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Alcohol weaves its way through all elements of society. In youth, many see it as a rite of passage and, and underage drinking as a way to defy authority. College brings parties with beer kegs and jello shots. Binge drinking is a regular occurrence on college campuses across the country. As we move into our career lives, alcohol remains a part of the social scene. We hang out with colleagues after work at a wine bar, or have that notorious three-martini lunch. Holidays, weddings, birthdays – they are often associated with alcohol intake.
For many people, the fact that alcohol is such a prominent aspect of socializing presents no problems – maybe the occasional night of overdoing it, or the dumb decision to drive after a drink or two. But for the alcoholic, social drinking can turn, sometimes insidiously, into alcohol abuse. If you are someone with a genetic predisposition to alcoholism it may be only a matter of time before you start researching alcohol rehab options. You may find many of these treatment centers describe themselves as drug rehabs. However, they are really one in the same.
Alcohol Is a Drug
Because alcohol has become such an acceptable part of daily life, we often forget that it is a powerful drug. A few drinks will have more impact on the average person than a Valium or Xanax. It is a drug more akin to pain killers in how it mutes our inhibitions and causes slurred speech, slowed reflexes, and reduced ability to reason clearly. Someone who makes very good decisions when sober can make terrible decisions after a few drinks.
An Alcoholic Doesn’t Have to Drink Every Day
Many people use the fact that they do not drink every day to convince themselves that they are not alcoholic. However, one of the growing manifestations of alcoholism today takes the form of binge drinking. This type of drinker does not drink every day, and doesn’t necessarily get drunk every time they drink. However, on a regular basis they drink extreme amounts of alcohol over a very short period of time. An alcoholic can be a weekend drinker who drinks until they have a black out (forget what they said or did part of the night), pass out, throw up, or make very bad decisions that put them in dangerous positions.
Do I Need Alcohol Rehab
Alcohol rehab offers a safe environment in which to explore the underlying reasons for your abusive drinking, but more importantly, it teaches you tools and strategies to change your life. Alcohol rehab is not just about stopping drinking. There are often underlying issues – anything from social anxiety to depression to past trauma – that have created a situation where you are, in effect, self-medicating. Maybe alcohol makes it easier for you to be in social situations. Maybe it calms your nerves when you remember something bad that happened to you in the past. Maybe it just takes you away from a life you feel you can’t cope with on your own. Alcohol abuse to “fix” these problems sets you up for a vicious circle in which you never really address the anxiety, stress, or depression you are experiencing.
Who Will I Be with in Alcohol Rehab
Probably a lot of people just like you. Alcoholism does not discriminate. There are highly successful executives, doctors, lawyers, nurses, skilled laborers, teachers, professors, musicians, actors…the list goes on. Most people who go to alcohol rehab are pleasantly surprised by the company they are keeping. They are bright, creative, and sometimes very successful people. There is one area of their lives that you have in common: when you drink alcohol, bad things happen.
How Do I Decide on an Alcohol Rehab
First thing to do is figure out the type of environment you want. Some alcohol rehabs are very large, some are very small. Would you feel more comfortable in one or the other? Some people prefer a small alcohol rehab because they get more individual attention. The smaller the alcohol rehab, the more expensive it will generally be because the staff-to-client ratio is much higher. You might have a primary therapist, a family therapist, and a physician/psychiatrist on your team, and in very small alcohol rehabs, you may only be sharing them with a handful of other clients. This type of one-on-one attention raises the cost of treatment.
Do you have a dual diagnosis that requires special clinical expertise? Ask the alcohol rehab about this specific issue. If you have a primary therapist already, have them speak with a clinician at the treatment center to make sure it will meet your needs.
When Is the Time Right to Go to Rehab
The right time is the point at which you recognize you have a problem with alcohol and cannot quit on your own. Most people who go to alcohol rehab will tell you they tried to quit on their own numerous times. They may have tried everything from hypnosis to a detoxification diet. Alcoholism is a serious medical condition. It is not a moral failling or matter of will power. If you discovered you had diabetes you wouldn’t try to get better without guidance from a medical doctor.
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