What Is Rehab Like?
Many people don’t know what to fully expect in rehab and have no idea what the rehabilitation process will be like for them. Even though treatment is a different experience for every person, much of it generally involves activities such as individual and group therapy that address the underlying issues fueling addiction.
One main difference between recovery centers is whether they are inpatient or outpatient. Inpatient is a relatively more intensive treatment option that takes place while you live on site. Outpatient generally takes place in a less immersive treatment environment and requires that you visit the facility or treatment office for several hours throughout the week.
Many programs follow a general treatment process. But they will likely have different policies and rules on things such as family visits.
Although rehab might seem intimidating, many people adjust to the environment, make new friends, and begin to recover and feel better.
What Happens in a Rehabilitation Center?
Below is a general outline of what happens in a drug and alcohol treatment center.
Share your physical, mental, and emotional health issues to ensure that your treatment is tailored to all your needs.
- Intake and assessment: When you first arrive, you will meet with a clinician to do an intake. The intake will include filling out paperwork and getting cleared for treatment. A medical professional will take a thorough medical and substance abuse history to assess the severity of your addiction. Share all of your physical, mental, and emotional health issues to ensure that your treatment is tailored to all your needs.
- Treatment plan development: Using the information you provided during the intake, your therapist or doctor will create a treatment plan for you. This plan will serve as a roadmap for your entire time in rehabilitation.
- Detox: Some forms of substance abuse require a supervised, medical detox. Your body will be slowly weaned off of drugs or alcohol so that you can safely eliminate all traces of the drug from your system. When appropriate, additional medications may be used to minimize withdrawal symptoms and ensure a safe, comfortable detox process. After being stabilized, you’ll be referred to either inpatient or outpatient treatment.
- Treatment: As treatment continues, you’ll participate in a number of wellness activities and life skills training sessions. If your program uses medication-assisted treatment approaches, you may be prescribed additional medications. If you are in an inpatient facility or partial hospitalization program, your days will be quite structured with scheduled meals, group therapy, individual time with a therapist, recreation time, and down time in the evenings to socialize, rest, or play games. During group therapy, you may cover topics such as how to avoid a relapse, education about addiction, and how to appropriately express anger.
- Aftercare: When you and the staff determine that you are ready to leave, they will often set you up some form of aftercare, such as 12-step meetings, meeting with a local therapist, or transitioning to a sober living facility.
- 12-step meetings: Before, during, or after treatment you may also attend 12-step meetings and alternative therapy activities such as art therapy, yoga, and acupuncture to address all levels of your addiction.
Many programs offer rewards and privileges for meeting treatment goals. For example, if you pass a routine drug test, you may be allowed to go on a weekend trip or earn vouchers that you can redeem for prizes.
Every program has certain expectations, rules, and policies. During the intake process, you will likely sign paperwork that indicates that you agree to follow rules and policies that have been set forth by a facility.
The rules will vary. Look into the program’s policies beforehand so that you have an idea of what their expectations are.
Program rules may or may not include:
- The types of electronics you can use.
- The length of time you can spend using electronics.
- If you can bring your pet to treatment.
- Attendance policies at therapy and meetings.
- Policies around drug or alcohol use in treatment.
- Leaving the facility without permission.
- No violence or inappropriate behaviors.
Understanding all aspects of a treatment center’s policies can help you mentally prepare for the program. Before choosing a treatment facility, ask about rules or policies so you can find a place that will be a good fit for your lifestyle.
Many people entering rehab have loved ones that they must leave in order to attend treatment. Leaving your support network can be challenging, and you may want to ask about the program’s policies on visitors so you can plan visits ahead of time. Some programs may only allow you to have visitors on the weekends or after you have been in treatment for a certain length of time.
Addiction is sometimes referred to as a family disease because it not only affects the person battling addiction, but the entire family unit. If your spouse, loved one, children, or other family members have been affected by your drug or alcohol use, it might be therapeutic to have them come to treatment and participate in family therapy.
Before your loved one is allowed inside of the treatment facility, they may be searched to ensure that they are not bringing in any drugs or alcohol. Depending on the facility, you may also have to meet in a designated area.