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The Process of Rehabilitation – Drug Treatment Programs

Addiction to any drug is dangerous. In a drug treatment program, the first step to getting clean is acknowledging that you are addicted and then committing to attending a drug treatment program. An addiction rehabilitation center is a structured drug treatment program that is aimed at helping anyone who is struggling with addiction. Drug addiction changes the way a person behaves and it can affect other aspects of their lives such as work and relationships. The programs help in preparing drug addict’s re-entering society. In the rehab facilities patients do their best to regain a normal life in a way that is safe and healthy. The journey to a life of sobriety and health is not a quick easy one. It requires dedication and hard work..

Treatment Programs

Drug or alcohol treatment is a general term for the medical and or therapeutic rehabilitation for dependency on alcohol and or drugs. Treatment, in this context, means active participation in the process of recovery from alcohol or drug abuse. Drug and alcohol treatment is the therapeutic and educational process which can be the first step in alcohol or substance abuse recovery. Treatment for drug abuse has been found to be the most effective and powerful tool to overcome this life threatening problem. In most cases, treatment teaches people how to live without wanting or needing to use any mood altering chemicals. Most people go into treatment as the result of some type of significant consequences their drinking or drug use has recently caused.

Recovery Is a Process

Drug rehab programs develop post-detox, individualized treatment plans meant to address past and current life issues preventing patients from coping with life productively rather than turning to drugs for escape. Most drug addicts seeking rehab treatment present risk factors that predisposed them to developing a drug addiction. Having one or more parent who is an alcoholic or substance abuser, growing up in a violent, unstable home or suffering abuse as a child are all factors that can put someone at a higher risk of becoming a drug addict. Drug treatment programs typically include the following:

  • Supervised medical management
  • Psychotherapy
  • Cognitive behavioral and rational emotive therapy
  • 12-step programs
  • Group and individual counseling
  • Spiritual-based counseling
  • Trauma-focused counseling
  • Development and enhancement of coping skills and relapse prevention skills
  • Instruction on relaxation and meditation techniques

There are various drug treatment methods used in the treatment of substance abuse and addiction issues. The treatment methods include; inpatient drug abuse treatment, outpatient drug abuse treatment and specific therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy. A comprehensive substance abuse treatment plan does not only help addicts detoxify in a safe environment but also help them through all the stages of recovery. It is essential to have a treatment tailored to meet an individual’s unique needs. When developing a treatment plan, an individual’s drug abuse history, the severity of the abuse, physical and mental health is taken into account.


Most drug treatment programs use a combination of therapy modalities. These can include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and others.

  • Raising awareness by education and therapy
  • Behavior modification
  • Treatment for co-occurring disorders
  • Learn how to live a drug and alcohol-free lifestyle
  • Discover and address underlying psychological issues
  • Learn all about the disease concept

First Step: Detoxification

Attempting to overcome a drug addiction without proper medical care is dangerous and potentially life-threatening. The detoxification process must be supervised by professional doctors experienced with treating severe drug addiction’s withdrawal symptoms.  The structure and chemistry of the brain changes when it has been chronically exposed to addictive substances.  There is a serious risk of seizures, strokes or heart failure, and they are just some of the possible health problems associated with unsupervised drug detoxification.

Participants in detoxification programs are constantly monitored by licensed specialists trained to medically and psychologically manage drug withdrawal symptoms. With medications and counseling techniques designed to relieve extreme agitation, anxiety, depression and physical symptoms similar to those of influenza, patients in drug rehab are comprehensively supported throughout the process of eliminating drugs from the body.

Brain chemistry destabilized by drug addiction is also restored with medications during detoxification that reduces neurotransmitter hyperactivity primarily responsible for drug withdrawal symptoms.

At the beginning of the rehabilitation process is the detoxification process. The detox phase is designed to remove all traces of the drug from the addict’s body. In severe cases, maintenance medication might be administered to ease the withdrawal symptoms that are associated with a specific drug. Detoxification is the process that a drug addict systematically and safely withdrawal from addicting drugs and it is usually under the care of a trained physician. The severity of the detox process will vary depending on:

  • An individual’s metabolism and unique body composition
  • The duration that the individual has used the drug
  • The dosage and the particular drug being abused
  • If there were other addictions involves

The goal of a detox program is to attain physiological healing. The initial period of detoxification is intense for most patients and medical staff members have to constantly provide effective support. The patients will suffer severe withdrawal symptoms that are not life threatening but can be quite uncomfortable. Some issues will come up such as violence and symptoms of psychosis. Sometimes the patients will be a threat to themselves and that is why trained medical staff needs to be around.

Inpatient and Outpatient Programs

There are several types of treatment programs and inpatient drug rehab is one of them. It offers a long-term residential treatment that provides care round the clock but not in a hospital setting. By joining an inpatient facility the patient gives himself or herself time to focus. Patients not only get medical assistance but also emotional assistance.

Outpatient drug rehab means the person is visiting a rehab center during the day for individual and/or group counseling therapy and returning home at night. Outpatient addicts may be “functional” and continue to hold jobs while seeking treatment for their addiction.

Inpatient drug rehab is generally meant for long-term drug addicts who have been in several different programs but continue to relapse. An inpatient program can last anywhere from 30 to 90 days or longer and involves the patient living at the treatment facility 24/7. Drug abusers participating in inpatient treatment usually have the option of dropping out of the program, unless they have been court-ordered to complete the program or face jail time.

The patient is able to focus solely on getting sober without getting distracted from everyday life. Every day at the facility is carefully scheduled and accounted for. Psychiatrists and psychologists meet with patients individually or in a group setting to guide them through the recovery. He patient receives constant medical care during the treatment so as to guide them against relapse. They also receive necessary medicine to lessen cravings. The treatment program can be as short as 28 days or as long as 90 days depending on the patient’s needs and preferences.


Learning how to cope constructively with interpersonal and personal issues is one of the most important skills taught by addiction counselors at drug rehabs. By learning proactive coping techniques, rehab patients come to understand that avoiding unnecessary stress, whether caused by others or themselves, greatly reduces cravings that may lead to relapse. Social coping skills, which focus on seeking support from trusted friends or family members and using meaning-focused coping techniques, are other coping methods acquired by patients through therapeutic counseling and group counseling sessions.


The primary goal of treatment is to teach lasting abstinence from alcohol and or drug use. The secondary goals are to improve the person’s quality of life and reduce physical and psychological conditions.

The long term goal is meant to improve that person’s ability to function normally and productively. Like people with other life threatening diseases such as diabetes or heart disease, people who enter recovery will also need to change their behavior to adopt a more healthful lifestyle. Through treatment tailored to individual needs, people with alcohol and drug misuse disorder can recover and lead productive lives.





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