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While the United States is known for its hustle and bustle lifestyles, this is even more so the case for New Yorkers. Busy schedules and hectic routines can easily give way to a cocktail or two at the end of the day. For some people, this nightly routine can evolve into a full-blown drinking disorder. When alcohol use starts to cause problems in other areas of your life, it may be time to consider alcohol rehab. Fortunately, rehab for alcoholism in New York is readily available with a range of programs and treatment services to meet your specific needs.

What Does Alcohol Do to the Brain?

Not being able to stop drinking on your own can be attributed to the effects alcohol has on the brain over time. Alcohol interacts with two primary neurotransmitters: GABA and glutamate. Neurotransmitters act as chemical messengers. They enable the different areas of the brain to communicate with one another. GABA and glutamate balance each other out, with GABA slowing chemical activities and glutamate speeding up chemical activities.

Alcohol works as a depressant, so it helps increase GABA production. It also decreases glutamate production. These combined effects slow chemical activities in drastic ways. These developments account for why symptoms, such as slurred speech, loss of coordination, and other obvious signs develop during an intoxicated state.

With frequent drinking, alcohol’s effects snowball, causing brain chemical imbalances to develop. The cells that interact with alcohol become less sensitive to its effects, which means you have to drink more to experience alcohol’s desired effect. This becomes a vicious cycle that drives you to drink more and more. Before long, alcohol dependence, and then addiction, will develop. Alcohol rehab is designed to support the processes that help restore normal chemical balance in the brain.

How Does Alcohol Rehab Work?

When drinking stops, the body’s ability to work normally has become compromised by alcohol’s effects. Withdrawal effects develop as a result. With moderate to severe alcohol abuse, withdrawal effects can be quite severe, and in some cases life-threatening. The types of symptoms you may experience include:

  • Agitation
  • Headaches
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Problems concentrating
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Sweating
  • Nausea and vomiting

Without needed rehab help, these symptoms can make it extremely difficult to maintain sobriety for any length of time. Alcohol rehab is a treatment process that addresses different stages of recovery, including withdrawal. These stages include detoxification, learning how to live and cope without alcohol, and maintaining a sober lifestyle. Each stage prepares you for the next one.

The overall goals of rehab for alcoholism include:

  • Stopping alcohol abuse
  • Treating health issues that develop as a result of drinking
  • Addressing any underlying mental health problems
  • Developing a mindset that supports a sober lifestyle

Stages of Alcohol Rehab


As difficult as it may be, there’s no getting around this first stage of recovery and doing it right the first time can save you much frustration and heartache down the road. An alcohol rehab facility houses a full staff of doctors, nurses, and clinicians who specialize in treating alcoholism. At the outset, you’ll undergo an evaluation to determine the extent of your condition.

From there, a treatment plan that lists out your specific treatment needs and recovery goals will be drafted. Patients receive 24-hour supervision and monitoring to help ensure a safe detox experience. Overall, the detox stage runs anywhere from one week to 28 days depending on the severity of the problem.

If you’re coming off a moderate or a severe drinking problem, medication therapies may also be given to help restore chemical balance in the brain. Medications, such as naltrexone, acamprosate, and clonidine help with reducing alcohol cravings and relieving uncomfortable withdrawal effects. Once brain chemical imbalances reach a certain point, medication therapies can play a critical role in getting you through the alcohol detox stage.

Inpatient Rehab

Throughout the alcohol rehab process, your recovery needs will determine the level of care you receive. In cases of severe or chronic alcoholism, the damage done to the body’s systems often causes serious medical and mental health problems to develop. When this is the case, inpatient rehab becomes a necessary next step on your recovery path.

Inpatient rehab typically tapes place in a hospital setting since hospitals are best equipped to treat chronic medical problems. Like detox, you’ll receive 24-hour monitoring and supervision. Inpatient facilities provide a structured environment where you’ll undergo a range of treatment interventions, including medical care, psychotherapy, group therapy, 12-Step support group meetings, nutritional supports, along with other services. Inpatients stays can run for one to three months depending on your treatment needs.

Residential Treatment

Long-term alcohol abuse not only creates brain chemical imbalances but also warps the areas of the brain that form your motivations, priorities, and behaviors. These areas are where addiction sets up shop. So even if you stop drinking, these areas of the brain have been programmed to seek out alcohol at all costs. Residential treatment provides you with a training ground for developing the type of mindset and behaviors that can support an alcohol-free lifestyle. After a 30 to 90 day stay in residential treatment, you’ll have developed the daily habits and routines necessary for sober living.

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment is a logical next step after residential care but if you’re drinking problem was mild to begin with, this stage of alcohol rehab may be your next step after detox. Detox, inpatient, and residential rehab all take place inside a live-in treatment environment. With outpatient treatment, you live at home and schedule treatment sessions around your schedule. This arrangement works well for people who have work and family obligations to meet.

Outpatient care provides mainly supportive services that build upon the skills you’ve acquired up to this point. Supportive services offered at this stage include:

  • Medication management
  • Family counseling
  • Relapse prevention training
  • 12-Step support group meetings
  • Individual and group therapy

All in all, rehab for alcoholism in New York offers the levels of treatment support needed to overcome the effects of alcohol abuse in your life, including mental health services. Whether you’re just starting to wonder if alcohol is a problem for you or you’re struggling with alcohol addiction, it’s never too soon to seek treatment help. Alcohol’s damaging effects only get worse with time so the sooner action is taken the better.

But the first step is alcohol detox  through a medication assisted treatment program. Let Ascendant help you on the road to sobriety.

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