Alcohol Addiction Rehab: How It Works And What To Expect


If you’re struggling with alcohol use, one of the best ways to cut out alcohol and stay sober is to join an alcohol addiction rehab program. They can empower you with the support, guidance, and tools you need for permanent recovery.

Let’s explore the different alcohol rehab options you have, the difference between them, and how to choose the right one.

Types of Alcohol Rehab Programs

Inpatient Rehab Programs

Inpatient programs are common in people who’ve had AUD (alcohol use disorder) for a long time. As an “inpatient,” you need to check into a hospital or rehab center with a certified treatment program and stay there for the duration of your treatment.

These programs are usually intensive and short, where you undergo alcohol addiction treatment that may include medication. This is especially helpful when you’ve just quit drinking since unpleasant alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be expected.

You’ll have access to medical professionals and rehab specialists around the clock, so there’s always help should you need it.

After completing an inpatient program and successful detox, you might transition to an outpatient or residential rehab setting.

Residential Rehab Programs

These programs are similar to inpatient settings since you need to stay at the rehab facility for the course of treatment. However, residential programs are much longer than inpatient ones, ranging from 30 days to several months.

If you suffer from moderate to severe alcohol abuse, healthcare providers will usually recommend residential rehab after you’ve finished detox during inpatient treatment.

In a residential program, you follow a tight schedule that’s tailored to your alcohol treatment needs.

You get a specific time for meals, therapy sessions, counseling, and other activities, which gives your life a sense of order and organization. This further benefits your recovery process.

During your immersive stay, you learn different recovery strategies that can help you stay sober with the help of medical professionals, psychiatrists, and therapists.

These alcohol treatment centers are entirely substance-free, and with 24/7 care, there’s little risk of relapse.

Outpatient Rehab Programs

If your substance abuse problem isn’t that severe or you can’t be away from work or family for a long time, then an outpatient program might be a better option for you. Many people struggling with alcoholism start with inpatient or residential treatment and then move on to an outpatient program to help them stay sober.

These types of programs help you get through your alcohol withdrawal without interfering too much with your daily life. These alcohol rehab centers can provide everything from medication-assisted detox to therapy and group counseling.

The idea is to help you become a better, stronger-willed person by helping you recognize and control your triggers, especially in the long run.

There are generally three approaches to outpatient rehab programs depending on the frequency of your visits and the initial level of alcohol consumption.

Day Treatment

This is the most intensive approach, where you typically have to visit the rehab facility 5-7 days weekly. Depending on your schedule, you can stay the whole day or choose a half-day program.

Day treatments are similar to residential rehab programs, as you’ll need to follow a structured daily schedule full of detox, therapy, and counseling sessions. The main difference is you can go home at the end of the day.

Intensive Outpatient Treatment (IOP)

Despite the label “intensive,” IOPs are much more flexible than day treatment programs. When you enroll in an IOP, you can attend meetings in the morning or evening, according to your preference. The point of these meetings is usually to learn how to avoid relapse.

IOP meetings are much more frequent than those of a typical outpatient program, which is why it’s “intensive.”

If you have a stable support system at home and your drinking problem is relatively mild, an IOP could be a good option for you.

Continuing Care Groups

Care and support groups are usually the last step of your recovery journey. They provide an outlet to share your sobriety stories and achievements with others struggling or overcoming similar challenges.

Unlike day treatments and IOPs, continuing care groups are organized by the members, where you can meet as often as you’d like or whenever you need extra support. The minimum expected attendance is usually an hour or two every week.

What to Expect During Rehab

Although each rehab facility has its program and methods for treating alcoholism, you can expect some common steps in the rehabilitation process.


The first step to alcoholism treatment is to assess your current situation, which includes your physical and mental state.

Certified rehab facilities will usually do a physical examination, urine analysis, and psychological evaluation.

The goal is to identify any medical or mental conditions that might impact the treatment process and to gauge your level of alcohol abuse. From there, they’ll create a program matching your recovery needs.

