There’s a difference between an effective alcohol program and an ineffective one. Effective programs are more likely to succeed and come with certain traits. Knowing what to look for is half the battle.
Alcohol addiction in running rampant in America. Approximately 50.7% of Americans were regular connoisseurs of alcohol in 2016. In these studies, 24.2% of participants reported binge drinking in the past month, and another 6% reported heavy drinking in the past 30 days.
Those who are among the statistic should seek help as soon as possible. The road to alcohol and drug recovery is long, and there’s no better time to start than now. Those who are looking for an effective alcohol program should look for the following 6 traits. These traits are present in both outpatient treatment and inpatient treatment programs.
Before agreeing to any form of alcohol addiction treatment, consider whether the drug treatment is evidence-based. This means that there has been quite a lot of research that has gone into the effectiveness of the alcohol treatment program. Ones that have undergone both studies with controlled trials and randomized controlled trials are considered most effective. Choosing an evidence based alcohol detox or drug rehab program will lead to higher success rates. Patients are less likely to relapse. Some of the most common evidence-based approaches include Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), 12 step programs, medical detox, individual therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).
Many drug abusers and alcoholics who have undergone evidence based approaches have gotten sober. They are less likely to relapse even after a certain amount of time has passed. While evidence-based approaches tend to be the most successful, some patients will fail. The key is not to get disheartened. Instead, it’s important to try another evidence-based alcohol treatment approach.
#2. The Program Offers Treatment That’s Readily Available
It’s not easy to get into the right mindset for addiction treatment. It’s difficult for many alcoholics to maintain motivation during the treatment program. As a result, it’s vital that the rehab facility can respond quickly to the needs of each alcoholic.
In short, the treatment must be readily available. It’s vital to look for an alcohol treatment program that can deal with admissions and provide alcoholics with a bed within a short amount of time. The longer they wait, the more they are likely to attempt to get out of treatment. Those who are seeking treatment should ask questions about the pre-admission and admission process. Figure out how long it will take to get a bed, and how long before treatment plan starts. It’s best to avoid alcohol or drug addiction treatment facilities with long wait times. Consider whether there are differing wait times for inpatient or outpatient programs.
#3. Medications Are Tailored to Each Patient
Alcohol abuse is often associated with withdrawal symptoms and cravings. To help deal with these symptoms, most treatment programs involve medical detox. The medical detox uses chemicals to alter and change your brain and body. The medications manage withdrawal symptoms and keep patients healthy.
The type of medications recommended for each patient will vary. It depends on the patient’s biological makeup, length of alcohol abuse, and insurance policy. Some insurance policies cover specific medications only. The dose and length of the prescription will also vary from patient to patient. Personalized medical detox programs lead to higher recovery rates. They remain abstinent from alcohol.
Types of Medications Used in Medical Detox
There are a wide array of medications used in medical detox. Each medication works in a unique and specific way. Some medications are approved by the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA). Others are recommended by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). The most common medications used in medical detox include:
- Acamprosate, which work by modulating and regulating glutamate and GABA systems. These systems often become dysregulated with alcohol dependence. As a result, the body becomes hyperactivated when alcohol consumption stops. Learn more about how long does alcohol stay in your system here. Acamprosate helps regulate these levels to avoid hyperactivity.
- Disulfiram, which is an acetaldehyde dehydrogenase inhibitor. This addiction medicine is used in aversion therapy. The drugs work by stopping alcohol from getting metabolized. If a patient consumed alcohol and then took this medication, he or she will experience unsavory symptoms like nausea and vomiting.
- Naloxone, which is effective in reducing alcohol intake. These medications work block alcohol receptors in the brain; thus, preventing them from getting activated.
- Naltrexone, which is a unique alcohol antagonist. It also blocks alcohol receptors in the brain and prevents them from getting activated. This medication is unique in the sense that it is injected intramuscularly once a month.
Understanding the different types of medications and how they work is crucial in treating alcohol abuse. Some medications come with side effects, so patients may have to switch from one medication to another.
#4. The Length of the Programs Are Sufficient for the Brain to Reset
One of the key differences between an effective alcohol program and an ineffective one lies in its length. Addiction involves a chemical imbalance in the brain. Many neurotransmitters become out of whack. With that said, they need a significant amount of time to return to their normal levels. Until then, the alcoholic will experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
Generally speaking, most experts recommend joining a treatment program with a length of at least 90 days. Most addiction researchers have found that it takes at least 90 days for the brain to reset itself. After 90 days, the brain will gradually return to its normal. Natural decision-making skills and analytical functions are restored. This restoration helps many alcoholics feel as if they’ve returned back to their old self. The cravings and impulsive behaviors will die down. Ceasing or reducing alcohol consumptions becomes a piece of cake.
#5. Continuous Assessments Are Made to Determine the Patient’s Condition
Each patient’s condition will change substantially with time. Some patients go through the withdrawal timeline much more quickly than others. Others will take a longer time to go through all the symptoms. The latter usually happens when the alcohol user participated in a lot of binge drinking. It may also be more common among users who used alcohol and drugs concurrently.
To determine whether each patient is withdrawing successfully, they must be under medical supervision. Doctors and nurses at the rehab facilities should monitor each patient’s vitals carefully throughout the entire treatment program. The medications and treatments should adapt to the patient’s biological response. Some patients respond better to some therapies and treatment programs than others. The positive responses may be for seemingly no reason at all.
Assessments should be made every 4 hours for the first 7 days. Addiction treatment professionals mark down the types of symptoms experienced, as well as their severities. It’s vital to keep an eye out for life-threatening alcohol withdrawal symptoms, like delirium tremens.
#6. Co-Occurring Disorders Are Treated
Did you know that 7.9 million Americans struggle with both a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder? Co-occurring disorders are much more common than you’d think. They tend to play off of one another. At times, they might even exacerbate the symptoms of one another. This may cause the disorders to worsen.
An important part of alcohol addiction is to treat all disorders at the same time. It’s vital that the medications prescribed do not interfere with the other disorder. It’s also important that doctors are aware of the different disorders that are present. Without a proper dual diagnosis, it’s difficult to treat the cause of alcohol addiction. Patients who feel mentally healthier and stronger are better equipped to deal with addiction. They are less likely to relapse.