Alcohol Rehab Programs

Medically Reviewed By Kayla Loibl | Last Edited:  October 02 ,
| 4 Sources

Deciding to go into an alcohol rehab program is a very difficult decision to make. Many times, a person is ordered in a drug alcohol rehab program by the court or compelled to enter a program by their employer. Other times, family members pressure addicts to get treatment.

For treatment to be successful, though, the alcoholic has to engage in the program. They have to decide that they need help and be willing to accept the help available.


It is difficult for treatment centers to keep accurate statistics of their success rates because they are often unable to keep tabs on patients after they complete - or fail to complete - the program.

However, many believe the success rate to be around 50%. Why is it so low? Probably because many alcoholics are not in treatment because they want to be. The success rate for those who entered treatment willingly is probably much higher.

The success rate is lowest for adolescents. About 70% of them relapse during the first year after completing treatment. They are the group most likely to drop out of treatment before completing the program, as well.

Successful Treatment

Despite these rather grim statistics, there is good help available for those who wish to avail themselves of it. There are many excellent alcohol rehabilitation centers in the United States and around the world.

There are several factors that make an alcohol rehabilitation program successful:

  • Care is tailored to the individual. It is not a one-size-fits-all approach.
  • They treat the whole person, not just the drinking problem. They focus on a person’s strengths, not their weaknesses.
  • They take a comprehensive approach. They address the physical/medical problems caused by alcohol, the mental and emotional issues both leading up to and caused by drinking, and the spiritual side of things.
  • They use a variety of rehabilitation treatment techniques, including individual and group therapy and self-help groups like Alcoholics Anonymous. They may also offer art therapy, music therapy, and other complementary treatments.
  • They teach new coping skills, stress management skills, and relapse prevention skills.
  • The family is involved in treatment. This is particularly important for adolescents.
  • They offer several levels of treatment, to meet the needs of the individual. Inpatient care is available. Intensive outpatient care (where you go for several hours, several days per week) and outpatient care (where you attend a couple of sessions per week) are both available.
  • There is an aftercare component. The patient continues to follow up with the rehab center for several months or more after completing the main treatment program. This helps them stay on the right track.

When selecting a rehab center, you should ask about these factors. That way you will have the greatest chance of successful treatment.

You should also remember that your attitude plays an important role in your treatment. You should keep an open mind and be willing to learn new ways of coping with your problems. You should also be willing to participate in all components of the program, even though some might seem uncomfortable, such as talking in front of a group.

You should be aware, though, that relapse can occur. There is no shame in seeking help a second time if you need it.

More about alcohol rehab on our types of alcoholism therapy page

Alcoholism home page

Lead Writer/Reviewer : Kayla Loibl

Licensed Medical Health Professional 

I am a Mental Health Counselor who is licensed in both New York (LMHC) and North Carolina (LPC). I have been working in the Mental Health field since 2015. I have worked in a residential setting, an outpatient program and an inpatient addictions program. I began working in Long Island, NY and then in Guelph, Ontario after moving to Canada. Read More