The terms alcohol detox and rehab, for an individual suffering from drug addiction or alcoholism, can be overwhelming and scary. This holds true for both the individual and the family members involved. Many times family members of those suffering from alcohol abuse or drug abuse are unsure what steps to take once someone has an alcohol or drug dependency.
Alcohol and drug addiction are very hard to define, unless you are a person abusing the substance. Many times, family members and friends see an alcoholic or addict’s consumption as a problem, yet, until the user admits that they have a problem, undertaking treatment or entering a rehab facility, poses many challenges and produces very few good results. Sadly, there are many individuals who are not able to come to terms with their addiction. However, there are steps that family members can take to help an individual reach a place of willingness. Support groups like Al Anon and Learn 2 Cope help families identify ways to stop the enabling behaviors that prolong substance abuse.
Alcohol Detox and drug detox
Once a person is dependent on a substance, it is important that the individual receives proper medical help to detoxify their body. Many recognize the need for a medical detox from narcotics such as an opioid or benzo. However, it’s important to recognize that alcohol is a drug too. When an individual builds a high alcohol tolerance, their body can become physically dependent on alcohol. Alcohol withdrawal and alcohol poisoning are two very serious medical conditions that require medical attention to avoid an alcohol overdose, alcoholic seizures or even death.
Alcohol withdrawal differs for each individual as it is largely dependent on the amount of alcohol consumed. After an alcohol evaluation is completed at a medical facility, alcohol withdrawal medication may be prescribed, and the patient is closely monitored.
Treatment and Recovery
Once an individual has detoxed from the substance(s), the real work of “recovery” can begin. In most cases, residential or inpatient treatment is recommended. Programs can range from two weeks to many months, and some as long as a year+. Years of addiction and escaping feelings through substances cannot usually be healed overnight. Recovery is the process of learning to live a full life, including good and bad feelings, without an escape. The process is significant, but so are the rewards.
Addiction recovery starts with willingness to make changes. That is the catalyst required to stop alcohol use disorder or any other addictive behavior. If you’re not sure if you have a drinking problem, try taking some of the self-assessments like those offered by SMART recovery: http://www.smartrecovery.org/resources/library/Tools_and_Homework/Interactive_Tools/problem-drinking-test.htm
Remember, it’s okay to complete this kind of tool for a loved one, but it’s critical that the substance user acknowledges their issue with the substance.
There are many recovery fellowships. The largest, and best known, is Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). If you’re thinking about participating, it’s good to try at least 3 different meetings. Each meeting is different and it’s important to try a few before making a judgement. With regards to the program offered in AA, here is a questionnaire offered on AA.org to help you decide is it’s the right choice for you. http://www.aa.org/pages/en_US/is-aa-for-you-twelve-questions-only-you-can-answer
Alcohol detox and drug detox is the first step to building a life in recovery. While it can be a scary concept, many detox centers make the process comfortable, while ensuring that your body is safely rid of the physical symptoms and dependency. The rewards that come through real recovery are certainly worth any temporary withdrawal discomfort.