People talk while in a group therapy session - What To Expect In Alcohol & Drug Rehab

When people imagine rehab, they may picture something like being hospitalized or even imprisoned. But, in reality, both outpatient and residential alcohol and drug rehab programs are designed to be intensive but positive experiences for those who participate.

Here’s what you or your loved one should expect to experience during the recovery process:

Medical Detoxification Programs

Medically assisted detox programs exist to help patients work through withdrawal symptoms, the temporary negative physical and mental effects triggered when a drug- or alcohol-dependent person stops taking that substance, throwing their internal body chemistry off.

These symptoms can vary from person to person depending on the type of drug they abused, but may include:

  • sleep problems
  • mood problems, especially irritability, depression, and anxiety
  • aches and pains
  • sweating
  • shaking
  • fatigue
  • nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • intense drug cravings
  • hallucinations and other symptoms of psychosis

In an inpatient detox program, you stay for a period of several days in a safe and comfortable residential environment with 24-7 access to healthcare professionals and counselors who keep you safe, calm, and confident while your mental and physical health stabilize.

Once this is over, you can transition into other treatment services, especially residential rehab services.

Inpatient Programs

Inpatient or residential programs may begin with detoxification and likely last for a total of 30-60 days.

During inpatient rehab, patients live inside a comfortable but secure treatment center, sleeping in their own room at night and spending the day moving through different evidence-based treatment sessions led by trained behavioral health experts and clinicians.

A Typical Day

A patient’s typical day in rehab may vary depending on the program and the level of care. Most programs follow a tight schedule designed to pack as much progress as possible into the available time, while still giving patients a chance to rest and recover during the day.

Treatment activities may include psychotherapy (individual therapy/group therapy), psychosocial courses, educational sessions, support groups, treatment sessions for co-occurring disorders, personal time, and even some group recreational activities where everyone can cut back and have fun.

You might also devote time to family therapy sessions, 12-step meetings, or medical check-ups during your stay.

Ultimately, inpatient programs strive to give patients the best possible understanding of themselves and their addiction, help them learn new coping mechanisms, build their confidence and self-esteem, and establish health habits and motivation to carry them into a new and sober lifestyle.

Outpatient Programs

Outpatient programs for drug and alcohol addiction recovery also come in a wide range of styles and levels of care, especially regular outpatient rehab programs, intensive outpatient rehab programs (IOPs), and day treatment or partial hospitalization programs (PHPs).

Those attending regular outpatient treatment commute from home to individual or group treatment sessions scheduled once or twice a week for several hours at a time, with the program often lasting for around 90 days, though this can vary.

IOPs, in contrast, are part-time programs that include 2-3 full days of treatment during the week. And full-time day treatment/PHP programs can provide an even more structured and intensive course of treatment for 5-6 full days a week, though usually with a shorter overall duration.

Aftercare Support

Unfortunately, substance use disorders can’t just be simply cured, even through the best possible outpatient or inpatient treatment services. The potential for relapse is lifelong, and only with proper motivation, accountability, support, and vigilance can a recovery be safeguarded.

But this doesn’t mean you’ll be on your own.

After you finish drug/alcohol rehab, you’ll most likely be equipped with an aftercare treatment plan that features a variety of different services, interventions, and resources that can help you maintain your sober lifestyle, prevent relapse, or help you get back on track if a relapse does occur.

Aftercare Services

Aftercare support can look very different from person to person, and may feature a wide variety of activities and services, including:

  • participation in peer support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), and others
  • long-term medication-assisted treatment options (MAT) for opioid or alcohol use disorders (e.g. naltrexone, buprenorphine, methadone, etc.)
  • sober living housing options
  • individual or group counseling sessions
  • employment counseling or other social assistance
  • case management
  • Alumni programming

How To Get Started With Rehab

If you or your loved one are struggling with drug or alcohol abuse, there are plenty of different options available to help you access the right type of care for your needs.

Talk To Your Doctor

To get started, talk to your doctor about your alcohol and drug use, its effects on you, and your desire to get help. Your doctor may then be able to refer you to a treatment program.

Contact Treatment Facilities Directly

You can also contact your treatment facilities directly, whether you are interested in local rehab facilities or centers located even further away. The representative on the other end will be able to help you access the right treatment services for your needs.

Reach Out To Helplines

Finally, you can reach out to local or federal helplines, share your situation, and ask for referrals to the appropriate resources in your local area.

Substance abuse treatment can help you fight your substance use disorder and live a better, healthier, drug-free life.

To explore your options, including expert regular and intensive outpatient treatment options, dual diagnosis treatment options, medication-assisted treatment options, 12-step programs, and more, please consider reaching out to Northeast Addictions Treatment Center today.  

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Written by
Northeast Addition Editorial Team

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This page does not provide medical advice.