Alcohol Addiction

Rehab for Alcoholism

Castle Craig Is One of the UK’s Leading Treatment Centres for Alcohol Addiction

Alcoholism is not only characterised by the number of units you drink but how your body and mind become physically and mentally dependent on alcohol to function.

This page aims to set out everything you need to know about alcohol addiction; the options available for treatment, what they entail, how effective they are, and how Castle Craig can help.

If you have questions, you can pick up the phone and speak to one of our team members. They are on hand 24/7 to answer your questions and give you advice on the right course of action. Castle Craig has been treating people suffering from alcohol addiction for over 35 years and we’ve helped many people through this and into a new life in recovery.

What is an Alcoholic?

An Alcoholic Is someone who has a physical and mental dependence on alcohol. We here at Castle Craig view alcoholism as a brain disease. Alcoholism is a serious psychological illness defined as the inability to stop drinking despite potential or actual, negative consequences.

Some healthcare and mental health organisations have stopped using the word “alcoholic” because it has become a negative label used to shame people who have drinking problems. Instead, you may see these organisations refer to the person as having an alcohol use disorder.

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is simply defined as “problem drinking that becomes severe.”

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Alcoholism has many causes including genetics, trauma, social and environmental factors. This is often referred to as the biopsychosocial model of addiction.

4 Common Characteristics to Describe What Is an Alcoholic

You’ll find many definitions of “alcoholism” and “alcoholic,” most of which have these four characteristics in common:

  • Physical compulsion or need: Without a drink, withdrawal symptoms appear; you have the inability to stop or cut down on drinking.
  • Mental obsession: You lack control and have abnormal cravings or feelings of irritability in the absence of alcohol.
  • Negative impact: Drinking causes or contributes to problems with relationships, jobs, and finances.
  • Lying, hiding, or downplaying: You’re dishonest with yourself and others about how much and how often you drink.

Stages of Alcoholism

Does alcoholism fall on a spectrum? Are there different types of alcoholism? Is there a difference between being a heavy drinker and an alcoholic?

The NIAAA presents five subtypes of alcoholics, but again, this is for informational purposes only, not to cast blame or apply labels to you or someone you care about. Medical professionals use these subtypes to understand an alcoholic’s history and prescribe treatments. NIAAA’s subtypes are based on age and drinking behaviours:

  • Young adult subtype: 32% of alcoholics are defined as young adults who binge drink.
  • Young antisocial subtype: 21% of alcoholics, their average age is 26, they have an antisocial personality disorder, and they likely started drinking in their teens.
  • Functional subtype: 19% of alcoholics are middle age, educated, working, and consume five or more drinks every couple of days.
  • Intermediate familial subtype: 19% of alcoholics started drinking in their teens, and they have family members with drinking problems.
  • Chronic severe subtype: 9% of alcoholics, mostly men with high rates of depression, divorce, financial problems, and other drug use. Alcohol has completely taken over their lives.

The Health Department of the United Kingdom presents nine types of drinkers, all of which are based on motivations, rather than the NIAAA’s age and behaviours.

  • Border dependent: Has a combination of motives described below.
  • Bored drinker: Drinks to make up for the absence of people.
  • Community drinker: Alcohol forges a sense of security, meaning, and social networking.
  • Conformist drinker: The pub is their second home, and they feel a strong sense of community here.
  • Depressed drinker: Alcohol is comfort and self-medication.
  • De-stressed drinker: Alcohol is used to relax.
  • Hedonistic drinker: Drinking releases inhibitions.
  • Macho drinker: Drinking asserts their masculinity and status; it provides false confidence.
  • Re-bonding drinker: Alcohol is a shared connector for this busy person.

Is My Loved One an Alcoholic?

How much and how often does a person have to drink in order to fit the definition of an alcoholic or as having AUD? You’re doing the right thing by researching the answers to that question, but take care with how you use the information.

The NIAAA and FAST assessments can help you identify whether your loved one has a drinking problem. However, never use the information you find on the internet as a weapon to accuse, justify, or, even worse, shame someone about their drinking. We have resources on our website that can help you understand things to remember when talking to an alcoholic friend or family member.

