Once the intake process is complete, alcohol treatment begins with medical detox. Detox can be completed on an inpatient or an outpatient basis, depending on how much supervision the client needs. Clients with a potential for severe withdrawal symptoms, or those who have a higher risk of relapse, will need to go through detox at an inpatient facility or hospital where they can be monitored around the clock by clinical staff. Clients who are medically stable and highly motivated to go through rehab may complete the detox process on an outpatient basis, with scheduled visits to a clinic or rehab facility. Those suffering from addictions to alcohol, opiates, or benzodiazepines always require medical detox to ensure their safety and wellbeing throughout the withdrawal process.
It’s not uncommon for the public to mistake alcohol detox for alcohol rehab, but detox and rehab actually represent two distinct stages in recovery. In medical detox, clients recover from the acute physical effects of alcohol abuse. During the detox phase, clients are prepared to enter a rehab program, where they will receive therapeutic services the promote recovery.
In the aftercare phase, clients who have completed the stages of rehab may continue to attend meetings, see therapists, or participate in social events with other individuals who have been through rehab. The goal of aftercare is to help recovering clients re-enter the community and support them in the use of new coping strategies.
Individualized treatment for alcoholism is not a one-size-fits-all process. The goals and steps of a treatment plan should reflect the client’s substance use history, medical condition, and the existence of any co-occurring psychiatric conditions. In addition, an alcohol treatment plan should provide support and education for the loved ones of its clients, so they can pursue their own recovery and create a healthy living environment that supports sobriety.