Inpatient Alcohol Treatment
Alcohol addiction is much easier to treat in an inpatient setting. Because alcohol is so readily available, an alcoholic is confronted with temptations to a much greater degree than, say, a heroin addict. The heroin addict has to search out the drug, while an alcoholic sees her drug of choice in restaurants, parties, social gatherings of all sorts and even in supermarkets. It’s much easier for a drug addict to avoid temptation than for an alcoholic, so the closed environment of an inpatient rehab treatment center, in which alcohol is not available, may make his recovery somewhat easier.
Medications Are Available at Inpatient Alcohol Treatment Facilities
One of the strongest reasons to choose inpatient alcohol treatment is the availability of trained staff who are able to administer medications. Medications are helpful both with the initial detoxification process and for continuing treatment.
During detox, medications can ease withdrawal symptoms to a great extent. It is crucial, however, for the alcoholic to continue treatment after detox. People who undergo detox alone, without continuing counseling, show the same rate of abuse as those who had no treatment at all.
Once the client has gotten the alcohol out of his or her system, intense counseling and behavior modification begins. During this time, medications can also be helpful. Some of the functions of these medications are to diminish cravings and to restore brain functions that were damaged by alcohol abuse.
How Does Medication Work to Treat Alcoholism?
The FDA has approved three medications for use in treating alcoholism. Naltrexone works by blocking the opioid receptors in the brain. The result is reduced pleasure sensations, which helps some people resist cravings and avoid relapse. Naltrexone doesn’t work for everyone, though. Acamprosate helps the alcoholic deal with remaining symptoms after detox, such as depression, sleep disturbance and anxiety. Disulferam, also known as Antabuse, causes vomiting and other very unpleasant reactions if the alcoholic drinks. The biggest problem with this medication is that the alcoholic can simply stop taking it. In Europe, medical professionals are using an implant that will keep the alcoholic from drinking for a year or more, but that treatment has not yet been approved in the United States.
Learn Life Skills at an Inpatient Alcohol Treatment Center
The third excellent reason for undergoing residential alcohol rehabilitation is that you have a period of time to focus entirely on the problem, and learn ways of dealing with it. Intensive counseling gets results faster than weekly outpatient appointments. Staff is available at all times, and will help you come to understand the sources of your addiction. They will also give you tools to help you resist relapse and deal with the stresses of ordinary life.