What Makes Alcohol Rehab Successful?
Why it is important to get a medically supervised alcohol detox
It is now generally well known that anyone with an alcohol addiction or alcohol problem should not suddenly stop drinking or even cut back drinking dramatically, as this can lead to health issues such as a seizure or fit. An alcoholic seizure can be life threatening and usually occurs up to three days from when someone stops drinking. Because of this knowledge people have carried on drinking as they are fearful of the outcome if they stop suddenly; for others it is a further excuse not to seek help to stop.
The safest way to stop drinking is to be admitted to a residential alcohol rehab or alcohol addiction treatment clinic and there you can safely be administered medication to stop any adverse effects of detoxing from alcohol. Finding an appropriate alcohol rehab though can be like walking through a minefield. At The Haynes Clinic we get a lot of enquiries from people who have been recommended to our addiction treatment clinic from others who have been to us for help in the past.
Why immediate alcohol detox is important
When someone with an alcohol addiction problem recognises that they need to change and finds out they can’t, they have reached a particular point with their alcohol addiction that they realise they need help. It is also generally at this time that family members will telephone a number of alcohol rehabs to check the cost of alcohol detox and what is offered in the way of alcohol addiction treatment.
Every alcohol rehab or addiction clinic, in order that they can operate, will have been given an inspection by the Care Quality Commission and the report of their findings is available to read. If anyone has not been recommended an alcohol addiction clinic, then this is a good place to start as it will identify any shortcomings in terms of health and safety issues.
One of the key benefits of private alcohol addiction treatment is that the eventual realisation from an alcoholic that they need help presents a very narrow window of opportunity in which they agree that they need to get treatment. Private help can usually be accessed before they change their mind again – often admission can be arranged within 24 / 48 hours.
What is an alcohol detox?
When someone is admitted to an alcohol rehab they are seen by a doctor, and they will be admitted under the care of that doctor. The doctor will write a prescription for the detox medication and the most common drug used for an alcohol detox is Librium which is a Benzodiazepine. An alcohol detox lasts for up to 10 days and the medication, which is administered 4 times a day, decreases daily in amount over the detox period.
Librium safely counters all effects of withdrawing from alcohol and massively reduces, even stops, the risk of seizures. Alcohol acts as a diuretic, which is a chemical that causes frequent urination together with the risk of dehydration. To counter this it is recommended to drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated also makes the detox process easier. Generally, a high percentage of admissions will also be on prescribed medication, so it important that they bring all their medication with them, on admission, so that it can be reviewed by the clinic’s doctor and administered correctly during treatment.
Sleeping tablets in treatment
Another side effect of alcohol is that we lose our natural sleep pattern or rhythm. The comment “I need a drink at night to get to sleep” is nonsense, we need a drink at night because our alcohol levels have dropped, and they need topping up!! To try and kick start our natural sleep pattern a drug called Zopiclone can be prescribed in treatment but for no more than 6 nights. This is a drug that helps us get to sleep but doesn’t then act as an old-fashioned sleeping medication that then keeps us asleep. This way we do not feel drowsy during the mornings.
It is important not to be sleepy during treatment in order to make the most of it and all the help available. It is common for someone who is admitted into treatment in the morning (who is not too heavily under the influence) to have joined group therapy sessions the same afternoon.
Can I have an alcohol detox in a week?
There are a surprisingly high number of people that just want to be admitted for a 7-day detox. This is not something that we now offer at The Haynes Clinic. Past experience was that people coming for a short detox generally relapsed again very soon after leaving the clinic, leaving them back at square 1 but worse off financially.
The recommended treatment period is 28 days but we will take people for 14 days if that is all that can be afforded in either time or money. There is a chance that someone may stay sober after 14 days if they really want to do so. (The key to successful treatment is almost always attitude – a good attitude greatly increases the chance of long term sobriety)
The importance of talking therapy in alcohol addiction treatment
Another key to success in any alcohol rehab is the quality of the daily structured therapy and alcohol addiction treatment programme. There needs to be an understanding of the changes that have to be made in all our life areas and with our old thinking. This will not happen if we are allowed to sit in our room all day reading a book or watching television.
Engaging with treatment and the group is critical. Some times an alcoholic will want to leave early as they think they know what to do and, having had a reasonably pain free detox, they forget the depths to which alcohol had taken them and believe they will be able to get well using their own willpower. It just doesn’t work, and it will then only be a matter of time before they pick up that next drink. They are likely to think that the one drink will not hurt, and they will be able to control their drinking now that they have had a detox. Within three weeks they are drinking what they used to drink before they went into addiction treatment plus more. It is always plus more in quantity.
Alcohol addiction treatment is just the beginning of the recovery process
Having been in addiction treatment for 28 days, we are not fixed or cured. We are at the beginning of a journey and we have started on a programme of Recovery. As it is a programme, it is ongoing and that is why The Haynes Clinic offers free Aftercare for a year or more, if you wish to participate within it. Aftercare is basically ongoing therapeutic support, one whole day a week at the clinic or by Zoom meetings if not living within a reasonable distance. This can be critical as we trust the staff (who know us well) and now we have an infinity with the clinic and feel able and willing to seek help and advice, in order to stay well.
It is important to ascertain when making initial enquiries with any alcohol rehab what sort of treatment programme is being offered. It is also worth establishing what is offered in the way of Aftercare.