoholics who talk to each other and support one another through a 12-step process.

What exactly is included in the 12-step process? The 12-step process starts with step one, which is when the alcoholic admits they have a problem. As the alcoholic moves through the process, they have to make restitution with the people they’ve hurt. They also have to deal with the underlying issues that cause them to drink. There’s no telling how long the 12-step process will take because it’s different for each person. It takes some people longer than others to get through certain steps. Also, sometimes the alcoholic will fall off the wagon and have to start all over again.

Even though the 12-step process is generally recognized as the most effective alcoholism cure, there’s not a 100 percent guarantee that the alcoholic will be cured.

Some Alternative Approaches

Some people believe that orthomolecular medicine can help cure alcoholism. This type of medicine acts to correct molecular imbalances in a person’s body by using vitamins, enzymes, hormones and amino acids. The idea is that these items will restore the body to a state where it will no longer be dependent on alcohol. This type of medicine is also used to treat other disorders.

Other people believe that items such as apples, bitter gourd, grapes and celery will help cure alcoholism. Most experts would agree that eating grapes or bitterroot will not help cure alcoholism. The only true alcoholism cure is if the alcoholic makes an effort to stop drinking.

Healing an Addiction at a Drug Alcohol Rehab Program

Going to a drug alcohol rehab program doesn’t give you a 100 percent guarantee that you’re going to kick your habit, but it’s a good place to start.

What Drug Alcohol Rehab Programs are About

Drug alcohol rehab programs are solely about helping the addict recover. These places are safe places where drug addicts and alcoholics can recover from their addiction without having access to drugs or alcohol. These centers are located all over the country. Most of them require the patient to stay in the center. This is to keep them from gaining access to drugs and alcohol while they’re in the middle of their recovery. Addicts are very susceptible to relapses, so it’s best that they’re physically removed from substances.

Every drug and alcohol rehab program is different. Some of them are faith based and others are not. They all include some sort of therapy including group therapy, individual therapy, family therapy or a combination of both. Some drug alcohol rehab programs are free and others cost money. If you can find a drug alcohol rehab program that specializes in your particular addiction, it’s best to go to this center.

Drug alcohol rehab programs also have detoxification centers. This is where an addict or alcoholic goes while their body is withdrawing from the abused substance. Withdrawal is an ugly experience to watch and an even uglier one to go through. Withdrawal symptoms include profuse sweating, seizures, hallucinations, dehydration, stomach cramping, vomiting, cramps and other mental and physical side effects. Withdrawal symptoms vary according to the type of addiction a person has. They tend to be more intense in addicts and alcoholics that have been involved with an addiction for a long period of time. An addict or alcoholic will spend roughly seven days in the detox center. They usually start therapy when they leave detox.

Unfortunately, these places cannot guarantee that the addict will heal. Addiction is a physical as well as a psychological problem. Because there are so many components involved with addiction, it’s very hard for a person to recover.

What to Expect

If you’re going to a drug alcohol rehab program, expect to go through one of the hardest couple of months of your life. If you’re going into one of these programs, you’re probably well aware that kicking a drug or alcohol addiction isn’t easy. If it were, you wouldn’t need to go to the drug alcohol rehab program and you certainly wouldn’t be reading this article.

Drug and alcohol rehab is a mentally, physical and emotionally exhausting process. When an addict is deprived of drugs or alcohol, they have to face all the painful issues in their life. They have to face all of the things that drove them to the substance. They have to face all of the people they’ve hurt. They have to face themselves and the destruction they’ve done to their lives.

However, if a person can complete a drug alcohol rehab program, they’ll learn important skills to help them continue fighting the addiction for the rest of thier lives.

Dealing With Teen Alcoholism Treatment

Teenagers certainly aren’t immune from alcoholism and those who suffer from it should be put in a teen alcoholism treatment center immediately.

A Sense of Urgency

Why is it so important to get teenagers in a teen alcoholism treatment program as soon as possible? Unlike adult alcoholics, teenager’s brains are still developing. A person’s brain doesn’t fully develop until they’re 30. A teenager’s brain is still developing and repetitive alcohol use has a negative effect on brain development. Getting a teenager in treatment early can combat these negative effects.

Teen alcoholics should also be treated right away because they’re still under their parent’s instruction. Adult alcoholics do not have to get help unless they are court ordered to do so. A court order may require the alcoholic to go to classes to treat their addiction or given some kind of anti-drinking medication to help them stop drinking. However, once the court ordered treatment is finished, the adult is allowed to do as he or she pleases. Teenagers still have to do what their parents say because they are minors. So, if a parent wants to put their teenager in an inpatient alcohol treatment center, they can and they can keep them there as long as they want to.

