Treating addiction – whether at rehab or not – can be divided into three main phases. Firstly is detoxification, the process by which an addict’s system is cleansed of substances of abuse. Once this cleansing process has taken place, and the immediate pressures of drug dependency have been lifted, the addict will then need to address the psychological aspects of their addiction, including understanding the root causes and seeking to put measures in place to ensure that they do not stumble back into addiction by relapsing.
Whether you decide on inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation, detox is an essential beginning step towards recovery. Because of the potentially serious medical concerns of alcohol withdrawal, we recommend professional detox (rather than quitting cold turkey at home). Detox can be completed in an inpatient or outpatient facility depending on the severity of the addiction and any medical complications that are present.
However, other elements – for example the type of therapies available – may lie completely beyond your understanding and experience. With this in mind, it is always advisable to speak with an addiction specialist who will almost certainly be able to think of things which may not occur to you but which could be very important. By leveraging the vast experience of an addiction specialist you can be sure that issues of great importance will not go unaddressed.
State-funded programs are more likely to cover a full range of treatment options, though they may not yet have access the very latest in cutting-edge treatment technology or treatment center amenities that some private programs are able to offer. Despite the likelihood of having more basic or standard recovery settings, these state programs still provide effective treatment as well as valuable post-treatment support.
But perhaps the biggest indicators of an alcohol problem are the withdrawal symptoms if a problem drinker goes without alcohol. A casual or moderate drinker can cut off their intake of alcohol with no adverse effects. If a problem drinker tries to do the same, they may feel some effects of withdrawal within eight hours of their last drink, such as the following:
The specific medicines prescribed will vary depending upon your own particular experience of withdrawal and the symptoms you are manifesting, and it may be that certain medications will not be appropriate depending on your substance of abuse or your own personal health history; an experienced medical professional will be able to make those decisions to ensure you go through withdrawal as safely as possible.
Nalmefene, an opiate antagonist that is similar in its chemical structure to naltrexone, is one of the most recent drugs being investigated for the treatment of alcoholism. Like naltrexone (sold as ReVia, Depade, or Vivitrol), nalmefene deprives the person struggling with substance use of the pleasurable feelings associated with drinking. But nalmefene is less toxic to the liver than naltrexone. As of 2013, nalmefene was still undergoing clinical trials through the U.S. National Institutes of Health before receiving FDA approval. From Rehab to a Body Bag | Dying for Treatment: VICE Reports (Full Length)