Getting Help

Drinking – even quite heavily – is so common that it’s often hard to tell when it has become an issue. However, alcohol dependence takes a serious toll on all aspects of your life: your physical health, relationships, mental health, career, and finances. If you’re here because you’re experiencing any of the following problems, your concern is completely understandable – and it may be a good idea to look into getting alcohol addiction treatment

  • Strained relationships with your partner, friends, or family 
  • Drinking more than you plan to or being unable to stop once you start
  • Failed attempts to cut back or stop drinking
  • Missing work due to hangovers
  • Continuing to drink despite its negative outcomes in your life

If you’re the partner, friend, or family member of someone who’s struggling with problem drinking, you might be worried about their safety – and you’re likely feeling the stress on your relationship. Signs of alcohol abuse to watch for include: 

  • Choosing to spend more time with drinking friends 
  • Hiding or lying about the amount or frequency of drinking 
  • Alcohol-related health complications
  • Job loss
  • Legal trouble

It’s important to remember that the behaviours mentioned above aren’t unique to your loved one but are a part of how an alcohol use disorder works. The good news is, our team of addiction professionals understands this very well and has a wealth of resources at their disposal to help you and your family safely overcome alcohol addiction. 

Levels of Alcoholism

Castle Craig has over 35 years of experience helping people with addiction rehab. We understand how addiction works and how to overcome it. We offer a professional, step-by-step programme with proven results, to help you and your loved one escape the cycles of addiction and reconnect to the joys of life.

Before Proceeding, Please Remember These Three Things

  1. Problems with alcohol are more common than you think
  2. Things can get better (and will if you take the right steps)
  3. Nobody should go through this alone.

Life may feel out of control now, but it’s entirely possible to repair damaged relationships, restore your health and be free from the pain of addiction – and an alcohol rehab clinic can help you get there.

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How to Overcome Alcohol Addiction

The recovery journey follows a treatment plan that involves some combination of the following formats. While longer-stay residential treatment is recommended, other options may be more practical depending on your circumstances. 

What Is an Alcoholic

Inpatient (Residential) Rehab 

In inpatient alcohol rehab, clients receive treatment onsite at Castle Craig, usually for at least 5 weeks (though evidence shows longer stays improve treatment outcomes). Our residential rehab offers complete removal from triggers, the structure of a full, recovery-focused daily routine, and the highest level of clinical support. 

Outpatient Rehab 

Outpatient alcohol rehab allows you to attend an intensive schedule of therapy at a separate facility while living at home. This is often a more convenient, cost-effective format for those unable to take time off of work to attend residential treatment. It also allows clients to continue receiving family support, as well as the chance to practise their recovery skills right away. 

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)

AA is based on the principles of the 12 Steps, a broadly applicable and widely used treatment model that offers a step-by-step process for working through, and learning to manage, addiction. AA offers an extremely valuable fellowship in the form of a sober community. Clients attend meetings during residential treatment and continue to do so afterward as a critical component of aftercare.

If you’re still unsure as to which treatment path is right for you, call us today. Our team is available to provide more information about treatment options to get you started.  

Castle Craig’s Treatment Model for Alcohol Addiction

Because of our knowledge that alcohol addiction is a primary, chronic brain disease and that patients must undergo an abstinence-based programme in order to achieve long-lasting recovery, we follow the 12 Step treatment model, along with other therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy, dialectical behaviour therapy, and EMDR.

Often alcoholism is accompanied by other conditions such as depression, eating disorders, or sleeping disorders. We take into account the comorbidity of these conditions in creating personalised treatment programmes.

Our proven addiction treatment model for a life free from alcohol addiction is made up of evidence-based therapies for the treatment of addiction. Our programme includes:

The recovery process is assisted by a combination of exercise and a healthy diet, in peaceful, private surroundings. We assign a personal focal therapist who works with patients throughout their stay, conducts one-on-one therapy sessions, and shapes their aftercare plan alongside the Head Nurse and Consultant Psychiatrist.

What Happens During Treatment? 

Alcohol rehab typically involves the following steps: 

1. Acknowledging a Problem with Alcohol 

Denial is an innate characteristic of alcohol addiction, especially among high-functioning alcoholics. The first step to making real change is to see addictive behaviour for what it is.

