How does drug rehab work?

by | Mar 14, 2013 | Health Care

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A drug rehab program may only last a couple of months, but full rehabilitation and recovery is a process that will take the addict through many stages, which demand lifelong discipline.

The first phase of drug rehab is detoxification. This phase of the rehabilitation program can take place in the same facility where rehab will take place but is often a process which takes place in a facility with medical personnel who are very experienced with the pain associated with withdrawal.


The primary goal of detoxification is to clear your system of drugs and alcohol. Physicians are with the addict throughout to help him cope with the symptoms and to identify and treat any other health conditions associated with the abused substance. When detox is completed, the addict is much stronger both physically and mentally to face the challenges of living a drug-free life.

As the patient’s body adjusts to the lack of or absence of the drugs or alcohol, the body goes through changes which can be hard to tolerate, the craving for drugs becomes the primary focus. During detox in a medically supervised environment, the patient can receive IV fluid replacement, pharmaceutical assistance and nutritional support. Once the body is free of drugs, the patient can now turn his attention to drug rehab.

The rehabilitation environment:

The environment that you choose for your rehab is important to the overall success of recovery. There are different rehab facilities; outpatient center, residential recovery group or inpatient programs. Regardless of which facility you choose, it must provide a setting which is conducive to sobriety. Although outpatient care is the least expensive, it is also the treatment which has the greatest risk of relapse.

Drug rehab has a much better chance of success if the patient is taken away from all temptations, social interactions, etc., that usually trigger the urge to drink or use drugs. It is obvious that one cannot live in a vacuum for the rest of one’s life; rehab teaches the patient how to respond to these triggers in a healthy way so that the risk of relapse is minimal.

Reducing exposure to risk:

Many short term rehab programs last from a few days to a couple of weeks; intensive programs may last up to three months. Studies over the years indicate that patients that stay in rehab for longer than 14 days are 10 times more liable to stay sober. Addicts who have not even gone through a rehab program are more likely to stay clean if they can be in a drug-free environment for three months.

The studies appear to support the premise that the more time you have to stay away from the toxic substance, the better prepared you will be to live a normal life in the life outside of drug rehab.

Drug rehab is one of the core mental health services that are offered by Valley Hospital, along with detoxification and disorders which co-occur with dependency.

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