Are you seeking alcohol treatment for yourself or a loved one struggling with alcoholism? Do you have a spouse, child, relative or friend who you suspect struggles with alcohol use? Alcohol rehab can help people ready to address their substance use disorder.

Alcohol rehab is often the only way that an individual who’s struggling with addiction can get help. There are rehab centers all over the country that offer individualized programs to treat alcoholism, regardless of how long the condition has been present. Alcohol treatment programs take many factors into consideration, including the person’s age and gender, and the extent and length of the addiction. Many alcohol rehab centers also offer various aftercare options and recommendations to help clients maintain their sobriety.

It’s important to learn about alcohol treatment centers, payment options, differences between inpatient and outpatient programs, how to find an alcohol treatment center and what the first steps toward sobriety and recovery are. If you’re here seeking information for a friend or family member, we’ve also included resources on how to help a friend or family member, along with intervention strategies.

Treatment Options & Medications

As you research the different treatment options for alcoholism, you’ll find that there are several levels of care available. A doctor, substance abuse therapist or counselor should help you and your loved one choose the type of treatment that’s right for you.

Infographic stating the types of alcohol treatment programs

Inpatient & Outpatient Rehab

Inpatient vs. outpatient is an important consideration to make when choosing a treatment program. The decision ultimately comes down to your availability and finances. Can you afford to stop everything in your life for inpatient treatment? If you need to maintain your job and other commitments, outpatient treatment might be the best option for you.

Inpatient or residential treatment is the most intensive level of care, with around-the-clock monitoring and clinical management to alleviate withdrawal symptoms and provide structure. After the detox phase, the patient lives at the facility full-time while receiving therapy, group counseling, medication management, holistic therapies, and other services.

Rehab length can last anywhere from a few days to over a year, depending on the person’s needs and their progress through recovery. Some of the most popular lengths of rehab include:

  • 30-day rehab programs
  • 60-day rehab programs
  • 90-day rehab programs
  • Long-term drug rehab programs (120 days or more)

Outpatient treatment is the most flexible level of care. Recovery services are provided in a day center, clinic, rehab facility, or other location, while the patient lives at home. Outpatient clients can participate in counseling, therapy, 12-step programming, and other recovery services without giving up their self-determination. This level of care is recommended for patients who have completed an inpatient program or for medically stable individuals who have a high level of motivation to reach sobriety.

Intensive outpatient treatment, also known as IOP, is less intense than partial programs and offers several days of therapy per week.

Partial Hospitalization

After completing a residential (inpatient) program, a patient who is stable in their sobriety may be transferred to a partial hospitalization program. In this intensive form of therapy, the patient lives in transitional housing or at home while attending classes, counseling sessions and appointments with medical professionals during the day. On average, a partial hospitalization program will last around 2 weeks.

Medical Detox

As part of your initial treatment program, you’ll go through a medical detox program. During this stage, the body must rid itself of alcohol and other toxins through a medically-supervised program that addresses the dangers and symptoms of withdrawal associated with detox. Facility staff will assist you in detoxing yourself from alcohol and other toxins so you can begin your recovery in the healthiest way possible. With the presence of medical professionals, detoxing in a professional treatment facility is the safest way to detox.

Teletherapy

If traveling to the facility or scheduling around your lifestyle is an issue, online teletherapy can start your substance abuse treatment at home. Teletherapy appointments offer flexible scheduling and convenience while protecting your privacy. The Recovery Village Telehealth app connects you with licensed professionals conducting individual and group therapy sessions. While some people may be better served in-person, teletherapy helps make treatment more accessible to people in need of recovery.

Additional Options

There are a number of different approaches to recovery. To find the right approach, consider your values, mental health status, personality and cultural background. Our helpful representatives can help answer your questions so you can decide the best path for your recovery. Some of these approaches include:

  • Traditional alcohol treatment programs rely on evidence-based strategies such as psychotherapy, behavioral modification therapy, peer group counseling, nutritional counseling, and 12-step programs. Rehabilitation begins with detox, a cleansing process that allows the patient to withdraw safely and as comfortably as possible. After detox, the patient participates in a structured series of therapies that are designed to help them modify their potentially destructive behaviors and create a sober life.
  • Holistic recovery programs focus not just on treating alcoholism as a physical or psychological condition but on healing the body, mind, and spirit. In addition to the core components of alcohol rehab — individual and group therapy, family counseling, 12-step meetings, and behavioral modification — treatment addresses the patient’s spiritual and emotional needs through activities like art therapy, recreational therapy, guided meditation, yoga, acupuncture, and massage. The goal of holistic therapy is to promote healing on all levels so the patient can build a meaningful, rewarding life.
  • Integrated alcohol treatment programs are designed for patients who meet the criteria for a substance use disorder and a mental health condition. In the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 9.2 million people had both a mental illness and substance use disorder; 31.3% of people with a mental illness had also been binge drinking alcohol in the past month. These patients often face unique obstacles in recovery, such as low motivation, anxiety about new situations, poor concentration and delusional thinking. Integrated treatment, which targets both the patient’s mental health condition and substance use disorder within the same program, is an effective way to achieve a full recovery. Services for both issues are provided at a single facility and delivered by staff members with expertise in substance abuse treatment and mental health.

