Alcohol Addiction Treatment, Effects & Symptoms

Alcohol addiction affects nearly every family either directly or indirectly. Because of its availability and physical effects, it’s often far too easy to pick up a drinking habit.

Alcohol Treatment Programs: Types, Effectiveness, Medications & Resources

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcohol, close to Alcohol Treatment Programs, 17 million people struggle with alcohol addiction in the United States. Alcohol is legal in the United States for people over 21 years of age, but the reality is that addiction to alcohol can have fatal, serious consequences.

People with a long-standing dependency on alcohol or those that have developed tolerance to its effects are likely to experience withdrawal if they don’t use it and may be at risk because acute withdrawal can be severe if not lethal. This is why an alcohol treatment program is so important and necessary.

According to WebMD Mild Symptoms of Alcohol Withdraw include:

  • Anxiety
  • Shaky hands
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating

More Serious Symptoms of Alcohol Withdraw include:

  • Delusions
  • Seizures
  • Confusion
  • Racing heart
  • High blood pressure
  • Fever
  • Heavy sweating

In order to relieve these symptoms, many people addicted to alcohol feel there is no other option but to continue to drink, feeding the cycle of addiction. This is why a professional Drug and Alcohol Treatment Program may be necessary.

Types of Drug and Alcohol Treatment Programs

Alcohol Rehab is usually the only way for individuals struggling with addiction to get help. You will find rehab facilities throughout the country that provide individualized programs for treating drug and alcohol addiction irrespective of how long the disease has been present.

Drug and alcohol treatment programs usually take multiple factors into consideration, such as the person’s age and gender as well as the length of addiction. Most rehab facilities also offer aftercare options and recommendations for helping clients maintain sobriety such as group therapy.

Let’s take a look at the two main types of treatment programs:


Inpatient Treatment Programs

Inpatient or residential alcohol treatment programs are where the addict undergoes treatment exclusively at the facility. These programs are where people that have relapsed before or those with severe addictions start their treatment. Round-the-clock care provides addicts with the accountability they need to maintain their sobriety. Addicts never have to worry about relapsing or straying from the program since they are in a controlled environment. Moreover, they spend more time with therapists and peers thus giving them a strong foundation from which they can establish lasting recovery.

Outpatient Alcohol Treatment Programs

Outpatient treatment programs are reserved for the people stepping down from inpatient treatment or those with strong support systems at home. With outpatient treatment programs, addicts still get the same treatment options as those that attend inpatient treatment programs.

The key difference between outpatient and inpatient treatment programs is that addicts get to go home at the end of the day with outpatient treatment programs. The amount of time spent at a rehab facility depends on several factors, but with outpatient programs, addicts can spend anywhere from several hours a day, 3 days a week to 8 hours a day, 5 days a week receiving treatment.

How Effective Is Alcohol Treatment?

Guidelines for Picking a Treatment Center

Alcohol addiction treatment is actually quite effective but only when it happens in a reputable treatment center. However, it is never easy to choose the best rehab center because there are so many and some will be better suited to the needs of a particular addict than others. All drug and alcohol rehab facilities are not created equal, which is why it is important to do the proper research beforehand. Most facilities offer similar treatment options, but there are variances in available treatments that might fit the needs of some individuals better.

Here are the 3 important criteria to take into consideration when picking a treatment center:

Accreditation and Licensing

It is important to only go to a treatment center that’s both licensed and accredited. Accreditation guidelines are state-specific, which is why it is important to check with the state government to verify whether a particular facility is accredited. It is also important to check the individual licenses of the individuals the addict will be working with and to only go to a treatment center that’s both licensed and accredited.

Accreditation guidelines are state-specific, which is why it is important to check with the state government to verify whether a particular facility is accredited. It is also important to check the individual licenses of the individuals the addict will be working with.

Treatment Methods and Protocols

Different rehab facilities have their own protocols for carrying out treatment. Similarities across facilities include not allowing outside contraband and offering forms of drug detoxification, therapy, and counseling. However, most facilities have variances in the treatment methods, types of group counseling offered, and styles of therapy. It is therefore important to choose a facility that suits the addict best.


One thing that has proven incredibly effective in ensuring that people keep off drugs and alcohol after completing treatment is aftercare. Aftercare is sometimes bunded with the facility, while in other times it is offered through a different facility. Be sure to examine the available options ahead of time to know the most appropriate course of action following the original treatment. Aftercare can be truly a helpful addition to the treatment program and goes a long way to promoting sobriety.

Alcohol Treatment Resources (With or Without AA/12-Step)

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol addiction, help is available. When working to overcome a drinking problem or maintain sobriety, you should know that you aren’t alone. You will find resources across the country designed specifically for people affected by the harmful effects of alcohol. With the guidance of organizations listed below, addicts will have the tools needed to live a healthy life without alcohol.

