Experts Share: The Secrets of Alcoholism Rehab


It’s no secret that drinking too much can be harmful to your health. But how does it affect you at an emotional level? In fact, many people will tell you that they feel worse when they drink than when they don’t. And if this is true for you, then there’s a good chance you may need help with alcoholism rehabilitation.

We contacted addiction experts at Substance Rehabilitation UK to learn more about the process of assessing alcoholism and creating a tailored alcohol rehab treatment programme.

What Is Alcoholism?

Alcoholism is a condition in which excessive alcohol consumption leads to physical dependence and/or psychological or social problems. It affects approximately 10% of adults in Great Britain.

In the UK, the term ‘alcoholism’ tends to refer specifically to someone dependent on alcohol, most often physically, to function normally. However, internationally, the term is used to describe those who are physically addicted to alcohol and those who have developed other, non-physical addictions to alcohol.


The causes of alcoholism are complex and multi-factorial. Many factors come into play, including genetics, family history, childhood abuse, trauma, stressful life events and environmental influences. Some people develop an addictive personality, while others are genetically predisposed to developing alcoholism. This is why treating alcohol addictions first asks for a comprehensive assessment.

The Full Medical and Psychological Assessment

‘Before we get started, it’s important to know what kind of approach we’ll take during our full medical and psychological assessment together with our addiction therapist,’ say addiction experts from Substance Rehabilitation. The assessment looks at several areas, such as personal circumstances, physical state (including blood pressure, cholesterol levels and weight), genetic makeup, mental state and any previous experiences.

Psychological Assessment

In addition to these personalised assessment elements, there are some questionnaires, such as the renowned CAGE questionnaire, which will be used to assess general alcohol intake and drinking habits.

After completing the assessment, the experts will discuss the situation and goals with the client and their chosen representatives.

What Is a Tailored Alcoholism Programme?

Tailoring means matching the skills and resources available to provide the best possible outcome. For example, if a patient has been diagnosed with depression and alcoholism, an individualised plan might include cognitive behavioural therapy alongside medication.

A tailor-made rehab programme is based on the unique needs of each client. They can also offer a range of therapies and approaches to support clients while they undergo the recovery process. These may include:

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy – CBT helps patients understand how their thoughts, feelings and behaviours relate to one another. By examining negative thought patterns and maladaptive beliefs, individuals can begin to change their behaviour.
  • Motivational Interviewing – MMI is a technique used by therapists to guide patients towards changing unhealthy behaviours through understanding and exploring the pros and cons of changing.
  • Hypnosis – Hypnotherapy can be effective in helping people overcome fears associated with heavy drinking.
  • Relapse Prevention – RPT is a method of preventing relapse by identifying triggers and avoiding situations where substance use could occur.

What Is the Benefit of Aftercare?

Many find that attending aftercare sessions or attending group sessions, after they have completed their alcohol rehabilitation, beneficial for their overall long-term recovery. This is because it provides them with the opportunity to continue learning about their addiction, as well as supporting them emotionally. This is why many clients choose to attend outpatient programmes or attend group meetings after finishing their residential treatment.

Aftercare sessions can be therapeutic, offering the chance to share stories and experiences; however, they may not always be required. It’s up to you whether you attend these sessions.

The benefits of aftercare are:

  • Continuing the healing process.
  • Providing emotional support.
  • Helping you cope when you return home.
  • Preparing you to move forward once your treatment is complete.

Building Trust with Clients

Building client-provider trust begins from the moment someone goes to a residential rehab centre’s website. Here are the questions the answers to which people with alcoholism will be looking for most often when they visit a rehab’s website:

  • What is the treatment model?
  • What kind of treatment does this facility provide?
  • Does it follow one specific approach or do they use more than one?
  • How much time will I spend at the rehab centre?
  • Will I be able to come and go freely?
  • Will I be allowed to see my family and friends?
  • Will I have any special privileges here?
  • What is the treatment philosophy?
  • How extensive is the staff training?
  • Is it focused exclusively on treating addiction or do they treat mental health issues too?
  • If the rehab offers counselling services, what are the qualifications of their counsellors?

If you prepare your website well enough, you will be of use to those seeking help for alcoholism and let your addiction experts focus on assessing and providing treatment, not answering frequently asked questions.

Some rehab providers even have self-assessment questionnaires on their websites, which allow loved ones to check if they have ground for worry. Consider making your own version of the CAGE questionnaire to allow people to review their or their loved one’s symptoms and get a clearer picture.

The Importance of Patient-Staff Ratios

Many facilities offer two-to-one patient-staff ratios. This means that there are twice as many staff members per patient compared to other facilities. What is interesting is that studies show that higher patient-staff ratios correlate to lower rates of readmission. So, while it might not seem like an issue, having low patient-staff ratios could actually hinder your chances of getting permanently sober.

The importance of patient-staff ratios has also been shown in research examining how best to train staff members. For instance, one study found that teaching staff members how to work effectively within two-to-one ratios was associated with better outcomes. Another study suggested that one way to increase success rates is by hiring staff members who have had previous experience working under high patient-staff ratios.

While the number of staff members is important, focusing on this as a sole reason to choose or ignore a treatment option will be a mistake. Look at licenses, previous success stories, media presence and the location and size of the facilities. Going sober is difficult, but can be less so if done the proper way within an environment where you feel safe and secure.

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