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Do Alcohol Rehab Patients Struggle? A Deep Dive

Yes, avoiding alcohol while in rehab is a struggle for patients. They might have withdrawal or relapse. 50% of alcoholics who receive therapy stay sober for a year. Alcohol rehab patients struggle to complete the whole session.

Do Alcohol Rehab Patients Struggle 1

In this article, we will delve into the various challenges that individuals face during alcohol rehab. We’ll explore both the physical and emotional obstacles, offering insights and strategies for overcoming them.

The Physical Challenges of Alcohol Rehab

Getting over the physical problems of stopping drinking is one of the most complex parts of alcohol rehab. Addiction to alcohol affects both the mind and the body, and it can lead to several health problems that need medical care.

Withdrawal Symptoms

If someone has been drinking a lot for a long time and then stops, they may have withdrawal signs. These may include Anxiety, Tremors, Nausea, Vomiting, Headache, Insomnia, Seizures, and Delirium tremens (DTs).

During my time working at a rehabilitation center, I had the privilege of witnessing firsthand the struggles that patients face during their alcohol rehab journeys. One memorable patient, let’s call her Sarah, demonstrated remarkable resilience in overcoming withdrawal symptoms.

There are many patients in alcohol and drug rehab struggling with addiction. Alcohol rehab patients should never try to detox on their own. Instead, they should go to a qualified center to get help.

Medical Complications

Abusing alcohol can hurt the liver, stomach, heart, brain, and nervous system, among other parts of the body. Some health problems that can arise from alcoholism are Liver disease, Pancreatitis, Cardiovascular disease, Stroke, Brain damage, Neuropathy, and Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome.

Patients in alcohol rehab should go through a complete medical evaluation to find out how their bodies are doing and get the proper care.

Weight Gain

Some alcohol rehab patients struggle with weight gain, another physical problem. Alcohol has a lot of calories and can also change your hunger and metabolism. People who stop drinking may feel hungry and want more sweet or fatty foods. Some drugs used to treat alcohol withdrawal or abuse can also cause people to gain weight.

Patients in alcohol rehab should eat well and exercise regularly to stay at a healthy weight and avoid more problems.

The Emotional Challenges of Alcohol Rehab

three emotional challenges of alcohol rehab are portrayed

Alcohol rehab is a way to get better that includes your body, mind, and emotions. Having worked closely with rehab patients, I can’t help but admire their determination to overcome both physical and emotional hurdles. Witnessing their journeys has deepened my understanding of the resilience of the human spirit.

Even though it can be hard to get rid of alcohol from your body, it is often the emotional problem that causes the most trouble for many people. Those who complete drug and alcohol rehab and stay sober for three months have a 30% success rate.


Depression is a mood disease that always makes you feel sad, hopeless, and uninterested. It can happen to anyone, but people addicted to drinking are more likely to get it. 

In my experience, I’ve found that the emotional challenges of alcohol rehab can be the most daunting. I recall a patient I worked with who struggled with depression, and their story serves as a powerful reminder of the emotional toll addiction can take.

Alcohol can worsen sadness because it changes brain work, lowers serotonin levels, and makes it harder to deal with stress. Depression can also lead to a return because some people drink to forget about how they feel.


Anxiety is a normal feeling that everyone has now and then. It can help us prepare for hard times and warn us of possible risks. But when anxiety is too much, stays for a long time, and makes no sense, it can get in the way of everyday life and health. 

Alcohol rehab mental health issues include some of the most common mental health problems worldwide, often happening simultaneously with alcoholism.


Everyone gets angry sometimes. It’s a normal feeling. It helps us show how we feel, stand up for our rights, and protect ourselves from harm. But when anger is too intense, happens too often, and can’t be stopped, it can lead to aggressiveness, violence, and actions that hurt oneself. 

Problems with anger are often linked to alcoholism because alcohol can lower inhibitions, cloud judgment, and make people more impulsive.

The Psychological Challenges of Alcohol Rehab

Alcohol rehab is a way to get better that includes your body, mind, and emotions. Even though it can be hard to get rid of alcohol from your body, it is often the mental hurdles that are the hardest for most people. Only 25% reduce their alcohol intake for more than a year.


Cravings are strong urges to drink alcohol. Alcohol rehab patients struggle with these kinds of cravings. Stress, boredom, social settings, memories, or feelings can cause them. Cravings can be hard to fight, and if they aren’t handled well, they can lead to relapse. 

Some things you can do to deal with urges are: 

  • Identifying and staying away from triggers
  • Asking for help from other people
  • Doing something else
  • Using skills for being aware and calming down
  • Reminding oneself of the benefits of being sober and the bad things that happen when someone drinks

Urges To Relapse

Urges to relapse are thoughts or feelings that make someone want to drink again after they have stopped. Relapse urges can be powerful, making it hard to believe in and stay committed to the treatment. 

Some ways to deal with the urge to return are:

  • Putting crazy ideas to the test and rethinking them
  • Getting help from a professional or a friend
  • Reviewing one’s goals and reasons for quitting
  • Using coping skills and self-care practices
  • Rewarding yourself for not drinking

Lack of Motivation

A person’s recovery can be hurt by a lack of motivation, leading to poor adherence, low engagement, less happiness, and a higher risk of dropping out. 

Some ways to deal with a lack of drive are: 

  • Setting goals that are realistic and clear
  • Breaking things down into steps that can be done
  • Asking others for feedback and support
  • Celebrating successes and progress
  • Giving one’s healing meaning and purpose

Overcoming the Challenges of Alcohol Rehab

There are many challenges for rehabilitation If you’re considering going to rehab for drinking. You may wonder what problems you’ll face and how to deal with them. 

Getting Support

Having a solid network of people who care about you is one of the most essential parts of alcohol rehab. You can get help in many ways, such as joining a support group, going to therapy, talking to people you care about, or using online tools.

Setting Goals

Setting goals that you can reach is another essential part of drinking rehab. Using the SMART framework, you can ensure that your goals are clear, measurable, attainable, meaningful, and have deadlines.

Developing Coping Mechanisms

Coping mechanisms are ways to deal with complex events in a healthy, helpful way. You can try different ways to deal with stress and see what works best.

Factors That Contribute to Struggles

Many alcohol rehab patients face challenges in their recovery journey. Some of the factors that contribute to these struggles are:

Alcohol Abuse Duration

The longer someone abuses alcohol, the more likely they will become physically and mentally dependent. This makes it harder to stop and makes it more likely that they will start drinking again.

Co-occurring Disorders

Some people in alcohol rehab may also have mental health problems like depression, anxiety, or PTSD, making it harder for them to get better and requiring specialized care. Alcohol rehab patients struggle with mental health problems as alcohol affects the brain.

Lack of Support System

A solid family, friends, and peer network can be essential for staying sober and dealing with stress. However some people in alcohol rehab may not have this kind of support system or may be judged by their friends and family and feel alone.

Insufficient Treatment

Some patients may also not finish their treatment program or use support services, which can hurt their chances of getting better in the long run.

Weak Aftercare Plan

A bad plan for aftercare can leave patients open to temptations and triggers that could lead to relapse.

We examined if drinking rehab patients experience problems. It has demonstrated that each person’s recovery depends on numerous factors, including addiction severity, treatment duration, therapy, and personal situation.

It has also demonstrated some common issues alcohol treatment patients experience and ways to overcome them. Know what happens in rehab.

Tony McKenzie
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