Drug rehab, a colloquial or even slang term for drug and alcohol rehabilitation, refers to the process of treating substance abuse, chemical dependency, and specifically addiction to any form of drug, whether prescribed, controlled, or uncontrolled. While there are extensive varieties, philosophies, and types of drug rehab, the basic, traditional treatment process involves medical and psychotherapeutic treatment for those addicted to drugs or alcohol.
The drug rehab medical component typically involves chemical detoxification of the patient, when the acceptable levels of undesirable chemicals are exceeded in the body. The detoxification process must be initiated and monitored by a capable and experienced medical professional to insure the least medical risk possible to the detoxifying patient. The specific detox protocol is very much a function of the type, amount, and usage period of unwanted chemicals in the body. Some detox protocols involve only time, as the body will naturally break down and void the unwanted chemicals. In more severe instances, detoxifying chemicals are introduced into the body, which counter act or inhibit and/or block the activity of specific neurological receptors, so that the effects of the undesired chemical are neutralized, thus enabling the patient to reduce the psychological desire for the drug. In almost all detoxification protocols, patients are given some variety of mood stabilizers and/or relaxers to aid in the detoxification process.
The length of the detox period is also dependant on the type, quantity, and duration of drug use, among other considerations.
The psychological aspect of drug rehab, which commences after the patient has begun, or even completed the detoxification, in some cases, is the most critical part of the drug rehab process. The saying that ‘it’s easy to get off the drugs, it’s just difficult to stay off the drugs,’ is a fact borne out time and time again. If the patient is only detoxified, but not educated and processed through the addiction, the odds of relapse are extremely high. For this reason, there must be a psycho-dynamic component to drug rehab. The psychodynamic aspect of treatment historically consists of education, step work (12 Step Process), and in some higher-end programs, individual and small group therapy. It is through these interventions and processes that the patient begins to understand and comprehend the effect of substance abuse in his or her live and how to manage the stressors and triggers that have caused the abuse.
The last phase of primary care drug rehab regards the discharge planning component. So often, patients improve and perform at a very high level, as a result of the highly structured drug rehab environment that they are in for 30-90 days. However, upon re-introduction to their pre-drug rehab existence, they often fall in with the same people, situations, triggers, etc., which cause them to relapse. The best way to avoid this eventuality is to provide a very structured discharge plan, which, when followed, helps the patient avoid the pitfalls of drug abuse. Most viable discharge plans include some or ideally all of the following: outpatient treatment referrals; 12-Step Program initiation/continuation, including finding a sponsor; Sober Living environments; drug monitoring; and life coaching.
Quality, comprehensive drug rehab programs are highly effective in treating those addicted to drugs and alcohol. The earlier in the addiction process that a drug addict undergoes treatment, the higher the incidence of full recovery and future abstinence.