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)

This is probably one of the most well-known resources for people addicted to alcohol. AA is a program run by persons in recovery from alcohol addiction. It teaches addicts how to become and stay sober in the long-run. The 12-Steps program of AA act as the foundation for the organization and provide encouragement during the process of recovery.

Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS)

SOS meetings are held in cities across the United States and even in online groups. Besides helping people recovering from alcohol addiction, you will find SOS groups that support people overcoming compulsive eating disorders and drug abuse.

Women for Sobriety

Women for Sobriety is an organization targeted towards helping women that suffer from drug and alcohol addiction. Support meeting groups follow the 13 Statement Program, which is a “new life” acceptance program. Membership to the Women for Sobriety organizations depends on one’s commitment to continued abstinence. Members have access to various self-help tools such as DVDs, booklets, conferences, and online forums.

SMART Recovery

SMART Recovery is a support group for people suffering from addiction of varying types. Members can participate in face-to-face meetings and gain access to digital resources including daily online meetings, message boards, and 24/7 chat rooms. The organization even offers a 4-Point Program to empower participants to overcome alcoholism, teach participants ways to maintain sobriety in the long-run, and provide the tools required for living a balanced life.


Al-Anon is designed with the friends and family members of alcoholics in mind. It is an excellent resource for learning how to cope with a person’s drinking behavior. Individuals typically attend meetings online, in person, or via the phone to discuss the situations that they are facing currently. Members typically advise each other on how to encourage and support loved ones to seek the treatment that they need.


Alcohol Treatment Drugs & Doctor Prescribed Medications

Withdrawal from alcohol is best managed using various doctor prescribed medications, which include:


It is a drug, which is also a muscle relaxant that helps reduce alcohol cravings in people attending alcohol detox treatment. It is also administered sometimes during the process of withdrawal.


Benzodiazepines are drugs that are considered the first line of treatment for alcohol withdrawal. They include Ativan, Valium, Klonopin, and Librium. Originally, they were developed to help reduce anxiety, but they are also effective in managing agitation, irritability, and seizures associated with withdrawal from alcohol. The medications are administered by doctors to people in alcohol withdrawal and the dose subsequently tapered down at specific intervals to help wean the person off of them.


Beta Blockers are drugs that can be incredibly useful in the management of alcohol withdrawal symptoms. They help calm the central nervous system and slow the heart rate and sometimes combined with benzodiazepines.


It is an antihypertensive medication that’s sometimes used as an adjunct treatment for minimizing some of the unpleasant symptoms experienced during acute withdrawal from alcohol.


It is not typically used during the withdrawal management process, but the drug is sometimes used for people in outpatient withdrawal management programs or those that have suffered from multiple relapses. People that use the drug typically have a severe reaction after taking alcohol whereby they become violently ill. The drug helps deter any potential relapse, but people that use it on an outpatient basis often just stop taking the drug and drinking alcohol without experiencing severe consequences.

Once a person completes the alcohol withdrawal management program, he/she needs to get involved in the long-term treatment to address issues associated with substance abuse.


Alcohol Addiction Treatment & Recovery Services

You want to find an alcohol addiction treatment and recovery service that you can work with to get clean. When you go to a treatment facility, they help you to detox and then they will help you to learn ways to stay clean. You’ll have to basically relearn how to live your life if you have been using alcohol for quite some time and are addicted to it. It can be hard to go through treatment, but it’s necessary in most cases. Quitting will take some help but it’s worth it to get assistance so you don’t have to face something like this alone.

Quitting alcohol can be dangerous due to withdrawal so you need to find a treatment center that knows how to take care of an alcoholic that is withdrawing. You may, for instance, be put on alcohol medication and then monitored on a regular basis in case you need more of the medication to be safe. They generally will use drugs that help keep dangerous things like seizures from happening. Just make sure you taper off of the drugs you’re using to get off of alcohol too so you don’t have to deal with another addiction.

