Like many addictive issues, when it comes to alcoholism, there are no one-size-fits-all solutions. For some, alcoholism will be a life-long struggle, while for others (particularly young people) it may be an issue they struggle with for a time before moving on to other things. In some cases, treating an addiction issue early on will carry an individual through for many years, while in others they may need to address their issues on an ongoing basis.

This does not mean, however, that an individual that struggles with alcoholism only for a brief time will not struggle with other forms of addiction. Some alcoholics spend much of their life battling with one singular addiction, while others may simply bounce from addiction to addiction.

Addiction recovery in general, however, is a life-long process and rehab may or may not be a part of that process. Here are two of the most critical factors in determining if rehab is the right course of treatment for alcohol abuse.

Age of individual:

The age at which an individual seeks treatment is a critical factor in managing or overcoming alcoholism. Teens and young adults who get treatment early may be able to deal with some of the underlying causes of alcoholism before the habits and patterns that create a pervasive addiction have a chance to set in.

Most addictions start out as a way of managing pain, but over time, they become more rote habit than anything. Alcohol abuse can become such a deeply ingrained part of a person’s life that they simply can’t imagine life without it, even if they no longer need it to manage pain. When young people seek treatment early, they can often deal with the source of the pain they are self-medicating and may be able to overcome their substance abuse problem before it turns into a habit which becomes an addiction.

Rehab can be a vital part of this process, because it completely removes them from their “normal” life to help them establish new, healthier habits and patterns before their unhealthy ones become deeply ingrained.

Length of addiction:

Not all addiction will start at a young age. Some people may be well into adulthood before they develop an alcohol addiction. Conversely, however, adults who develop an addiction late in life may also develop an addiction far more rapidly. In some cases an individual may do just fine battling their addiction on an outpatient basis or in a group therapy setting. Other times, individuals may need to actually go through a period in a detox facility to prepare them for treatment.

In some cases, starting treatment with a stay in a professional detox facility is a medical necessity, due to the poor physical health that long-term substance abuse can cause. In other cases, treatment in a detox facility is not a medical necessity but is highly advisable. What makes the difference is the chronic nature of addiction.

If an individual has only recently developed an addiction issue, which they address early and seek treatment for, starting their treatment in a professional facility may not be necessary. If, on the other hand, an individual is a life-long addict or is seeking treatment for the first time for a long-term addiction, they may benefit most from undergoing detox treatment before attempting other forms of treatment.

Types of therapy and treatment:

There are a wide range of treatment and therapy options for those struggling with addiction. As a general rule, no two treatment methods will have the same level of effectiveness for any two individuals. Most addiction treatment is a combination of different types of therapy.

In addition, treatment needs can change over time. An individual may seek treatment as a youth or young adult and seem to overcome their addiction, only to have it suddenly reappear later in life. What worked for them as a youth may not be the same treatment that they require in adulthood. Some of the common types of addiction treatment and therapy include:

  • Support groups
  • Group therapy
  • Cognitive and behavioral therapy
  • Spending time in a licensed rehabilitation center
  • Other types of mental and physical health treatments

In some cases, alcoholism may have its roots in other types of untreated or undiagnosed physical or mental health issues. The alcoholism cannot truly be addressed until the underlying issues are addressed. Issues such as depression, bipolar disorder or a schizoaffective disorder are often related to alcoholism as are physical issues such as old wounds or injuries that were not diagnosed or treated properly when they occurred. Sometimes, treatment for alcoholism can reveal these underlying causes, helping the sufferer to address the root issues, rather than just the symptoms.

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