Alcoholism Treatment Medications

Some of the medications used in alcohol treatment programs include prescription drugs that help reduce alcohol cravings, reduce withdrawal symptoms or create negative effects when alcohol is consumed. These medications include:

  • Acamprosate May reduce alcohol cravings and withdrawal symptoms
  • Naltrexone May reduce cravings for alcohol
  • Disulfiram May produce undesirable effects such as headaches, nausea or vomiting when alcohol is consumed

Related: Medication-Assisted Therapies for Alcohol Use Disorder (Video)

How to Decide on a Course of Treatment

In the past, alcohol rehab programs provided a standardized set of treatments for all patients, regardless of age, gender, psychiatric history or other demographics. Today, alcohol treatment programs and alcohol treatment centers have become more specialized to meet the needs of a diverse, highly-varied group of patients. Choosing a course of treatment has become more complicated, but the results of a careful search are likely to be more successful and more satisfying to the individual.

Choosing a Specific Option

Once you’ve selected the right level of care and the best therapeutic approach, it’s time to consider the specifics of treatment. Consider the unique circumstances of the person affected and their family, including the following factors:

Infographic listing the things to consider when choosing a rehab

Other Factors to Look For:

  • Types of Addiction: The program should focus on your alcohol use, as well as any secondary substances that you may be using. Co-occurring conditions such as depression, a personality disorder, an anxiety disorder or an eating disorder must also be targeted in treatment.
  • Age: Children and teens have different needs and issues than adults do. The adolescent brain is in a unique stage of development. Younger people respond better to different forms of treatment than adults do.
  • Gender and Sexuality: Gender-specific programs allow you to focus on your recovery program without social pressures or distractions. These programs also enable the participants to concentrate on the unique issues presented by gender or sexual orientation, such as social pressure, prejudice or violence.
  • Profession and Social Status: Exposure to other demographic groups in treatment can be an equalizing experience, demonstrating the reality of alcoholism as a universal disease. You may feel more comfortable and able to express yourself more effectively in settings where you can associate with your peers. Career professionals also have unique stressors and needs that can be more effectively addressed in specialized programs.
  • Religion, Culture, and Values: A program with principles that contradict your religious beliefs or personal values is unlikely to be effective. For instance, if you object to spiritually-based recovery, you probably won’t be comfortable at a facility that places a strong emphasis on 12-step programming. When choosing a treatment facility, look for a program that meshes with your spiritual nature and cultural heritage.
  • Location and Amenities: As you research alcohol treatment programs, consider the location of the facility. Would you prefer to remain close to home and work, or could you recover more effectively with some distance from the stresses of your daily life? Are luxury amenities important to you, or would you be more at ease with modest, yet comfortable, accommodations?
  • Financial Considerations: Ideally, the cost of a program shouldn’t be your first concern. But in reality, cost is a big consideration for most patients. The treatment plan you choose should reflect the available financial resources, budget, and insurance status.

Related: What to Consider in a Rehab Facility (Guide)

Treatment Costs & Insurance Coverage

You may be wondering how much rehab costs. Inpatient treatment is generally more expensive than outpatient treatment. Depending on the severity of your addiction, it may take some time to recover. The more time you spend in alcohol rehab, the more it may cost. Many people transition from detox to inpatient or residential treatment, to outpatient treatment, and then to a sober living environment.

Insurance payment options for alcohol treatment vary for each client. Consult with your insurance company to determine coverage. Alternatively, call The Recovery Village to speak with a representative to learn how alcohol treatment is possible, with or without insurance coverage.

Getting Started with Teletherapy

With advances in technology and the onset of COVID-19, online counseling, telehealth and teletherapy services are becoming more common and effective forms of mental health treatment. Addiction treatments were once restricted to in-person meetings, but can now happen anytime and anywhere with a reliable internet connection.

Finding a Local Treatment Center for Alcoholism

Our rehab facilities serve communities from Florida to Washington, specializing in a range of addiction recovery services. Find local substance abuse resources near you by entering a zip code or selecting a state using our Substance Abuse & Recovery Resources.

Helping a Loved One Struggling with Alcoholism

It can be heartbreaking to realize that your loved one has a problem with alcohol. At first, it’s much easier to deny the problem. But as time goes on and personal, financial or legal problems increase, you’ll have to face the possibility that your loved one could have a substance use disorder. Learning to recognize the red flags of alcoholism could not only save your relationship, but it could also help you avoid a tragedy.

What to Do if Your Loved One Needs Help Getting Sober

Encourage your loved one to be evaluated by a physician or therapist. Talk to them about alcohol abuse and express your support for further treatment, such as therapy, counseling or a 12-step program. You or your loved one can also call a free alcohol hotline for more information.

Although they may still appear to be functioning normally at work, school, or home, there may be a risk that the disease progresses to more serious consequences, such as illness, legal problems or an accident, if left untreated. If you haven’t confronted your loved one about their problem, it’s time to have that talk. Meanwhile, seek advice from a substance abuse counselor or family therapist about how to get your loved one into a residential alcohol treatment facility or an intensive outpatient program.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider.