Alcoholism Rehabilitation

Medically Reviewed By Kayla Loibl | Last Edited:  September 15 ,
| 4 Sources

Alcoholism rehabilitation can be a lengthy and difficult process. To be successful, an alcohol rehabilitation program must address two components: the physical aspects of the disease and the emotional issues.

Physical Aspects of Alcoholism Rehab

For those who are used to drinking heavily and who drink every day, suddenly stopping can cause a variety of withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms can range from nausea, headaches, insomnia, and tremors to severe symptoms like seizures. Medications such as benzodiazepines may be given to help deal with withdrawal symptoms.

Depending on the severity of the symptoms, an individual may be able to be treated as an outpatient, or inpatient care may be needed.

In addition to treating the withdrawal symptoms, attention must be paid to the person’s overall health. Many alcoholics are deficient in certain vitamins, and these can be replaced with vitamin supplements.

Some alcohol rehabilitation facilities pay more attention to this than others, so when choosing a treatment center it is good to ask about whether or not they offer a holistic approach to treatment.

Depending on how long the alcoholic has been drinking and the amount of alcohol they usually consume, the liver may be affected. A physician should examine them for liver disease and the appropriate treatment should be prescribed.

Alcoholics may have other health problems as well that have been ignored due to drinking. A thorough physical is recommended.

Emotional Aspects of Alcoholism Rehabilitation

The prevailing belief is that most alcoholics have a genetic predisposition to alcohol dependency, but there are definitely emotional factors to the disease as well. People don’t start drinking heavily without a reason.

Many alcoholics drink to deal with their emotions, such as guilt or depression. The problem is that alcoholism itself leads to these very emotions, causing the person to drink even more.

Alcohol rehabilitation centers must address these emotional issues. Otherwise, the alcoholic will simply relapse.

Treatment centers address the emotional issues of alcoholism in several ways. In group counseling sessions, the alcoholic can get support from others dealing with the same problem. They don’t have to keep their problem a secret anymore. This helps to relieve feelings of guilt and loneliness, issues that may cause the alcoholic to want to drink.

Most alcohol rehabilitation centers also offer individual counseling, and this is very important to recovery. If the treatment center does not offer individual counseling, an outside counselor should be sought. Individual counseling is where the alcoholic can explore the issues that led them to drink in the first place.

Adjunct therapies such as art therapy, music therapy, and movement therapy can also help to address the emotional issues related to alcoholism rehabilitation. These kinds of therapy can tap into emotions not easily dealt with in counseling.

Follow Up Care

Follow up care is an important part of any recovery program. Follow up care often focuses on the emotional aspect of the disease. It is just not possible to address and resolve all of the emotional issues in a relatively short-term stay in an inpatient facility or in the course of outpatient treatment. Follow up care may consist of on-going counseling sessions and/or 12 step meetings.

In addition, the alcoholic may need additional health care services even after the withdrawal symptoms have passed.

A Holistic Approach to Alcohol Rehabilitation

The best alcohol rehabilitation centers use a holistic approach toward recovery. They address both the physical aspects of alcoholism and the emotion aspects of the disease. They utilize a variety of therapies, like those described above.

Treatment centers that do not offer a comprehensive, holistic approach have lower rates of success than those that do. Finding the right treatment center can make all the difference in a person’s recovery.


When choosing an alcohol rehab center, it is important to ask certain questions.

  • How much time does the treatment center devote to individual counseling? 
  • Does the facility offer holistic approaches to treatment? 
  • Will they help you obtain follow up care once you leave, or 
  • do you have to depend on outside resources?

 If you are looking for a long term option, consider extended care facilities that provide housing for clients after their stay in the rehab clinic. While not every client needs this kind of extra support, many find it beneficial. Individualized programs are also available.

These customized plans may include things like nutritional supplements or homeopathic remedies along with psychotherapy and medical detoxification services.

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

More about alcoholism rehabilitation on our alcoholism cure page

Alcoholism home page