The hidden cost of alcoholism does not stop with health. Alcoholism is also linked to violent crime, resulting in a cost to the economy in terms of policing and prosecution. However, it is difficult to put a price on the impact that alcoholism has to society. A report by the IAS showed that a figure of £21 billion is regularly quoted by the Government in terms of the cost of alcohol to society (in England and Wales). This does not include the personal cost of alcoholism and only considers the cost that is imposed on others.

Opioids: Methadone (Dolophine®, Methadose®), buprenorphine (Suboxone®, Subutex®, Probuphine® , Sublocade™), and naltrexone (Vivitrol®) are used to treat opioid addiction. Acting on the same targets in the brain as heroin and morphine, methadone and buprenorphine suppress withdrawal symptoms and relieve cravings. Naltrexone blocks the effects of opioids at their receptor sites in the brain and should be used only in patients who have already been detoxified. All medications help patients reduce drug seeking and related criminal behavior and help them become more open to behavioral treatments. A NIDA study found that once treatment is initiated, both a buprenorphine/naloxone combination and an extended release naltrexone formulation are similarly effective in treating opioid addiction. Because full detoxification is necessary for treatment with naloxone, initiating treatment among active users was difficult, but once detoxification was complete, both medications had similar effectiveness.


Alcohol detox– In most cases of long-term alcohol addiction, detox must occur prior to formal treatment. This part of the healing process involves stopping the consumption of alcohol and all other drugs. This gives the body time to cleanse itself of all harmful toxins. Withdrawal symptoms may be an issue (e.g., depression and anxiety, mood swings, sweats, chills and irritability). They all depend upon the specifics of the addiction. Physical and mental health care and support is provided, as needed.1Therapeutic medication– The need for therapeutic medication depends on the individual patient’s needs, experiences and circumstances. If a drug is used, it should be medically-managed by a physician.
Alcohol is known for lowering inhibitions, but when alcohol is combined with risky activities, such as driving/operating machinery or taking drugs (either prescription or recreational), this may be an indication that alcohol is being taken in at abusive levels. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism warns that mixing alcohol with medication can cause internal bleeding and heart problems, as well as cause liver damage and make the medications toxic to the body.
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. What happens in rehab?
One of countless treatment centers in California, Sober Living by the Sea is actually one of the best in the state. They have over 25 years of experience and take a clinical approach to treatment. Part of their approach is uncovering any subsidiary mental disorders that may be associated with an addiction. Sober Living by the Sea also combines therapy with an array of activities such as hiking and swimming.
All drugs–nicotine, cocaine, marijuana and others–affect the brain’s “reward” circuit, which is part of the limbic system. This area of the brain affects instinct and mood. Drugs target this system, which causes large amounts of dopamine—a brain chemical that helps regulate emotions and feelings of pleasure—to flood the brain. This flood of dopamine is what causes a “high.” It’s one of the main causes of drug addiction. Making the Decision to Get Help - Alcohol Rehab Review
Research from NIAAA also suggests that alcoholism can stem from genes. While the specific “alcoholism gene” hasn’t yet been identified, there are known genes that can boost the power of alcohol and reduce the impact of a hangover. People with these gene combinations may get a bigger high from drinking, and they may not feel ill or sick after a long day of drinking. Their bodies just seem primed for alcohol abuse, and that can make them more likely to develop alcoholism.
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.

Most severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms occur in the first three to four days after stopping drinking. Detoxification involves taking a short course of medication to help reduce or prevent withdrawal symptoms. Medications such as Valium (diazepam), Librium (chlordiazepoxide), or Ativan (lorazepam), members of the benzodiazepine family, are usually used for detox.


Patients in drug rehab treatment programs are encouraged to end toxic relationships. Toxic relationships are those that have the propensity to lead to drug abuse. Conversely, patients are encouraged to seek help from other people who can support them on their journey. These supportive relationships could include friends, family members, and even other rehab patients.
Important: This is general medical information, and is not tailored to the needs of a specific individual. This material is NOT complete. It does not cover all possible precautions, side effects, or interactions. You should always consult your physician when making decisions about your health. And you should consult your physician before starting or stopping medication.
Various factors such as your medical history, support system and personal motivation can all play a role in the success of your recovery. Treatment should be supervised by a team of medical specialists at a rehab facility. Throughout the country, alcohol treatment centers are staffed with professionals who will guide you through each step of the recovery process – from detox to life after rehab. Think of them as your 24/7 support system who are there to celebrate your successes and work with you through any challenges.
Scientific research since the mid-1970s shows that drug abuse treatment can help many drug-using offenders change their attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors towards drug abuse; avoid relapse; and successfully remove themselves from a life of substance abuse and crime. Many of the principles of treating drug addiction are similar for people within the criminal justice system as for those in the general population. However, many offenders don’t have access to the types of services they need. Treatment that is of poor quality or is not well suited to the needs of offenders may not be effective at reducing drug use and criminal behavior.
Outpatient treatment is the next step down in a continuum of care. It is also a rehabilitation option for individuals whose addiction is less severe and doesn’t require inpatient treatment. Clients in this phase of rehab drug treatment visit the facility regularly, but do not stay overnight. This approach allows the individual to receive drug treatment while maintaining family and job responsibilities.

Unfortunately, only 20% of those who abuse alcohol will ever get help. Part of the reason that many people choose not to get help may be the blurred lines between socially acceptable drinking and alcoholism. While any usage of illegal drugs is considered a problem, a certain amount of alcohol usage is considered normal and acceptable. For more information about how much alcohol is safe to consume and how to tell if you or a loved one qualify as having an alcohol use disorder, read our guide to alcohol addiction.


Nicole Lee works as a paid consultant in the alcohol and other drug sector. She has previously been awarded grants by state and federal governments, NHMRC and other public funding bodies for alcohol and other drug research. She is a member and past President of the Australian Association for Cognitive and Behaviour Therapy. She is a registered Psychologist who has previously worked in private practice.
3. The meat of the program (psychotherapy and behavioral treatments) – This is one of the most important phases of rehabilitation, as it begins to give you a base for future sobriety. During this phase, you work with an alcohol counselor to address your current mental and emotional condition and understand where it’s coming from.  Then, you can start to make behavioral and attitudinal changes to remain sober, prevent relapse, and start living a happy life. If you are dedicated – the chances for your alcohol rehab program to work are increases and you have made significant steps towards becoming sober long-term. Best Drug Rehabilitation Programs Backed By Research. Find Out Why.
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