Rehab 4 Addiction

If you haven’t found the answer to a burning question about alcohol rehab, you have come to the right place.

We’ve listed some of the most frequently asked questions about alcohol rehab below, along with an answer. We’ve divided them into ‘broader’ questions and ‘more specific’ questions to make it easier to find what you’re looking for.

Broader questions

1. Do I need alcohol rehab?

In order to work out whether you need alcohol rehab, you need to ascertain whether you are addicted to alcohol.

The following criteria are adapted from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fifth edn.)

If you have two or three of these symptoms, you have a mild addiction to alcohol; four or five suggest that you have a more moderate addiction to alcohol, and six or more mean that you have a severe addiction to alcohol.

  1. You drink more than you should.
  2. You want to stop drinking but have so far been unable to do so.
  3. Buying, drinking and recovering from alcohol take up a lot of your time.
  4. You often find yourself craving a drink.
  5. Drinking gets in the way of your responsibilities, either at home, at work or at school.
  6. You continue drinking even though it causes problems for your relationships.
  7. You often drink instead of doing other things, such as socialising, working or having fun.
  8. Drinking alcohol sometimes puts you at risk, but you continue to do it.
  9. You have mental health problems which are made worse by drinking, but still drink.
  10. You have built up a tolerance, which means that you have to drink more to get drunk.
  11. If you don’t drink for a period, you start to get withdrawal symptoms.

If you have even a mild addiction (two or three of these symptoms apply to you), we would suggest getting some sort of treatment. The extent of treatment you require may vary depending on the severity of your addiction.

2. How long does treatment for alcohol addiction take?

A typical stay in alcohol rehab lasts for around 28 days.

However, treatment for alcohol addiction can last for much longer than that, with 12-step programmes and other components of aftercare continuing for at least a year.

Many people who have suffered from alcohol addiction continue to attend occasional meetings for years. Recovery is an ongoing process.

Different people need different lengths of time in rehab. If you want to find out more about how long you should spend in rehab, and what factors influence this decision, take a look at this article.

3. What happens during alcohol rehab?

We list the main steps in alcohol rehab below.

  • Preparation. We give more detail about how to prepare for rehab below (see ‘How can I prepare for rehab?’). The main things to remember are: sort out job/family/financial responsibilities before you go; try to get in the right frame of mind; pack the things you need (and nothing else).
  • Check-in. When you arrive, you will check in with the rehab staff. You will be asked to fill out some forms, and you will have a brief medical examination. You will also be assigned a case worker. Finally, you will work together with a member of staff to create a treatment plan with therapies that are suited to your circumstances.
  • Detox. Detox normally takes around a week, but can take longer depending on the substance/duration and severity of addiction/any complications that arise during withdrawal. During detox, you will get rid of any toxins in your system with the help of experienced rehab staff. They will be able to provide you with medications for alcohol withdrawal, such as naltrexone and acamprosate.
  • Therapy. After detox comes to an end, you will begin therapy. There are multiple therapies at your disposal. We go through them in more detail below (see ‘What type of therapies are used in alcohol rehab’).
  • Aftercare. Aftercare is the term used for treatment you receive after leaving rehab. It can include 12-step meetings, therapy, counselling and more. Most good treatment plans include one year of aftercare as standard. For more information on aftercare, see ‘What happens after alcohol rehab?’

4. Can my family take part in my treatment?

Yes, your family can definitely take part in treatment, and this is encouraged. Family therapy is one of the most popular forms of therapy for people in alcohol rehab.

It invites members of family to sit in on therapy sessions so that they can support their loved ones as they go through therapy.

Family therapy has been shown to have many positive effects on people with alcohol use disorder. According to one study, it ‘significantly reduced the severity of alcohol intake, improved the motivation to stop alcohol and changed the locus of control from external to internal in the study group.’ [1]

5. What happens after alcohol rehab?

After alcohol rehab comes aftercare. Aftercare involves further treatment to help patients stay on the road to recovery. It can include things such as counselling, 12-step meetings, self-help programmes, therapy and transitional communities.

Before you leave rehab, you’ll work together with your caseworker to create an aftercare plan. This will be tailored to your needs, with a focus on therapies and treatments which you have found most helpful during your stay in rehab.

If you are worried about the abrupt move from rehab back to real life, your aftercare plan may include a stay in a transitional community.

Transitional communities are places that help people coming from rehab to ease back into normal life. They still offer some support and structure, but not as much as rehab. They are also strictly monitored so that there is little risk of people using drugs and alcohol around you.

Good aftercare should be based on concepts such as community, physical and mental health, having somewhere to live, and having a purpose. Your rehab will give you support in trying to achieve these things.

They can help you find a job, help you find somewhere safe to live, and encourage you to take up things you enjoy that don’t involve alcohol use. They will also make sure that you get the appropriate medical care to make sure that you don’t get sick.

You can read more about aftercare here.

6. How can I help a loved one who is addicted to alcohol?

One of the first things you should do if you suspect your loved one may have an AUD is learn about alcoholism. There are lots of great resources out there for informing yourself about this condition.

If your loved one is resistant about getting treatment, or in denial about their addiction, the best thing you can do is talk to them. But these conversations can be difficult, so make sure you practice what you want to say. It’s important not to blame them, or get emotional.

You should focus on how their addiction has affected you and others around them. You should also listen to them, and offer support. Finally, you should have some treatment options to suggest.

Sometimes giving people a little nudge in the right direction can help get them into treatment a little bit sooner, which can make a big difference.

