When you first realize that you need to get help for an addiction, you may not know what to do or what kind of steps to take for your recovery. The beginning of recovery can be one of the hardest times in your life and preparing yourself for treatment can be mentally and physically demanding. People often have a lot of worries about rehab and wonder what will happen throughout the process. Understanding more about how rehab works, what takes place while you are there and what type of options are available for a treatment center can help you feel more prepared for recovery. Addiction is not just a temporary problem, it is a chronic illness that needs to be controlled and managed through a complex variety of solutions. Rehab addresses different aspects of addiction and helps patients get through all the most difficult emotions that they are experiencing so that they can feel more comfortable living as a sober person.
Intake and Assessment
When you begin rehab you will have to go through the process of intake which includes a kind of evaluation of the state of your addiction as well as your physical and mental health. Physicians must have a better idea of how severe your dependency is and if you have any medical or psychological issues that will need to be treated alongside your addiction. Intake provides you with the opportunity to talk with someone about your stay at rehab and find out if the treatment center is a good fit for you. They might run some diagnostic tests and screenings to help tailor a treatment plan that will work best for your individual needs. The treatment center will likely ask about your personal history of drug use, your family history of addiction and any prior mental health issues or diagnoses. If you have been diagnosed with a mental illness in the past or you are determined to have one during an intake screening then you will need to get specialized treatment for both your addiction and your co-occurring disorder.
The First Step is Detox
Before entering a rehab program, most treatment centers require that you first complete some time in a detox program. As the very first step in recovery, detox is usually one of the most challenging parts of getting sober. For many people, this is their first time ever transitioning from a life of addiction to total abstinence from any drug use. It is a major adjustment that can be stressful to go through especially if you are used to drinking or using a certain substance on a daily basis. During the detoxification phase, patients must refrain from any substance abuse and allow their bodies to rid themselves of any chemicals or toxins in the system that are causing them to be physically dependent. This is an important first step because it prepares the body for rehab in order for patients to later focus more on their psychological aspects of addiction.
Dealing with Withdrawal Symptoms in Detox
Because detox eventually leads to withdrawal symptoms, it is usually medically supervised by trained staff that know how to handle any issues that might come up. Withdrawal symptoms are uncomfortable for the most part but in more severe cases they can be dangerous. That is why it is important to complete detox in a supervised environment where staff members provide care around the clock. Withdrawal symptoms vary depending on how much a person was abusing drugs prior to treatment and their own individual reaction to abstaining. Most symptoms typically include issues such as insomnia, decreased appetite, body aches, vomiting, sweating, and other flu-like symptoms. The majority of patients also experience emotional symptoms including anxiety, depression, irritability and strong cravings or the desire to use again. The most severe symptoms of withdrawal tend to subside after a few days but some patients stay as long as a week or so to fully complete their detox.
Inpatient vs Outpatient Treatment
Once you finish a detox program then you are finally ready to enter a rehab treatment center. At this point you can make the decision whether you want to enroll in an inpatient program or an outpatient program. Both can be equally effective depending on the severity of your addiction and your own personal treatment needs. An inpatient program means that you will be living inside the treatment facility for a period of time, usually a few months. Inpatient treatment gives people with very serious addictions the chance to be away from all temptations and the stress of their work and personal life so that they can focus on recovery. Living in a residential program gives patients access to helpful staff at all times as well as the support of their peers who are going through the same experiences in rehab while getting sober. Inpatient programs remove the possibility of relapse and give patients more opportunities to connect with others.
An outpatient program is a good option for people with less serious addictions because it means that they will be living at home while attending treatment sessions during the day. Although in an outpatient program you do not have 24 hour access to staff for assistance, you otherwise experience all the same aspects of a treatment program with daily therapy and education. Outpatient can be a great option for people who feel strong enough to live at home or who have certain obligations which prevent them from being able to live in a residential center. Patients who cannot take time off of work or who need to care for their families can use outpatient treatment as a way to fulfill their responsibilities while still getting help for themselves.
