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When you’re considering alcohol rehabilitation, you might find yourself overwhelmed by the choice you are making. The idea of rehab can be scary, especially if you’ve never gone to a treatment center before. It helps to have some idea of what to expect. The most important thing to remember is that you’re acknowledging that you have a problem, and a treatment center will help give you the tools to work on that problem. The ultimate goal of a treatment center is to help, not harm. These are the most commonly asked questions about alcoholism and medical detox:

How do you know if you’re an alcoholic?
There is a huge difference between drinking casually and being an alcoholic, but sometimes it’s hard to tell where the line is drawn. The media carries many stereotypes about alcoholism. Maybe you don’t fit the stereotypes, but you still think you might have a problem. How can you draw lines between casual drinking, problem drinking, and alcoholism?

The signs and symptoms of alcoholism will manifest differently in everyone. Here are some of the basic warning signals to watch out for:

You drink alone and secretly rather than socially
You experience mood swings, irritability, depression, and loss of interest in activities
You crave alcohol or drink immediately upon waking up (or both)
You are unable to control or stop your alcohol consumption
You feel guilty after or while drinking
When do you need medical detox?
Most experts concur that detoxing from alcohol at home isn’t a good idea. Bad cases of withdrawal can become life-threatening, and even mild withdrawal can cause extreme levels of discomfort. If you know that you’re an alcoholic, or you feel yourself beginning to experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms after you stop drinking, it’s a good idea to have your detox be medically supervised.

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms include flu-like symptoms, mood swings, anxiety, clamminess, and delirium tremens in severe cases.

How long does detox last?
Most people begin to experience withdrawal symptoms from six to twelve hours following their last drink. However, in serious alcoholics, symptoms might set in as early as two hours following a drink.

The length of time that the withdrawal symptoms last will vary from case to case. The worst symptoms tend to reach their peak within one to three days after the last drink. Though they wane from there, they may persist in mild to moderate forms for weeks.

The length of detoxification depends on a number of factors:

How long and how often the person has been drinking
The person’s age and weight
Any co-occurring health issues like eating disorders or depression
Whether other substances were consumed with the alcohol
Frequently Asked Questions About Treatment Centers
Many people choose to participate in a rehabilitation program following their medical detox. These are the most commonly asked questions about rehabilitation facilities:

What can you bring to a treatment center?
Most rehab centers have lists of the items you should bring on their websites. They may also give you a list of items to pack before you enter your treatment center program. Items usually include clothing and toiletries. You won’t be able to bring anything containing alcohol, certain prescription medications, and other prohibited items. You also might not be able to bring your laptop or cell phone, as the center may like to keep the focus on the treatment center rather than outside influence.

How long do treatment center programs last?
Different programs will last for different periods of time. Outpatient programs involve seeing medical professionals without enrolling in a 24/7 program. A short-term inpatient program will usually last between two and four weeks. Long-term programs may last between three and six months, sometimes up to a year. A residential program involves semi-permanently living at the treatment center. You can talk to your family and your doctor about the type of treatment center program that’s right for you.

Will you have to go to a treatment center if you get a DUI?
If you’re convicted of a DUI, your conviction will generally include some form of the mandatory alcohol treatment center. However, DUI programs tend to be administered on an outpatient basis. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your case, enrolling in an inpatient treatment center program might reduce your charges or lessen your sentence.

Can you have visitors in a treatment center?
For the most part, the answer is yes. Friends and family are considered vital to the healing process. It’s important for you to see the people you love, as this has been proven to be both mentally healthy and motivating.

Most rehabilitation centers will offer family counseling and individual therapy for family members with alcohol problems. This kind of counseling accomplishes a number of things:

You can address and heal past hurts in a safe and controlled environment
You can identify environmental triggers and collaborate to create a safer home environment
You can set boundaries and affirm your familial relationships
Do treatment center centers also offer mental health help?
Yes. Alcoholism is a mental illness that often goes hand-in-hand with other mental illnesses. It’s common for people to use alcohol as a coping mechanism for depression, anxiety, other mood disorders, and personality disorders. Diagnosing these comorbid mental health conditions is important to your recovery. When you understand how your mental health interacts with your alcohol use, you can learn the coping mechanisms to prevent future relapses.

This is why rehab centers will offer individual therapy and group therapy. Many also offer art therapy classes, music therapy classes, and nature-based therapy. You need to treat the mental health condition, not just physical dependence.