Though forcing someone to get help doesn’t guarantee that they’ll kick the addiction, it does force them to face their problem. It’s better to face these issues early in life. These programs also give teenagers life tools to resist alcohol and drug addiction.

Teens are Different

Alcoholism among teenagers is prevalent in the world and the United States. In fact, it’s during the teen years that people tend to drink the most heavily. Most kids will stop dirking on their own, but if you notice that your teen is drinking, you should talk to him or her about drug and alcohol addiction. As mentioned before, if you determine that your teen has a problem, you should seek treatment right away.

Dealing with teen alcoholism treatment is different than dealing with adult alcoholism treatment. Teen alcoholics are putting a substance in their body when they’re at a key stage of development, which is different than adult alcoholics. Aside from physical development, teens experience great emotional development at this age. The path they take as a teenager lays the foundation for what they’ll do with the rest of their life. Interrupting this process is extremely dangerous and will result in a rocky foundation. It will also create a very emotionally immature adult.

Because teenagers are dealing with so much (puberty, school, setting life goals, dating, etc.), teen alcoholism treatment tends to be most successful when the teens are counseled in groups. To some extent this is also true for adult alcoholics. Working in groups makes the alcoholic understand that they are not the only one suffering from the disease. Working in groups allows teenagers to talk to peers about other challenges (dating, school, peer pressure) that may lead them to drink. Kids in group teen alcoholism treatment care about what their peers say and will look to one another for positive reinforcement.

The Benefits of an Alcoholism Treatment Program

By the time a person needs to go to an alcoholism treatment program, they’re in serious trouble. Alcoholism treatment programs are designed to help alcoholics quit dirking and get back on their feet.

Out-of-House Treatment

Out-of-house alcoholism treatment programs allow alcoholics to continue living their daily lives. The alcoholic isn’t confined to an institution so they’re free to live at home, go to work or school and engage in daily activities. For many alcoholics, this can become a problem because they’re not physically removed from access to alcohol. However, these programs can be effective because they teach alcoholics to avoid drinking while living their every day lives.

The most well known out-of-house treatment program is Alcoholics Anonymous, or AA. AA is a 12-step program that uses individual therapy, group therapy, religion and discipline to help alcoholics stop drinking. AA develops a support group of alcoholics for alcoholics. Regardless of each individual’s background, they’re all struggling with overcoming an addition to alcohol. This knowledge helps the alcoholic feel less alone.

There’s no exact timeframe as to how long an alcoholic has to remain in an alcoholism treatment program before they’re "cured." Some need to remain longer than others and many never successfully finish the program. Alcoholics who are not succeeding in an out-of-house treatment program might have to enroll in a residential treatment program.

Residential Treatment

Residential alcoholism treatment programs require the alcoholic to stay in a residential home or hospital while they’re trying to kick their addiction to alcohol. These programs include some of the same components outlined in the AA programs including therapy and support. These centers usually enlist family members to participate in family counseling. Family counseling can help the alcoholic and their family members cope with the alcoholic’s addiction. It can also help the family resolve underlying issues that may have contributed to the alcoholic’s drinking problem.

Alcoholics usually enter residential alcoholism treatment programs when they’ve hit rock bottom. The alcoholics who go to these programs frequently have to go through detoxification. Detoxification, or detox, is when the alcoholic is deprived of alcohol and any other addictive substance for at least a week. When an alcoholic goes through detox the can get violently ill. Their body doesn’t know how to function without alcohol, which causes the person to get sick.

After the person’s gone through detox, the alcoholism treatment program staff might give them medication that should discourage them from drinking. Antabuse and Disulfiram make alcoholics extremely sick as soon as they take a sip of alcohol. Though the thought of being sick might be enough reason for non-alcoholics to drink, it doesn’t always work with alcoholics.

Residential alcoholism treatment programs are good at keeping alcoholics away from alcohol. However, it’s up to alcoholics to stay away from alcohol when they leave the alcoholism treatment program.

Behavioral and Physical Signs of Alcoholism

If you think you or someone you love might be an alcoholic, its’ extremely important that you’re able to recognize the signs of alcoholism.

