Inpatient alcohol rehab is a residential program that is characterized by a comprehensive approach to alcohol addiction treatment. Inpatient rehab typically begins with a supervised medical detox following immediately by transfer to a secure inpatient facility where the person then resides for 30 days or longer, depending on the prescribed treatment period.
During their stay, the person sleeps, eats, receives treatment, and engages in activities within the facility. Other personal responsibilities, such as work and family are put on hold while the person remains in treatment.
Conversely, intensive outpatient treatment allows the patient to live outside of the center while he or she participates in treatment sessions several times per week. This format may be best suited for those who have already completed an inpatient stay or who require more flexibility to attend to personal obligations and responsibilities while undergoing treatment.
Both programs have a similar rate of success in the treatment of alcohol use disorder – however, there may be some advantages to enrolling in an inpatient treatment program.
Major Advantages of an Inpatient Alcohol Rehab
Because people who have alcohol use disorders tend to experience moderate to severe withdrawal symptoms when they first quit drinking, inpatient treatment programs often include a medical detox. Moreover, those who are addicted to alcohol should not attempt to stop drinking on their own for a variety of reasons. These include the possibility of relapse and/or suicidal thoughts, and in extreme cases, withdrawal symptoms can be life-threatening.
Residential treatment programs vary in duration, but as noted, most are at least 30 days. Length of stay and the lack of availability of alcohol is an important consideration for people with alcohol use disorders, who have often attempted and failed to control or stop drinking on their own or in outpatient programs.
There are several benefits to navigating the withdrawal process in an inpatient setting. The symptoms can be physically and emotionally vexing, and the potential for relapse is much higher in an unsupervised environment.
Persons in inpatient programs undergoing alcohol withdrawal are monitored around-the-clock and have their symptoms managed/relieved with certain medications. Continual supervision and emotional support allow the person access to immediate professional intervention to address cravings, mental health issues, or physical symptoms related to withdrawal.
Critically, an inpatient environment ensures that attaining alcohol is extremely difficult, if not impossible. Moreover, if someone is attempting to smuggle alcohol into rehab, they probably shouldn’t be there in the first place.
During an inpatient stay, patients are also in the company of other people who are experiencing similar issues, and this allows them to form bonds and relationships that can be extremely beneficial to withdrawal and recovery process. Also, the inpatient withdrawal management program is structured to occupy the patient’s day and serve as a distraction from problems that could otherwise lead to relapse.
And because withdrawal symptoms that result from alcohol use disorders can, in extreme cases, be fatal, inpatient withdrawal management programs facilitate the immediate intervention of any potentially serious withdrawal complications, such as delirium tremens or seizures.
Finally, some research has shown that people who begin treatment in an inpatient alcohol rehab setting are more likely to succeed in long-term recovery.
Other Advantages of an Inpatient Alcohol Rehab
The advantages to enrolling in an inpatient treatment program for an alcohol addiction extend far beyond management of the withdrawal period. Residential programs deliver a comprehensive treatment package that includes multiple levels of intervention.
Benefits of an inpatient/residential treatment program for alcohol use disorders include the following:
- Residential/inpatient programs are highly-structured and include elements of intervention, psychotherapy, and education.
- Therapies and medication administered to treat co-occurring psychiatric issues can be executed more effectively when the person is observed and treated around-the-clock.
- Inpatient programs are managed by multidisciplinary teams of addiction treatment professionals who can address clients’ needs from many different perspectives, and therefore results in a more comprehensive treatment approach.
- The inpatient treatment environment is especially well-suited to foster a sense of personal responsibility and accountability in the person for their own behavior.
- Persons who normally reside in specific environmental conditions where recovery is threatened, such as those who are homeless, in abusive relationships, or who live in areas with particularly high rates of crime and drug abuse, can be separated from these conditions while they develop a solid base for recovery. Moreover, even those who do not live in such conditions find they have a much easier time avoiding distractions in an inpatient treatment program.
- People who have incurred legal consequences associated with their alcohol use find that enrolling in an inpatient treatment program may mitigate punitive measures they must face, such as fines, incarceration, probation, etc.
- People who are, at the onset of intervention, very resistant to the idea of abstinence or who lack confidence in themselves discover that once they engage in inpatient alcohol rehab treatment, their outlook and attitude significantly improve.
- Many people with alcohol addiction disorders have engaged in multiple recovery attempts, and these attempts have been closely followed by relapse because, in addition to access to alcohol, they did not receive the emotional support and group comradery that they need to maintain sobriety.
Finally committing to and completing an inpatient treatment program for alcohol addiction is an extraordinary accomplishment, and helps people improve self-confidence, creates a foundation for continued recovery, and sends a message to significant others in one’s life that the person is committed to recovery.