On a given day in 2013, there were 107,727 people enrolled in inpatient care at American treatment facilities, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports. Treating alcoholism and alcohol abuse can be challenging if a person isn’t given the appropriate form of treatment that is well aligned with their needs. Many people assume that brief stays in rehab are enough for everyone. Some even think detox alone does the job and that the rest can be handled back at home. For people who suffer from alcoholism, or any substance use disorder, this isn’t true.
In 2012, 17 million adults were suffering with alcoholism in the United States, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports. Most of the people who seek treatment will require intensive therapy and ongoing forms of support to remain sober, as relapse is a common occurrence with alcoholism. The National Institute on Drug Abuse notes 40-60 percent of people who engage in substance abuse and get help for it will relapse within the first year following treatment. An Evaluation Review study of 1,162 people treated for alcoholism found that roughly one-third of individuals who relapse within that first year will remain sober after that relapse.
Who Needs Treatment?
Not everyone who battles alcoholism needs to get well through inpatient care. Outpatient treatment works for many. However, those who have tried outpatient treatment before and relapsed, those who have co-occurring mental health issues, and those who are abusing other substances alongside alcohol often need more intensive care. Inpatient care is always required for individuals with co-occurring disorders who battle suicidal ideation. Among individuals who abuse alcohol, suicide rates are three to four times greater than in the average population, per Mental Health America.
Inpatient care allows those who are in need of round-the-clock supervision to receive it. This is ideal for clients who have trouble with triggers and relapse since inpatient care removes environmental triggers and the influence of peers from the equation. Sometimes, people who struggle with addiction have such intense cravings that they can’t trust themselves when alone. The temptations that cause them to veer off the path of sobriety become more than they can take. With the extra precautions that are supplied with inpatient care, they don’t have to worry about this.
Clients live at the rehabilitation center during treatment on an inpatient basis. Their diet and free time are more controlled, so they don’t have to worry about cravings for alcohol when their blood sugar plummets, or when they get bored or lonely and want something to fill their time with and dull their feelings.
Clients generally make friends while residing at inpatient treatment centers — some of which they’ll keep for life — and find that they are far from alone in their struggles. Often, people who battle addictions come into treatment feeling ostracized from the outside world — even from their own families. They may have been living for years painted as the black sheep of their family. They might have had difficulty paying their bills, holding down a job, or accomplishing other feats that are expected in American society. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence notes that heavy drinking is far more common among individuals who don’t work, at 10.4 percent, than among those who work fulltime, at 6.6 percent. In inpatient care, these people can feel supported and learn from the experiences of others in similar situations.
How Residential Care Is Different
Inpatient alcohol rehabilitation has many advantages, such as:
- Supervised detox
- More medication options
- The ability to cover more terrain with treatment in a shorter period of time
- More time spent in therapy
- Supervised diet and controlled environment
- Skills group participation
Oftentimes, medical detox is included as part of an inpatient treatment program. Instead of being faced with the symptoms of withdrawal on their own, clients may receive medication, if appropriate, and other forms of help in treating their symptoms to make the entire withdrawal
process more tolerable. As a result, the likelihood of staying in treatment and achieving recovery improves. Medical detox is always required for cases of alcohol, benzodiazepine, and opiate withdrawal; however, it is often recommended in other cases of withdrawal as well.>
Current research shows that the longer someone is in treatment, the better they seem to fare. The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids acknowledges that clients who stay in treatment for at least 90 days fare better than those who complete shorter stints in rehab.
When it comes to alcoholism, the likelihood of relapse appears to get smaller the longer someone stays sober.
People who can remain sober for at least five years tend to have the best outcomes for sobriety with a relapse rate that is lower than 15 percent, per Psychology Today. Thus, there may be a strong correlation between the amount of time spent in rehab during the initial treatment period and sustained recovery.
Therapy is a core component of inpatient treatment. Clients engage in both group and individual therapy formats. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the most commonly prescribed therapy module for alcoholism. CBT encourages the client to retrain their thought patterns to focus on healthier outcomes and better choices when faced with temptation or triggers.
Family therapy is also encouraged during treatment. It is typically more prevalent when a client is admitted as an inpatient, so they can continue to interact with their family on a regular basis. Through family therapy, relationships that were damaged during active addiction can be repaired, setting a better foundation for the client post treatment.
Residential care lends a certain extent of supervision to treatment that outpatient care lacks. Structured dietary regimens can assist individuals with alcohol abuse problems. In fact, research supports the theory that some cases of alcoholism are heavily influenced by high levels of candida overgrowth in the body that make the individual crave sugar, often in the form of alcohol. High Frequency Health states an estimated 35 percent of men and 55 percent of women with alcohol addiction also have candida overgrowth. As the perfect addition to a quality diet, exercise is a lot easier to engage in at inpatient facilities that are equipped with fully stocked gyms and surrounded by trails for hiking.
In inpatient care, clients may also work on honing the skills they need to make themselves more employable and trustworthy. While outpatient care certainly offers these features as well, inpatient treatment provides a much heftier dose of options.
Where to Seek Inpatient Treatment
The best approach to selecting the right facility for treatment starts with making sure all possible choices are accredited and fully licensed by the state. Don’t waste any time looking into facilities that employ counselors who aren’t trained mental health clinicians.
Take care in picking only from facilities that are transparent about their success rates. If they can’t provide testimonials or resources for recommendations beyond what they have posted on their website, keep looking. Facilities that offer aftercare services are preferable since individuals often don’t realize they even need such extended support until they are well into treatment. Many rehab centers offer robust alumni programs, and these can be a great benefit to all clients once they exit rehab.
There are 2,858 facilities across the nation offering inpatient treatment, per the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Treatment Locator. There is no shortage of available treatment options. Take the first step toward getting well today by reaching out for the help you need to leave alcohol addiction in the past.