If you’ve heard the terms alcohol abuse, alcohol addiction, or dependent on alcohol, then you likely know about alcohol use disorder. Clinically, alcohol use disorder is defined as a chronic illness in which the sufferer has heavy alcohol use and/or the inability to go without drinking for extended periods of time without experiencing withdrawal symptoms. The Substance Use and Mental Health Services Administration estimates that around 107 million people meet the criteria for alcohol use disorder.
While alcohol addiction can sneak up on you and leave you feeling overwhelmed, alone, and scared, it is never too late to seek treatment. For those local to North Carolina, there are a variety of options available to you for alcohol rehab in NC. At Next Step Recovery, our Asheville treatment centre creates an individualised approach to help you achieve your goals. It can be scary to take the first step, but by seeking prompt treatment, your odds for a long-term sober life increase.
What are the signs of alcohol addiction?
Alcoholism can be sneaky. With millions of Americans drinking socially or at bars, it can be hard to spot alcoholism when it begins. However, there are clinical signs that constitute a diagnosis of alcohol use disorder. These signs include:
- Binge drinking, or consuming excessive amounts of alcohol over a certain timeframe
- Having a high tolerance, or needing to drink more to feel “buzzed” or drunk
- Needing to drink throughout the day in order to avoid withdrawal symptoms
- Hiding alcohol use from others, or choosing to only drink alone
- Losing relationships, jobs, or other possessions in order to fund drinking
Alcohol addiction withdrawal symptoms vary by individual. However, some of the most common withdrawal symptoms include flu-like symptoms, nausea, vomiting, sweating, chills, muscle tremors, loss of appetite, increased heart rate, anxiety, paranoia, and headaches. These symptoms are often safe to manage alone; however, for increased chances of success, it is best to go through withdrawals at a certified detox centre. Severe withdrawal symptoms, called delirium tremens, can occur suddenly. If you begin to experience these on your own, call 911 immediately.
What does alcohol rehab include?
Depending on the treatment centre, alcohol rehab offerings vary. However, there are some general phases of treatment to expect. These phases often begin with detoxification and ends with a form of outpatient treatment.
Often for many people suffering from addiction, the medical detoxification process is a necessary first step. In detoxification at a treatment centre, you will be monitored 24/7 by trained medical professionals while you begin to experience withdrawal symptoms. Medical providers can offer medications to help reduce or ease symptoms, as well as give anti-craving medications for longer-term maintenance.
After detoxing from alcohol, you may find the structure and rigour of an inpatient or residential program to be beneficial to your recovery journey. Inpatient treatment involves the patient living onsite as a resident for a specified amount of time. Your day will be scheduled to include individual and group therapy, therapeutic activities, as well as lunch and breaks. For those that do not have a strong support system at home, this treatment option may benefit you.
Partial hospitalisation or sober living
Often considered the step-down between inpatient and outpatient, PHP and sober living will give you more freedom but still provide structure and accountability. Often, you will live offsite from a treatment centre in their approved housing and will be transported to the centre each morning for therapy and treatment, and then transported back to the sober living home at the end of the day. These programs may also allow residents to begin to get part-time jobs and re-establish their lives before returning home full-time.
Once you are ready to return home, you will likely complete an intensive outpatient program. These programs are also a strong option for patients who need sober support and therapeutic interventions but have a strong support network at home. Often intensive outpatient programs will have a patient come to the treatment centre for a specified number of days per week. Generally, the sessions involve group and individual therapy and are split into multiple hour-long chunks each day.
If you have finished an IO programme, but are still looking for continued sober support, you may want to continue with a general outpatient approach. These programs follow the same structure as intensive outpatient programmes but offer more flexibility on the dates and times you can attend. This treatment approach is best for those that have a strong and stable support network but need flexibility due to home or work responsibilities.
Find help at an alcohol rehab in NC
Fighting alcoholism alone can be debilitating, but it doesn’t have to be. By seeking treatment at a licensed alcohol rehab in NC you can increase your odds of long-term recovery. Depending on the type of treatment and treatment length you desire, there are treatment centres in North Carolina ready to help you achieve the long-term sober life you deserve.
Robert Haynes did his degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. He is interested in mental health and well-being.