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Drug Rehabs: Overview

Drug Rehabs: Overview

People who are struggling with addiction issues can get the care they need by entering drug rehabilitation centers, which tend to combine therapy with medicinal treatments in order to help patients overcome the physical and psychological effects of addiction. Drug treatment programs teach patients the coping skills they need to maintain a healthy, sober life while allowing them to share their experiences with their peers in the program. Learn more about alcohol and drug rehabs below.

People who are struggling with addiction issues can get the care they need by entering drug rehabilitation centers, which tend to combine therapy with medicinal treatments in order to help patients overcome the physical and psychological effects of addiction. Drug treatment programs teach patients the coping skills they need to maintain a healthy, sober life while allowing them to share their experiences with their peers in the program. Learn more about alcohol and drug rehabs below.

Drug Rehab Centers by Substance

Fast Facts: Drug Abuse in America

Some of the most commonly abused drugs in the United States:

  • Alcohol
  • Cocaine
  • Codeine
  • Heroin
  • Ketamine
  • LSD
  • Marijuana
  • MDMA
  • Methamphetamine
  • Oxycodone

(Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse)

States with the biggest drug problem:

  • District of Columbia
  • Vermont
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Rhode Island
  • Oregon
  • Connecticut
  • Arizona
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan

(Source: WalletHub)

Drug abuse costs society over $190 billion in lost productivity, legal expenses, and health care treatment.

(Source: National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence)

The short-term effects of drug abuse include impairments to memory, emotions, self-control, and judgment.

(Source: National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence)

Addiction can be caused by a combination of genetics and environment

(Source: Mayo Clinic)

Some of the major signs of drug addiction include:

  • Not being able to control drug use and doing more drugs than intended
  • Ignoring things like hygiene and family, school, and work responsibilities
  • Withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, trembling, anxiety, and appetite loss
  • Keeping secrets about drug use from family and friends
  • Continuing to use drugs even after it has caused relationship, health, and work problems

(Source: National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence)

States with the most overdose deaths per capita:

  • West Virginia
  • New Hampshire
  • Kentucky
  • Ohio
  • Rhode Island

(Source: WalletHub)

The most effective rehab for drugs is inpatient based on a holistic approach that addresses the physical, psychological, emotional, legal, and vocational ramifications of addiction. This generally includes a combination of medication and behavioral therapy.

(Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse)

Find a Drug Rehabilitation Center

Since drug addiction can affect every area of someone’s life—including relationships, physical and mental health, employment, and living arrangements—seeking a drug rehab center can improve their lives exponentially..Drug treatment facilities have programs designed to meet the individual needs of patients.

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Types of Drug Rehabs
Inpatient drug rehab centers

Depending on the specific program, inpatient drug rehabilitation facilities may provide treatment for three days to over a year. During this time, patients can receive detoxification treatment to get the drugs out of their system, as well as therapy in group or individual settings. These types of facilities can be private or state run.

Outpatient drug rehab centers

Outpatient programs allow people to get the treatment they need when they’re not in the position to check into an inpatient rehab. Patients in these programs may spend up to eight hours per day in the drug rehabilitation center, which may provide medication-assisted treatment, counseling, and life skills courses.

Drug rehabilitation programs for veterans

Veterans dealing with the aftermath of their military service, as well as the stress of reintegrating back into the civilian world, have specific needs when it comes to drug rehabilitation. The VA understands the needs of veterans struggling with addiction, so the agency offers medicinal and nonmedicinal treatments—which also address coexisting disorders like depression and PTSD—tailored to the veteran community.

Juvenile drug rehabilitation programs

Juvenile drug rehab caters to the unique physical, emotional, and social needs of younger patients. People who work at these facilities understand that drug abuse affects the body of adolescents and children differently than adults, so treatment is designed with these differences in mind. Also, patients in juvenile treatment programs learn how to cope with issues like school and family programs.

Opioid rehabilitation programs

As opioid abuse increasingly becomes a problem around the country, more and more drug rehabilitation programs are being developed specifically to address the needs of those addicted to drugs like fentanyl, morphine, and oxycodone. These programs combine the use of medications like buprenorphine, naltrexone, and methadone with behavioral counseling.

Day-to-Day: What Happens in Rehab?

In order to provide the most appropriate treatment for patients, drug rehab facilities need to gather as much information about them as possible, which is done through comprehensive medical assessments. During this process, patients undergo an examination that includes checking vital signs, conducting urine and blood tests, and completing a nutritional screening. Through this process, doctors determine each patient’s state of health and make decisions about the best choices for their treatment.