Recognising the signs of alcohol addiction can be difficult in a culture where heavy drinking is normalised. But the truth is, there is no safe level of alcohol use: the guidelines for moderate drinking are far lower than most people realise, and even at those levels can pose a threat to your health. 

Those with a high-functioning alcohol use disorder may find it even harder to come to terms with their alcohol abuse because their ability to carry out their responsibilities makes it easier to ignore the harm it’s causing. 

You may be showing signs of alcohol addiction if: 

  • You have intense cravings or withdrawal symptoms when you don’t drink 
  • Your family or friends have expressed concern about your drinking 
  • Your health, career, finances, or relationships have been affected by drinking 
  • You spent an inordinate amount of time planning for, or recovering from, binge drinking
  • You feel jittery or anxious when you can’t drink 
  • You’re unable to stop drinking when you try 

Beginning to more clearly see the problems that lie in your relationship with alcohol is an important first step towards changing it. 

2. Assessment for Alcohol Addiction

When you contact Castle Craig, your first step will be to undergo an assessment. This helps your treatment provider understand your current state, determine the best course of action and begin formulating a plan. You may be asked some basic questions over the phone, and receive more in-depth medical and psychological evaluations when you arrive for treatment. 

A robust alcohol rehab assessment, such as the one provided at Castle Craig, will cover the following: 

  • Phone assessment: You’ll speak with an admissions case manager, who will gather a basic overview of your situation, and your drinking or drug use history and help you understand your options. We’ll also answer any questions and address any special concerns you may have. 
  • When you join treatment the nursing team and onsite doctors conduct a full medical examination which includes examining your medical history and taking blood and urine samples as well as assessing vital functions such as blood pressure; 
  • A qualified psychotherapist conducts a full biopsychosocial assessment, chronological substance abuse/behaviour history, and a comprehensive needs assessment – all of which take a few hours over a couple of days. This detailed analysis helps to identify underlying mental health conditions that are exacerbating the addiction, pinpoint treatment goals and objectives, and to shape your personalised treatment plan;
  • A psychiatrist may also need to conduct a psychiatric assessment.

Your assessment must be performed by a qualified specialist and follow medical and psychological guidelines for determining the nature of your addiction. This information serves as the basis of your alcohol rehab treatment plan which allows us to create a clinical diagnosis.

3. Detoxing from Alcohol

Depending on your level and duration of use, alcohol can require medical supervision to safely withdraw from. Medically supervised detox takes place at a dedicated facility, where clients are cared for round the clock by a detox-specialized nursing team. Care consists of close monitoring, soothing withdrawal symptoms, and providing emotional support, and is overseen by a doctor. This stage normally takes about one week but the process of detoxification can last much longer depending on the severity of your addiction. 

The goal of detox is to stabilise your condition before continuing on to deeper therapeutic work. At Castle Craig, our detox facility is onsite, meaning you’re able to become an active part of our recovery community as soon as your condition permits.[EI1] 

It’s important to note that detoxing from certain substances (such as alcohol and opioids) can be dangerous and should never be attempted alone. Also, remember that detox is only the first step. At Castle Craig, we don’t offer detox-only services. We know that in order to give yourself the best chance at recovery, you must address the psychological aspects of addiction, as well as the physical.

4. Primary Treatment: Residential Alcohol Rehab

After detox, you’ll be ready to start primary alcohol rehab treatment. If at all possible, it’s recommended to attend an inpatient alcohol rehab, as this allows for:

  • A necessary break from the environmental factors that trigger you to use
  • A broader perspective on your day-to-day life
  • More thorough immersion in your treatment programme
  • Peer support, group therapy, and connection to a sober community

Residential alcohol rehab consists of a daily schedule of coursework, group therapy, individual counselling, and complementary wellness therapies. Bonds formed with others in the recovery community are an essential part of the on-campus experience, as these facilitate treatment progress, serve as a model for positive relationships and create a valuable support network. Depending on the facility, your partner or family members may attend therapy with you or be involved in your treatment. 

While inpatient rehab requires a more significant investment than outpatient or online options, addiction professionals agree that this is largely offset by its superior effectiveness and subsequent prevention of addiction-related expenses. 

