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What to Expect During Alcohol Rehab in North Carolina

Alcohol addiction causes catastrophic harm to the people living with the condition, their families, and entire communities. In terms of money, alcohol addiction comes with a hefty price tag, with some estimates suggesting it costs the United States about $249 billion each year.[1] But this pales in comparison to the effects it has on the health and well-being of millions of people each year.

Research suggests that most people struggling with alcohol addiction do not get the treatment they need to overcome it. Many barriers may prevent someone from seeking help for alcoholism, including concerns about cost, fear of stigma, and denial. Many may fear the unknown when it comes to getting alcohol addiction treatment.

Understanding what to expect during an alcohol rehab program may help you prepare for treatment. To learn more about your alcohol rehab options in North Carolina or find support during recovery, contact the specialists at Next Step Recovery today.

Understanding Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol addiction is the complete loss of control over your drinking. People who develop alcohol addiction (also known as alcoholism) don’t choose to drink–they must drink to function. Alcohol becomes the center of a person’s life. They will continue to drink, even if it means losing their job, harming their health, and neglecting their most important relationships. People with alcoholism may face severe health complications, financial ruin, or life-altering legal problems and will continue to drink.

But how does this life-threatening condition develop? Alcohol is a legal, widely-accepted substance in the United States. People drink socially, celebrate, or unwind after a long day.

While some people can enjoy drinking alcohol as part of a generally healthy lifestyle, some people develop an unhealthy relationship with alcohol that leads to unhealthy drinking patterns. This can include heavy drinking, which means regularly consuming excessive amounts of alcohol.

Regular heavy drinking can lead to tolerance, meaning you need to drink more to get the effects you want. Over time, this can result in physical dependence on alcohol.

Some risk factors are believed to increase your chances of developing an addiction to drugs and alcohol, including age, gender, environment, and mental health. But anyone can develop alcohol dependence or addiction. It’s essential to understand the signs of alcohol abuse and alcoholism and seek treatment as soon as possible.

Do I Need Alcohol Rehab?

Recognizing the signs of alcohol abuse and alcoholism is a critical step toward getting the treatment you need. Some of the symptoms of alcohol abuse and alcoholism include:

  • Neglecting responsibilities at home, work, or school
  • Isolating or only spending time with others when drinking
  • Needing to drink more alcohol to feel “buzzed” or not appearing intoxicated after drinking a lot
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms like shaking and sweating if you stop drinking
  • Facing legal or financial consequences related to your drinking
  • Spending a lot of time getting alcohol, drinking, and recovering from drinking
  • Drinking to relieve hangover symptoms
  • Engaging in risky behaviors while drinking, such as driving under the influence or having risky sex
  • Continuing to drink despite severe consequences to your health, work, or relationships

Alcohol addiction treatment can help you regain control over your drinking and learn how to stay sober for the rest of your life. It’s important to seek treatment as soon as you recognize a problem.

Alcohol Detox: An Important First Step

Getting treatment for alcohol addiction is one of the best decisions you’ll ever make–but the journey won’t always be easy. For many, alcohol withdrawal symptoms begin within just hours of their last drink. You may experience:[2]

  • Tremors
  • Anxiety
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Fever
  • Sweating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Restlessness
  • Nightmares

Some people may develop dangerous symptoms, including hallucinations, agitation, or seizures. A very small percentage of people develop a condition called Delirium Tremens (DTs), which requires immediate medical supervision.

Even moderate withdrawal symptoms can be uncomfortable enough to make people want to start drinking again. Many alcohol rehab centers in North Carolina programs begin with medically-supported detox, where people get the care and treatment they need to have a safe, complete detox. Treatments include:

  • Medications to manage physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms
  • Emotional support
  • Round-the-clock supervision
  • Holistic therapies for comfort

Completing a medically-supported detox program can significantly improve your chances of completing detox.

What Happens in a North Carolina Alcohol Rehab?

After detox, alcohol rehab begins with a complete assessment of your drinking habits, mental health, and life circumstances. The clinical team will use this information to develop an individually-tailored treatment plan based on your needs.

There are several levels of care you may have the option to participate in, including:

  • Inpatient rehab – A type of alcoholism treatment program where individuals reside in a treatment facility and receive intensive, round-the-clock care and support for their alcohol use disorder and any related mental health issues.
  • Partial hospitalization program (PHP) – A structured treatment program that provides intensive, comprehensive care to individuals struggling with alcoholism or mental health issues, but allows them to return home or to a sober living environment each night.
  • Intensive outpatient program (IOP) – A type of alcoholism treatment program that provides structured, intensive therapy and support to individuals who do not require 24-hour care, but who still need a high level of support to overcome their drinking problem or mental health issues.
  • Outpatient program (OP) – A less intensive alcohol rehab program that allows individuals to receive therapy and support while continuing to live at home and maintain their daily routines. This type of program is often used as a step-down from a more intensive program or as a standalone option for individuals with less severe alcoholism or mental health issues.

In a comprehensive North Carolina alcohol rehab program, you will have the support and treatments you need to address the physical, behavioral, and emotional aspects of your alcoholism. You will participate in a range of evidence-based and holistic therapies, including:

  • Individual, group, and family counseling
  • Relapse prevention education
  • Medications (such as naltrexone or Vivitrol)
  • Mental health treatment
  • Holistic therapies like exercise, nutrition support, mindfulness, and more
  • Aftercare planning

After completing alcohol rehab in North Carolina, you must continue to stay engaged in recovery. Your aftercare plan may include attending 12-step meetings, participating in other types of alcohol abuse treatment, going to therapy, and more.

How Long Does Alcohol Rehab Last?

How long you should stay in rehab will depend on the severity of your drinking problem as well as the rate at which you make progress during treatment. Most people spend somewhere between 30 and 90 days in rehab, during which they may step down to lower levels of care as they make progress. As a result, there are both short-term and long-term alcohol rehab programs available.

It’s important to note that research shows most people need at least 90 days of treatment to stop drinking or significantly reduce the amount they drink.[3]

Find an Alcohol Rehab in North Carolina

You don’t have to carry the weight of alcoholism alone. Caring, comprehensive treatment is just a phone call away. If you or someone you love needs treatment from an alcohol rehab in North Carolina, reach out to the caring specialists at Next Step Recovery to explore your treatment options.


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Excessive Drinking is Draining the U.S. Economy, Retrieved May 2023 from
  2. National Library of Medicine: Alcohol Withdrawal, Retrieved May 2023 from
  3. National Library of Medicine: Principles of Effective Treatment for Substance Use Disorders, Retrieved May 2023 from

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