In addition, psychiatric evaluations are conducted on patients as they enter rehab in order to gather information on their mental state. These evaluations can be done by giving patients psychological tests like the Millon Clinical Multiaxial Personality Inventory, Mini-Mental State Examination, or Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory. The results of these assessments determine the strategies that will be used during therapy.

Also, rehab workers must find out if patients have co-existing conditions or trauma that should be addressed in treatment. For example, patients who are suffering from PTSD and depression must get rehab for drugs that focuses on their mental health problems. Similarly, patients who have been through traumatic experiences, like physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, need a treatment plan that helps them overcome the feelings associated with these problems.

Drug Detox and Withdrawal

After a drug rehabilitation center facility has assessed patients’ physical and mental condition, and made decisions about the kind of treatment they need, the next step in the process is generally detoxification. This is designed to cleanse the body of all traces of a drug, while helping patients deal with the physical and emotional effects of withdrawal. The method of detoxification and the medications doctors choose depend on several factors, including the type of drugs the patients abused, how long the drugs were used, how severe withdrawal symptoms are, and the co-occurring conditions patients are suffering from. The following table illustrates withdrawal and treatment timelines for different types of drugs.

Benzodiazepine
Withdrawal Symptoms

irritability, panic, insomnia,
heart palpitations, weight loss, muscle pain and stiffness, seizures, blurred vision, mood swings, hallucinations

Detox Length

7 to 14 days

Treatment Recommendation

28 to 90 days

Cocaine
Withdrawal Symptoms

hallucinations, anxiety, restlessness, muscle spasms and aches, nausea, vomiting, aggression, insomnia, nightmares

Detox Length

7 to 10 days

Treatment Recommendation

90 days to 12 months

Heroin
Withdrawal Symptoms

nausea, insomnia, nervousness, vomiting, muscle aches, dilated pupils, abdominal cramping, depression, sweating, agitation

Detox Length

5 to 10 days

Treatment Recommendation

90 days to 12 months

Methamphetamine
Withdrawal Symptoms

anxiety, depression, sleep problems, heart palpitations, seizures, chills, fever, paranoia, increased appetite, dry mouth, itchiness

Detox Length

14 to 20 days

Treatment Recommendation

16 weeks

Opiate
Withdrawal Symptoms

fever, vomiting, runny nose, goosebumps, sweats, agitation, restlessness, eyes tearing up, diarrhea, muscle aches, anxiety

Detox Length

1 to 3 days

Treatment Recommendation

90 days to 12 months

Drug Treatment

There are several types of treatment methods that may be used when patients enter drug rehabilitation. The following are some examples of common treatment types.

Medication-assisted treatment

Medication-assisted therapy helps patients’ bodily functions and brain chemistry normalize after abusing drugs. Through this treatment, patients no longer feel the euphoria and physical cravings associated with a drug. The types of medication used depend on the drugs that patients are addicted to—some of which are illustrated in the table below.

Type of Drug Treatment Medications
Cocaine modafinil, propranolol, gamma-vinyl GABA, topiramate, tiagabine, disulfiram
Marijuana transdermal tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) patch
Opioid buprenorphine, naltrexone, methadone
Personal, group, and family counseling

Counseling gives patients the opportunity to work on the issues that may have contributed to their addiction problems, as well as gain skills to handle future life stressors in a way that will to prevent a relapse. Depending on the program, counseling may take place in an individual or group setting. In addition, some counseling may incorporate a patient’s family in order to deal with how addiction has impacted the family unit as a whole. Also, some drug rehabilitation centers offer faith-based counseling for those who want to incorporate their religious practice into their treatment.

Cognitive behavioral therapy

Negative thoughts and beliefs are often a big part of why some people turn to drugs. Cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on these destructive beliefs and thoughts, and replaces them with ones that will help patients increase their self-esteem and cope with life’s problems in a productive way.

Holistic care

Sometime a drug rehab center will combine medication-assisted therapy and counseling with other methods that help patients handle living a productive, sober lifestyle. This may include classes on life skills, nutrition, finances, and employment skills.

Maintenance and Recovery

Going through the drug rehabilitation process can be physically and psychologically challenging, but that is just the beginning. In order to ensure that the effects of rehab are long-lasting, people need to adopt behaviors that will help to prevent a relapse. Some of the things they can do to maintain their sobriety include:

  • Regularly participating in support groups
  • Avoiding situations that may be tempting
  • Creating a network of supportive, sober people
  • Getting an adequate amount of sleep
  • Gaining a new perspective on what activities are fun
  • Ending relationships with toxic people
  • Creating a daily routine
  • Exercising regularly
  • Eating a balanced diet
  • Asking for help when needed

Although much of sober living begins in the mind, people who have completed rehab may also receive medical maintenance to help them resist the drug cravings they may experience when they’re back in their regular environment. In fact, when combined with healthy habits and counseling, medical maintenance can go a long way toward long-term sobriety.

