Just because it is readily available in supermarkets, convenience stores, and corner liquor stores does not mean alcohol is not a drug. Some might argue that its availability is why many people in the U.S. struggle with alcoholism. And they may not be too far off base in that assertion. According to a study published by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, an estimated 14 million Americans ages 12 and over have an alcohol use disorder (AUD). To appreciate what this means in the context of a substance abuse problem, we need to address what an AUD is and, more importantly, the toll it can take on someone’s life.
What Does It Mean to Live With an Alcohol Use Disorder
To say that someone living with an alcohol use disorder is addicted to drinking, while partly true, would be quite an understatement. It is something bigger and far more complex. According to an article published by the Mayo Clinic, a nonprofit academic medical center in Rochester, Minnesota, an alcohol use disorder refers to a pattern of alcohol use delineated by uncontrolled drinking, being preoccupied with drinking, and drinking even when doing so causes problems. For some people, those problems are health-related. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), excessive alcohol consumption can increase an individual’s chances of developing a wide range of chronic diseases. Some of the more notable ones include the following:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Liver disease
- Digestive problems
Excessive alcohol consumption can also increase one’s chances of suffering from breast, mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, and colon cancer. When individuals with an alcohol use disorder are not drinking, most are either dealing with a chronic health problem brought on by years of heavy drinking or racking their brains trying to figure out how to come up with the money needed to buy more alcohol. Of course, some will spend a portion of their day contemplating sobriety. For some, that’s the first step before turning to an inpatient alcohol rehab program to get the help they need to break the cycle of addiction.
Why an Inpatient Alcohol Rehab Program Makes Sense
Once someone decides to put alcohol abuse behind them, the next step should involve choosing a rehab facility before finally deciding whether to start an inpatient or outpatient program. Because abrupt alcohol cessation can trigger a barrage of unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, it is best to start one’s addiction recovery journey in an inpatient program. By the way, withdrawal symptoms resulting from abrupt alcohol cessation can begin within 6 to 12 hours after an individual has consumed their final alcoholic beverage. These symptoms are part and parcel of going through detox, the body’s natural way of ridding itself of alcohol and other contaminants, and they can include the following:
- A lack of focus
- Agitation and tremors
- Anxiety and depression
- Changes in appetite
- Chronic fatigue
- Delirium tremens
- Mood swings
- Nausea and vomiting
- Profuse sweating
Although rules can vary from one rehab to the next, most rehab facilities in the U.S. will require individuals to go through detox before moving on to other aspects of their addiction recovery.
How Long Does Inpatient Alcohol Rehab Take?
Also known as residential treatment, an inpatient alcohol program can last 30, 60, or 90 days. Some programs can last as long as 120 days. The benefit of these programs is twofold; firstly, by having to remain onsite for the duration of treatment, the risk of relapse while in recovery is lower than what it would be in an outpatient program. Second, inpatient programs offer medication-assisted detox to help individuals cope with severe withdrawal symptoms that stem from detoxing from alcohol. For those unaware, medical detox involves round-the-clock monitoring and the use of prescription medications. While in an inpatient program, individuals also have access to psychotherapy sessions with a licensed therapist. During these sessions, individuals learn how to cope with cravings and temptation, which, by the way, are the two things that cause most people to relapse.
All in all, inpatient alcohol rehab programs can last for one or several months, depending on several factors. But they are the best choice for someone concerned about withdrawal symptoms or those who want to focus on quitting alcohol without being distracted by the outside world. Call us at 833-846-5669.