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Alcohol Addiction Treatment Programs for First Responders in California



Alcohol addiction is a common problem among first responders like police offices, emergency medical services, and firefighters. Alcohol addiction treatment programs for first responders in California treat all forms of alcohol addiction. First responders have jobs that expose them to traumatic incidents that can be overwhelming, disturbing, stressful, and upsetting. Coping with the daily stressors of these jobs is not easy. Moreover, many first responders struggle with injury and become dependent on or addicted to pain medication. Stress intensifies vulnerability to addiction, and parts of these jobs become taxing, dangerous, physical, and emotionally draining. Unfortunately, the use of alcohol becomes a way to manage or cope. Getting the right help is essential, and there is support, but not everyone struggling reaches out for the support they need. Alcohol addiction treatment programs provide the necessary help and support for first responders struggling with alcoholism.


Alcohol Detox and Residential or Outpatient Substance Abuse Treatment for First Responders in California

The rehabilitation process at an alcohol rehab center for first responders is no different than other programs. However, the rehabilitation process and counseling methods are tailored to the individual needs of each patient. First responders struggling with addiction face different challenges and require therapy methods that can meet those challenges. Alcohol rehabilitation centers for first responders in California offer detox, residential alcohol rehab, and outpatient alcohol treatment centers. Typically, the severity and extent of addiction determine what length of treatment is needed and if it should be in a residential or outpatient facility. However, the first step in treating alcohol addiction is detox, and the severity of alcohol addiction determines what detox is needed. Once the brain has adjusted to long-term alcohol use, withdrawal symptoms begin within 5 to 10 hours.

Some of the common withdrawal symptoms include tremors, increases or decreases in blood pressure, quick breathing, sweating, vomiting, irritability, trouble sleeping, anxiety, and rapid pulse. Most alcohol withdrawal symptoms peak within 24 to 48 hours and are effectively managed through medical detox. Alcohol addiction that is not as severe is effectively treated through a standard detox program. Detoxification should not be considered the only approach to alcohol addiction because it will not provide enough counseling and therapy. The next phase of alcohol rehab involves attending a residential or outpatient alcohol rehab center. These programs offer various counseling and therapy like evidence-based approaches and behavioral counseling.

Additionally, aftercare support is offered, like 12-step meetings, peer support groups, and sober living homes. Aftercare is essential because it helps the individual work on their sobriety and remains connected to other sober people. Every alcohol rehab program helps the patient develop an exit plan when they finish treatment. Typically, most first responders have access to support groups, and after completing alcohol rehab, aftercare support helps the individual work on their sobriety while they transition back to their job.


Alcohol Addiction Family Intervention in California

Someone struggling with alcohol addiction may not admit they have an addiction or ask for help. Unfortunately, many first responders that become addicted to alcohol do not reach out for help. Alcohol addiction intervention is a common process and is often organized by co-workers and the individual’s family. A family intervention is a process of confronting the individual in a non-threatening way. The purpose of a family intervention is to get the alcoholic to see their self-destructive behavior and how it affects those around them. Structured interventions are successful, especially when a professional interventionist is hired.

Family intervention for alcohol addiction in California is a successful option when a professional interventionist helps the family and friends plan the intervention. Typically, a family intervention can last two days, and the first day is spent with the family planning the intervention. Everything is planned, such as who is in attendance, where and when it takes place, and how the person is getting to the alcohol rehab center. The next day is when the intervention happens, and this can be an emotionally charged situation. However, with a professional interventionist’s help, the process runs smoothly because the interventionist is a third-party mediator guiding the family through the intervention.


How to Locate and be Admitted to an Alcohol Rehab Program for First Responders in California

Locating and being admitted to an alcohol rehab program in California for First Responders is not difficult. Most of these alcohol treatment centers are private facilities the admission process occurs relatively quickly. When searching for an alcohol rehab program, the first step should involve private health insurance. First responders will have a group health insurance plan or private health insurance plan covering some or all the cost of alcohol rehab. Health insurance is an excellent option to consider, and if first responders have access to employee assistance programs, this option would also help.

Another avenue for locating alcohol rehab is through an addiction assessment, and this could be done through local, state, or private healthcare providers. The purpose of an addiction assessment is to determine the severity of the alcohol addiction and what alcohol rehabilitation programs for first responders are available in California. Finally, if an intervention has taken place, the alcohol rehab center would have been arranged by the family with the interventionist’s help.


Alcohol Addiction and Substance Abuse Trends in California

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, career firefighters reported higher levels of problematic alcohol use and PTSD. Heavy or binge alcohol drinking was reported in approximately 50% of male firefighters. Many of the same problems with alcohol impact police officers and first responders. These issues often become prevalent after major disasters and emergencies and are caused due to the daily stressors of the job. According to the California Health Care Almanac, alcohol addiction in California was more prevalent than other types of addiction. Approximately 6% of California residents met the criteria for alcohol addiction.



SAMHSA. Disaster Technical Assistance Center Supplemental Research Bulletin. First Responders: Behavioral Health Concerns, Emergency Response, and Trauma. May 2018 https://www.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/dtac/supplementalresearchbulletin-firstresponders-may2018.pdf

California Health Care Almanac. Substance Use in California: A Look at Addiction and Treatment. October 2018. https://www.chcf.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/SubstanceUseDisorderAlmanac2018.pdf