Many traditional alcohol rehab programs are based on the 12 steps and traditions that provide spiritual guidance through early recovery and beyond. Alternative or holistic addiction treatment programs may offer similar therapy and medical treatment that traditional programs provide, but expand to include complementary and alternative therapies like acupressure and acupuncture, yoga and meditation, and other practices. Religious-based alcohol programs also offer comprehensive medical and psychological treatment, but focus their group sessions and treatment philosophy on the teachings of a specific religious tradition or belief system.
Our drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs are based on science, evidence and our experience of what works best in helping people get sober and stay sober. Hazelden Betty Ford pioneered the field’s leading approach to addiction treatment and we continue to evolve and advance the use of evidence-based treatments in order to provide our patients with the best opportunity for lifelong recovery from substance use disorder. Some of the evidence-based treatments our clinicians use include:
Research has identified differences in how the reward center of the brain responds to alcohol in heavy and light drinkers. In either group, alcohol caused the release of naturally occurring feel-good endorphins in the two brain regions linked to reward processing. Once addicted, alcohol withdrawal presents dangerous physical and psychological issues.9
One of many recovery methods are 12-step recovery programs, with prominent examples including Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Drug Addicts Anonymous and Pills Anonymous. They are commonly known and used for a variety of addictions for the individual addicted and the family of the individual. Substance-abuse rehabilitation (rehab) centers offer a residential treatment program for some of the more seriously addicted, in order to isolate the patient from drugs and interactions with other users and dealers. Outpatient clinics usually offer a combination of individual counseling and group counseling. Frequently, a physician or psychiatrist will prescribe medications in order to help patients cope with the side effects of their addiction. Medications can help immensely with anxiety and insomnia, can treat underlying mental disorders (cf. self-medication hypothesis, Khantzian 1997) such as depression, and can help reduce or eliminate withdrawal symptomology when withdrawing from physiologically addictive drugs. Some examples are using benzodiazepines for alcohol detoxification, which prevents delirium tremens and complications; using a slow taper of benzodiazepines or a taper of phenobarbital, sometimes including another antiepileptic agent such as gabapentin, pregabalin, or valproate, for withdrawal from barbiturates or benzodiazepines; using drugs such as baclofen to reduce cravings and propensity for relapse amongst addicts to any drug, especially effective in stimulant users, and alcoholics (in which it is nearly as effective as benzodiazepines in preventing complications); using clonidine, an alpha-agonist, and loperamide for opioid detoxification, for first-time users or those who wish to attempt an abstinence-based recovery (90% of opioid users relapse to active addiction within eight months or are multiple relapse patients); or replacing an opioid that is interfering with or destructive to a user's life, such as illicitly-obtained heroin, dilaudid, or oxycodone, with an opioid that can be administered legally, reduces or eliminates drug cravings, and does not produce a high, such as methadone or buprenorphine – opioid replacement therapy – which is the gold standard for treatment of opioid dependence in developed countries, reducing the risk and cost to both user and society more effectively than any other treatment modality (for opioid dependence), and shows the best short-term and long-term gains for the user, with the greatest longevity, least risk of fatality, greatest quality of life, and lowest risk of relapse and legal issues including arrest and incarceration.
Residential drug treatment can be broadly divided into two camps: 12-step programs and therapeutic communities. Twelve-step programs are a nonclinical support-group and faith-based approach to treating addiction. Therapy typically involves the use of cognitive-behavioral therapy, an approach that looks at the relationship between thoughts, feelings and behaviors, addressing the root cause of maladaptive behavior. Cognitive-behavioral therapy treats addiction as a behavior rather than a disease, and so is subsequently curable, or rather, unlearnable. Cognitive-behavioral therapy programs recognize that, for some individuals, controlled use is a more realistic possibility.
Attend a support group, most of which are completely free. A supportive community of like-minded, recovery-focused peers can play an important role in your recovery. Alcoholics Anonymous is a free 12-step support group. Although members are not required to be religious, many of the steps involve the belief in divine being. Visit the official site of AA: Alcoholics Anonymous
At Hazelden Betty Ford, inpatient treatment for substance abuse begins with our clinicians getting a good understanding of your specific situation. Our treatment team will evaluate your medical health, mental health and chemical use history in order to design an individualized drug and alcohol rehab plan for you. With your permission, our rehab staff may also talk with your family members and other professionals you might already be working with to address your needs and challenges.
Insurance: Many types of insurance cover the cost of addiction treatment and rehab; in particular, the Affordable Care Act requires that insurance policies issued under the state health exchanges and through Medicaid programs under the ACA expansion must provide coverage for addiction treatment. It’s important to note that insurance coverage often still requires that the individual provide a co-insurance payment, and some require a deductible be paid before treatment will be free. Specific plans may have different coverage levels, so it’s a good idea to check the specific policy or talk to the insurance provider.