Residential Alcohol Rehab Treatment Explained
Residential Alcohol Addiction Treatment
What is Residential Alcohol Addiction Rehab Treatment?
As the name suggests, residential alcohol addiction rehab treatment is the treatment of alcohol addiction in a residential rehabilitation (rehab) facility. Rehabs often provide treatment on both an inpatient or an outpatient basis, and although these facilities might be called “residential rehabs” it is usually only the inpatient treatment option, during which an addict will reside in the facility itself, which would be described as “residential” treatment (though outpatient programmes might also have some residential components).
Residential rehab stays usually last for between one and three months (though shorter and more intensive, or longer, treatment programmes may be given as and when appropriate) and comprise the provision of a comprehensive addiction treatment plan within a confidential, secure, pleasant and friendly environment conducive to healing, thinking and recovery. Treatment will normally include a detoxification (detox) phase, during which withdrawal will be managed and monitored by experienced doctors (with withdrawal symptoms potentially alleviated to a degree by medication) followed by therapy, with other elements including fitness and dietary planning being provided throughout the programme.
Alcohol addicts in residential treatment will enjoy the 24/7 onsite presence of medical professionals working to ensure their safety and comfort, and potentially from the provision of medicine if required; they will also be able to benefit from the presence of other individuals in treatment, who can offer support and companionship as well as advice based on their own experiences of addiction and the struggles of recovery.
It is important to remember that recovery is not complete when an addict leaves residential alcohol addiction treatment: instead, it is a lifelong process with plenty of pitfalls and temptations along the way. Residential alcohol addiction treatment is designed to overcome the immediate pressures of dependence and to prepare the addict for a sober life outside the facility, including providing them with psychological defence mechanisms against relapse; maintaining recovery and sobriety requires constant dedication and diligence, and recovering addicts may wish to obtain ongoing support from counselling, self-help groups and the like to buttress the structures they have developed during residential treatment.
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What Happens in Residential Addiction Rehab?
Every journey through addiction and recovery is unique, and one person’s experience of residential alcohol addiction rehab will never be exactly the same as another’s. Treatment needs to be highly personalised to reflect the very personal nature of addiction and the circumstances and events which lead up to it. However, some commonalities may be found across the majority of residential alcohol addiction treatment programmes.
No addiction treatment can hope to be successful if the addict continues to abuse their substance/s of choice, and alcohol addiction treatment is certainly no different in this regard. Detox is considered a vital early stage of treatment, as cleansing the addict’s system of alcohol (and any other substances of abuse) tackles the immediate pressures of alcohol dependence and ensures a state of sobriety within which the addict in treatment can engage fully with therapy and other components of their treatment plan.
During detox, alcohol withdrawal syndrome may manifest. Alcohol withdrawal is an especially unpleasant and dangerous condition, with symptoms potentially manifesting which could kill the addict, and therefore in rehab withdrawal is constantly monitored and managed by trained experts who will be able to intervene if troubling symptoms manifest (and who will be able to prescribe various medications to counter the worst effects of some of those symptoms).
If you are an alcoholic and are contemplating an independent detox, it is vital to bear in mind that alcohol withdrawal can be fatal and it is imperative that you do not attempt to go through detox without medical assistance: contact your GP and/or an addiction specialist to discuss your situation and to ask about getting help for alcohol detox and withdrawal.
Group therapy to address chemical health
“Chemical health” refers to an understanding of the health impact of substance abuse, including alcohol abuse, and how to limit that impact and to exist healthily in a society surrounded by substances of abuse. Group chemical health therapy allows a number (usually anywhere between three and 12) of addicts in treatment to come together to share their experiences and advice, and to work collectively to bolster their awareness of the effects and consequences of substance abuse and how to live without it.
Mental health therapy groups
Addiction is fundamentally a mental health disorder, and also commonly occurs alongside various other mental health issues. Mental health therapy groups can enable group members (again, typically between three and 12 addicts) to share their thoughts and experiences and to bring new perspectives to bear on challenges with which their peers may be struggling, as well as to offer simply companionship and support.
