What Are the Similarities and Differences Between Different Alcohol Programs?

There are many different types of treatment programs for individuals who are seeking treatment for alcohol abuse. Treatment programs that are rooted in evidence-based practices and offer long-term treatment plans for patients are the types of programs that work the best in supporting long-term sobriety. Prior to attending treatment, individuals typically attend medical detoxification in order to safely and comfortably come off of alcohol.

One of the most important steps in the process of treating alcohol dependency is medical detox. Medical detox allows the individual being treated to experience fewer withdrawal symptoms and avoid dangerous effects of sudden alcohol withdrawal. These dangerous effects can include high blood pressure, insomnia, anxiety, depression, and rapid heartbeat. In more severe cases, individuals may experience seizures, hallucinations, or psychosis. Depending on the amount of alcohol being consumed prior to detox, the process may take approximately a few days to a week to diminish the physical dependence on alcohol. After detox is over, individuals begin long-term treatment to address alcohol dependency and use.

Outpatient Programs

Individuals whose alcohol dependency was not severe are able to attend outpatient programs. Outpatient alcohol treatment programs allow patients to attend the program during the day and return home after completing treatment each day. Outpatient programs typically involve a full day of meetings, therapy sessions, and classes. Outpatient programs may require patients to come in several days out of the week or each day of the week. Further, some outpatient programs require patients to check in even on the weekends. In general, outpatient programs give clients a minimum of nine hours of treatment each week. Outpatient programs also conduct regular assessments with patients in order to determine the amount of time they should be spending in treatment.

Partial hospitalization programs are an alternative to outpatient programs. These programs were founded to treat individuals who are diagnosed with both a mental health condition and substance use disorder. Partial hospitalization programs typically require six hours of treatment daily for five days of the week. Patients usually begin attending partial hospitalization programs immediately after completing medical detox. These programs provide comprehensive medical care and more supervision when compared to outpatient treatment programs.

Inpatient Programs

Inpatient treatment programs provide security, privacy, and comfort to patients. Treatment in an inpatient program is given at minimum for 30 days and a maximum of 90 days. The amount of time spent in an inpatient program depends on the level of severity of the substance use disorder being treated. Patients live within the inpatient treatment facility full time and are monitored around the clock. Patients are assessed both psychologically and medically in order to provide the most comprehensive treatment possible. Inpatient programs typically provide individualized care for patients and create unique treatment programming for each patient within their program.

The treatment program for each patient will determine their needs and what will help them in their process to long-term recovery. Treatment programs may include specific meal plans and prescription medication to help aid patients in the recovery process. Further, these types of programs provide both group and individual therapy sessions to patients. Inpatient programs also provide therapy sessions with family members. Through therapy, patients are able to process how alcohol use affected their health, family, and overall quality of life.

Sober Homes and Support Groups

After treatment in either an outpatient or inpatient program has been completed, individuals are able to enter a support group or sober home. After treatment, it is imperative for patients to surround themselves with support from individuals who understand what they are going through. Support groups and sober homes allow for individuals to receive feedback, talk out their problems, share successes, and have a community and network of support. The support received after completing treatment is very important and can help maintain sobriety in the short and long-term. Further, support groups provide a network of accountability and support from a community of individuals who are going through the same process of recovery. This increases the chances that individuals will maintain their sobriety over time. These programs allow individuals to have an increased chance of being productive and living the best life possible after completing treatment.

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