What to Know About Residential Alcohol Rehab Programs

Alcohol is a legal substance, but it is also one of the world’s most addictive and dangerous drugs. It causes tolerance, physical dependency, withdrawal and emotional problems. If someone you know is dependent on alcohol, it’s time to get help. Quitting drinking alone is extremely difficult under the best of circumstances. It is dangerous, and sometimes fatal under the worst.

There are several treatment programs to consider. Many people try to quit drinking by joining Alcoholics Anonymous, which is the most successful addiction recovery program in the world. Unfortunately, AA is often not enough to convince a person to stay sober — especially when alcohol cravings and withdrawal symptoms begin. Some people may try detox or outpatient therapy, but like AA, they usually are not enough. These programs, while effective, may not be enough to get an addicted person through early sobriety.

When drinking becomes the answer to every question, residential rehab may be the answer. Residential alcohol rehabs provide comprehensive services that treat all facets of addiction, including detox, addiction counseling and therapy. Some rehabs also provide post-care planning. Post-care planning builds a bridge between residential care and the inevitable return to “normal” life.

Withdrawal and Detox

Alcohol withdrawal causes severe physical, psychological and emotional symptoms. It can last for a few days or a few weeks, depending on the intensity of the addiction. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, and when an addicted person quits using, the brain becomes overexcited. That’s why people suffering from alcohol withdrawal often experience seizures, hallucinations and insomnia. Symptoms normally associated with the stomach flu are also common, including vomiting, diarrhea, chills and tremors. Cravings to drink, accompanied by depression and/or anxiety, are more common complaints.

alcohol-rehabIf an alcohol-dependent person tries to quit drinking suddenly, a symptom called delirium tremens can result. The DTs are extremely dangerous and can lead to death. That’s why alcohol addicts should never quit drinking suddenly or alone. A professional detox program can help you or your loved one safely quit drinking. Detox can also make the discomfort associated with withdrawal more manageable while making the transition to rehab a bit more relaxed.

After Detox

Physical withdrawal is only one part of quitting drinking. After the immediate danger of withdrawal has passed, a high quality rehab center will help you recover psychologically, behaviorally and emotionally. This is accomplished through counseling and therapy. You may spend a significant amount of time examining your motives for drinking, and participating in group therapy. You might also identify avoidance and coping techniques that can aid with cravings, temptation and stress.

Your mental health is another important factor in your recovery from alcoholism. Many people who suffer from an undiagnosed or untreated disorder such as depression or anxiety start drinking to soothe uncomfortable feelings. It is especially important for these individuals to get professional help from a qualified rehab, because without it, a return to alcohol abuse may be more likely.

Dual Diagnosis

When a person suffers from addiction and a mental health disorder such as depression at the same time, it is called a co-occurring disorder or dual diagnosis. If you suspect dual diagnosis, you must get help from a rehab center that is qualified to treat both addiction and mental health concerns. A qualified rehab center can address both problems at the same time, which reduces the chance of relapse.


Once residential care ends, it’s time for the recovering alcoholic to return to everyday living. This shift can feel abrupt and overwhelming. To aid in this transition, many rehab centers offer a program called aftercare. Aftercare can help your loved one avoid the people and places where drinking was a problem. Continued counseling and/or therapy are often recommended..

Review the Top Ranked Rehab Centers

For more information about residential programs that provide these treatments and more, review our Top Ranked Rehabs for this year. Call a counselor now.