Individual mental health assessments and therapy
Depending on the facility in question, most of the therapy provided in residential alcohol addiction treatment is carried out on a one-to-one basis over a series of appointments. A broad range of different therapy approaches may be available, and some addicts need to experiment with various methodologies before they are able to settle on that which is most suitable and effective for them.
Individual chemical health assessments and therapy
As well as group sessions, chemical health can be addressed in one-to-one settings, with therapists working with addicts within a range of models and methodologies to remediate the problematic thought processes and behaviours which have led to substance abuse and thence to addiction.
The health and safety of addicts in treatment are a top priority for any treatment facility, and regular medical appointments are an indispensable aspect of a treatment programme. Frequent check-ups are carried out to assess the physical and mental wellbeing of a client, while any individuals being provided with medication will also have supplementary appointments to check on the progress of that treatment and to assess whether dosages need to be increased or lowered, if new medication needs to be brought into the treatment plan, or if medication can be stopped altogether.
Wellness and fitness activities
The philosophy of “healthy body, healthy mind” is very important in alcohol addiction treatment, especially as many addicts suffer from a substantial degradation of their physical condition as a result of their alcohol abuse and other consequences of their addiction (such as a lack of exercise, poor diet etc). Rehabs provide bespoke fitness regimes in order both to improve the addict’s overall fitness levels and to provide them with the boosts to self-esteem and confidence which typically result from the regular achievement of goals and an improvement in appearance and overall health.
Family programme participation
Families are often vital elements of an addict’s recovery, providing them with a loving and supporting environment within which they can continue to heal after the end of a treatment plan – and can themselves take great benefits from therapy, and other aspects of treatment, tackling some of the harm and pain which the addict has caused them through their destructive behaviour. Many facilities now offer family therapy which can enable family members to get involved in their loved one’s treatment and begin themselves to heal after a very difficult and distressing time.
In the same way as rehabs provide fitness treatment to address any decline in physical fitness which alcoholism may have caused, and to boost feelings of self-worth, nutrition plans can also be provided to address any damage done as a result of an unhealthy and/or inadequate diet (very common in alcoholics). Bespoke dietary plans can reintroduce healthy eating into the addict’s life in a way which doesn’t simply benefit them during treatment but can prepare them to continue to eat sensibly and healthily once they leave the facility.
For some addicts, spiritual care is as important as any therapy addressing physical and mental health; they may feel spiritually lost or bereft, or be experiencing spiritual struggles which have contributed to their alcohol abuse. Some facilities emphasise the spiritual aspects of their treatment programmes while others may provide dedicated onsite spiritual care, including sessions with religious figures and space set aside for spiritual healing.
Educational and experiential workshops
Reintegrating into normal life can be a daunting challenge for many alcoholics, especially those who have neglected education, training or professional experience and/or who do not possess certain valuable life skills which can make their re-entry into the outside world on a healthier basis immeasurably easier. Many facilities provide educational and experiential workshops aimed at developing these core life skills, and potentially to provide addicts with new skills and capabilities which they can take with them outside the facility and use them either for simple pleasure and recreation or, potentially, as a new way of making a living.
The learning process itself can be an extremely beneficial force in alcohol addiction treatment, boosting self-esteem, providing simple enjoyment and companionship, and fostering a sense of purpose which may hitherto have been absent. Some facilities provide formal experiential therapy within which clients can use experiences (as various as hiking, abseiling, sculpture, attending concerts and countless other options) to recontextualise prior events and actions and to develop a sounder and healthier footing for life in the outside world.
Continuing care planning
Continuing care (frequently known as aftercare) is any programme of care following the completion of a residential alcohol addiction treatment programme, which the addict engages in as they move through recovery and life outside the facility.
Most quality addiction treatment facilities offer up to a year’s free aftercare once a client leaves residential treatment, including a structured schedule of activities and commitments (typically including participation in support groups and potentially engaging in ongoing private addiction counselling) and regular appointments back at the facility for check-ups and, if needs be, the prescription of medication (especially common in cases of post-acute, or protracted, withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) in which symptoms including depression and anxiety may persist for months or even years). Aftercare programmes aim to provide the addict with the strongest possible foundations for an effective long-term recovery to supplement the techniques and strategies they will have learnt whilst in residential treatment.
