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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Alcohol Addiction and Rehabilitation Explained

Author: Charlotte Tarrant

Who needs alcohol rehab?
Alcohol rehab is the not discussed as much in the public domain as drug rehab, with stories most weeks in the press about celebrities going in to residential rehabilitation centres for drug addiction. Whilst drugs and drug rehab are discussed widely, it is in fact alcohol that is the much bigger killer. For every drug-related death, there are 10 people who die from alcohol-related illnesses, sudden death or accidents. Alcohol rehab in a residential environment is an intensive treatment method, which can stop the inevitable decline of the alcoholic towards a premature death. Whilst in alcohol rehab, other addictions are often uncovered as well and can be very successfully treated. In short, anyone with a dependence upon alcohol can benefit from alcohol rehab – you don’t have to lose everything before benefiting from specialist treatment for alcoholism.
What happens in alcohol rehab?
Alcohol rehab clinics are very often residential programmes, where the individual stays in accommodation in or around the treatment facility. They provide addiction counselling to help dependent drinkers overcome their illness. The initial phase of treatment within an alcohol rehab is typically very intensive, running 7 days a week, with group and individual counselling, complementary therapies such as art, drama, and music, as well as social activities to help people learn how to interact with others without the need for alcohol.

Do alcohol rehab centres deal with other addictions?
The intensive nature of the treatment at an alcohol rehab will very often uncover underlying addictions. Once the individual has been detoxed from alcohol, other addictive behaviours may spring up – this is called cross-addiction, which is where the individual will become addicted to another substance or behaviour, when they stop drinking alcohol. Cross-addiction can be carefully monitored and managed within an alcohol rehababiliation clinic, with the individual who is affected learning about how to manage their condition. The most common legal behaviours and substances which alcoholics can cross addict to are:

Food / sugar
Either overeating or undereating can create a mood-altering effect. Alcoholism can mean that individuals are malnourished when they enter an alcohol rehab, so individuals are encouraged to eat three, well-balanced meals a day to restore nutritional balance to the body and promote mental and physical well-being naturally.

Where drugs kill one person and alcohol kills 10, cigarette smoking causes 100 deaths. It is by far the biggest killer in terms of addiction. People who stop drinking alcohol often report that in the early days of recovery they smoke more cigarettes, or even start smoking. This can be managed in the short term with good advice about smoking, and in the longer term by quitting altogether, once the alcoholism has been treated effectively by the alcohol rehab.

Prescription drugs
Most alcohol rehab centres will insist upon full monitoring of all drug ingestion, as some prescription and over the counter medications can be abused for a mood-altering effect. Codeine-based medications and benzodiazepines such as valium are commonly abused.

Some alcoholics report drinking 15 to 20 cups of coffee a day when they try to stop drinking. This can be dangerous for some alcoholics in the long term, as it can be used in a similar way to other drugs to mask feelings. When combined with sugar, the mood-altering effect is increased, so drinking caffeine-based energy drinks needs to be monitored carefully.

Sex, love and co-dependent relationships
This is a very common underlying addiction, often uncovered whilst the person is being treated in an alcohol rehab. This is where relationships are used in a mood-altering capacity. Sex is sought out to feel high and for personal validation. Love becomes addictive yet very unsatisfying just like alcohol or drugs. Co-dependent individuals take on other people’s feelings and emotions way beyond healthy boundaries and often expect to be taken care of, or conversely, try to avoid their own emotions and life situations by helping others compulsively and obsessively.

The mood-altering effects of exercise, particularly in terms of endorphin production, can become addictive. However, moderate physical exercise is recommended, for its well-documented health benefits.

Whilst in a residential alcohol rehab, individuals will not be working at their usual profession or place of employment. It is not unusual, however, for individuals to be preoccupied with matters relating to work, again as a method of avoiding having to think about their emotions. Successful treatment depends on the individual learning how to manage their emotions effectively, without the need for a mood-altering substance or behaviour, so very often alcohol rehab centres will place a ban in the first few weeks on mobile telephones, internet access, email devices, and other means of making contact with the outside world, so that people can completely concentrate on their recovery.

Spending money recklessly, with little or no thought for budgeting, can be a very addictive behaviour. The associated high with buying something new is a similar mental process to the effect of taking the first drink. The down side is often feelings of guilt or shame for indulging in this behaviour, particularly when essential bills are not being paid as a result of spending too much. It is important that this behaviour is stabilised so as not to extend the chaotic lifestyle of the person beyond treatment

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  1. salam friend
    nice post
    I know alcohol addiction andrehabilitation explained, coz read your articel.
    thank for visit in Saudi Arabia.

  2. Alcohol Addiction is a debilitating disease that can hit any one at anytime. It can control you life, your relationships and your ability to function on a daily basis. Alcohol Rehabilitation

  3. To allow people to realize the main objectives of drug rehab, Alcohol Rehab and dual diagnosis treatment programs.