August 17, 2022

Alcoholism is a serious disease with both genetic and environmental factors. Overcoming this persistent and life-altering illness requires consistency and commitment to treatment.

Regardless of how long you or someone you know has struggled with alcoholism, recovery is possible with enough persistence and drive to get better. More research is emerging surrounding the idea of dual diagnosis, or the idea that mental health may play a large role in the development and continuance of an alcohol or related substance abuse disorder.

With this new information, medical professionals are able to create new approaches to medication management and therapy, helping fulfill previous gaps in treatment with evidence-based techniques.

If you are seriously considering alcohol recovery, here is some more information on the three main types of alcohol recovery programs from The Forge Recovery Center to review.

What Are Alcohol Recovery Programs?

Alcohol recovery programs provide rehabilitation for persons struggling with alcohol addiction. Patients attend a residential stay at a hospital to detox from alcohol abuse. 

What Are The Treatment Stages?

Treatment for alcohol addiction can be broken into three primary levels or types of treatment: detox, inpatient, and outpatient.

All three levels of alcohol recovery programs are necessary for healing, and, depending on the severity of the addiction, different stages of care may take longer than others to complete.

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Step 1: Detox Stage

The detox period is considered to be the highest level of care, as it is the most supervised and intense form of care; this stage focuses entirely on achieving the patient’s initial stage of sobriety.

During a patient’s time in the detox stage, they will have 24-hour medical care and will be routinely monitored by medical staff. Vitals will be checked on a consistent basis to ensure patient safety and well-being.

Step 2: Inpatient Care

Inpatient care is often recommended as the next course of action for treatment.

The inpatient stage of treatment teaches and informs the patient about recovery and what can be done to maintain their sobriety over time.

During this time, the patient continues to live at the rehab facility to maintain sobriety and to learn practical ways to maintain sobriety.

Individual therapy sessions and group instruction will be included in this stage of care.

Step 3: Outpatient Care

Outpatient care is recommended for individuals who have been sober for a significant period of time and who possess the skills and knowledge they need to stay sober.

This treatment stage is often focused on continued aftercare such as attending weekly group meetings, commonly pursued by those focusing on staying in recovery.

How Long Does Treatment Take?

On average, alcohol recovery programs last between 30 and 90 days. Depending on the individual situation, the severity of one’s alcohol addiction may require continued care within one or more of these stages.

It is recommended that those in outpatient programs continue to seek aftercare as part of their sobriety lifestyle management plan. 

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What Is Dual Diagnosis?

Some alcohol recovery programs offer dual-diagnosis protocols based on evidence suggesting that substance abuse disorders like alcoholism often coincide with underlying mental health challenges in many cases.

For these subtypes of alcohol recovery programs, the levels of care (detox, inpatient, and outpatient) remain the same.

The main difference between the dual diagnosis protocol and traditional alcohol recovery programs is that the inpatient stage for dual diagnosis also includes mental health coaching and psychiatric assistance for the underlying mental health challenges.

Recovery Is Possible

Recovery is an ongoing process; at no point is an alcoholic truly free from addiction, but, with the right strategies and willingness to make changes, both sobriety and a life worth living are possible.