Drug rehab is an effective way to overcome an addiction to substances, also known as substance use disorder. It consists of a series of steps that retrain your brain and body to live a life without the influence of drugs.
Drug rehab often includes detox, medications, and various behavioral therapies. Depending on how severe your substance use disorder is, you may also need to live inside a rehab facility for a few months.
Here are the different aspects of drug rehab and what they’re like.
What is detox?
Detox is a process that helps you reduce your intake of drugs to zero. Typically, detox is facilitated by doctors and other medical professionals. They may give you medications to help your body cope with the diminishing drug dosage, as well as to help you manage painful withdrawal symptoms.
Detox usually involves a technique called “tapering off” your drug use. Here, you would gradually take less and less of the drug until you take none of it at all. This helps ease withdrawal and is a more tolerable way of detoxing. Quitting “cold turkey” is not recommended as this often makes withdrawal symptoms a lot worse.
For some substance use disorders, medications may be prescribed, either to help with managing withdrawal symptoms or to curb drug cravings. For example, in alcohol rehab, some patients are advised to take Disulfiram (Antabuse) to discourage them from drinking. Taking alcohol while under Antabuse medication makes patients feel sick, which effectively controls their alcohol cravings.
What’s the difference between inpatient and outpatient drug rehab?
There are two main forms of drug rehab — either outpatient or inpatient. In outpatient programs, you do not have to live inside a rehab facility. Instead, you will only go to rehab for your scheduled therapies. Each therapy is scheduled for a set number of hours per week. After each session, you may go back home. Outpatient rehab is suited for those who have mild cases of substance use disorder.
Inpatient rehab, on the other hand, requires you to live inside a rehab facility for 30 to 90 days. The length of stay depends on your treatment program. More severe cases benefit from longer stays in rehab.
When you are in an inpatient rehab facility, your days will be structured. Meals, therapies, recreation, and sleep all operate on schedules. You’ll have to follow these schedules to help create healthy, drug-free habits.
What is a day like in drug rehab?
If you’re in an inpatient rehab center, each day will be highly organized and structured. This is done to minimize stress and uncertainty, which makes it easier to adjust to a new lifestyle. Following a schedule also creates the best environment that fosters recovery.
Different rehab centers have different amenities and perks, so the daily activities may vary between centers. But in general, this is what a day in drug rehab looks like.
In the morning, you wake up early and enjoy a healthy breakfast. There’s no wiggle room in the day’s schedule for sleeping in, so you need to avoid that habit. After all, waking up early is a huge part of living a healthy lifestyle — as opposed to waking up whenever you want back when you were dependent on drugs.
In some rehab centers, they have yoga or meditation classes. These help you start the day with a relaxed mind.
You may not be used to waking up so early, but developing this habit will help you a lot later in life. It will allow you to be more productive after rehab.
After breakfast, usually a counselor or therapist leads a group session. Along with other patients, you’ll learn about the treatment process, how addiction works, and how you will recover from it. You’ll also find out about the issues in your life that drove you to abuse drugs. As you go through these sessions every morning, you will recognize specific behaviors you can change, as well as drug triggers to avoid.
At noon, you first eat lunch. Afterwards, you go through a series of behavioral therapy sessions. There are both individual therapies and group therapies.
What are the different behavioral therapies in drug rehab?
Individual therapies are varied. One popular method is called cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT. This is also one of the most effective behavioral therapies used in drug rehab. CBT analyzes your responses to specific triggers, and trains you to identify them. Once you have, your therapist will teach you healthy responses to those triggers.
Because CBT is one-on-one, the information you share with your therapist remains confidential. It gives you a safe space to tell your therapist about your life in as much detail as you want. You can share the things you fear and your biggest concerns. With that information, your therapist can help you figure out more positive behaviors and responses to those sources of stress.
Group therapies are also helpful, as they give you a sense of companionship with others who also want to recover from drug abuse. Sharing your stories with one another facilitates emotional healing. As you keep attending group sessions, you also build trust and fellowship with other patients. You and they will have more compassion for each other as you understand each one’s struggles.
Family therapy is another effective method, and most drug rehab centers include it in their roster of therapies. Once your family gets involved in your recovery, negative emotions and strained relationships are addressed. Your family can then support you in your recovery journey.
Some rehab centers even provide specialized therapies. They may focus on stress management, anger management, or grief counseling. These teach you healthy coping mechanisms that do not involve drugs.
Other centers also offer alternative therapies. These are less common but also help with your recovery process. Alternative therapies include:
- Art therapy
- Dance therapy
- Music therapy
- Animal assisted therapy
- Exercise therapy
Rehab centers with these services often have costlier treatment programs. They tend to have more luxurious amenities as well, like swimming pools and spas.