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Castle Craig’s treatment approach is based on the Minnesota Model: a clinically proven, abstinence-based model grounded in 12 Steps. After your initial assessment, you’ll receive a personalised treatment plan which is then overseen by your primary therapist and carried out by a team of addiction-specialised psychiatrists, doctors, nurses, and therapists. Throughout treatment, your plan will be regularly reviewed and adjusted according to your needs. 

This stage usually takes one to three months.

Alcohol Rehab Therapies 

At Castle Craig, we emphasise the treatment of the whole person. Evidence-based clinical methods are supported by a healthy diet, exercise, and complementary wellness techniques. Therapies used in treatment may include:   

  • Individual and group addiction counselling 
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
  • Trauma and PTSD therapy
  • Couples therapy 
  • Family therapy 
  • Experiential therapies (art, drumming, equine-assisted)
  • Complementary wellness therapies (acupuncture, aromatherapy, mindfulness meditation, massage, hyperbaric oxygen therapy)
  • Recovery and life skills coaching 
  • Addiction psychoeducation 
  • Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings 

Outpatient Treatment

If residential treatment isn’t available to you, alcohol rehab can also be adapted to an outpatient setting. In outpatient treatment, you’ll attend a regular schedule of individual and group counselling. Many clients choose to attend outpatient rehab as a step down when they’re ready to leave residential treatment but still need a high level of support for their sobriety.

5.    Relapse Prevention 

While in alcohol rehab treatment, you work with your therapist to create a relapse prevention plan, which supports you in re-entering your community after you leave rehab. This includes understanding your triggers, creating a support network, and learning skills for healthy coping, stress management, and dealing with life’s inevitable challenges.

6.    Continuing Care

Also known as ‘aftercare’, continuing care entails additional support for sobriety after you leave residential treatment. This usually includes some combination of:

  • Group and individual therapy sessions at an outpatient alcohol rehab centre
  • Continued counselling with an addiction-specialised therapist in your local area
  • AA and NA meetings 
  • Other community support groups 

Aftercare is an important part of the recovery process, and having the right support in the months following rehab is crucial. At Castle Craig, we offer a programme of six months of aftercare with our outpatient clinic, CATCH Recovery, to ensure all clients receive the support they need transitioning back into everyday life.  

For more information on alcohol detox, alcohol rehab, or continuing care treatment options, our team is available to speak. Call us on 0808 271 7500.

How Do I Choose the Right Treatment for Alcoholism?

Remember, rehab admission counsellors have a wealth of information on treatment possibilities and are equipped to help you make the right decision for your circumstances. Contact us to learn more.  

Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of different treatment alcohol rehab options, and who they may best be suited for. 

Pros and Cons of Inpatient (Residential) Alcohol Rehab 

Pros: Inpatient rehab offers the highest level of care available and is the option most recommended by addiction treatment professionals. Residential settings provide round-the-clock medical care, clinical support, and a full schedule of therapeutic activities. Care is delivered via a highly personalised, systematic plan, while complimentary wellness therapies make the treatment process more comfortable. This intensive option is designed to remove you from your using environment and create space to focus entirely on your recovery.

Cons: Residential rehab is more resource-intensive than other options and requires you to take time off work or school, as well as spend time away from your family. It also requires travel to the centre, which may or may not be located near you. 

Who it’s for: 

Inpatient alcohol rehab is best for those who:

  • Need medically supervised detox
  • Have co-occurring mental health disorders
  • Have been diagnosed as high-risk or have a history of self-harm
  • Have tried lower levels of alcohol addiction treatment unsuccessfully 
  • Find that their family life contributes to their addiction issues 
  • Need higher levels of privacy  
  • Can take one to three months away from other obligations to focus on recovery

Pros and Cons of Outpatient Alcohol Rehab 

Pros: More affordable and convenient than inpatient treatment, outpatient alcohol rehab allows you to live at home and continue receiving the support of your partner, family, and friends while attending treatment. Scheduling is usually designed for working people, with counselling hours that accommodate busy schedules. Outpatient clinics are typically located in city centres, making them easily accessible by commute. Attending treatment while remaining in your home environment allows you to put your recovery skills to use immediately. 

