Many Steps to Alcohol Recovery:
Like the People It Affects, Every Defeat of Alcohol Addiction Is Different
Alcoholism, also known as alcohol dependence syndrome, is the physical and psychological addiction to alcohol. Just as alcohol affects each individual differently, every case of alcohol addiction is different. The steps to alcohol recovery are different for each unique case. Some alcoholics can recover quickly without having to detox or spend time in an inpatient recovery program.
On the other hand, many alcoholics have a hard time with alcohol recovery and might struggle for the rest of their lives to stay sober. Alcoholism has no magical, sure-fire cure, and only a trained medical professional can accurately assess individual levels of alcohol dependence. And no health professional, no matter how experienced, can accurately predict anyone’s alcohol recovery timeline.
Fortunately, medical science has continued to advance in its understanding of the treatment of alcohol dependence, and the stages of alcohol recovery are well known. The good news is that many caring organizations and hospitals run excellent drug and alcohol recovery programs to help alcoholics recover safely using a variety of methods. The biggest danger is not taking the first step to alcohol recovery: through the doctor’s door.
Medically Supervised Drug and Alcohol Recovery Programs Are the First Step for Most People Suffering from Alcohol Addiction
Depending on the severity of alcohol dependence, detoxification is usually the first and most important of the stages of alcohol recovery. Many people who suffer from serious alcohol dependence cannot safely detox without medical help.
The side effects of alcohol withdrawal are well-documented and range from no symptoms at all for some alcoholics to life-threatening medical emergencies, including sudden death, for more severe cases. Only alcohol addiction detox under the supervision of trained medical professionals can lessen the effects of withdrawal and prevent a medical emergency before it happens. In most cases, a medically supervised detox is the most important of the steps to alcohol recovery.
The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal vary widely and may include:
- Excessive sweating
- Mild to severe shaking
- Increased heart rate and blood pressure
In many moderate to severe cases, the longer the alcoholic goes without drinking, the more these minor side effects increase, along with the increased desire to drink, leading to more serious withdrawal symptoms and a longer alcohol recovery timeline.
More serious symptoms may take effect days after the last drink, or they could begin within hours after the last drink:
- Severe vomiting
- Seizures and convulsions
- Delirium Tremens (the DTs)
- Fatal heart attack or stroke
Not every person dependent on alcohol experiences the same withdrawal symptoms, but most have difficulty detoxing even with medical supervision. The severity of alcohol addiction withdrawal symptoms varies according to many factors, but there is no way of knowing for sure how severe or how mild a particular person’s withdrawal symptoms might be. Alcohol detox under the supervision of a qualified medical professional is the essential first step toward recovery.
Your Alcohol Recovery Timeline Depends on How Dependent on Alcohol You Are
A typical stay at most inpatient drug and alcohol recovery programs is 30 days, and many rehab centers use different methods during medically supervised detox to lessen the withdrawal symptoms:
- Fixed drug therapies to treat severe withdrawal symptoms
- Symptom-triggered drug therapy as needed
- Non-drug or biophysical treatment
- Alternative medicine
A medical setting offers vital resources that many patients find comforting, including a secure room, a nutritious diet, on-call medical professionals, and a sense that someone cares. Doctors can offer counseling to help patients overcome the psychological effects of withdrawal, and drug therapy to help lessen the physical effects.
The detox period ends when all withdrawal symptoms disappear, often within 3 to 10 days for most patients. Unfortunately, those who are severely alcohol dependent experience protracted withdrawal that lasts as long as a year in some cases, which naturally requires a longer alcohol recovery timeline. All drug and alcohol recovery programs can handle the wide range of cases.
Outpatient Drug and Alcohol Recovery Programs Have a Longer Alcohol Recovery Timeline
Outpatient alcohol rehabilitation is also available for those who prefer different methods. These drug and alcohol recovery programs take longer than a 30-day stay in a detox hospital, but they also have a strong record of success. The steps to alcohol recovery in an outpatient program include:
- Individual and group counseling sessions
- Gender-specific or family-oriented groups
- Relapse prevention programs
- Spiritually oriented sessions
- 12 step programs
- Drug and alcohol awareness education
Because of the potentially fatal consequences of alcohol detox, outpatient drug and alcohol recovery programs are best suited to people who do not have severe or long-term alcohol dependence. But each alcohol recovery timeline is defined by many factors, including personal commitment and the involvement of friends and family.
The Steps to Alcohol Recovery Will Never Begin Unless You Call for Help Now
After-detox care is the next and longest step toward full recovery. There is no set timeline for alcohol recovery; much depends on the individual circumstances of each case. Changing long-standing habits and lifestyle choices is often difficult, and some patients may find themselves falling back into old patterns of behavior. This is why alcohol recovery often requires long-term after-detox therapy.
Breaking any addiction is difficult and relapses are common. Alcoholics who go through numerous detox attempts are particularly vulnerable to more severe side effects during subsequent detox attempts, adding more steps to alcohol recovery and a longer alcohol recovery timeline.
But no alcohol recovery timeline will begin by itself. We’re here to help. Call our toll free number now and we will connect you to a nationwide network of effective treatment programs and help you decide which is right for you. Act now.