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Alcohol Rehab – First Step To Recovering From Alcoholism

Alcohol rehabs involve more than just “drying out” and then never taking a drink again.

Most residential alcohol rehab centers provide in-house detoxification services directed by physicians, nurses and psychiatrists who monitor the patient’s mental and physical health throughout detox.

Medications may provided to patients for relief of alcohol withdrawal symptoms. For example, Acamprosate and Naltrexone help reduce the anxiety, restlessness and cravings for alcohol during detox while anti-anxiety, antidepressants and seizure medicines are given to long-term alcoholics suffering delirium tremens, severe muscle tremors and mental illnesses.

Admission Process

When admitting new patients to an inpatient alcohol facility, substance abuse professionals generally rely on a standardized assessment questionnaire called the Clinical Institute Withdrawal Assessment of Alcohol (CIWA). The CIWA is designed to provide guidelines supporting the consistent and safe management of alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Included on the evaluation are questions concerning a patient’s;

  • Rate of alcohol intake
  • How long they have been an alcoholic
  • Present and past medical history involving previous experiences
  • Present psychological state (hallucinations, perceptual abnormalities, level of agitation)


Detox is the first step in the recovery process from alcoholism. Doctors overseeing a patient’s alcohol detoxification will order tests to ensure the body is completely absent of alcohol. Tests may include but are not limited to;

  • Blood alcohol level (BAC)
  • Liver functioning
  • Complete blood count (CBC)
  • Magnesium blood tests (low levels of magnesium may also indicate cirrhosis, pancreatitis, excessive insulin and conditions conducive to the onset of delirium tremens)

Inpatient vs. Outpatient

Learning to live happily without needing to drink is what alcohol treatment is about. Inpatient alcohol rehab centers provide private rooms for clients participating in intense, personalized recovery programs at the facility. Once physical and mental health is returned to the patient, they will begin a rigorous treatment program comprised of psychotherapy, individual and group counseling, psychoeducation about the disease of alcoholism and holistic/experiential activities.

Inpatient programs is strongly indicated for those who have tried unsuccessfully to beat their addiction using outpatient programs. Inpatient treatment programs remove clients from stressors (other alcoholics, neighborhood bars, dysfunctional families) that contribute to their alcoholism and strengthen their ability to focus only on defeating their alcoholism.


Outpatient programs may be indicated for patients experiencing Stage I or Stage II of alcohol withdrawal. Alcohol abusers participating in outpatient programs visit the rehab center every day for several hours of counseling and group therapy. They are usually prescribed medication to suppress cravings for alcohol such as Antabuse, a drug that inhibits liver metabolization of alcohol. If a recovering alcoholic taking Antabuse drinks, they will experience cramping, sweating, nausea and other unpleasant side effects. Antabuse cancels the pleasurable sensations produced by alcohol intoxication and heightens the negative effects to help deter relapse.

Success Takes Commitment

People who attend a program go through an intensive therapeutic process. To be successful, the person to be willing todo the work and make significant changes to their lifestyle.  Most inpatient alcohol rehab facilities offer 30, 60 and 90 day treatment programs, during which time the patient can leave the program voluntarily if they wish. However, research indicates that the longer a person remains in a substance abuse recovery program, whether it is an inpatient or outpatient program, the greater their chances are of avoiding relapse and maintaining their sobriety.

This list is based on 20 years of experience in the treatment industry. Each of these facilities has their own set of outstanding qualities and attributes including the level of their staff and state of the art quality of their individualized treatment programs.

These alcoholism programs were chosen based on in-depth research, industry reputation, and speaking with some graduates. Each has an outstanding, well-rounded program. Each is unique and offers their own unique qualities and standards of excellence. Some have been in the industry for a long time, others bring a modern, fresh approach. There are other good rehab centers in the country besides these 10. We stand behind these as our “short-list”. Choices we also made based on geographic location, so they were spread throughout the country as much as possible.

This list was created specifically to help people looking for great treatment programs, find them quickly and easily. It is based on in-depth research. They are all inpatient, 30-day type, residential programs.

Each program treats alcoholism and addiction as diseases. The criteria included staff quality, individualized programs, success rate, living facilities, reviews and overall integrity.

  • Programs are listed in alphabetical order by name.
  • Each program’s name is linked to their website.
  • All are accredited by JCAHO

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