Frequently Asked Questions

A drug and alcohol rehab is a behavioral health facility with experts and therapists who help people recover from substance use disorders. Many behavioral therapy programs require clients to be clear of intoxicating substances for a period of time before admission (see “What Is Detox?” in our Drug Rehab FAQ). Treatment facilities may offer different addiction treatment options, such as residential care, partial hospitalizationintensive outpatient treatment and outpatient treatment. These days, more are including rehab as an option in their health insurance plans.

Detox (detoxification) refers to the process of clearing the body of intoxicating substances. Detox is typically the first step in an addict’s recovery process and can be medically supervised or clinically managed without medication. The average detox lasts less than eight days, according to The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Treatment centers can take several forms, ranging from farms and ranches to clinical settings to casual, home-like environments. Clients can engage in a variety of therapies, including individual counseling, group therapy, peer counseling, family therapy, and often 12-step programs. Rehab centers can offer inpatient treatment or residential treatment, where the client lives on-site, separate sober living facilities, and outpatient “day” programs, which allow them to live at home.

Many facilities offer alternative forms of substance abuse treatment, including:

  • Expressive or creative arts therapy
  • Animal therapy
  • Biofeedback

Good addiction treatment programs will address any mental health disorders, commitments, and life skills, as well as addiction treatment. Co-occurring disorders, also called dual diagnosis, are often part of drug and alcohol rehab treatment services. An example of co-occurring disorders would be alcoholism combined with depression. Behavioral health treatment services can be combined with mental health care treatments such as cognitive-behavioral therapy. Treatment services to help deal with life issues, case management, as it’s called, often continue after the formal rehab program ends. Rehabs can also offer gender-specific addiction treatment, allowing clients to focus on various issues belonging separately to men or women. See our blog for more articles on topics in this drug rehab FAQ.

A drug and alcohol addiction treatment program is designed to free those with drug and alcohol addiction from the substance that is controlling their lives. In rehab, you heal the mind and the body from addiction and learn how to live without intoxicating substances.

A good addiction treatment program begins with an assessment that is used to formulate a rehab plan specific to the individual. The core of any drug addiction treatment program involves a combination of therapy techniques and settings (individual, group, 12-step, etc.). Also, rehab clients are counseled to change any negative habits, behavior and relationships that may be associated with their addictions.

The popular idea of rehab is often a 28-day program. However, successful addiction treatment may take months, depending on the individual’s progress. Many studies have found that people who undergo drug rehab treatment for a more extended period have a better chance of achieving sobriety.

After leaving rehab, it’s common for clients to continue regular clinic and counselor visits to affirm their recovery strategy. Aftercare, as it’s known, may also involve support group meetings, 12-step programs and any services or activities that contribute to avoiding relapse.

People seeking help with drug addiction for themselves or a loved one may wonder if drug rehab works. Drug addiction treatment programs have been found to be as successful as treatments for chronic diseases like hypertension and diabetes, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. And just as with those other diseases, success can vary depending on the individual and the program. Joint Commission accreditation is one measure of quality drug and alcohol addiction treatment centers.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse says stays at addiction treatment centers lasting more than three months have better success rates. When an addict in recovery relapses, it is often seen as a failure of treatment centers. However, in the same way that the diabetic whose symptoms are under control is still a diabetic, an addict in recovery is still an addict. Relapsing, even more than once, is not just possible but likely. “Recovery is a process, not an event,” is common wisdom in addiction treatment centers.

The Office of National Drug Control Policy has a long list of factors to measure effective drug addiction treatment, including:

  • Reduced drug use
  • Improvements in employment and education
  • Relationship improvements
  • Better health
  • Fewer legal troubles
  • Better mental health
  • Improved public safety

Statistics often focus on complete sobriety, but successful recovery is really measured by improving the lives of the addicts and those around them.

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