Intangible Signs

The tricky thing about alcoholism is that it can be hard to detect. Many people hide their addiction really well. They go to parties and drink socially with everyone else and then they go home and drink alone. Alcoholism is hard to hide from people who are with you every day. It’s much easier to hide from people who aren’t intimately involved with you.

Though the following signs are not physical signs of alcoholism, they’re behavioral signs that should help you determine if you or someone you know is an alcoholic. These signs include: drinking well after everyone has finished drinking; drinking on a daily basis; consuming large quantities of alcohol and not appearing drunk; switching to other alcohol in hopes that they won’t get drunk as quickly; neglecting responsibilities to drink; receiving a DUI or other drunk driving-related offence and getting annoyed with family members for asking about their drinking habits.

Physical Signs

The physical signs of alcoholism are numerous, though they can take a while to develop. The most visible physical signs of alcoholism are constant slurred speech and unstable walking or other lack of coordination. When a person exhibits these behaviors, it’s easy to tell that they’re drunk. When you see this behavior as well as frequent blackouts, the person may be suffering from alcoholism.

Many physical signs of alcoholism are not so visible. For example, as a person falls deeper and deeper into alcoholism, their heart rate and breathing patterns slow down. This is because alcohol has a negative effect on blood cells and the heart. Alcohol abuse can increase the size of the heart, which makes the heart muscles weaker and the person’s heart rate slow down. Alcoholics also have liver problems and can get liver cancer. The liver processes chemicals and when it has to process too many chemicals, such as alcohol, it enlarges and fills with scar tissue. This restricts the liver’s function and ability to fend off other diseases.

How Does It Happen?

You’re not a bad person if you’re addicted to alcohol. The key is to get help with your addiction. Alcoholics come from all different backgrounds. Many of them get addicted to alcohol because they have addictive personalities and alcohol is easy to obtain and is a socially acceptable drug. Others get addicted to alcohol because they believe it helps them cope with difficult life situations. Many alcoholics are genetically predisposed to alcohol. If any of your blood relatives have been addicted to alcohol, watch yourself. Heredity plays a huge role in alcoholism. The one thing to remember about alcoholism is that no one chooses to be an alcoholic.

If you see any of these signs of alcoholism in yourself, admit to yourself that you have a drinking problem and seek out an alcoholism support group.

Using and Finding an Alcoholism Treatment Center

Going to an alcoholism treatment center will only have a positive effect on an alcoholic if the alcoholic is willing and ready to get better.

There are alcoholism treatment centers all over the country. People frequently refer to the as "Betty Ford" centers because former First Lady Betty Ford had a drinking problem and was a huge advocate of alcoholism treatment. These centers are different in location, cost and style, but they all have one mission — to help alcoholics recover from their disease.

These centers isolate the alcoholic from any kind of addictive substance. This includes keeping them away from mouthwash and other alcohol-based products. It is not beyond a desperate alcoholic to drink a bottle of mouthwash or cough syrup just to get their "high." The centers then use a combination of support groups, group therapy, individual theory and faith-based initiatives to help the alcoholic recover.

The idea behind these centers is that an isolated setting where an alcoholic has no access to alcohol and is relieved from his or her daily life and routine, will help them fully focus on recovering. Alcoholism treatment professionals try to help the alcoholics understand why they drink. They also help them learn how to resist alcohol.

For many people, alcoholism treatment centers are a last resort. Many times alcoholics will try different types of treatment before they agree to, or are court ordered to check into an alcoholism treatment center. Many alcoholics first try to quite drinking cold turkey. This means they just stop drinking. This technique does not work for a true alcoholic because the nature of the disease prohibits them from resisting alcohol. Even if they make it for a few days, they’ll probably experience alcohol withdrawal. Alcohol withdrawal includes excessive sweating, headaches, nausea and hallucination. This is an extremely difficult thing to deal with and will usually drive the alcoholic to drink before the week is out.

Alcoholics who get in trouble with the law frequently get court ordered to go on prescribed medications that are designed to stop their drinking. Antabuse and ReViaTM are two common medications used for this purpose. They work by making the alcoholic sick as soon as they take a drink. However, many alcoholics will drink anyway. Those that don’t usually resume drinking when they’re no longer on the medications.

Alcoholics will also try to go to support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) well before they go to an alcoholisms treatment center. AA is effective however, the alcoholic continues their normal life while attending these meetings so they’re not kept away from alcohol.

An alcoholic that has tried several times to quit drinking on their own but failed, might decide to go to an alcoholism treatment center.

