What is Drug Rehabilitation?

Answers to Your Questions: What is Drug Rehabilitation and What to Expect at a Drug Rehab

The drug rehabilitation process is a life-long journey that requires commitment to create a new and healthy life. Drug addiction can cause many social, financial, legal and health problems for the addict that will require time and work to recover from. When a drug addict decides that they need help to stop taking drugs, they can contact a rehabilitation center where they will receive professional care to address their problems. The first thing someone with a drug problem might wonder before entering rehab is exactly what is drug rehabilitation. Let’s take a closer look at the inner workings, and what to expect at a drug rehab center.

The addict’s transformation to a new and better life will begin at the rehab center. Drug rehabilitation programs are designed to achieve specific goals for the addict, and will be given in phases. The assessment of the patient is the first phase of the rehabilitation process. The patient’s drug use and medical history will be examined along with a physical exam and mental assessment. If the patient also suffers from a co-occurring mental disorder, that will also be examined and treated.

Once the physician is satisfied with the assessment, a recovery program will be designed for the patient. Because each patient is unique, with differing problems, the program will be exclusive to that patient’s set of needs and goals. More severe cases of drug addiction may require an in-patient treatment program, and less severe cases can be treated on an out-patient status. Whatever program is designed for the patient, the patient must commit to follow through to the end to have a successful chance at recovery.

The next phase is the detoxification process where the patient is monitored while they are being weaned off of all offending drugs. As the drugs are being removed, the body will react by trying to regain stability without the drugs. This is the withdrawal phase of the treatment, and the patient may experience the symptoms of this process. The medical team can administer medications to address withdrawal symptoms, and the patient will be kept stable and as comfortable as possible.

Withdrawal symptoms can affect you both physically and mentally. Depending on what drugs were used and the severity of the addiction, withdrawal symptoms may include sweating, fatigue, drug cravings, muscle tension, nausea, vomiting, insomnia, nightmares, lethargy, palpitations, trembling and seizures. The patient may also experience psychological symptoms such as crying jags, severe anxiety, disorientation, confusion, depression, hallucinations, paranoia and self-harm. Alcohol, tranquilizers and opiates will usually cause more significant physical withdrawal symptoms. Ecstasy, marijuana and cocaine withdrawal usually have less severe physical symptoms but more psychological ones.

The medical team at the rehab center is knowledgeable and experienced about all phases of the detox process, and they will know when to slow it down if symptoms become too overwhelming. Alcohol and tranquilizer withdrawal may produce dangerous withdrawal symptoms such as heart attack, grand mal seizures, stroke and delirium tremens. Addicts should never attempt to stop using these substances on their own without the help of medical experts.

Once the detox process is successfully completed, the patient will begin a series of other types of therapy that will treat him holistically in body, mind and spirit. Drug rehabilitation programs may include individual and group counseling, family counseling, relapse prevention, cognitive behavior therapy, co-occurring mental disorder therapy, nutrition and exercise, alternative therapies, spirituality and aftercare programs.

Behavior modification therapy is an important and on-going part of the rehabilitation process. Ridding one self of maladaptive, destructive thought and behavior patterns and replacing them with healthy ones is a key to success. Un-learning negative conditioning and re-learning a new, positive paradigm through negative and positive re-enforcement is a part of the process. Negative re-enforcement teaches patients how to identify their inappropriate and unacceptable thoughts and behavior, and change it into a positive. The praises and rewards of positive re-enforcement encourage a healthy and optimistic self-image. Goal setting will help the recovering addict focus on his path of recovery, and environmental limitations will remove any stumbling blocks along his path.

Relapse prevention plays a crucial part in remaining sober. In drug rehabilitation programs, the recovering addict learns how to avoid tempting or stressful situations and people. He also learns how to manage his thoughts and behavior if he encounters these types of situations.  Relapse prevention techniques will prepare the recovering addict in managing triggers, temptations, toxic situations and people, stress and powerful emotions.

Addiction should be treated as early as possible and consent of the addict is not always needed. Sometimes the addict is compelled to enter a rehabilitation program through the court system, their place of employment or the intervention of family and friends. There is no better time than now to begin your drug rehabilitation journey.

If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.