Are There Different Types of Alcohol Treatment and Detox?

Admitting that you need help with an alcohol use problem is one of the most important steps you can take toward recovery. When you’re trying to decide what treatment would be best for you, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the amount of information available. Are there different types of alcohol treatment? The answer is yes. There are differently structured rehab programs, and there are also differently structured types of therapy available.

Types of Treatment Programs

Many rehabilitation centers have programs that are based around the 12-step model, since this model is the most recognized model for a successful recovery. 12-step programs use guided principles and tasks to help people maintain their sobriety. If a 12-step program is combined with another type of treatment for alcohol addiction, the overall chances of long-term recovery are increased.

Alcohol treatment programs can be broken down into the following categories:

  • Residential inpatient treatment – Residential treatment is the longest and most intensive form of treatment. A residential treatment program typically involves living at the rehabilitation center for at least six months to a year, sometimes without any predetermined end date for the program. It’s ideal for people whose home environment is not conducive to sober living, along with people who need more in-depth care before they leave treatment.
  • A shorter inpatient program – There are multiple impatient programs that will last only a few weeks. The shortest tend to be about four weeks, though it’s common to find treatment programs lasting twelve weeks. Similarly to residential treatment, you’ll live at the rehab center while you undergo treatment.
  • Detox – Detox is the first physical step to recovery. Detox usually takes place in a hospital, but there are some alcohol treatment centers that offer detox services. The point of detox is to remove alcohol from your body in a safe environment in which your symptoms of withdrawal can be controlled.
  • Counseling – Counseling on an outpatient basis might cover a variety of different areas of your life. It’s usually paired with other treatment forms for the most helpful recovery.
  • Sober living – Sober living homes are made up of groups of recovering alcoholics who offer group support to each other and commit to providing an environment that’s free of alcohol and drugs. These homes are usually best for people who have finished their treatment program, but their home has too many environmental triggers to be a safe place to return.

Alternatives to Treatment Based on 12-Step Programs

12-step treatment programs aren’t the only kind of treatment available. For the most part, you probably won’t find traditional 12-step meetings at your rehab center. This is because rehab centers are structured to give more comprehensive mental health treatment in a relatively short period of time. Once you finish your treatment program, you might want to attend 12-step meetings as part of your ongoing recovery process.

In lieu of a 12-step approach to treatment, you might have a treatment program based around holistic therapy, behavioral therapy, or dual-diagnosis therapy. Holistic therapy is meant to treat an entire individual person from their body to their mind and spirit. Behavioral therapy is a way of teaching an individual to use coping skills to deal with their urge to use alcohol. Dual-diagnosis therapy occurs when a person has a comorbid mental disorder that requires treatment in addition to the alcohol use disorder.

Types of Therapy in Recovery

There’s a whole host of different options regarding therapy and your long-term recovery. You might use several different types of therapy, or you might find that one type benefits you more than others. Your treatment plan will be tailored to suit your needs.

Any of these therapy types might be offered in your rehab center or an outpatient facility:

  • Individual therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Expressive therapy
  • Trauma therapy
  • Psychiatric sessions

These therapies can all be broken down by their expectations. Whether you engage in these therapies on an inpatient or outpatient basis depends largely on your personal circumstances. For alcohol use disorders, experts do recommend that detox be medically supervised. This is because the symptoms of withdrawal from alcohol can be potentially life threatening.

Therapy Types Explained

Individual therapy is, as the name implies, therapy that centers on an individual. These sessions will generally be one-on-one with a therapist or counselor. They might involve the aforementioned dual-diagnosis therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, or holistic therapeutic methods.

Family therapy is therapy that you’ll undergo with your family members, or other close loved ones who live with you. This is where you’ll have a chance to talk about past hurts and work through them in a safe environment. You’ll also be able to discuss environmental triggers and put better boundaries in place.

Group therapy is therapy that takes place in a group of people, generally people who also have substance use disorders. If you have a comorbid mental health condition such as depression or anxiety, you may also engage in group therapy with people who suffer from this as well.

Expressive therapy is the kind of therapy that allows you to express yourself and vent your emotions in a healthy way. Writing-related therapies like journaling are a part of this. Also, music therapy and art therapy fall under this umbrella.

Trauma therapy is offered to people whose alcohol use disorder is a way of self-medicating the pain of traumatic experiences. Trauma therapists help people face and overcome trauma-related disorders such as PTSD. Trauma therapy might involve some level of cognitive behavioral therapy in addition to its address of the trauma.

Psychiatric sessions are sessions you’ll have with a psychiatrist, who will be able to diagnose you with any comorbid mental health conditions. They’ll also prescribe medication to treat underlying mental health conditions.

If you have more questions about treatment, or you’re ready to start the recovery process, call 877-978-3148 to speak with one of our trained counselors.