How to Help Someone With a Drug Addiction

Addiction doesn’t only impact the lives of the people doing drugs—their loved ones are also deeply affected by their behaviors. Although the family and friends of someone with an addiction problem cannot make the person stop doing drugs, they can encourage them to get treatment by staging an intervention. During this process, someone’s family and friends discuss how their addiction has harmed them and asks them to get help to stop abusing drugs.

In order for an intervention to be successful, people should:

  • Consult with an addiction professional
  • Create an intervention plan
  • Avoid trying to shame the person with an addiction
  • Be specific about the problems the addiction has caused
  • Decide on consequences if the person refuses to seek treatment

Q&A With an Drug & Alcohol Addiction Expert

About Lisa Bahar
About Lisa Bahar

Lisa Bahar (www.lisabahar.com) is a licensed marriage and family therapist and licensed professional clinical counselor located in Newport Beach and Laguna Niguel, California. She works with individuals, couples and families. Lisa is a contributor to many national and international news publications, where she provides her insights and guidance to readers on relationships, mental health, and how to achieve overall well-being.

  • Q. What are today’s major drug trends?

    From my experience, appears more opioids, heroin. I work with a lot of women in recovery and also see a lot of stimulants or abuse of for example ADHD medications and opioids, which has an underlying body image symptom that manifests once the woman is stabilized and begins to nourish herself (i.e., gain healthy weight, the eating disorder behavior tends to manifest, not in all cases but many). I also see a lot of women using as a way to maintain a codependent connection with individuals (domestic violence for example), whereas she uses and cross addicts to love and sex addiction.

  • Q. How has drug rehabilitation evolved over the last couple of decades?

    In a more general sense, I see the disease being seen from a more compassionate model and treatment is being geared to less prosecution style and more compassion style. This is a fine line since the disease manifests with sophisticated manipulation, therefore to work with addiction, being prepared to treat and anticipate the sophistication of the mind to secure, hide and use the drug without getting caught has to be worked through as well by teaching clients healthy coping skills to live clean and rewire the functionings of the mind that is conditioned to lie and manipulate to avoid shame and guilt. I think overall what I see is that recovery and rehab is not such a stigmatized ailment and that people appear at least from what I have seen in this region of California (which is one of the rehab capitols for addiction treatment) is a more compassionate look at how this is not just a moral issue (although it is relevant, ultimately it is up to the individual to choose to recover with help). It is however, a medical issue that deserves treatment.

  • Q. What is it like for patients in rehab for drugs on a day-to-day basis?

    It depends on the client, if they have been in treatment before, are resistant to treatment, being mandated to go to treatment, or a result of an intervention—all these are variables that can affect the day-to-day experience of treatment. There are up and down days for all, people are doing the best they can, learning how to participate in life with the little things like doing chores, enjoying activities to the big things, like learning about themselves, processing trauma and interacting with others in a healthy and effective way.

  • Q. How can patients avoid a relapse after they are discharged from a drug rehabilitation center?

    It is all the aftercare plan. Identifying a clear harm reduction plan/relapse prevention plan is essential. Identifying meetings to attend, therapist, sponsor, life coach, activities, people that will support recovery, people to call when in a crisis, self-care of exercise, eating right, sleeping, taking medication as prescribed, going to doctors. It is really up to the person to make this happen by drawing upon the support that has been identified. it is also a commitment to sobriety, many times, people will need to lapse or relapse or find themselves doing so, it is just part of the process, there is a teeter-totter aspect to it. Be mindful, willing to accept and acknowledge and share shameful feelings. Remind yourself you are not alone.

  • Q. How can the family and friends of someone with an addiction problem help and support their sobriety?

    In my opinion, and not all would agree, however, I feel that family members can help an addict/alcoholic, by not asking if it is okay to drink—the addict/alcoholic will generally if not always say yes, it is okay, feel free be you. This is in regards to social functions, holidays, etc. in my opinion I have yet to see people in recovery do well with others that are close to them, (family) being active in the disease that is wanting to kill the addict. So, avoid use and asking if it is okay. Also, attending Al-Anon or CoDa meetings, having their own sponsor or therapist and learning how to not helicopter the one in recovery. Get education, remove blame and be mindful of making it a moral issue (“if you loved me you would stop”) and learn more about the disease of the brain.