What Happens at Rehab?

If you are considering drug or alcohol rehab (or rehab for an addictive behavior disorder like sex or gambling) for yourself or someone you know, one of your first questions will probably be, “What exactly am I signing up for?” Although the exact program will vary depending on the facility and other factors, most drug addiction, alcoholism, and behavior disorder rehab programs have many similar elements. Despite the fact that not all programs incorporate each element discussed below, this article will give you a basic understanding of what to expect when you enter rehab.

What happens during a drug, alcohol, or behavioral rehab program?

  • A break from the situation
  • If you elect to enter into an in-patient rehab facility (as opposed to out-patient treatment – Read Substance Abuse Treatment Options), you will find yourself in a substance-free environment. It can be helpful to realize and accept the implications of this before you go. For example, successful recovery will, in the majority of cases, require the recovering addict to dramatically reshape their social landscape. By separating yourself from your current lifestyle, as difficult as this may be at the beginning, you will likely see it from a different and more realistic perspective – you will objectively see how the addiction affected you, your life, and those around you.

  • Detox
  • If the addiction was related to a substance like alcohol, opiates, prescription medicines, or marijuana, the addict may first go through a medically monitored detox. Because withdrawal effects can range from mild to severe and dangerous, it is usually in the recovering addict’s best interest to be in a rehab or other medical facility and watched by professionals during detox to ensure the recovering addict’s safety and comfort. To learn more about the withdrawal symptoms that are associated with specific substances, please visit the drugs page for more information.

  • Individual & group therapy
  • An important aspect of successful recovery is getting the addict to understand that they are personally responsible and accountable for maintaining sobriety: no one else should be expected to do it for them. Individual and group therapy sessions serve a number of functions: they help the addict recover from past psychological and emotional traumas (Read PTSD: When the Past Affects the Present); learn coping mechanisms for dealing with stress in healthy ways (Read Stressed? Avoid Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms); and develop new life skills for avoiding and minimizing the risks of triggers that could lead to relapse (Read Reduce the Risk of Relapse and Overdose).

  • Reconciliation with family & friends
  • Especially in the case of young adults, reconciliation with the family is highly desirable to ensure that the environment that they return to will be supportive instead of chaotic and plagued by the scars of past negative emotions. Because the addiction may have made the addict do and say hurtful things that they may not have done or said if they had been sober – and because the mental health of everyone involved including the family can be a pivotal factor in recovery, many rehab facilities will offer opportunities for family and friends to reconcile with the addict during therapy or other guided sessions. Some facilities, however, may discourage family participation. Whether or not the family and/or friends will be involved in the rehab’s treatment program is an important factor to consider when you are deciding whether to seek treatment locally or leave the state (Read Talk It Out: Is Therapy Right for You?, Rehab: Local vs. Out-of-State, and How to Forgive an Addict.)

  • Community participation
  • Many facilities have opportunities to participate in the community – both in the community of recovering addicts at the facility as well as in “outings” into the general community for cultural enrichment or other activities. Be advised – you may have to “earn” your perks at certain facilities!

What kinds of specialized programs exist?

Because addiction can occur in the lives of people from any background, numerous rehab facilities have come into being to accommodate the many different needs of unique recovering addicts and their families. For example, executive rehab offers an extremely private and confidential environment that, in many cases, allows executives to continue to interact with others in their workplace via business centers. Christian rehab facilities make Christian values a pivotal element in their programs. Rehab programs at teen facilities are designed with the adolescent stage of development in mind.

Although these programs often incorporate different techniques, many of the basic elements of the program will be similar to those of general rehab programs. Other types of specialized programs may also be available. See the next section for information on how to contact eDrugRehab to discuss your unique situation.

I’m ready for rehab. Where do I begin?

To help you start your search, eDrugRehab has compiled information on a number of different topics related to addictions, interventions, detox, rehab, and recovery. If the addict still refuses to admit that there is a problem, you may want to read Dealing with Denial or Intervention: Is It Time? If everyone agrees that help is necessary, you may benefit from Why You Shouldn’t Fight Addiction Alone, Withdrawal and Detox: Get the Facts, and What to Ask a Rehab Facility. Because addiction often takes families by surprise, you may want to know your options in terms of How to Pay for Rehab including the passing of recent legislation called the Mental Health Parity Act.

Because the process can seem overwhelming, we encourage you to contact eDrugRehab today to speak with a professional intervention or addiction specialist. We can help you arrange an intervention, select a rehab facility, or guide you as to the next best step for your specific situation. We have helped many individuals and families in your situation take active steps toward recovery and healthy, addiction-free lives. Call today.

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