7. Is alcoholism linked to depression?

There is a lot of evidence to suggest that alcoholism and depression go hand-in-hand. In some cases, a person who has a long history of depression turns to alcohol in order to self-medicate.

In others, someone with a history of alcoholism begins to experience depression as a result of their drinking. Essentially, the causal relationship between alcoholism and depression can run both ways.

The relationship between alcoholism and depression is interesting and complex. We give a more detailed explanation here.

8. Is alcoholism linked to anxiety?

Though perhaps not as well-documented as the link between alcoholism and depression, there is certainly a link between alcoholism and anxiety, too.

Just as with depression, many people with anxiety self-medicate with alcohol; unfortunately, alcohol only serves to increase anxiety in the long run, through ‘hangxiety’, difficulties meeting responsibilities, and financial/relationship struggles.

If you’d like a more scientific explanation of the relationship between alcohol use and anxiety, check out this article.

9. Does alcohol rehab work?

This is actually a much more difficult and complex question to answer than it seems. Whether rehab ‘works’ depends on what you mean by ‘works’, and what you consider successful outcomes.

On a simple definition, a successful outcome is someone getting sober; but when do you measure from? A month after treatment? A year?

And is sobriety really the best measure of success? What about happiness, good relationships, health, job security?

We think that all of these things need to be included in the definition of successful alcohol treatment.

Again, if you’d like to read a more in-depth answer to this question, take a look at this article.

10. How do I choose an alcohol rehab?

There are lots of things you need to consider when choosing a rehab. Are you looking for an inpatient or outpatient rehab? Do you want to go somewhere close to where you live, or somewhere further afield? What goals do you want to achieve by going to rehab?

Do you have any specific needs, such as a disability, or chronic pain, which need to be addressed by your rehab?

We would suggest answering these questions before you start deciding which rehab to attend.

If you want more detail on this subject, take a look at our guide to choosing a rehab.

More specific questions

1. What types of therapy are used in alcohol rehab?

One of the great things about modern treatment for alcohol addiction is that there are loads of good, evidence-based therapies at the disposal of people in recovery.

These include cognitive behavioural therapy, dialectical behavioural therapy, motivational interviewing and contingency management. You can also access holistic therapies such as mindfulness therapy, acupuncture, massage therapy and nutrition therapy. Finally, there are alternative therapies available such as equine therapy, art therapy, music therapy and neurofeedback.

Therapies and treatments popular during aftercare include family therapy, 12-step programmes, and self-help groups.

Read more about all of these in our dedicated therapies page.

2. What does an average day of alcohol rehab look like?

Schedules vary a bit between different alcohol rehabs, but generally you can expect a routine like this.

  • Morning. During rehab, you will wake up early and have a healthy breakfast. Therapy begins at around 9 am, often with some meditation or yoga. After these holistic therapies have finished, you will start group therapy. In group therapy, a therapist will lead you and others in a discussion around a topic related to addiction, such as triggers and stressors. Group therapy helps remind you that you are not in this alone. Others are going through very similar experiences to you.
  • Afternoon. Afternoons are when people tend to be most awake; for this reason, more intensive therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy, dialectical behavioural therapy and family therapy often take place in the afternoon. These therapies are the ones which really help you get to the bottom of your addiction and the reasons why you turned to alcohol.
  • Late afternoon. After you have finished your therapy for the day, you will have some time to relax. You don’t get a huge amount of free time in rehab, because it’s better to stay occupied during this time. But it’s good to have some time to chill out after a long day of therapy.
  • Evenings. After dinner, 12-step meetings often take place. Many people continue 12-step programmes after rehab, as they provide a good sense of structure and routine. It’s good to get into these habits whilst you are in the controlled environment of rehab.
  • Bedtime. You will go to bed pretty early in rehab, ahead of another early rise the next day. Sleep is important to recovery.

3. How should I tell my boss I’m going to alcohol rehab?

First things first, you should give your employer as much notice as possible if you are planning to take time off for alcohol rehab.

This gives them time to arrange cover for you, and will make them look much more favourably on you if you want to get your job back after rehab.

Rehab is legally considered a medical condition, so your employer should not penalise you for getting it treated. However, you need to make sure you go to your doctor first in order to get a diagnosis.

Then you can give your employer a sick note to prove that you are telling the truth. You may even be able to receive sick pay while you are at rehab.

4. How much does alcohol rehab cost?

In general, a 28-day stay in rehab can cost anywhere between £7,000 and £12,000, depending on the rehab. You may be able to find stays in rehab for less than this, but cutting corners can be risky when your recovery is at stake.

Conversely, you may also want to spend more than this, if you want a more luxurious stay in rehab. Higher-end rehabs offer better facilities and more comfortable accommodation. It all depends on your budget and what you want in a rehab.

5. How can I prepare for alcohol rehab?

When preparing for rehab, there are a number of things you should do. First of all, it’s important to sort out any responsibilities you have at work or at home, as you won’t be able to carry these out while you are at rehab.

Tell your boss well in advance that you are leaving, and make sure he or she has time to find someone else to take your place. Make sure bills are paid in advance and plan ahead for any future expenditures.

If you have any legal engagements, such as an appearance in court, make sure to plan around that, too.

When packing for rehab, only bring what you need. Bring comfortable clothes, a bit of pocket money, a notebook and pen, and other essentials. Don’t bring anything that tempts you to relapse.

Final thoughts

We hope you have found the answer to your question here. If you have any more questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch.