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Weekend Rehab for Alcoholics: Do They Work?

Addiction is a complex mental disease that usually requires intensive treatment to overcome. 2015 saw as many as 15.1 million people in America suffering from alcohol abuse problems, based on findings by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Only around 6.7 percent of the people in this group found appropriate treatment. Various changes occur in brain chemistry and structure in many addiction cases that makes it difficult to stop the abusive cycle without professional help. But when it comes to rehab for alcoholics, is a weekend program enough to deal with serious disease of addiction?

6 Minute Read | Published Sep 30 2023 | Updated Feb 26 2024 Expert Verified
Emma Collins
Written by
Edwin Gomez
Reviewed by
Emma Collins
Written by
Edwin Gomez
Reviewed by

Is a Weekend Rehab for Alcoholics Enough to Beat Addiction?

In this article, we will look at whether weekend rehabs are sufficient and what science recommends.

Is Weekend Rehab for Alcoholics Effective?

While some rehabs may advertise that they are able to help you beat alcoholism over a weekend, the truth is that the complexity of the disease cannot be properly treated in such a short period. Scientific studies conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that rehab for alcoholics requires at three months of intensive treatment to have a chance at overcoming addiction.

There is no quick fix for addiction – it is an ongoing process that often requires years of maintenance and professional assistance to get through. Some rehabs also claim that through a detox program, an addiction can be cured. Detox is just a first step in a longer process and is by no means a cure.

Effective Alcohol Addiction Treatment

The treatment for addiction at alcoholism treatment centers is a process that includes multiple aspects including detox, behavioral therapy, alternative treatment methods and relapse prevention. According to JAMA, 40 to 60 percent of addicts will relapse making it very important to get the best type of treatment available.

The intensive treatment needed cannot be done over a short period such as a weekend, but rather in more intensive outpatient or inpatient programs. Through these programs at alcoholism treatment centers, a person can learn the skills needed to not only beat their addiction in the short term, but long term success is possible through the relapse prevention strategies and new outlets for stress and trigger situations that are learned.


Alcohol detox is a process that requires medical assistance to ensure that it is done safely. It also takes longer than a weekend to get through the dangerous symptoms. In fact, the most severe symptoms, such as delirium tremens, only appear after 48 hours, making a weekend detox program insufficient.

At alcoholic rehab centers that provide state-approved care for addiction treatment, patients have the option of using a medical detox. It is a safe way to deal with the withdrawal symptoms that usually run their course over a period of 5 to 7 days. The treatment uses medications to deal with the withdrawal symptoms more effectively.

Inpatient and Outpatient Treatment

Once the week-long detox period is over, intensive treatment must begin to properly deal with all the aspects of addiction. Treatment can be done is various ways to accommodate people who are unable to take time off work or school. For these people, outpatient rehab for alcoholics is ideal as it provides the intensive treatment while maintaining autonomy. Outpatient programs are also ideal for people coming out of inpatient programs that want to continue with a less-intensive treatment to avoid relapse.

The highest level of treatment at alcoholic rehab centers is an inpatient program. Not only does it provide around-the-clock care but it allows a person to enter into the ideal environment for recovery and out of negative home environments.

While there may be no quick cure for addiction, treatment can help anyone beat the disease – as long as the treatment period is adequate. Call Better Addiction Care today at (800) 429-7690 to find alcohol rehabs in your area.


bullet Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (2015)
"Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Addiction in Opioid Treatment Programs: Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 43. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US)"
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bullet Greenfield, S. F., & Weiss, R. D. (2013)
"Treatment of Substance Use Disorders in Women. In S. K. S. Cheung & P. S. W. Wong (Eds.), Gender Differences in Psychopathology (pp. 343-363). Netherlands: Springer"
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bullet Institute of Medicine (1990)
"Broadening the Base of Treatment for Alcohol Problems. Washington, DC: National Academies Press"
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bullet McLellan, A. T., Lewis, D. C., O’Brien, C. P., & Kleber, H. D. (2000)
"Drug Dependence, a Chronic Medical Illness: Implications for Treatment, Insurance, and Outcomes Evaluation. JAMA, 284(13), 1689-1695"
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bullet National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (2014)
"Treatment for Alcohol Problems: Finding and Getting Help"
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bullet Pettinati, H. M., Weiss, R. D., Dundon, W., & Miller, W. R. (2009)
"A structured approach to medical management: A psychosocial intervention to support pharmacotherapy in the treatment of alcohol dependence. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 16(Supplement), 104-111"
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bullet Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (2015)
"Detoxification and Substance Abuse Treatment: Quick Guide for Clinicians. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US)"
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bullet Volkow, N. D., & Li, T.-K. (2004)
"The Neuroscience of Addiction. Nature Neuroscience, 8(11), 1429-1430"
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