A drug rehabilitation program may officially last for only a few months, but rehab is much more than just a 90-day fix. Recovery is a process that evolves through a series of stages, and your growth in sobriety can continue for the rest of your life.
Detox, managed by consulting physicians, is often the first phase of a drug rehab program, but overcoming your chemical dependence is really only the beginning of treatment. In an integrated treatment program, you’ll learn that recovering from addiction requires a long-term commitment to rebuilding your physical and psychological health.
Clearing Drugs from Your System
The goals of detox are to free your body of drugs and alcohol, help you cope with withdrawal symptoms and to identify or treat co-existing health conditions. The goals of rehabilitation are to help you become a strong, sober person—physically, mentally and emotionally—to teach you to lead a drug-free life and to help you build stronger relationships at all levels.
You can go through detox at an outpatient treatment center, a residential rehab facility, a hospital or an emergency room. As your body adjusts to the absence of alcohol or drugs, you may experience withdrawal symptoms and cravings that are difficult or impossible to tolerate. When you detox in a medically supervised setting with consulting physicians, you can receive services like intravenous (IV) fluid replacement, pharmaceutical therapy and nutritional support to help you recover more quickly from the effects of withdrawal.
Depending on the drugs you use and how long you’ve been addicted, outpatient therapy may be as effective as inpatient treatment. Social detox relies on intensive counseling and group therapy to help you get through the initial phases of withdrawal, with or without the added support of medication. After you’ve reached a state where your body is free of substances and you’re ready to focus on recovery, the next phase rehab can take place.
Finding a Supportive Rehab Environment
The environment you choose for drug rehab plays an important role in the success of your recovery. Whether you enroll in rehab at an outpatient center, a residential recovery community or an inpatient program, the facility you choose should provide a setting that supports sobriety. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism points out that both outpatient and inpatient treatment can offer a supportive environment that fulfills the client’s needs.[i]
- You have mild to moderate withdrawal symptoms.
- You are strongly motivated to get sober without 24-hour supervision.
- You draw strength from remaining active in your current social network.
- You want to maintain employment and incur lower treatment costs.
Outpatient rehab is often more cost-effective than inpatient treatment, but outpatient care isn’t the answer for everyone.An inpatient setting may be more suitable for you if you meet the following conditions:
- You have severe withdrawal symptoms.
- You’ve had complications with drug or alcohol withdrawal in the past.
- You have a serious co-existing medical or psychological disorder.
- You have a high risk of relapse if you’re exposed to your usual environment.
Drug rehab is likely to be more effective if you’re removed from the social distractions, temptations and triggers that compel you to drink or use. Although you can’t avoid high-risk situations forever, rehab will teach you ways to respond to these triggers in a healthy way, so you can reduce your risk of a relapse and feel confident about your sobriety.
Reducing Your Exposure to Risk
Short-term programs may last from several days to two weeks, while longer rehab programs may last 90 days or more. A study by John Hopkins Medicine showed that patients who lived in recovery housing after a 14-day opioid detox program were up to 10 times more likely to stay clean and sober. Even those patients who didn’t go through detox had higher abstinence rates if they were able to live in a drug-free environment for 90 days. The more time you have to remain substance-free and practice healthy behaviors, the better prepared you’ll be to face life outside of drug rehab.[ii]
Helping You Understand Your Addiction
When you’re in the middle of an addiction to drugs or alcohol, it may seem that these substances are actively causing your disease.Once you’ve had the chance to cleanse your system and begin the process of rehab, you’ll see that drugs and alcohol don’t cause addiction; substance abuse is symptomatic of a much deeper psychological condition. That’s why psychotherapy is a critical component of any drug rehab program.
In a study published in Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation, patients who completed an alcohol rehabilitation program were compared with patients who failed to complete rehab. The non-completers were found to have higher rates of depression, borderline personality disorders and attempted suicide—risk factors that can be identified and treated with psychotherapy—than the patients who graduated from rehab.[iii]
- Identify any co-occurring mental health issues that drive your addiction
- Provide specialized treatment for depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other co-existing mental health conditions
- Correct repetitive, negative thoughts that keep you in an addictive mindset
- Learn how to defuse the emotional situations that set off the desire to drink or use drugs
- Strengthen your sense of self and discover a sense of purpose
- Build stronger, more authentic relationships with loved ones, friends and employers
- Understand the true nature of addiction and its impact on your life
Drug rehab can be a challenging exercise in self-exploration. Psychotherapy gives you the opportunity to discover how and why addiction took hold while helping you handle situations that keep you trapped in substance abuse. Therapy may be provided by a licensed addiction counselor, psychologist or psychiatrist, and sessions may take place one on one or in groups. When you graduate from rehab, you should have a deeper understanding of yourself, your past and your hopes for the future.
Rebuilding Your Family
Just as substance abuse can destroy spouses, partners and children, drug rehabilitation should give family members the opportunity to heal. A comprehensive treatment program includes counseling and preventive education for the entire family, not just for the addict or alcoholic. Before family counseling takes place, the therapist should assess the family for violence. Protecting the safety of all family members should always be a top concern among drug rehab counselors.
- By helping children and teens avoid the risks of substance abuse
- By addressing domestic problems that often go hand in hand with substance abuse, such as unemployment, domestic violence, criminal activity or marital conflict
- By analyzing the ways that substance abuse affects the moods and behaviors of everyone in the household
- By strengthening relationships and fostering stronger communication
- By helping the family identify its own strengths as well as its weaknesses
Sustaining You in Recovery
Aftercare is a vital part of any drug rehab program. After you’ve completed detox and you’ve been through the initial phases of rehabilitation, your recovery should continue with outpatient counseling, group therapy and medication therapy if needed. Some treatment facilities offer outpatient services at the same center where you attended inpatient rehab. Other facilities will refer you to providers within the community, so you can continue your treatment at clinics or offices near your home.
If you and your treatment team decide that you need more time in a secure, drug-free environment, you may find that a sober living home gives you the additional structure and supervision you need. At a sober living facility, you can continue your treatment on an outpatient basis, seek employment and establish new social ties within the guidelines of the residence.
- Remain drug- and alcohol-free and avoid contact with people who drink or use
- Adhere to a curfew and sign out when they leave the facility
- Attend 12-step meetings or other group events that support their sobriety
- Contribute to the residential environment by completing chores or helping with household expenses
- Attend house meetings on a regular basis
Drug rehab doesn’t make someone sober and healthy within a matter of days, weeks or even months. Recovering from the causes and effects of addiction is a process that may take the rest of your life. If you have a strong support network to help you through this process, you can look forward to a journey that offers deep rewards as well as challenges.
If you’d like more information on the drug rehabilitation process or to learn more about our offerings here at The Canyon, please call us at our toll-free helpline today. Our caring admissions coordinators want to help you start your journey to wellness. We are here 24 hours a day to take your call. Please call now.