Can’t Afford Alcohol Rehab? The Alternatives to Residential Treatment

Residential rehabilitation treatment is considered the gold standard for treatment and support for individuals struggling with alcohol use disorder. However, it is understood that, in many cases, it is difficult for a person to gain access to alcohol rehab. Affordability is one of the biggest causes. In other cases, people might want to continue their jobs or education while getting treatment. 

When Should One Seek Treatment?

Most people often only check into rehab once their alcohol use disorder has rendered them unable to carry out their normal routine and has had deteriorating effects on one’s interpersonal relationships. The idea that one only needs treatment once one has reached that extreme is a dangerous myth. 

Among other things, functioning alcoholism is a condition in which a person can maintain a job or education and an overall ‘normal-looking’ life while fulfilling the criteria of alcohol use disorder. All the while, they are struggling with the deteriorating physical and psychological effects of alcohol dependence. Such a person may appear to be coping well but requires immediate help and support. 

Talking to a primary healthcare doctor, or a family physician is an important step in assessing one’s health and drinking status and seeking the appropriate treatment option. A physician will observe the overall state of your health, drinking patterns, need for medication, and will help curate a proper treatment plan.

The options available for the treatment of alcohol use disorder, other than private rehabilitation, are explained as follows.

Home Detox Services

There are several ways to detox from alcohol at home. The first method is to taper off your drinking. This method of gradually decreasing your alcohol intake takes a lot of willpower and is much safer than going cold turkey. Immediately leaving alcohol is a painful process and can be potentially life-threatening. Tapering off is effective, but the efficacy and reliability are heavily dependent on the degree of a person’s alcohol dependence. 

To detox safely at home, it is wise to seek help from a private home alcohol detox service. Home detox services provide a safe, physician-monitored way to detox from alcohol in the privacy and safety of your own home.  They provide medically-supervised detox. A detox nurse is assigned to the client who administers the medicines used to assist withdrawal and detox. This nurse also monitors the client’s vital signs to ensure the safety of the process. To sustain rehab, clients are advised to take medications like Antabuse, Campral, and Naltrexone.

NHS Services

The NHS provides several support and treatment options for detoxification and rehab that don’t require you to seek private rehabilitation. Firstly, the client will be advised to see a GP with whom they will have to be as honest as they can about the extent of their alcohol dependence. Once a thorough assessment is made, they are referred to the appropriate treatment option.

The options offered by the NHS include talking therapy, such as CBT, from a qualified and licensed psychologist, support groups like ‘Alcoholics Anonymous’, medically-supervised alcohol detoxification, which may be carried out at the client’s home or as an in-patient for a short duration of time, and intensive support programs, which require the client to attend a daily service.

Private Addiction Counselling

Addiction counseling is done by a licensed professional or a team of professionals. It is a form of behaviour therapy advised to people suffering from alcohol use disorders that helps them lead an alcohol-free life and provide a healthy and effective support system.

In private addiction counseling, the client’s psychologist will help to find out the underlying cause or any external or internal factors that lead the client to seek out alcohol in harmful amounts. Alcohol dependence is often related to underlying mental health issues. Addressing these problems and equipping the client with healthy coping mechanisms and strategies to deal with such thoughts and urges is an effective way to recover from alcohol use disorders.

Private Outpatient Programmes

In outpatient rehab, clients can go home after attending treatment sessions for a set number of hours per week or per day. These programs are known as intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) or partial hospitalization programs (PHPs). The efficacy of outpatient programs is heavily dependent on the client having a supportive home environment and a strong support system.

The treatments and therapies employed in outpatient programs include CBT, Matrix Model, Contingency Management, Family Therapy, 12-step Management, and Motivational therapy.


#1 Inpatient rehab is the most effective form of rehab and treatment for alcohol use disorders. However, with the right support, outpatient rehab can be an effective path towards recovery. 

#2 The decision of what treatment to opt for is made after careful examination and assessment by a doctor who then gives referrals and prescribes medicines if needed.

#3 Out-patient treatment programs vary among medically-supervised home detox, talking therapy treatments, and partial hospitalization programs. 

#4 Talking therapy includes CBT and 12-step programs while home detox services are medically supervised services that help clients to detox from alcohol in the safety of their homes.

#5 The NHS offers facilities like support group therapy, medical detox, and out-patient programs for alcohol rehabilitation.

Written by Lara Harper