What Happens in Treatment?

Professional treatment is one of the most dynamic ways to create a vibrant future. Some payoffs are obvious: if an addiction has ravaged your health, then regaining mental and physical fitness is a tangible result you can expect. However, other perks are more subtle. After days, weeks and months of “doing the next right thing” and walking through treatment, some people look around themselves and are pleasantly surprised to see growth. In fact, unexpected areas of their lives—from finances and family relationships to health and self-esteem—may show evidence of change and wholeness.

Keep the benefits of recovery in mind, as they can motivate you to enter rehab. For many people, the hardest part of entering treatment is walking through the door, so many never try. To the point: statistics gathered by the Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health show that, in 2009, few addicts attended rehab of the 23.5 million people aged 12 or older who needed to.

Learning what to expect from treatment is one way to make it easier to take the next step.

Admissions: Getting Yourself Through the Door

Recovery centers realize that most people struggle to walk into professional addiction treatment. Actually, people who have too much time to think may second-guess their decision and bolt from the waiting room before they even approach the front desk—especially if a craving strikes. For this reason, treatment professionals expedite intake to include only the following essentials:

  • Settling financial matters
  • Getting acquainted with your care coordinator
  • Touring the facility and grounds
  • Going over “house rules” and behavior expectations, including guidelines regarding dating
  • Seeing your room and meeting your roommate

Expect to meet a volunteer or rehab staff member who will guide you through each step of admission. Sometimes, these individuals have addiction histories, which may encourage and support you through your transition.

Detox: Getting Clean

Detox is step one of every addiction recovery. Officials at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) describe detox as the process during which the body removes drugs and alcohol from its system. Detox is often characterized by painful withdrawal symptoms, some of which occur for days, weeks, months or even years after use stops—depending on the substance. With proper medication and oversight, physical symptoms can be well managed, and the physiological impact of this process can be minimized.

Finishing detox is an important milestone in recovery, but NIDA officials say it does not constitute recovery. Cleaning the body of chemicals does not address the roots of addiction, because these issues typically stem back to childhood issues, trauma and untreated mental health disorders

Counseling: Getting to the Bottom of Problems

There is no magic bullet that addresses the root of addiction, so many therapies may be used to get you clean. Although specific methods vary across treatment centers, the US Department of Health and Human Services say that most approaches are designed for particular models, like the social-detox model. This model relies on a supportive, non-hospital setting in which people are eased into sober lives. For instance, instead of a sterile, clinical environment, rehab centers oriented to this model aim to be comfortable and to boost serenity. For that reason, many rehab centers are situated in beautiful, tranquil settings, such as the countryside, ocean or mountains. Additionally, participants learn to rely not only on the staff, but also on the community of healthy peers—this goal is often achieved through group therapy and sometimes through roommates.

One important component of this stage is the individual’s treatment plan (ITP). Essentially a personalized blueprint, the ITP is formulated by the recovery team that oversees your stay, which often comprises doctors, therapists and social workers who match facility amenities and therapies to your unique needs. Reflective of age, gender, ethnicity and culture, an ITP should target both the substance abuse problem and related issues, such as legal issues and vocational challenges.

Preparation for Reentry

Rehab centers provide ITPs to bridge intensive care with reentry into the real world. Long after patients leave treatment, these plans frame recovery and supply additional healthcare providers to join your team. Just like the person it serves, an ITP is a work in progress: what is needed in early sobriety (perhaps meeting on a daily basis with a mentor) may be unnecessary later on when a weekly sponsor visit will due. Periodically, this plan should be reexamined and assessed for efficacy.

The Mayo Clinic notes two other important foci of reentry, relapse prevention and commitment to a recovery community. These two arms of sobriety link together to support the early days following discharge and even decades into sobriety. For instance, joining a 12-step support group provides a way to keep your relapse guard high, and it also protects against isolation through meaningful relationships.

Get Help for Alcoholism

You can recover from addiction. Admissions coordinators are available at our toll-free, 24 hour helpline right now to help you transition from addiction to drug-free living. Don’t go it alone when help is just one phone call away; you never have to go back to a life of addiction, so please call today.