The disease of alcoholism affects millions of people worldwide, often leading to severe legal, health, and personal problems. Those who wish to stop drinking and recover from their disease frequently seek help from alcoholic rehabilitation programs. There are many different forms an alcoholic rehabilitation program may take, including direct medical treatment, individual counseling sessions, inpatient rehabilitation, group therapy, or any combination of these options.
A person with severe alcoholism may need to undergo a medical treatment known as detoxification. Medical doctors often administer drugs such as benzodiazepines and barbituates to remove alcohol from the body and lessen the severity of withdrawal symptoms. Once withdrawals cease, a doctor might prescribe medication which causes a person's body to reject the intake of alcohol. Drugs such as disulfiram are commonly given to severe alcoholics to physically prevent future drinking.
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Inpatient treatment centers provide intensive alcoholic rehabilitation services. Many patients check themselves into a program voluntarily, though some are court appointed to attend. Patients at treatment centers receive one on one counseling and group support to better understand their disease and learn how to live without alcohol. Their overall progress and mental health are monitored and assessed by trained psychologists. Most inpatient treatment centers feature 24 hour surveillance with registered nurses constantly on duty to handle emergency situations.
Alcoholic rehabilitation may involve outpatient sessions with psychologists or trained substance abuse counselors. Patients meet with their counselors to discuss their problems and learn how to regain control over their lives. Counselors offer advice about staying away from places, people, and activities which encourage alcohol use. They teach patients how to say no to alcohol and become involved in healthier pursuits. In addition, many counselors conduct sessions with spouses and family members to help them better understand their alcoholic loved one and become involved in his or her recovery.
Many alcoholics benefit from attending regular meetings with other individuals who suffer from alcoholism. The most recognized group program worldwide is Alcoholics Anonymous, which offers a 12 step recovery plan based on acceptance, encouragement, and spirituality. Alcoholics Anonymous groups are generally open to the public and free to join, though local chapters depend on member donations to maintain their facilities.
Almost all alcoholic rehabilitation programs encourage complete abstinence from drinking. While these programs can be very helpful to problem drinkers, they alone are not enough to prevent an alcoholic from ceasing their destructive lifestyles. In order to recover, alcoholics must remain dedicated and be willing to employ the tools they are given in rehabilitation programs.