Alcohol abuse comes with serious consequences. Many people lose their livelihoods, their relationships, and even their freedom as a result. When they continue drinking despite the many adverse effects that drinking has, they can also lose the ability to stop using alcohol on their own. This is known as alcohol dependence, alcohol use disorder, or full-blown alcohol addiction. Alcohol addiction is currently recognized as a chronic mental health issue. Spending 28 days in a rehab center will certainly give you the opportunity to get sober. In rehab and with medical monitoring and support, you can safely and comfortably detox from alcohol. Your brain and body will begin to rebound from its destructive effects. You’ll also have the chance to learn new coping strategies and find the right resources and tools for keeping your recovery on track. In short, 28 days in rehab is a great start. Managing alcohol use disorder is an ongoing, lifelong effort.
Statistically, people who are most successful in maintaining their sobriety receive the greatest amount of treatment. If you’ve struggled with heavy alcohol use for a long period of time or if you have other risk factors, extending your treatment time is a good idea. Although getting sober is an important accomplishment, learning how to stay that way is the ultimate goal.
How Alcohol Use Disorder Affects Your Brain and Its Chemistry
Both heavy and long-term alcohol use can have serious and potentially long-term effects on the brain and its functioning. When you drink, you’re artificially stimulating your brain’s reward system and tricking it into releasing “feel good” chemicals. These chemicals are called neurotransmitters and they’re what are responsible for the euphoria, relaxation, and increased confidence that you feel when intoxicated.
They’re also responsible for many other functions throughout your body including motivation, coordination, muscle control, and more. Alcohol use largely incites the release of:
- Gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA)
Excessive drinking causes these neurotransmitters to misfire. When this happens, they are often under-produced or produced in abundance. These changes in brain chemistry cause severe physical withdrawal symptoms when alcohol is taken away suddenly. They also cause lasting post-acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS) that can make recovery a challenge long after a person’s physical withdrawal symptoms have abated.
Thus, even after 28 days of sobriety, you may still find yourself facing detox-related:
- Sleep troubles
People who battle PAWS on their own, outside of rehab, and with little to no recovery support are at an incredibly high risk of relapsing. Absent of healthful, feasible strategies for mitigating their psychological discomfort, many people imagine that drinking is the only way to feel better.
Identifying and Addressing the Underlying Causes of Your Addiction Is Important
In 28-day alcohol rehab, you’ll likely spend a large portion of your time detoxing. For moderate alcohol users, physical withdrawal symptoms often peak within 72-hours and abate entirely within five to seven days. However, for heavy drinkers or people who are at high risk of developing severe withdrawal symptoms known as delirium tremens, initial detox can span for one to two full weeks.
A four-week rehab leaves little time for introspection, therapy, and self-work. Stopping alcohol use is only one small part of the recovery process. You also have to find out why you started drinking, to begin with. Identifying the cause of alcohol use disorder and then addressing it at its source decreases your likelihood of returning to self-destructive behaviors.
Common underlying causes of alcohol use disorder include:
- Genetic predisposition
- Co-occurring mental health disorders
- Unresolved guilt or grief
- Past or current trauma
- Feelings of low self-worth
With sufficient time in rehab, you can explore these causes and then mitigate them. If you have co-occurring mental health disorders such as major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, general anxiety disorder, or others, you can receive dual diagnosis treatment that will teach you how to manage your mental health in a safe, sustainable way.
Several Signs You May Need More Time in Rehab
28 days in rehab has set the stage for success for many recovering addicts. For some people, spending just four weeks in addiction treatment proves to be sufficient for creating a solid foundation for recovery. Many of these individuals go on to regularly attend sober meetings, participate in outpatient relapse prevention programs, or join support groups and use other post-treatment recovery services. However, you may want to consider spending additional time in addiction treatment if you:
- Are a heavy drinker
- Have tried recovery and relapsed before
- Have a lengthy history of addiction
- Have a co-occurring disorder or believe you may have one
Although taking time away from your family, your regular schedule, and your outside responsibilities can be daunting, getting adequate treatment is the best way to help yourself. It’s also the best way show those who care about you that you care for them as well. If you want to find out more about the available options in alcohol rehab, we can help. Call us now at 844-639-8371.