Therapy Types in Residential Addiction Rehab
At the core of all addiction treatment lies therapy. While detox can cleanse an addict’s system of substances of abuse and overcome the initial challenges of dependence, only therapy can reveal and address the true underlying psychological causes of substance abuse and addiction and enable the alcoholic to change the behaviours and thinking which led to their struggles with drink.
A broad variety of therapeutic approaches and environments are applied in addiction treatment, but each facility, understandably, will only offer a certain number of different methodologies. If you are considering residential alcohol addiction treatment it may be that your choice of facility and treatment programme is impacted by the type of therapy on offer.
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Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)
ACT is an approach to counselling and clinical behavioural analysis which employs a number of mindfulness and acceptance strategies and commitment and behavioural change techniques to develop psychological flexibility. Rather than attempting to get rid entirely of negative and destructive thoughts and emotions, ACT encourages the addict to learn how to be receptive to such feelings and manage them effectively, so that instead of constantly striving to avoid problematic situations they can come to experience them calmly and with equanimity.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
Of all the therapy models typically offered in residential treatment, CBT is probably that with which clients will be most familiar due to its frequent appearance in the mainstream media. CBT seeks to improve general mental health, and to address specific problems (such as alcohol addiction), by identifying and remediating destructive thinking and behaviour, and to assist clients in the development of coping strategies and emotional regulation. Therapists work with addicts to create effective and relevant tools to counter the pressures of addiction, especially triggers, and impart new skills in information processing to assist the addict with life back in the outside world.
Contingency management/motivational incentives
Contingency management (CM), frequently also known as motivational incentives, is a type of behavioural therapy in which positive reinforcement and (less frequently) punishment are used to condition behaviour. Engaging in specific positive behaviours (such as passing substance abuse tests or regular attendance at therapy) can win the addict certain rewards (which are usually privilege-based) whilst failure to live up to commitments regarding behaviour can result in punishment (again, typically related to privileges).
Interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) focusses on finding a resolution to interpersonal challenges; it is an attachment-focused therapy based on the idea that mood and relationships can affect each other profoundly. IPT teaches clients how to improve communication and other interpersonal skills, and to develop social support structures to help with any challenges that can crop up during a protracted recovery.
Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT)
DBT is a modified approach to cognitive behavioural therapy which combines standard CBT techniques with various concepts derived from eastern Buddhist meditative practices, including mindfulness, distress tolerance and acceptance. The focus of DBT is on enabling the client first to define, and then to go on to achieve, a “life worth living”.
Medication-assisted therapies (MAT)
MAT is the use of therapy alongside medication in the treatment of addiction. Some medicines used in the treatment of alcohol addiction specifically are only considered to be effective when taken in conjunction with therapy.
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT)
MBCT uses traditional CBT techniques in conjunction with mindfulness and certain other meditative practices. MBCT was originally developed as a strategy to reduce rates of relapse, and is viewed as being especially effective in reducing the frequency and severity of cravings.
Motivational enhancement therapy (MET)
MET uses the content of motivational interviewing sessions in order to produce an analysis which can help clients achieve set goals and create a more positive focus for life than substance abuse. Unlike some other approaches, MET does not see to guide clients into and through recovery, but to foster internal change which can then make recovery easier and more desirable.
Motivational interviewing (MI)
Motivational interviewing seeks to foment behavioural change via the investigation and resolution of ambivalence. MI is client-centred, non-judgemental and non-adversarial, with therapists being more assertive in directing the client than is the case in many other therapy methodologies.
Solution-focused brief therapy/solution-focused therapy
Solution-focused brief therapy (SFBT) looks at solutions to problems rather than becoming fixated on problems themselves. Addicts in SFBT are asked to examine solutions which they may previously have applied to various life challenges, and to explain why they have not been more successful; in this way, new and improved solutions may be developed which are more suitable and effective.
Psychoeducational group therapy applies CBT principles to group discussions within which clients can become more educated and aware about their addictions and the coping strategies they can employ. Typical psychoeducational group topics include skills training, relapse prevention, realistic thinking and trigger recognition and avoidance.
