Rehabilitation - Drug Addiction

This is a process in which the overall aim is enable an addict to break their addiction and resume a normal life. It uses a variety of methods to encourage the addict to break their cycle of dependency and cope with everyday life without resorting to self-destructive behaviour e.g. heavy drinking which led to the addiction.

Rehabilitation or ‘rehab’  for short conjures up images of famous people booking themselves into an upmarket clinic in order to receive treatment for their addiction. However rehab is open to anyone regardless of background or income level.

Many people think of rehabilitation in terms of a residential stay in a centre with specially trained staff but rehab is available through local community drugs/alcohol teams as well. Another useful source is your local drug dependency unit.

Rehab encourages addicts to take charge of their addiction by a variety of methods which include:

They will also be taught about relapses and how to deal with these; taught about the negative effects of their addiction and introduced to new and healthier ways of living.

Every clinic or team will differ in their approach to addiction. Some may prefer to treat the addict as a whole - the ‘holistic’ approach whereas others may take a more direct approach.

There is no single method that works better than others and the type of rehab will depend upon your addiction and your circumstances.

Residential rehabilitation

This is the most common form of rehab in which the addict is effectively, treated as an ‘in-patient’  at a centre. They will undergo a course of treatment which is designed to enable them to regain control over the lives.

If you opt for rehab then you will stay at a rehab centre and undergo various forms of treatment until you are able to cope on a daily basis without your addiction. In some cases this means relearning skills that you have lost as a result of your addiction.

But this isn’t the end of it as you will be able to attend the centre as an outpatient. This means counselling sessions, a ‘drop-in’ clinic or support groups and meetings where necessary.

There are various factors involved in rehab which include the types of treatment available, costs, staffing costs, environment and number of courses.

Many centres encourage your family to become involved in the treatment process and see this as vital to your recovery. However this usually takes place once you have gone through detox and are able to cope without experiencing any withdrawal symptoms. 

A period of rehab can last from several days through to many months. You will undergo an assessment before you enter the centre in order to help the staff devise a treatment plan for you.

How does rehab work?

If you choose a residential centre then it is important that when you arrive that you are not under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you are taking any prescribed medication then this must be handed to the centre staff who will also check you for substances on your person.

This may seem harsh but it is done with your best interests at heart. Removing all forms of temptation will ensure that you are not at risk from a relapse.

The centre will ask you to sign a contract which is a statement to the effect that you will refrain from substance abuse whilst you are there. It also means that you fully agree to the treatment.

Someone at the centre will be assigned to your case. They will act as a point of contact and as a liaison officer during your stay.

The centre will contain a mixture of staff which includes nurses, psychotherapists, counsellors etc. They are able to prescribe medication to deal with withdrawal and to monitor its progress.

However some centres go for an ‘organic’  approach in that they only use natural remedies and products.

You will be offered counselling, detoxification, group sessions, psychotherapy and family orientated sessions. You may also be offered skills/learning sessions, complimentary remedies for example acupuncture. 

Some centres have a gym which they encourage addicts to use as well as offering advice on healthy eating. 

Day treatment

There is the option to undergo rehab as part of a structured day programme. This will include a timetable of activities for a defined period of time which occur over several days a week.

This includes rehab, counselling and other forms of treatment. 

There is also your local community drugs/alcohol team who will provide a range of services that include rehab - residential and non-residential, detox programme, counselling, advice and support and group therapy.

Aims of rehab

The aim of rehab is to wean you off your addiction as well as enabling you to recognise the cause of your problem and how to deal with it in the future. This means adopting a strategy for dealing with any negative events in your life which in the past, may have resulted in self-destructive behaviour, such as drug taking.

Once you are aware of how this happened and why, you are better placed to cope with the unexpected or negative events in your life. It is hoped that you will choose more positive ways of dealing with problems rather than substance addiction.

As long as you are willing and determined to kick your habit then rehab is an ideal way of doing this and leading a normal life.

In terms of cost: many centres are privately owned which means that you have to pay for rehab. But you may be able to get help with funding from your local authority. Your financial situation will be assessed before a decision is made about funding.



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