Rehab centers are a part of the front lines of our national addiction crisis. These facilities are often the first step in getting clean. They provide programs that can help addicts and alcoholics achieve long-term sobriety. These facilities provide a combination of medical care, therapy, counseling, and isolation from drugs and alcohol. Rehab gives an addict or an alcoholic a safe place to go and take that first step towards changing their life.
The First Step
Choosing to go to rehab is a big step in the right direction. Suffering from addiction affects everyone around you. Addiction is truly a family disease. If you or someone you love is currently suffering, you are probably wondering what happens in these treatment centers. Understandably, whether it is you or someone you care about you may want to know how it works and what to expect.
Every rehabilitation center is different and depending on what you are going there for you may receive different types of care. For example, some rehabs focus solely on alcoholism. Others may offer help for both alcoholism and substance addiction. These different addictions require different types of treatment.
The first step in treatment facilities is detox, or detoxification. It is the first week or so that you are going without the substance you have been consuming. Most substances cause withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal is when all the toxins related to those substances begin to leave the body. It can be very painful. Withdrawal symptoms can actually keep people using to avoid going through them. Detox is the best place to be during this time. Medical professionals can provide medications to help ease some of those withdrawal symptoms. Detox is especially critical for substances like alcohol and benzodiazepines because the withdrawal symptoms can be fatal.
After long chronic use withdrawal from alcohol can be deadly. While withdrawing an alcoholic may develop a fever, extreme nausea, DTs (delirium tremens), auditory or visual hallucinations, seizures, and more.
Medical professionals can use certain medications to relieve dangerous withdrawal symptoms and help keep the patient safe. Benzodiazepines, or benzos, were introduced to replace barbiturates that were causing large numbers of fatal overdoses. However, withdrawal from extended use of benzos can be just as dangerous as alcohol withdrawal. Again, medical professionals have certain medications that can help keep the patient safe during detox. Quitting “cold turkey” is not only dangerous, but has a very low success rate.
The Next Step
After detox it is highly recommended that a patient attend a rehabilitation facility for an extended period of time. It can range from 30-90 days depending on the facility and the patient’s needs. These treatment programs are structured to help with the complex problems that come with an addiction. There are various types of treatment programs that rehabs have to help the patient work through their problems that led them to substance abuse and help them work toward a healthy and sober lifestyle. Most rehabs have certain programs that can be tailored to the needs of each individual.
There is one-on-one therapy and group therapy sessions. They also provide the critical tool of relapse prevention education. Rehabs can help an addict or alcoholic identify possible high-risk situations to avoid. Helping an addict or an alcoholic identify possible triggers and high-risk situations is one of the best ways to avoid a relapse.
Another positive part of being in a rehab is that you are surrounded by peers. You have people around you that are going through similar situations. Having people around that understand what you are going through, through their own journeys, may be therapeutic in itself. No one is there to judge you for what you have been through. Some of the people you are in rehab with can end up becoming part of your support system.
After finishing rehab you and a recovery specialist or a medical professional will sit down with you to discuss what is next for you. Sometimes, when you get back home you notice not much has changed. The key is recognizing that you have changed.
Having a solid after care plan is extremely important because it keeps you engaged in your recovery. After rehab, there are plenty of options for you to take advantage of. There are sober living facilities. These facilities offer a safe and sober living environment. There are outpatient programs. These programs offer one-on-one therapy as well as group therapy. There are 12 Step programs, like AA or NA.
There are MATS, medication-assisted treatment, programs that offer medications like Suboxone, Methadone, or Vivitrol. Medical professionals will discuss with you what the best treatment is for you. What all of these after care programs have in common is they help keep you accountable. They all offer community. It is incredibly important to have healthy and sober friends in life.
These programs and the people you meet in them can become part of a healthy and consistent support system. Anytime you are struggling- there is someone there for you. After care programs are a big part of long-term sobriety. That is the goal of drug and alcohol rehabs- long-term sobriety. If you or someone you know is currently in need of help, reach out and make the call. There will be someone waiting to help.