Detoxification Process

The next step of alcohol rehabilitation is detox, which is even more critical if you’ve just recently quit drinking. Depending on how heavy a drinker you are, you might experience mild to severe withdrawal symptoms.

During this phase of rehab, you’ll be medically supervised around the clock to help ease the symptoms and make sure you don’t experience any dangerous or unexpected complications.

Some rehab centers may or may not provide you with medication, depending on your symptoms and whether they’re licensed.

Therapy Sessions (Individual and Group)

Once your body is free of alcohol, the next step is to uncover the underlying causes of your addiction through therapy sessions.

You might start with one-on-one meetings where a therapist helps you pinpoint any mental or emotional problems that are fueling your addiction. The idea is to identify the triggers or thought processes that ultimately end with you drinking.

From there, you can work together to solve these issues and build strong coping mechanisms that help you stay sober.

You can also try group therapy sessions, which can be just as effective as individualized ones. These sessions show you that you’re not alone and allow you to draw on others’ experiences in handling alcohol addiction.

Holistic Recovery

Many treatment facilities don’t just focus on the physical part of alcoholism but also the mind, body, and spirit, as well. They offer holistic recovery approaches, including yoga, meditation, recreational therapy, massage, acupuncture, and art therapy.

These methods help improve your mindset and overall well-being, which can go a long way towards sobriety. However, it’s important to remember that the holistic approach should be part of a comprehensive rehab program, not a standalone treatment.

Factors to Consider When Choosing A Rehab Program


All age groups can join any type of alcohol rehab program, but some individuals can benefit more from specific ones. For example, if you’re over 60 years old, inpatient treatment options might be better for you.

At this age, the detox phase can be extremely difficult, often accompanied by painful alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

Depending on the level of alcohol abuse, life-threatening complications may arise during withdrawal. That’s why an inpatient setting is preferred since healthcare professionals can monitor your health and vital signs, stepping in should you need medical assistance.

Your Environment

Before choosing a rehab program, you need to consider your environment, whether at home, work, or school.

For example, do you have a stable, supportive home environment that can help you remain sober? Are your loved ones aware of your recovery journey and are willing to support you and remove any potential triggers from your surroundings?

If so, an outpatient program might be sufficient because you might not need 24/7 monitoring and support.

On the other hand, if you feel like it’s difficult to maintain your sobriety at home or with friends and family, it might be better to consider an inpatient or residential program.

Once you’ve gained a firmer grip on your alcohol cravings and know how to navigate triggers, you can switch to an outpatient setting.

Insurance Coverage

Most alcohol addiction programs are at least partially covered by insurance, but it depends on your health plan and which program you choose.

Some plans only cover medical detox, which means you’d need to pay for therapy or group counseling sessions yourself.

Medicare Part A usually covers mental health care, which includes alcohol and substance abuse treatment. Medicare Part B, on the other hand, covers only outpatient services.

Make sure to break down the different parts of each rehab program and determine which parts your insurance can cover and how much you need to pay.


Choose a rehab facility nearby if you’re going for an outpatient program or even an inpatient one with follow-up therapy sessions.

It’s not just a matter of convenience, but accessibility makes it easier for you to commit to the program, which can be a challenge in and of itself.

You can use the SAMHSA’s (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) help finder tool to locate a facility near you.

Mental Health Condition

Some mental health conditions can make it difficult to quit drinking or stay sober.

If you have PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) or excessive stress, you might resort to alcohol as a means of self-medication. The same goes for severe anxiety or depression.

If this is the case, an inpatient or residential program might be a better option for you. Healthcare professionals can help you manage mental health issues while making sure they don’t get in the way of your recovery.

Alcohol Addiction Treatment Isn’t Just Rehab…

Although alcohol rehab facilities can be a tremendous asset when choosing to recover from alcohol addiction, they aren’t your only option.

If you’re ready to take that first step towards sobriety but don’t have access to a rehab facility, book an appointment with Curednation’s telemedicine services and get the support and guidance you need.

Remember that recovery is always one decision away, and there’s never a wrong time to ask for help.


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