Understanding the Misconceptions
With about 17.6 million people in the U.S. suffering from alcoholism or alcohol abuse, there are countless friends, family members and individuals affected by this issue who may be considering rehabilitation. However, many people are hesitant to seek out treatment for themselves or for their loved ones, often because of several common myths surrounding alcoholism treatment.
In order to make a clear and informed decision about rehab options, it’s important to address these misconceptions and understand the actual facts surrounding treatment. Below are some of the most common myths about alcohol abuse rehabilitation.
#1: People Need to Hit Rock Bottom Before Entering Rehab
Many alcohol abusers and alcoholics don’t think their addiction is bad enough to warrant entering rehab. This false idea may actually be exacerbated by loved ones who believe that alcoholics have to hit rock bottom before successfully overcoming their addictions. To further complicate things, friends and family members may have different ideas about what “rock bottom” actually consists of – whether it’s losing a job, hospitalization, a car accident or a divorce – so it may be difficult for loved ones to even agree on whether a person has hit their worst point.
However, even if there were a certain “rock bottom,” people don’t have to be at their worst in order to successfully overcome their addictions. In fact, waiting for someone to reach this level of despair may result in many more years of alcohol abuse. Beyond potentially enduring more family problems and social troubles, alcoholics may also put their bodies through much more abuse if they wait for things to get worse. Long-term alcohol abuse can cause:
- Heart damage
- Liver damage
- Digestive tract bleeding
Even more troubling, waiting for the condition to worsen increases the chances that an alcohol abuser will be involved in accidents that could potentially result in death. In order to avoid these serious problems, it’s best to get help as soon as possible.
#2: Rehab is Too Expensive
Fortunately, there numerous types of alcohol rehabilitation, with various centers offering different price points. The cost of treatment may depend on several factors, including the length of treatment, whether it’s an inpatient or outpatient program, the location of the drug rehabilitation center and the facilities environment and amenities.
If money is a problem, alcoholics and their loved ones can speak with several treatment centers and opt for lower cost options that still provide a good fit. They should also look into other funding sources, as certain insurance providers offer treatment coverage and some employers even provide reimbursement for rehab costs.
Even if alcohol rehabilitation does come at a cost, it’s helpful to take a look at how much money an alcoholic is spending on drinking. There’s a good chance that the money saved from alcohol purchases could end up making up for the cost of a rehab treatment.
#3: All Rehab Centers Are the Same
One of the most common misconceptions is that all alcohol rehabilitations facilities and methods are alike. This assumption can be dangerous, because it often leads alcoholics to believe that treatment will never work for them because they had an unsuccessful treatment attempt in the past.
However, there are many cases in which an alcoholic simply chose a facility that was the wrong fit. If that person then goes on to seek treatment at a rehab center that is more well-suited, it often results in a higher level of success.
The fact is, alcohol treatment centers can come in a variety of sizes and settings and they use numerous philosophies and programs to help clients overcome their addictions.
For example, one program may feature luxury accommodations and place a focus on holistic methods of treatment, which means the treatment addresses participants’ entire well-being, rather than just their physical health. That center may provide yoga, meditation, acupuncture and other activities that supplement traditional therapy.
A different rehab facility may have a relatively simple setting and focus solely on traditional treatment methods, such as counseling and 12-step programs. This particular facility may be located in a more rural setting, with plenty of access to nature and outdoor activities.
While these are just two examples, there are many more qualities that differentiate each individual treatment center. For alcoholics and their loved ones, it’s essential to pay close attention to these variables in order to make a good decision about what rehab facility is the right fit.
#4: Rehab Means Damaging Relationships with Friends and Loved Ones
When some people think about rehab, they picture themselves going away for a long period of time and being isolated from all their friends and family members. However, this does not have to be the case.
Some rehab facilities offer outpatient treatment, which means that a participant doesn’t reside at the treatment center. These types of rehab can be highly effective, but they also give participants the flexibility to return home each night and remain connected to their family members.
Even at an inpatient treatment center, in which recovering alcoholics temporarily live at the rehab facility, family involvement can play an important role in recovery. Some facilities may arrange for regular visits from loved ones. Other centers may allow family members to stay overnight with a patient. In some cases, family members may be invited to participate in certain therapy sessions. There are many options for loved ones to be a part of the rehabilitation process, so alcoholics and their family members should seek out treatment centers that allow for this type of close contact.
#5: Rehab is the Final Step Toward an Alcohol-Free Life
It’s a common misconception that after recovering alcoholics successfully complete rehabilitation, they are completely cured and they can go on with their lives as addiction-free individuals. This line of thinking is so common, that friends and family members of former alcoholics also need to be educated about what life after rehab is like.
The fact is alcoholism is a chronic disease that lasts over the course of a person’s lifetime. That means that even after treatment has concluded, individuals may still have struggles and cravings for alcohol.
The good news is that treatment centers do play an important role in helping people stay alcohol free over the long term. Professional alcohol rehabilitation helps recovering alcoholics break free of substance abuse, addresses the underlying issues behind the addictions and gives alcoholics a framework and the tools for resisting cravings indefinitely.
Not only does rehab set the groundwork for participants to live a sober life, but many programs also offer certain treatment components – such as individual and group counseling sessions – that people can return to over the courses of their lifetimes.
Moving Past the Myths
Not only are these misconceptions are fairly widespread, but they can easily stop a person from seeking out potentially life-saving treatment options. It’s essential for alcoholics and their loved ones to understand the truth about the variety of choices available at treatment centers, so they can find rehabilitation options that work for them and put them on a healthier path as soon as possible.