Alcohol abuse and alcoholism are both prevalent in our society. Alcohol is a socially acceptable type of drug, as well as being legally and readily available. It is therefore not surprising that too many people go from having the occasional drink with friends to actually needing alcohol in order to get through their day to day life. Alcoholism is classed as a chronic and progressive disease. Treatment is available but will require commitment to a life of abstinence. It is only one of the few substances in which someone can generally only be helped if they are ready to accept help. That being said, as the loved one of someone who abuses alcohol, there are things that you can do to make this process easier.

Whether you are looking for alcohol rehab and treatment for yourself or for someone you love, you will quickly find that there are many different options out there. This is due to the fact that every individual has specific and different needs. Usually, however, the longer people have abused the substance, and the higher the amount consumed, the longer they will need to stay in intensive treatment.

Regardless of how long a program lasts, in terms of months or weeks, what is even more crucial for true recovery is follow up and aftercare, and continuing support. A good quality alcohol rehab and treatment program addresses the issue of drinking itself, but it also looks at the emotional issues and life problems that people have that may have contributed to their drinking problem in the first place.

What to Look for in Alcohol Rehab & Treatment Facilities

Once you start to search for rehab and treatment facilities, you are likely to come across advertisements for settings that look more like five star vacation resorts, with beautiful views and tranquil settings. These amenities certainly exist, but there are certain things that are incredibly important. What you should look for is not how nice something looks, but rather whether the facility is properly licensed, how high the quality of the program’s care is, what aftercare programs they offer, and what the credentials of the staff are. In other words, look for:

  • The license and accreditation of the program itself. Every state accredits rehab facilities, so you can easily check this. Do make sure that all the professionals employed here are trained in addiction and/or mental health, and that they are properly licensed.
  • How effective the treatment methods are. They should be more than happy to provide you not just with their success rates, but also with their definition of success. Do also look at whether any outside agencies recommend the facility.
  • What the facility offers in terms of aftercare, as this will help to prevent relapse. There should be a full program available to which patients seamlessly transfer. They may also refer patients to community support groups and other recovery services. Additionally, a full discharge plan should be written up before someone is able to leave the program.

Types of Alcohol Rehab & Treatment Programs

The first type is residential treatment. This means that the recovering alcoholic will actually live in the facility and undergo daily treatment. Usually, these programs last between 30 and 90 days, although lengthier stays are possible.

Partial Hospitalization

Partial hospitalization is also available. This is necessary for those who have to be monitored medically, but whose living environment is stable. Usually, people visit the hospital between three and five times per week, for between four and six hours each time.

Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)

In the IOP, the patients do not have to live in the facility, but they do have to be able to commit a significant amount of their time. Usually, at least three weekly meetings of between two and four hours are required. The focus of IOPs is mainly on relapse prevention, done in such a way that patients can continue to go to work or to school.


Counseling is also available for individuals, groups, and families. This is most effective if offered together with another form of treatment, or as part of the aftercare program. Through counseling therapy, recovering alcoholics learn to identify what the root of their problem is, as well as learn to repair relationships and better ways of dealing with certain triggers.

Sober Living Treatment

There is also sober living treatment, which usually follows residential treatment. Here, a recovering alcoholic lives together with people in similar situations in an environment that is supportive and completely drug and alcohol free. These facilities are very important for people who don’t have anywhere to go, or who would relapse very quickly were they to return to their usual environment.

Brief Interventions

Brief interventions exist but these are only suitable for people who are not yet abusing alcohol, but who are headed that way. Here, people have to visit a health care professional several times to talk about the dangers of alcohol, and to develop strategies to help them start to drink less.

Where and How to Find Alcohol Rehab & Treatment

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has started the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA), through which a full list of certified, licensed, alcohol rehab and treatment facilities can be found. Their database can be accessed by going to the SAMSHA website and using their facility locators. Alternatively, they also have a referral helpline, available in English, Spanish, and for the hard of hearing.

Additionally, every state should have a Substance Abuse Agency. Here, you should be able to find localized listings, as well as information about accreditation. Most also have toll-free hotlines. Alternatively, you can speak to your therapist or your doctor about recommended programs.

How to Pay for Alcohol Rehab & Treatment

The cost of alcohol rehab and treatment varies greatly depending on things such as your insurance, your treatment needs, and the facility itself. However, paying for treatment should not be a barrier to receiving it. As such:

  • Speak to your insurance carrier, as alcoholism is seen as a mental health issue and all insurance carriers must cover this to an extent since the Affordable Care Act.
  • Look at whether payment arrangements can be made with the facility.
  • Search the SAMSHA database for possible grants.