Cons: Outpatient rehab is far less intensive than inpatient treatment, typically consisting of two to three therapy sessions per week. Care may not be as individualised or comprehensive as in residential rehab, and continuing to live at home can leave you exposed to the people, places, and things that trigger you to use. If your home environment is unstable, inpatient treatment may be a better option. 

Who it’s for: 

Outpatient alcohol rehab is best for those who:

  • Are high-functioning and able to continue meeting work, school, and/or family obligations
  • Don’t need a retreat from their current living situation 
  • Have a stable and supportive home environment 
  • Can cope with stress while working through the treatment process

Pros and Cons of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)

Pros: Alcoholics Anonymous is free and widely available, with over 118,000 chapters worldwide. AA follows the same principles as 12-Step alcohol rehab programmes, offering an opportunity to continue building on the work you completed in treatment. AA sponsorship and community support can serve as healthy counterpoints to alcohol-based friendships and strained family dynamics. Learning from others’ experiences, and sharing your own, helps break down barriers and feelings of isolation. 

Cons: While AA is a beneficial component of the recovery journey, it’s not an adequate substitute for personalised therapy. AA doesn’t provide the same level of intensiveness or individualised care found in more structured alcohol rehab programmes, and its open format means anyone can attend, regardless of how they affect the group dynamic. While most modern AA groups have adapted to be more secular, some may struggle with the emphasis on spirituality and ‘higher power’.

Who it’s for: Alcoholics Anonymous is recommended to all recovering addicts as continuing part of recovery practice. Clients typically begin attending meetings while in primary treatment and continue their attendance indefinitely as a way to support lifelong recovery.

If you have any questions about these treatment options, our staff is standing by to help you make an informed decision. 

How Long Does Alcohol Rehab Treatment Take? 

Because addiction is considered a lifelong, chronic illness, recovery is a lifelong practice. While inpatient alcohol rehab takes a minimum of one month, if you have a dual diagnosis such as trauma, we recommend longer stays of up to 90 days as this time frame allows for a more supported transition to sobriety. After rehab, recovery is maintained via support groups, therapy, and periods of stepped-up care as needed. 

What Happens in Alcohol Rehab?

In alcohol rehab, you’ll attend a daily schedule of individual counselling, group sessions, complementary wellness therapies, and community activities. You’ll also have scheduled downtime for study and relaxation, and have access to medical care should you need it.

How Does Alcohol Rehab Work?

During alcohol rehab treatment, you’ll work through an individualised treatment plan with the help of dedicated therapists and support staff. You’ll learn strategies for staying sober in the long-term, and form relationships with peers who will support your recovery journey for life. Many alcohol rehab clinics use the 12 Step philosophy, a clinically proven treatment approach recommended by addiction professionals worldwide. 

What is Alcohol Rehab Like?

Alcohol rehab takes place in an accepting, respectful, and non-judgmental environment. Residential alcohol rehab is designed to be a retreat from daily life, where you can gain perspective, find peace of mind, and focus entirely on your path to sober well-being. At Castle Craig our private clinic in the beautiful hills of the Scottish Borders sets a calming stage for beginning your recovery journey. 

How Can Alcoholics get Into Rehab? 

All it takes to start your recovery journey is a willingness to make a change. And contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to hit rock bottom for that to happen. The first step is to talk to an admissions advisor, who will explain the treatment process and help get you started. 
In the words of our former patient Caroline, “I believe this course would benefit every one of us. If you have the opportunity to do it, take it!”

How Much Does Alcohol Rehab Cost?

The cost of alcohol rehab depends on the treatment route you choose and the level of care you receive. 
Treatment costs include the type of bedroom option e.g. private ensuite room, or shared bedroom. Costs may vary depending on whether you have private healthcare insurance, are funded by the NHS, or are paying privately. 
Call us for more detailed information about pricing and to receive a quote for your preferred treatment option. 

The Journey to Recovery Starts Now

If an alcohol use disorder is causing your life to spin out of control, it’s absolutely critical to get help as soon as possible. The consequences of alcohol abuse only escalate with time, and alcohol detox should be performed only under the safe supervision of a specialised medical professional.

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