Confronting Emotional Issues in Individual Therapy
Whether you decide on inpatient or outpatient treatment, a lot of your time in rehab will be focused on different types of therapy. One of the most important types of therapy is individual therapy which means spending one or more sessions a day speaking with a trained counselor one on one. In individual sessions you will learn to open up and talk about personal problems that you may have been dealing with on your own for many years. Therapy can be both cathartic and challenging as you try to confront problems head on and deal with feelings that you may have been avoiding for a long time. The reason many people become addicted to certain substances is because they offer them a form of escape so that they don’t have to feel sad, confused, angry or scared. In therapy you can start to let yourself feel these emotions and work through them instead of running away or self-medicating.
Group Therapy for Support and Connection
While individual therapy is a way to deal with very private and personal issues, group therapy can give you the chance to be vulnerable and improve communication with your peers. Group therapy is a helpful supplement to individual therapy because it allows people to hear other stories about addiction and personal struggles that may be similar to their own. It can be cathartic and empowering to realize that you are not alone in the challenges you have faced in life and that everyone goes through their own dark times. In group therapy, patients learn to listen to each other and be more empathetic so that they develop closer connections and relationships. Many people with addictions often tend to isolate themselves and become distant from the people in their lives in order to pursue their substance abuse. The goal of group therapy is to help addicts learn to be closer to the people around them and rely on each other for support to stay sober.
Activities While in Rehab
There is more to most rehab programs than simply attending therapy every day and talking in group meetings. There are also plenty of fun activities planned to help patients have some time away from the ups and downs of recovery. Activities can also help people in recovery learn how to enjoy themselves while sober and explore new hobbies that alleviate stress. The type of activities vary depending on the type of treatment center but they could include sports, hiking, swimming, art classes, music or group outings like museum and beach trips. Getting involved in different activities is another way for peers to connect with each other and have interactive experiences that don’t involve any substance abuse. Hobbies and activities can be helpful in difficult times because they help take your mind off of what you are going through. Rehab includes activities so that patients can focus on having fun and occasionally taking a break from the hard work of recovery.
Help with Interventions
If you are concerned that someone you know needs to go to treatment for an addiction it can be a difficult subject to bring up. Talking to someone about their problem can be uncomfortable because they may feel hurt and defensive or fear that you are judging them. Confronting someone about their drug use can be very complex and is sometimes best accomplished through the format of an intervention. By gathering together a group of people that feel as worried as you do about this person’s well-being you are more likely to reach them. When a number of people in their life have all the same concerns about their drug use rather than just one person they are more inclined to listen. If you are not sure how to stage an intervention or are afraid that it might fail it can be a good idea to get in touch with an interventionist who has experience in the field of addiction. This person can help you prepare for the intervention and give you a better idea of what you can say and do to get your loved one into addiction treatment.
The Necessity of Aftercare
Although rehab is designed to prepare you as much as possible for living a sober life, many people still need help after they finish the program. Not everyone is going to be completely ready to go back to their old life and be faced with cravings and temptations without the help and support that they have in treatment. That is why most rehab programs offer some type of aftercare as a way to help people in the transition between treatment and living at home again. It is never easy to return to an environment where you used to abuse alcohol or drugs and have to maintain control so that you do not relapse. It is a difficult struggle for people to stay committed to the things that they learned in rehab when they are no longer in a safe and supportive sober community. Aftercare provides people with the resources they need when they have completed their treatment program and need help to stay sober in the first few months of living at home again.
Choosing a Rehab Center
Once you have a good idea of the different components of rehab and what the process entails you will need to focus on choosing one that suits your personal needs. Do you want to receive treatment in a certain location such as somewhere secluded and remote or close by so that family can visit? There are a lot of options to think about in terms of a rehab center and looking into a few different treatment programs can help ensure that you pick one that suits your needs the best. They type of program can vary depending on your financial situation and what you can afford or what your insurance will cover. People with greater financial means might choose something like luxury rehab and others might have to find a place that is comfortable but still within their ability to pay. As long as you visit a rehab center first and get all your most important questions answered, you can make sure that you have chosen the treatment center that will work best for you.