Twelve-step facilitation therapy is intended to increase the likelihood that addicts will engage with 12-step organisations such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Twelve-step facilitation educates addicts about the famous 12-step methodology initially developed by AA’s founders, and seeks to shape behaviours and thinking to make them more aligned with 12-step principles ahead of attending AA (or similar) meetings.
Factors that Play a Role in Treatment Recommendations
Numerous factors can affect the way in which treatment is provided in residential facilities, and which facilities might be most suitable for particular addicts.
Age can affect treatment in many ways, including the setting in which treatment can be given, the nature of any medication which might be prescribed, and the age of the other clients in treatment. Various age-specific facilities now operate around the country, including some dedicated to treating young alcoholics specifically.
Understandably, an addict’s medical history has profound implications for the nature of any treatment they may receive for alcoholism. In particular, their health status may impact upon any decisions regarding the prescription of medication, or the rate at which detox needs to be applied so as not to create too great a shock to the system.
Co-occurring mental and/or substance use disorders
When a substance use disorder such as alcohol addiction occurs alongside another mental health disorder, the condition is known as dual diagnosis. Dual diagnosis can make addiction treatment vastly more complicated as both disorders need to be treated simultaneously, so specialist care is usually recommended.
History of addiction
As a rule of thumb, the longer someone has been abusing alcohol, and the more alcohol they consume, the more challenging their addiction is likely to be and the likelier they are to develop life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. Treatment can also be made much more complicated by the presence of other addictions, each requiring treatment which might interfere with the treatment for alcohol addiction.
Social support networks available
Alcohol addicts frequently have inadequate social support networks – possibly because during the course of their addictions they may have moved away from previously close friends and loved ones and into peer groups primarily consisting of other alcoholics, or because their alcohol abuse may have stemmed from loneliness and isolation originally. Individuals with poor social support may struggle in recovery once they leave the secure confines of a facility, and this will impact upon the type of therapy provided and the nature of any aftercare plan given once treatment is concluded.
Types of Residential Alcohol Rehab Programmes
Treatment programmes can differ significantly from one facility to the next, in terms of the duration of treatment, the therapy models provided, the calibre of the accommodation and many other factors. Residential treatment itself can also be divided into two primary types.
Inpatient residential treatment sees clients residing onsite 24/7, receiving treatment including therapy during the day. This form of treatment takes addicts away from the environments in which alcohol abuse has been able to slide into addiction, and removes all distractions without which they are able to focus fully upon their treatment and their recovery journeys.
In cases where 24/7 treatment is not considered necessary or appropriate, some facilities may offer partial hospitalisation, which is a kind of halfway step between inpatient and outpatient treatment programmes. In partial hospitalisation, addicts may attend the facility for much of each day, typically for between five and seven days a week, to participate in treatment and receive some of the other benefits offered by the facility, but can return home or to other accommodation overnight.
Usually, addicts are required to demonstrate constant improvement and to abide by certain conditions including sobriety if they are to continue to be able to receive treatment on a partial hospitalisation basis; failure to observe these conditions may see the client having to return to the facility on an inpatient basis for further treatment.
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How Long Does Residential Alcohol Rehab Take?
How long an addict needs to spend in residential rehab depends on many different factors including the severity of their addiction, any co-occurring mental health disorders, the support structures they may have and others. Some treatment may last only a couple of weeks; other clients may need to spend several months in a facility. Typical inpatient stays last for between 30 and 90 days.
Advantages of a Residential Programme
Residential rehab provides an alcohol addict with a secure, confidential, tranquil and friendly environment in which they can focus completely on their recovery, away from the temptations and of the outside world which have led them into addiction. Expert medical support and assistance is onsite 24/7, while all of the components of a holistic addiction treatment plan can be provided onsite; addicts can also benefit from the support and companionship of peers who understand the nature of addiction and all its many challenges.
How Much Does Residential Addiction Treatment Cost?
Residential alcohol addiction treatment costs can vary hugely from one facility to another.
Very approximately, treatment costs can range from between £4,000 and £15,000 per month, depending on factors including the nature of the facility, the type of treatment and medication provided, and optional extras. To get more precise costs, speak directly with any treatment facility you are considering attending or contact an addiction specialist.
