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What Should I Expect from Alcohol Rehabilitation?

It is imperative that people who drink excessively withdraw under medical supervision.
Alcohol rehabilitation may involve both a physical detoxification and counseling sessions.
Group therapy is one option for individuals who struggle with alcoholism.
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  • Written By: Allison Boelcke
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 12 November 2014
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Alcohol rehabilitation is the treatment for the physical and psychological addiction to alcohol. It begins with a physical detoxification to rid the body of alcohol, then uses counseling sessions to get to the root of behavioral or mental issues that contributed to alcohol dependency. The final part of the rehabilitation process is aftercare to help individuals acclimate into society without falling back into their addiction.

Treatment can take place on an outpatient or residential basis. An outpatient alcohol rehabilitation treatment is conducted during the day at a treatment center, then patients return home in the evening. It is usually for people with an alcohol problem that has not become life-threatening. Those with a severe, life threatening alcohol addiction may require residential rehabilitation. They live at the treatment center in order to receive constant care.

The first thing to expect when you check into an alcohol rehabilitation center is the immediate detoxification process. You won’t be allowed any alcohol, in order to give your body the opportunity to remove all the toxins from the excessive amounts of alcohol. Since your system is used to having alcohol, you will most likely experience physical withdrawal symptoms during the first three days, such as sweating, chills, depression, mood swings, or even blackouts. Depending on the extent of your alcohol addiction, it may take from one to two weeks to completely cleanse your system.

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After the detoxification process, alcohol rehabilitation works on the psychological aspects of your alcohol addiction. You will usually first meet with an addiction treatment counselor for private sessions to discuss any life events or choices that may have contributed to your addiction. Your counselor will work with you to offer solutions to any mental or behavioral issues. In addition to one-on-one counseling sessions, you will also meet with other recovering addicts under the supervision of a counselor in group therapy to share common experiences. Group therapy may help you feel understood and supported by others in your same position.

Once you have become sober and gained an understanding of your addiction issues, you are generally finished with the main portion of alcohol rehabilitation. After you leave the treatment and return to your normal life, you may also be recommended to attend an aftercare program to ensure you learn the proper coping strategies so you don’t backtrack into alcohol addiction. An aftercare program is similar to the group therapy sessions during treatment. You will meet with other recovering addicts and a treatment counselor, who will give you advice on how to stay sober and deal with temptation, stress, or old friends who pressure you to drink.

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