Alcoholism Treatment

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The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism estimates that over seventeen million American adults have alcohol use disorders of varying severity. Another nine-hundred thousand Americans between the ages of twelve and seventeen have alcohol use disorders. It is essential to remember that alcoholism is not a problem created overnight. It emerges out of long-term alcohol abuse.

Everybody has different needs to consider when it comes to treating alcohol use disorders and addiction. Alcohol use disorders can range from mild to severe, depending on your unique relationship with alcohol. Because addiction is unique to the individual, the type of treatment (level of care), treatment model, and duration of treatment will vary from person to person.

Treatment Options Available for Alcoholism

There are many alcohol addiction treatment program options available. Most range in length from 20 days to a year or more. Some treatment programs provide services to specific demographics as well. Some examples include gender-specific programs (women only or men only), first responders, veterans, and LGBTQ.

Gender-Specific Alcohol Rehab

Gender-specific programs are alcohol addiction treatment programs that focus on treating men and women separately. Research indicates men and women use substances differently and face different challenges when seeking sobriety. A gender-specific (men-only or women-only) alcohol treatment program considers these differences to allow for improved opportunities for healing in a safe and supported setting. It is important to note that gender differences referenced here are based on biology. It is essential to address the element of biological gender (gender at birth) when addressing individual substance abuse patterns.

Men and women often have specific treatment needs that must be addressed as part of addiction treatment. For example, women entering treatment due to an addiction resulting from trauma may feel uncomfortable in a mixed-gender setting. Also, those who have experienced abuse at the hands of male partners may not feel safe participating in a group therapy setting or discussing their past trauma in a group that includes male participants. Mothers may also benefit from gender-specific alcohol use treatment where they have increased levels of support from other women who share similar experiences.

Men also have unique or specific needs that must be addressed to help achieve treatment needs and goals. Male focused alcohol abuse treatment needs often center around stigma such as stereotypes and cultural expectations related to the “male role.” Men are often reluctant (more so than women) to disclose personal information that could indicate they struggle emotionally. Therefore, there are a variety of specific therapy models that work better for each gender.

Veterans and First Responders

Several factors put veterans and first responders at increased risk for developing a substance use disorder. These individuals often have unique treatment needs, including dual-diagnosis conditions. For this reason, it is essential that an alcohol addiction treatment center specializes in co-occurring disorder treatment and can provide programs specifically geared towards their recovery needs.


Many members of the LGBTQ community make the decision to avoid seeking addiction addiction treatment. There are several reasons for this, including stigma and fear stemming from previous mistreatment from providers in the medical or mental health communities. Treatment programs designed around LGBTQ-friendly treatment models and practices provide the most effective treatment plans and show improved treatment outcomes over “mixed” programs or programs that do not specialize in LGBTQ treatment.

Optimal Treatment Duration

Successful alcohol addiction treatment programs are those designed around the unique treatment needs of the individual. Because no two people who struggle with alcoholism experience the same symptoms or the same challenges when seeking sobriety, it cannot be assumed that cookie-cutter addiction treatment programs will be helpful for all. For this reason, alcohol addiction treatment programs often do not have a "set" length of time. The optimal duration for your treatment will depend on your needs. However, the National Institute on Drug Abuse recommends a person participate in a 90-day treatment program to achieve the best outcomes.

Most residential treatment programs for alcohol addiction range from 28 days to a year or more, with varying durations in between.

28- or 30-Day Programs

Short-term alcohol treatment programs are not suitable in all cases; however, for someone whose level of addiction is considered mild, a short-term program may provide the help they need to get sober. Also, if suitable for your needs, shorter programs are beneficial for those who need the structure of an inpatient treatment environment. Still, they have family or employment obligations they cannot be away from for long. Many patients in these cases are often highly motivated to get help. A 28 or 30-day inpatient program followed by a comprehensive outpatient and aftercare program offers a successful option for obtaining and maintaining sobriety.

60 Day Rehab Programs

60-day alcohol rehab programs are very common. They provide a middle ground between shorter programs and extended 90-day rehab. 60-day programs provide an equivalent level of care to many 90-day programs. However, they are ideal for someone who has a moderate alcohol addiction and does not require significantly extended care or alcohol detox services.

90 Day Extended Rehab Programs

Although shorter treatment programs can be highly effective under the right circumstances, research indicates optimal outcomes are achieved from a program lasting at least 90 days. When you struggle with alcoholism, it affects all aspects of your life, including your physical and psychological health and family and social relationships. Alcohol addiction often leads to a variety of complications that require time to address adequately. 90-day residential programs provide an environment free from relapse triggers where you can work on understanding addiction and how to change the negative behaviors that may lead to relapse. It takes time to alter negative habits and replace them with healthy and safer coping mechanisms. Often, this is difficult or impossible to accomplish in a short-term treatment program.

It is also important to note that alcoholism has a high relapse rate. Data from the National Institutes on Drug Abuse and Health indicate as many as 60% of addicts in recovery will experience at least one incidence of relapse. Relapse prevention education is an important part of a 90-day addiction treatment program. Through both individual and group counseling sessions, you will have the opportunity to learn and practice healthy relapse prevention skills that you can use when faced with triggers after treatment. This is not always possible in shorter programs.

Long-term care (90 days or more)

Long-term treatment for alcoholism refers to programs that last longer than 90-days. Long-term rehab programs provide more time to understand the roots of your addiction, learn more about relapse prevention skills and develop a strong peer support community. Long-term programs are most beneficial for those with a severe alcohol addiction or those who struggle to remain sober in the absence of significant supports.