Knowing Your Alcoholism Facts

Knowing basic alcoholism facts may help you determine if you or someone you love is an alcoholic.

What is Alcoholism?

Alcoholism is a very real disease that effects millions of people all over the world. People are considered alcoholics when their excessive drinking habit interferes with their mental, emotional and physical state. Alcoholics crave alcohol like the rest of us crave water. Because they’re so accustomed to drinking, their bodies absolutely crave alcohol and when they don’t have it, their bodies rebel.

An alcoholic that doesn’t drink for several days will experience withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms including getting the shakes, sweating profusely, vomiting, having involuntary eye movements and hallucinating. This is because they’re addicted to alcohol and need to have it in their system.

Use the Facts to Make a Determination

The fact about alcoholism is that it can be difficult to know when you’ve moved from social drinking into full blown alcoholism. However, there are some things that characterize an alcoholic. For starters, they crave alcohol. They think about when they’re going to have their first drink while they’re at work and feel that they need a drink when they get home.

Alcoholics also can’t control how much they drink. They never have just one glass of wine or one beer. They drink in excess. They also have a relatively high tolerance because they’re used to drinking large quantities of alcohol. To get their high, they have to drink more and more alcohol.

Several alcohol help groups and physicians actually have written tests you can take to help you determine if you’re an alcoholic. The questions on these tests generally focus on how frequently you drink, how drinking effects your life and how it effects the lives of others. The questions are designed to see how dependent you are on alcohol to get through your day.

A Sad Fact

One of the saddest facts about alcoholism is that it’s a very hard disease to kick. Though it’s not fun to have any kind of disease, many diseases have specific cures or remedies. For example, a diabetic has to take insulin, exercise and watch their sugar intake to stay healthy. However, you can’t tell an alcoholic to take some medicine and then send them on their way.

The only way to cure alcoholism is if the alcoholic recognized they have a problem and decides to do something about it. There are many different support groups designed to help alcoholics get through this process. One of the most well known alcoholism support groups is Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). All AA members are alcoholics or recovering alcoholics. They use each other and a 12-step support program to learn how to cope with their lives without drinking. The most discouraging fact about alcoholism is that it’s extremely hard to kick.

Using an Alcoholism Test to Determine if You’re an Alcoholic

Taking an alcoholism test can help a person figure out if they have a drinking problem. Unfortunately, these tests can’t do anything to make an alcoholic change their behavior. This takes a lot of time, effort and heartache.

Facts About Alcoholism

Alcoholism is a disease and alcoholics are addicted to drinking alcohol. It doesn’t matter what kind of alcohol you drink — beer, wine, tequila — if you continually drink to much and you let it negatively effect your life, you may be an alcoholic.

Alcoholism is prevalent all over the world. It threatens marriages, friendships and other important relationships. Alcoholics frequently emotionally (and sometimes physically) abandon the people that care about them so they can spend more time drinking. This kind of abandonment takes a serious toll on personal relationships.

When alcoholics are drunk or recovering from a bender, they can be very violent or moody. If you notice that someone you love is drinking a lot and is having serious mood changes, they may be an alcoholic.

Alcoholics also damage their bodies. They may either loose or gain weight from drinking. Massive quantities of alcohol have a negative effect on a person’s physique. It also takes a toll on a person’s liver. The liver has the unfortunate job of processing alcohol, which is like poison to the liver. It can be damaged from processing too much of this poison.

Taking the Tests

Taking an alcoholism test is not difficult to take. These tests can be taken on-line. All you need to do is Google "alcoholism test" and you’ll find dozens of different Web sites that have suggested alcoholism tests. The sites generally center on the same types of questions. The questions that are designed to determine how great your dependency is on alcohol. They ask questions about how much you drink, how much your drinking effects your life and the lives of others and how you feel about your drinking.

These questions are yes or no questions. When you’re finished taking the test, you can tally your results at the bottom of the page. Usually, if you hit above a certain number of yes answers, you’re considered an alcoholic.

The U.S. National Council on Alcoholism has a very comprehensive alcoholism test. This test includes several questions such as:

"When drinking with others, do you try to have a few extra drinks when they won’t know it?"

"Do you often want to drink more after friends have had enough?"

These tests are fairly accurate because they evaluate drinking behavior, which is what defines an alcoholic. However, they’re not going to be the least bit helpful if you don’t have any interest in getting better. An alcoholism test can tell you if you’re an alcoholic, but you’re the only one who can actually do something about it.