Common therapies in alcohol rehab: What to expect

Alcohol rehab plays a key role in guiding people through the process of recovery, employing a range of therapies to address the physical, emotional, and psychological aspects of addiction. We will get into some of the common therapies used in rehabilitation, and what individuals can expect during recovery.



Alcohol detoxification is a critical phase towards recovery from addiction. This process is designed to eliminate alcohol from the body, addressing the dependence that has developed through prolonged drinking. While detoxification is crucial, it should be conducted under the supervision of medical professionals to ensure safety and minimise the risks associated with withdrawal.

The primary goal here is to alleviate these symptoms that occur when an individual abruptly ceases or significantly reduces their alcohol intake. These withdrawal symptoms vary in severity depending on the extent of the individual’s dependence, their overall health, and other factors.

As the body adjusts to alcohol absence, withdrawal symptoms emerge, presenting physical and psychological challenges. Common withdrawal symptoms include tremors, sweating, nausea, and increased heart rate. In severe cases, individuals experience hallucinations, seizures, and delirium tremens, a potentially life-threatening condition characterised by confusion and disturbances in mental function.

The removal of alcohol from the body during detox involves a managed process that considers the individual’s overall health and any existing medical conditions. Medical professionals often use medication to ensure the safety and comfort of the individual undergoing detox.

The duration of alcohol detox typically spans several days to a week. Throughout this period, staff closely monitor vital signs, administer medications, and provide emotional support to help individuals cope.

Beyond the physical, alcohol detox is also the initial step in breaking addiction. By addressing alcohol dependence, individuals transition to the following phases of rehab, such as therapy, with a clearer mind and greater capacity for engagement.

Detox alone is not enough to class as a comprehensive treatment for addiction. Following detox, individuals should engage in therapy to address the behavioural aspects of addiction.

Participation in support groups and similar programmes contributes to sustained recovery and helps individuals build the skills needed to maintain sobriety.


Withdrawal Signs/Symptoms

The intensity of symptoms is dependent upon the degree of alcohol dependency in each case:

  • Tremors: Tremors, or uncontrollable shaking, are a primary manifestation of alcohol withdrawal. These tremors affect various body parts, including hands, and are a response from the nervous system to the absence of alcohol, which it has become accustomed to over time.


  • Sweating: Excessive sweating is a common withdrawal symptom, often accompanying the body’s attempt to regulate its temperature without alcohol. Sweating contributes to feelings of discomfort and may also be associated with increased anxiety.


  • Nausea: The digestive system can be affected during withdrawal, leading to nausea and vomiting.


  • Anxiety: Anxiety is a prevalent psychological symptom. The abrupt stopping of alcohol intake, which often was a coping mechanism, can leave individuals feeling emotionally vulnerable and anxious.


  • Depression: The chemical imbalances induced by chronic alcohol consumption can contribute to the development of depressive symptoms during withdrawal. Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and a general lack of interest or pleasure in activities can be part of this emotional response.


  • Insomnia: Disruptions to sleep patterns are common during alcohol withdrawal, leading to insomnia and overall fatigue. Sleep disturbances can exacerbate other symptoms.


  • Hallucinations: In severe cases of alcohol withdrawal, individuals experience hallucinations, which can involve visual or auditory perceptions that are not based on reality.


  • Seizures: While not a common occurrence, seizures can be one of the most serious and life-threatening complications of alcohol withdrawal. Seizures are indicative of neurological distress and require immediate medical attention.


Experiencing withdrawal symptoms during the detox process can be a challenging experience. Recognising the severity of these symptoms highlights the critical role of rehabilitation in providing the necessary supervision to manage the symptoms safely. The professional guidance offered during detox ensures that individuals receive tailored interventions, including medications when needed, to alleviate the discomfort.



Therapy assumes an essential role in addressing untouched emotional dimensions of addiction. This process will guide individuals through their thoughts, fostering self-awareness and laying the groundwork for sustainable recovery. One-on-one counselling, conducted with confidentiality, offers a safe space for individuals to start introspecting and finding the root causes of their alcohol dependency to seek out a long-lasting solution.

In these counselling sessions, individuals will have help dissecting their experiences, traumas, and triggers that may have fueled their addictive behaviours. The process involves a compassionate and skilled counsellor encouraging open dialogue. Through this, individuals gain insights into the origins of their addiction, leading to eventual permanent change.

Counselling is also a platform to develop coping strategies tailored to the unique challenges one might encounter on the path to recovery. By identifying environmental, emotional, or situational triggers, individuals gain an advantage in offsetting the risk of relapse. The confidential nature of one-on-one counselling fosters trust and openness, crucial to confronting vulnerabilities and working towards achievable solutions.

In addition to traditional counselling, alcohol rehabs often integrate evidence-based therapy to enhance the effectiveness of the treatment process. Two popular therapies are Cognitive-behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical behaviour Therapy (DBT).

Cognitive-behavioural Therapy (CBT) focuses on challenging negative thought patterns and behaviours. This approach helps individuals to recognize the distorted cognitions that contribute to their addictions. By dissecting them, individuals learn to develop healthier coping mechanisms. CBT’s preventive focus on relapse makes it particularly effective in fortifying individuals against setbacks.