Luxury Alcoholism Treatment

Across the United States, there are thousands of rehab centers. Each of these offers quality, professional and compassionate help for those who want and need to recover from substance use disorders. When deciding where to seek alcoholism treatment, you may notice some treatment centers advertised as offering luxury alcoholism treatment, which leads to the question, "what is luxury treatment?"

When you are ready to seek treatment, there are specific and essential standards to look for that all treatment centers, whether traditional or luxury, should incorporate into their treatment programs. These evidence-based treatment and recovery options are based on decades of medical research. They have been shown to work for most people, regardless of the severity of their addiction. Essential services should include medically monitored detox, access to trained and knowledgeable addiction treatment specialists, a range of evidence-based traditional therapy models, relapse prevention education, and comprehensive aftercare planning.

While both traditional and luxury rehab both offer the essential treatment required to begin recovering from alcoholism, a luxury treatment program often provides a higher level of privacy, luxury and individually designed treatment experiences for their patients. It is essential to clarify that while a luxury alcohol treatment facility may offer an increased level of holistic or alternative services, it does not mean reduced availability of essential services. Each licensed treatment facility must adhere to strict guidelines provided by the Office of Alcoholism and Substance abuse, which supervises treatment centers throughout the United States. These guidelines monitor and provide guidance on all aspects of addiction treatment and dictate the minimum services each facility must provide.

When an alcohol treatment center provides luxury services, you can expect specific factors such as increased access to alternative and holistic therapy options, access to personal items, access to meeting space and technology (to continue working while seeking treatment) and a higher level of privacy. Luxury rehab facilities also provide a wide array of desirable amenities not generally available at a traditional rehab facility. Examples of these may include meditation, yoga, massage, Reiki, aromatherapy, and acupuncture. Depending on the facility, patients may also have access to on site gyms, organic foods, gourmet meals and other high-level services and treatment options that set luxury treatment centers apart from traditional options. Many luxury alcohol rehab programs also offer smaller staff-to-patient ratios allowing for a higher quality, more intensive level of care.

Benefits of Doing Inpatient Alcohol Addiction Treatment

There are a variety of reasons people choose inpatient alcohol addiction treatment. Seeking treatment for alcohol addiction is vital to your safe and successful recovery. A recent study showed that people who did not try to get help for their addiction were less likely to make it beyond the three-year mark in sobriety and were more likely to relapse. The same study also showed that 62% of those who received professional help at an inpatient treatment facility remained in recovery for three years or more after treatment. Also, 57% of those who made it to the three-year mark remained substance-free for many more years. This study and many others show that seeking professional treatment is vital to success in recovery and continued sobriety.

Although each inpatient alcohol addiction treatment center varies from others somehow, certain standard features contribute to why residential treatment is so effective. These include medically supported detox and withdrawal services, individual therapies at frequent intervals, 24-hour support, post-treatment skill development and follow-up care, family and group counseling services, and distance.

Although many outpatient or intensive outpatient programs may provide some level of detoxification services, it is complicated for outpatient level care to provide high-level medically supported detox services. For many, detox is the first step on a journey to sobriety. In an inpatient setting, medically assisted or medically supported detox is used to help limit the unpleasant symptoms and reduce the potential for dangerous side effects associated with detox. During detox at an inpatient alcohol addiction treatment center, highly trained medical staff will provide comprehensive care and monitor your vitals (including blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing) to ensure you can safely and successfully detox from alcohol.

In an inpatient treatment setting, individual therapy is provided daily. Due to the "residential" nature of an inpatient treatment program, therapy is provided at significantly more frequent and intensive intervals than what would be possible in the outpatient environment. Also, the therapy models used in the inpatient environment can be especially helpful for those with a dual diagnosis, such as addiction, coupled with another mental health disorder such as depression or anxiety. In the case of a dual diagnosis, it is vital to treat all co-occurring issues simultaneously.

At an inpatient treatment center, you are provided with continuous monitoring and 24-hour support. This is a significant advantage compared with "lower" levels of addiction treatment care such as outpatient care, where support may only be available during weekly or bi-weekly therapy sessions. Additionally, inpatient care provides a higher level of structure and routine. This can help reduce boredom and some of the other common challenges faced during early addiction recovery. Also, distance is an important component in the treatment process and another reason inpatient care is often so successful. Although it can add to the emotional challenges faced when going to residential treatment, gaining some distance from one’s previous life can be highly beneficial. Selecting a residential treatment facility away from home allows one the ability to get away from toxic people, triggering places, and other environmental factors that contribute to their addiction.

One other vital service provided as part of inpatient alcohol treatment is aftercare planning. Aftercare programs offer addicts new to recovery a way to continue practicing the relapse prevention skills they learned during treatment. Peer support groups are also an essential part of aftercare. These groups provide a safe and supported space to communicate with like-minded peers who share similar struggles. Peer support groups provided the freedom to talk about struggles, fears, worries, successes, and setbacks experienced along the path to recovery.

Many different alcohol addiction treatment options are available, and deciding which one is best for your unique needs can be challenging. Choosing inpatient alcohol addiction treatment provides the most significant opportunity for safe and successful recovery. The support services offered in the inpatient environment far exceed those available in an outpatient setting. Contact us today if you would like to learn more about how inpatient alcohol treatment can help you get sober and maintain lasting recovery.