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Alcoholism treatment generally occurs over 3 distinct stages: detoxification, rehabilitation and continuing care. Each stage is important - and those that exit treatment without following through with a continuing care program are at greater risk of relapse.

Although alcohol abuse and alcoholism are major problems in America, only a small percentage of people that need help, ever get it.

Alcohol Treatment Statistics

  1. According to the National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, just over 7.9 million Americans are alcohol dependent (addicted to alcohol) and a further 9.67 million Americans abuse alcohol
  1. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) only about 2.5 million Americans got treatment for an alcohol use problem in 2006, (the most recent year data has been collected) 1

Of the 18.4 million Americans abusing or addicted to alcohol, only 2.5 million will get any form of alcohol treatment in any given year.  2

The 3 Stages of Alcohol Rehab

According to the American Psychological Association, addiction treatment occurs in 3 stages:

  1. Detoxification/Stabilization
  2. Rehabilitation
  3. Continuing Care

An alcohol rehab program will offer these 3 stages of care.

  1. Most alcoholics will need to first participate in a medical detox program prior to entry into the rehabilitation phase.
  2. The residential period in rehab is the rehabilitation phase, during which we learn about addiction and about why we drink and we’re taught techniques to help overcome cravings and avoid relapse. The rehabilitation phase may continue with a step down program into day treatment or an intensive outpatient program.
  3. The third phase, the continuing care phase, occurs at the end of the rehabilitation phase and consists typically of outpatient sessions and participation in community 12 steps groups. Continuing care programs help those new to recovery maintain the gains made during the rehabilitation phase and deal with stressors and temptations as they arise, with professional support. Ideally, continuing care should last for at least a year following the rehabilitation period.
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Page last updated Aug 30, 2010

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