How to Choose an Alcohol Residential Rehab
Choosing the right rehab can be daunting, especially for individuals with no experience of addiction treatment. Firstly, decide for yourself a “wishlist” of the type of treatment you are looking for and what you wish to achieve; then contact an addiction specialist who can discuss various options with you.
Residential Alcohol Addiction Treatment and Rehab Success Rate
Gauging success rates for alcohol addiction treatment is a thankless task, partly because many people who have gone through addiction treatment do not update their treatment facilities on how successful (or otherwise) their recoveries have been. It is clear, though, that success rates do differ significantly from one facility to the next.
In 2012, a report by the NHS’ National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse put the success rates enjoyed by the best-performing private treatment facilities at between 60% and 80% (of the number of clients completing treatment who were still reporting abstinence five years later). At the other extreme, however, poor performers could only boast success rates of less than 20%.
If you are thinking of engaging in residential alcohol addiction treatment, request evidence of success from any facility you may be considering, and contact an addiction specialist to find out which facilities can demonstrate the highest success rates.
Questions to Ask Residential Alcohol Addiction Treatment Centres
When considering treatment, the more research you can do into individual facilities, the better your choice is likely to be. Some questions to ask facilities you are considering include:
- Is the programme fully licensed?
- What certification and accreditation can staff show you that show that the facility is fully approved?
- How long will treatment last?
- Does the facility offer programmes of different lengths, and which would be most appropriate for you?
- What therapy models are available?
- Can you try different types of therapy if you do not feel that the standard approaches are
- working for you?
- What are the success rates for that facility?
- Can staff provide evidence of success over one year, five years and ten years after treatment, and testimonials from clients who have been through treatment?
- What maintenance programmes are available after completing treatment?
- How can your treatment specialist help you transition into those programmes?
- What success rates have been achieved?
- What are payment terms?
- Does the facility accept health insurance, or offer any financial assistance including credit?
- Will you have contact with loved ones during treatment? How is such contact managed?
- Are visits allowed and if so what is the framework for them?
- What medical care is onsite?
- Is care 24/7?
- What experience do they have?
- Can you see evidence of their qualifications?
- What happens in case of emergency?
Call our admissions line 24 hours a day to get help.
Residential Alcohol Addiction Treatment & Health Insurance
Although alcohol addiction treatment can be expensive (though not when set against the potential costs of not seeking treatment) many clients are able to cover the cost with health insurance. It is important to note, however, than not all health insurance covers residential addiction treatment. If you are uncertain about your coverage, contact your insurer and ask them to confirm in writing what your policy will and will not cover – and get in touch with an addiction specialist to discuss any other queries you may have regarding insurance coverage.
Facts and Statistics about Residential Alcohol Rehab
- A National Drug Treatment Monitoring System (NDTMS) report showed that in 2017/18, 75,787 Britons were receiving treatment for alcohol addiction.
- Some 589,101 alcohol-dependent British adults were in need of specialist treatment in 2017/18, according to the NDTMS.
- The World Health Organisation (WHO) puts the number of people suffering from alcoholism worldwide at over 200 million.
- WHO figures show that some 3.3 million people die each year (just under 6% of all human deaths) as result of alcohol abuse.
- Alcoholics Anonymous has over 2 million members worldwide.
Get Help Today
Accepting that you have an alcohol problem can be extremely challenging – but it is a vital step if you are to get the help you need to overcome your addiction.
Alcoholism is a very dangerous condition and the sooner you can take that step, the better your long-term prospects will be. Get in touch with your GP and or an addiction specialist to discuss your situation and to find out what treatment options you may be able to engage in, including any residential rehab facilities which might be appropriate for you.
Take control of your life – get started on the road to recovery
Many alcoholics feel that they have given up control of their lives to alcohol – but with professional help even the longest-term alcohol addicts can turn their lives around. Don’t spend any more time struggling under the burden of alcohol addiction: contact your GP and/or an addiction specialist today and set out on the journey to recovery and the life you want and deserve.
Call our admissions line 24 hours a day to get help.
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