Can anyone go to alcohol rehab?

There is no age boundary for people with an alcohol addiction or problem with alcohol. At The Haynes Clinic we help people from 18 to over 65 years of age (we have had people in their early 80s before!).

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Can stopping drinking be dangerous?

Over a period of time we become tolerant to an increasing amount of alcohol in our system. For example a single bottle of red, white or rose wine contains 10 units of alcohol. We disperse one unit per hour out of our body, either through urine or breath. In time it could be argued that we are just topping up our alcohol levels to a point were there is permanently alcohol in our system. Deciding to suddenly stop drinking alcohol, if you are a regular drinker, can be extremely dangerous and the body can react violently in withdrawing  from the drug. One of the most dangerous of these effects of withdrawal is the very high possibility of a seizure on or up to about day three from the time you decided to stop.

Is alcohol detox safe?

The safest way to stop is to have a medically assisted detox from alcohol.  There is no point going to a hospital A and E as they will not admit you, it is very rare to get a hospital detox and normally they might just hydrate you and send you home.  GP’s used to be able to prescribe a home detox for alcohol but due to legalities around how much medication a GP can prescribe, they tend to not offer that as an option.  Also, people were still drinking as the prescription was not high enough to ease symptoms of withdrawal, which in itself was also dangerous.  Your local Drug and Alcohol team may be able to help you, but it may take many months getting processed.  When someone with an alcohol addiction decides that they are willing to take the step of getting help, then they generally want that help as soon as possible before that motivation changes and sets them back drinking for another 6 months.  This is where an alcohol rehab helps the individual, as normally there can be an admission arranged within 48 hours and sometimes that same day or at weekends.

Admission to alcohol rehab

A time for the admission to alcohol rehab is arranged and then the person will be seen by our GP who takes a personal inventory  and creates a full assessment. Following that, a prescribed medicated detox will commence, this will be overseen by our GP and the staff team.

How long will an alcohol detox take?

An alcohol detox, using prescribed medication, takes 7 – 10 days for the body to be free from alcohol.  Normally, the individual will be able to commence group therapy within 24 hours of being admitted, however much they have been drinking.  The medication counters all effects of alcohol withdrawal and is very safe. Quite often, people drinking in the evening will have lost their normal sleep pattern as they are just passing out and the GP will also prescribe medication for up to six nights to kick start a normal sleep pattern again.

Alcohol and depression

There appear to be many people who have seen their GP and blamed depression for their drinking rather than their drinking is depressing them and they have managed to get prescribed anti depressants. However, the one thing that alcohol does nullify is anti-depressants. Under normal circumstances they take up to two weeks to work but if you are drinking you, might as well take polo mints.  That’s why people get more depressed as they feel the medication should be making them feel better. As it is a prescribed medication, we may continue the prescription whilst in treatment. It is not uncommon though for people to ease off them either during or a few months after they have left treatment.

Therapy is also needed

Naturally, it is not just about having an alcohol detox and the body being free from alcohol.  The importance of going to an alcohol rehab is also the intensive daily therapy and the written work around the 12 Steps of Recovery. The natural length of time for residential rehab is 28 days. This also gives the individual time away from alcohol and past triggers and to also learn coping skills and strategy for when they return home and in a lot of cases, go back to work.

The daily structured programme is based on abstinence from alcohol and starting to live a life of sobriety.  Whilst in treatment there will be attendance at support groups, including AA. The attendance at these support groups, with others in treatment, makes it far easier to participate and start to engage with the process of change.  When you return home, you will be encouraged to attend similar groups in your home area. 

Aftercare is important

Anyone who has attended The Haynes Clinic for 28 days as a residential alcohol rehab inpatient, then has access, every Friday, to free Aftercare for 12 months. The only stipulation for attendance is remaining clean and sober. This support is critical in helping to maintain ongoing wellbeing and sobriety, and the trust that has been formulated with the therapy team is vital as they are there to help process any problems that may arise following discharge from treatment.  Also, for many they see the clinic as a place of safety and understanding.

Everyone is different and the time that they need help will also vary, but without doubt if anyone has a problem with alcohol then it is not a matter of it just being a phase but a steadily worsening problem.  This will affect every area of our lives. We find it hard to believe that liquid in a bottle can be so damaging but it will slowly destroy everything.  To be able to access an alcohol rehab unit such as The Haynes Clinic gives us that chance to get our life back but also our health and our family.