Dialectical behaviour Therapy (DBT), a holistic approach, combines cognitive-behavioural techniques with mindfulness strategies. DBT is especially relevant for individuals grappling with impulsive behaviour. It helps to cultivate mindfulness, embrace acceptance, and acquire practical skills to navigate emotions without resorting back to alcohol.

The integration of these evidence-based therapies amplifies the power of rehab. Individuals are equipped with practical tools to navigate their recovery.

Counselling, CBT and DBT guide individuals through addiction towards lasting recovery. By fostering understanding, resilience, and practical coping strategies, these therapeutic interventions help individuals to rewire their psyche.


Holistic Therapies such as Meditation

Beyond conventional interventions, many alcohol rehabilitation centres integrate holistic therapies into their programmes, providing individuals with a diverse range of tools to navigate addiction.

Meditation is a practice deeply rooted in centuries-old cultural and spiritual traditions; it has grown in recognition in modern addiction treatment for its impact on well-being. In the context of recovery, meditation is also known as mindfulness – an attempt to cultivate a heightened awareness of the present, surpassing regrets and anxieties.

Mindfulness meditation encourages individuals to immerse themselves in the present moment, fostering non-judgmental awareness of their thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations. By cultivating this separation, individuals develop deep-rooted emotional resilience, gaining the ability to confront challenging emotions without succumbing to alcohol.

With the inclusion of meditation through regular practice, individuals discover a mental space where addiction is replaced by self-acceptance. This process extends beyond the halting of alcohol use and redefines how they perceive themselves.

Physiologically, meditation has been linked to reduced stress levels, improved sleep quality, and enhanced overall well-being. In the context of recovery, these physiological benefits contribute to a more resilient and balanced foundation upon which individuals can build sobriety.

The spiritual dimension of meditation aligns with the main goal of recovery, which is to unearth a sense of purpose, meaning, and connection to replace crutch substances.

The integration of holistic therapies into alcohol rehabilitation programs acknowledges that recovery is not a one-size-fits-all journey but has to be adapted to individual experiences.


12-step programme

The 12-Step programme, pioneered by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), has evolved into numerous alcohol rehabilitation centres, acting as a guide for individuals navigating addiction. Rooted in spiritual principles, this programme pushes individuals towards making amends with themselves for past mistakes and fostering ongoing support through friendship.

The 12-step philosophy steers individuals through personal responsibility, accountability, and communal support. The program provides a map towards long-lasting sobriety. The holistic approach goes beyond abstinence alone, delving into self-reflection and communal connectivity.

A key part of the 12-step programme is transcending the ego and placing trust in the future. This helps to make individuals feel free from the pressures of self-will, and fostering humility is essential for recovery.

Taking a moral inventory is a pivotal step within the 12 steps. It involves an honest self-examination, encouraging individuals to confront the impact of their actions on themselves and others. This introspection catalyses permanent change.

Central to the programme is ongoing support through fellowship. The communal aspect creates a network of individuals who share a common journey, providing belonging. It is a lifeline during challenges, offering understanding, empathy, and guidance. The shared experiences within the group serve as a source of inspiration, reinforcing that recovery is a collective movement towards a shared goal.

The 12-step programme serves as a methodology for overcoming the challenges of alcohol dependence and as a transformative journey towards a clearer and deeper understanding of oneself and one’s place in the world.



UKAT’s mission is to deliver care and treatment, empowering individuals grappling with addictive disorders to attain life-long recovery. We provide well-maintained and comfortable accommodation in our centres, having supported hundreds of individuals affected by the adverse impacts of addiction.

All our practitioners are highly trained and deeply motivated to guide individuals through transformation.

A dedicated team of medical professionals, from psychiatrists to addiction psychotherapists, are committed to facilitating your stay and ensuring your comfort. Our therapy programme is designed to help you make choices and implement essential life changes.

Our abstinence-based therapies encompass evidence-based approaches, including cognitive-behavioural therapy, trauma therapy, person-centred and motivational groups, life skills workshops, and one-to-one therapies – all rooted in the foundational principles of 12-step.

Undue stress and discomfort can be identified within a secure environment that encourages self-discovery. We aim to assist individuals in working through these challenges, finding stability, and achieving resolution.

Recognising that alcoholism not only impacts the individual but also has enduring effects on families and close friends, we offer support through our Family Groups. These groups provide a platform for those close to the affected individual to discuss the impact of alcoholism on their lives openly.

If alcohol, drugs, or other behaviours have taken a toll on your well-being and your loved ones, our admissions staff are here to assist you.

Throughout your stay, you’ll be able to examine problematic behaviour patterns affecting your quality of life and learn positive coping strategies for ongoing recovery. We aim to guide you on a transformative journey towards a healthier and more fulfilling life.

In conclusion, embarking on recovery from alcohol addiction involves a well-tailored approach, encompassing detoxification, counselling, evidence-based therapies, holistic practices, and community support.

With the right combination of therapeutic interventions and professional support, individuals can navigate the challenges of recovery and build a foundation for a healthier, alcohol-free life. Contact us today.

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