Inpatient Services for Alcohol Recovery

Alcohol Addiction ServicesAlcohol addiction services are out there on an inpatient basis. Inpatient services are basically where you go to stay somewhere for a while as you get clean. You don’t get to leave the building you’re in until you get clean so it’s a great way to keep yourself away from drinking and your lifestyle you are living where you drink often. It’s good to stay in an inpatient facility if you’re trying to quit but just can’t seem to. They will walk you through what you need to do and they will make sure you’re as careful as possible while going through withdrawals. When you quit at an inpatient facility, you’re going to work closely with professionals on a daily basis that will help you live your life the way you did before you started drinking. But, if you’ve been drinking ever since you can remember, you may need more help because you’ll need to learn how to live day-to-day life in general without having to drink to get through it. You’ll learn all kinds of ways to cope with getting off of alcohol and can end up living a much better life overall when you’re done working with the facility

Outpatient Alcohol Treatment

When you want to get help but don’t want to stay in a facility, you can work with outpatient alcohol treatment services. Or, if you’re afraid that you’re going to relapse, you can work with an outpatient service so you can work with someone outside of a facility to help you keep clean. There are a lot of great outpatient services that you can work with so you can quit drinking and stay away from alcohol. You’ll generally be set up with people that will give you great advice and may be able to get information on medical assistance you can get with quitting. When you want to quit, it’s going to be hard for you mentally. A lot of people that drink do so because it helps with their mental issues. One thing you can find is outpatient mental health services that will help you to steer clear of alcohol. They can also help you to get on medications that will help with your issues that aren’t alcohol. It can be hard to switch over from alcohol to something else that doesn’t get you intoxicated, but it helps you live a cleaner and nicer life.

Finding Medical Level Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services

There are alcohol addiction services that treat you medically when you’re getting off of alcohol. When you’re trying to quit, problems like seizures can happen so it’s dangerous to quit without medical help. You can even go to a hospital if you have to so you can avoid the damaging problems that happen when you try to quit alcohol cold turkey. You should try to find a detox facility of some kind before you try to quit drinking. That way, you can get medical attention instead of trying to work your way through a withdrawal that is dangerous. When you work with medical professionals that are helping you to get clean, you need to stick with their advice. If they tell you to only take a certain amount of medication, you should listen to them. They are there to protect you from the hardships that come from quitting alcohol. If you don’t listen to them, you may end up drinking again or you may end up trying other drugs that help with the withdrawals that are addictive themselves. That’s why it’s best to just listen to professionals and to do what they tell you even if it makes you a little uncomfortable at first.

Addiction Recovery Management Services for Youth Community Services

There are addiction management services for younger people out there. If you are a child still that is under 18, then you need to get specialized services where you are put with other people your age in a treatment center.

Children have different needs than adults, so a child is going to need to make sure they seek out services that are meant for their age group. If you’re the parent of a child that has a drinking problem, then it’s up to you to find the right services for them to work with to get clean. You’re going to want to see reviews on a child addiction recovery service. You want to make sure that other people that worked with the service were happy with the results.

Even if you’re an adult looking for services, you need to find reviews on treatment centers to get an idea of what to expect. But, it’s especially important for younger people to be taken care of properly, or else the treatment won’t stick. You want a place to work with that has dealt with children and knows how to cater to their very specific needs.

More Information On Quitting Alcohol

To quit alcohol, you’re going to have to want to quit. If you don’t want to quit at all, then you’re not going to have much luck. But since you’ve found this information here you probably are wanting to find a way to get clean. That’s good, because if you want to get clean then it’s a lot easier to stay clean once you get done with going through alcohol withdrawals. If you aren’t serious about quitting, then you may fall into a relapse and may not be able to quit for quite some time until you really hit rock bottom.

Quitting is not going to be easy so don’t think that you’re going to be able to drink as much as you want and then have a great time withdrawing from it. Not only are the withdrawals bad, but you also have to deal with things like having more anxiety as you quit drinking. Your day to day life when you first quit is not going to be that nice but you have to struggle through it. You can use treatment services to help you out, but they will also let you know that this won’t be easy.

Change your life when you want to get clean so you can stay clean when you’re done with treatment. For instance, if you have friends that always want to go out for drinks, you’re going to want to avoid them when you get done with treatment. Eventually, you can probably go out and decide not to drink, but when you’re first getting clean you have to stay out of situations that you’d usually drink it. There are many temptations out there and it can be hard to say no to them so it’s good to avoid them when at all possible. Quitting alcohol is a hard process, but you can get through it if you give it your best shot. You won’t feel great the first few days or even weeks that you quit, but eventually, you’ll feel better. Not having to live your life with alcohol is a freeing feeling that you should go after so you can be happier in your day to day life.

Final Thoughts

Most people that are successful in long-term recovery from drug and alcohol abuse treat recovery as a lifelong process. For most, it means continued participation in community services, 12-step groups, therapy, and other supports to keep them actively involved in recovery. Completing an alcohol addiction treatment program is an important hurdle to overcome but just the first step in the long-term recovery from alcohol addiction.

Are you wanting to quit drinking alcohol but don’t know where to begin? There are a lot of ways to quit that people have been successful with. If you want to make sure you get good alcohol addiction services so you can treat yourself for alcoholism, you’ll want to use this guide. It’s important that you go about this carefully because quitting a large drinking habit can actually be dangerous to do.

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