As a struggling alcoholic, should you attend an inpatient detox, or should you seek out another form of treatment for your problem?
My belief is that you should definitely seek out inpatient treatment, for a number of different reasons. There are alternatives out there, and in some cases these alternatives do make sense, but for the vast majority of alcoholics, going to a real supervised detox makes the most sense.
Let’s take a look and see why.
1) Inpatient treatment is safer than the alternatives – trying to detox from alcohol outside of a medical setting can not only be dangerous, but it can actually be fatal. Yes, you can die from not taking a drink, because alcohol withdrawal can be extremely hard on the body in a number of different ways. For example, many people will suffer from seizure activity during alcohol withdrawal, and some people will get this even if they have NEVER had a seizure before in their life.
Go to a rehab and look at the beds in the detox area, and some of them will have rails on them with safety pads. Ask the nurses why there are rails on the beds. They will say “because some people have a seizure history, and are alcoholic.” In that case, you do everything you can to prepare for a potential seizure, because it becomes very likely.
Also, the body can become terribly dehydrated during alcohol withdrawal, and certain other changes occur (such as a potassium drop). This can complicate things even further and lead to other conditions.
2) Inpatient rehab offers better results than other forms of treatment – if you go to an outpatient treatment program, or some other type of treatment other than inpatient, then you will notice that there is less success in those programs compared to an inpatient rehab.
Because inpatient treatment is a controlled setting, and a controlled environment, and it pretty much insures success at least while the alcoholic is checked in for detox. At the very least, this forms a strong foundation for recovery, and gives the alcoholic a fighting chance in discovering their new path to sobriety.
With many other forms of treatment that are conducted on an outpatient basis, the alcoholic sometimes never even really gets a chance to sober up, as they are fighting constant temptation to relapse. This makes progress of any sort in sobriety difficult to near impossible. Depending on how much they are prone to triggers and urges with their drinking, anything other than an inpatient setting really spells disaster.
3) Inpatient detoxification offers a break from environmental factors, and puts the alcoholic in a positive learning environment – this is really what recovery is all about, the changes that are put forth in a new way to live that have the power to change outcomes for the recovering alcoholic. Simply being in rehab and getting away from negative outside influences can have a tremendous impact, not to mention the positive energy that the alcoholic will receive from others who are trying to recover around them.
There is a certain camaraderie in treatment centers that you do not get in an outpatient basis. You have to be in treatment, sleeping there overnight, and actually living with other recovering alcoholics in order to really appreciate the dynamics of the relationships that develop in treatment. This is how real recovery occurs, when people bond in their common cause and tell each other stories and experiences that can strengthen and help each other. The only type of treatment that produces these relationships quickly is in an inpatient setting. You have to be living in treatment for a short while, with others, in order to truly open up and allow yourself to start healing in recovery.