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Choosing the Right Alcohol Rehab for You

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The Alcohol Rehab Decision

Deciding to attend alcohol rehab is a decision some people make all on their own. For others, an intervention may be required. The one thing every person who seeks help for an alcohol use disorder has in common is that it is usually a series of negative consequences which finally brings them to the decision point. 

It’s not important whether or not those consequences are emotional, spiritual, or legal in nature. It doesn’t matter if they decide to ask for help on their own or feel compelled by a worried loved one. What matters most of all is that they are willing to get help from an alcohol rehab program. 

But how do you choose the right program and how important is the decision? This blog from Encore Outpatient Services explains why choosing the right alcohol rehab makes all the difference. 

Alcohol is a Drug and Alcohol Addiction Calls for Treatment

You don’t have to look very far to see that addiction is a widespread problem in the United States. Often when people think about the term addiction, their minds turn first to drugs. But the fact is that alcohol is a drug. In fact, alcohol remains the most widely misused drug in America and the world. The opioid epidemic has had tragic consequences and in some ways, it may have stolen a bit of the spotlight from alcohol use disorders. 

Part of the goal of this blog is to raise awareness of alcohol use disorders and provide practical guidance on choosing the right alcohol treatment program for yourself or your loved one. Just because alcohol is legal and perhaps more socially acceptable than drugs, it does not mean it is somehow less harmful or that alcohol addiction does not merit professional treatment and mental health care. Alcohol misuse kills over 140,000 Americans annually. Most of them suffer needlessly from a problem that has a solution–this is why awareness and finding the right alcohol rehab is so important. 

Facts about alcohol misuse in the United States:

  • Over 97,000 men and 43,000 women die from alcohol-related causes annually in the U.S. 
  • About 385 Americans die every day as a result of excessive alcohol use. 
  • At least 10% of Americans over the age of 12 have an alcohol use disorder (AUD).
  • More than 60% of Americans increased their alcohol consumption during COVID lockdowns.
  • There are more than 90,000 alcohol-related sexual assaults among American college students annually.

Alcohol Rehab and Recovery Cannot Wait

The biggest challenge in overcoming an alcohol use disorder is often simply reaching the stage where one admits they have a problem and becomes willing to accept help. We won’t tell you that recovery from alcohol addiction is easy, it isn’t. It is hard work. 

But if you or someone you love have reached the stage where there is just enough willingness to start treatment at an alcohol rehab program, then an important step in the process has already been achieved. It is important to hold onto that willingness, however slight. Protect it like a precious flame in the wind. Cultivate it. That willingness represents the key to a brighter, healthier future. 

Time is of the essence when it comes to getting help and entering treatment for alcohol addiction. Sadly, willingness can be fleeting. Just because denial or stubborn resistance has been overcome for the moment does not mean they will remain in remission. Alcohol addiction is one of the more stubborn foes of humankind and has been since not long after the first humans discovered fermentation. 

Why Interventions Work

Consider the an intervention for someone with alcohol use disorder. Even if an intervention isn’t part of your plan or hasn’t proven necessary, one of the key elements of a successful intervention is time. At the conclusion of a successful intervention, the person with an alcohol use disorder isn’t given a week or even a few days to “think things over” or process what they just experienced. 

A well-run intervention is very much the opposite of that. It leans more towards the side of “shock and awe”. Because that’s what it takes sometimes to overcome that towering, icy wall of denial and resistance. Once that wall is scaled, plans move forward immediately. An alcohol rehab has usually already been chosen for that person. 

Oftentimes a bag has already been packed and they may be on their way to the treatment center or the airport within hours of the intervention. Why is that? It’s very simple. Willingness is fleeting. Intervention or not, we must never take the willingness to accept help. Whether it’s your willingness or that of someone you love. Don’t count on it being there tomorrow. Strike while the iron is hot! 

Start at the Beginning: Alcohol Detox and Stabilization

Let’s get to the heart of the matter. What do you look for in an alcohol treatment program and outpatient treatment for alcohol use disorder? The first thing to consider is medical needs. Most people who are drinking regularly will require a medical detox from alcohol as the first step in the process. It usually isn’t safe or comfortable to abruptly stop drinking at home. 

The ‘cold turkey’ method rarely works and depending on the person and how much they are drinking, it could even lead to potentially fatal seizures. So, your best bet is to choose a DC alcohol rehab that is closely affiliated with a reputable alcohol detox. That way you can be assured of continuity of care. After the alcohol detox is complete, the person can move seamlessly into the next level of treatment, which may be residential or a partial hospitalization program (PHP)

What Else to Look For in an Alcohol Rehab Program 

The next thing to consider is licensing, accreditation, and reputation. Choose a treatment program that is licensed by the state and that has a solid reputation in the community. Take a look at reviews of the program as well. See what people have to say about it. In addition, it’s important to consider the curriculum and approach used at the facility. 

  • Evidence-Based Treatment

Insist upon an alcohol rehab that offers evidence-based treatment for alcoholism, like psychotherapy using conventional methods such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Evidence-based treatment uses methods and approaches that have been proven effective by peer-reviewed clinical studies. 

Regardless of what tertiary treatment features, extras, or recreation options are offered, choosing evidence-based treatment ensures that the fundamentals are sound. Knowing that you will receive care that has been scientifically proven to deliver results provides additional peace of mind.

  • Dual-Diagnosis Care

Dual-diagnosis treatment is care that addresses both the alcohol use disorder and any co-occurring disorders. This is another essential quality in a good alcohol rehab because mental health is really inseparable from addiction. More than half of the people who enter treatment for alcoholism in DC also have a co-occurring mental health disorder like depression, anxiety or PTSD. 

Receiving a diagnosis and treatment for any co-occurring conditions during alcohol rehab is one of the single most effective ways to ensure successful recovery moving forward. Undiagnosed and untreated mental health disorders are one of the leading causes of relapse events. Dual-diagnosis treatment is another quality you should insist on in an alcohol treatment center. 

  • Trauma Informed Care 

On the topic of mental health, another helpful element to look for is trauma-informed care. As much as 70% of the adult population have experienced at least one significant traumatic experience. The most current clinical research into alcohol use disorders has shown that trauma is a much more significant factor than we realized in the past. 

Programs that offer trauma-informed care are much better equipped to both identify the signs of trauma and to treat it and help people develop effective methods for coping with and processing their trauma. This is another proven way to protect and strengthen their newfound recovery. 

Encore Outpatient Services is Here to Help

At Encore, we’re proud to offer alcohol use disorder treatment in the DC metro area. We offer a range of intensive outpatient services from our Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) to Intensive Outpatient (IOP) and General Outpatient care. We are also closely integrated with our partner programs in the area, Maryland Addiction Recovery Center and Innovo Detox to provide a full continuum of care for substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health conditions
If you or someone you love might benefit from alcohol rehab in the DC metro area, let’s have a conversation about what Encore can do to help. Give us a call at: 703.436.8158

Suffering is hard

Getting help shouldn’t be.

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