First 30 Days Blog

16 may

What to Expect When You’re in Rehab

RobertCordrayThey say that when it comes to drug addiction, the hardest part is admitting that you have a problem. That may or may not be true, but whatever the case, once you’re willing to work to change your life, you’re at least facing in the right direction. If you’ve become addicted to dangerous substances, this might mean making the decision to enroll yourself in a drug rehabilitation program. But even though rehab may be the only viable path back to a happy life free of chemical dependency, many sufferers chose not to attend because they have no idea what to expect. In 2009, only 2.6 million—11.2 percent of those who needed treatment—chose to enroll at a specialty facility. So, for those who think that rehab might be the answer, here’s a quick rundown of what’s waiting for you when you decide to seek professional help in fighting your addiction.

First off, rehab isn’t nearly as prison-like as it is often depicted on film and television; you’re not going to be wrapped in a straightjacket and locked in a padded room until the chemicals have left your system. In fact, one thing that many people don’t realize is that every person who enrolls in reab is free to leave at any time. Honestly, you can just grab your things and walk out the door. Even if you’ve been ordered by a judge to attend rehab, you can still leave. Of course, there may be consequences that you’ll have to deal with (including possible jail-time), but at no point will a guard tackle you and drag you screaming back into your room.

Once you arrive, you’ll be be interviewed by a counselor so that the medical staff can assess what kind of treatment will work best for you. Remember, these people are trying to help you, so the more information you can give them the better. Now is not the time to be guarded or embarrassed; be totally honest with them and don’t omit anything. Certain medical tests, such as blood work or urine tests might also be required. This process will not only allow the center to determine the best approach to helping you overcome your addiction, but will also let them know how long your treatment should be.

The next step involves removing the drugs from your system. This is commonly known as detoxification. This can be done a variety of different ways. Often times medications are used to help the patient come down from the chemical dependency slowly, so that withdrawal symptoms don’t become too intense. Other facilities may take the “cold turkey” approach, and simply provide the patient with a safe and monitored environment in which to weather the storm. However, many clinics are actually requiring that a patient detoxify before being allowed to enroll.

Detoxification is an important step in overcoming addiction, but it is not the only step. Detoxification by itself is not treatment. There are more components to addiction than just the physical dependency. Drug addiction (and alcohol is as much of a drug as anything that can be snorted, smoked, or injected) also occurs in the mind. So, the next step at most rehab centers is one that focuses on education. The patient is trained to recognize his or her addiction for what it really is. It is at this stage that patient-denial is confronted and defeated. Patients are also taught about the physical impact that drug use has upon their bodies, and are forced to confront the reality of the effect drug use has on family and society.

Next, you can probably count on therapy sessions designed to teach you how to function normally without drugs. These sessions may be held on an individual basis (one-on-one with a trained counselor), or in a group setting. Group sessions will allow you to recognize that you’re not alone in your struggle, and will also give you a chance to connect with and support/be supported by others who are facing similar problems.

Additionally, studies have shown that including family members in the treatment process significantly increases the likelihood that a patient will be able to remain clean and sober. Not only does it help to have the support of loved ones, but it is also important that the family members be educated as to the best ways to help you get well.

Once your time in the rehab center is over, you’ll still be expected to continue the program on your own. Your counselor may recommend additional, regular therapy sessions or medical treatment. You’ll be expected to be able to recognize and avoid situations that may trigger a relapse.
Perhaps the most important thing to remember about rehab is that the staff is there to help you. They want you to be comfortable, and they hope to see you make a full recovery, so don’t fight them. Trust in their expertise, and always keep your eye on the prize. A sober life is possible, but you’ll have to work for it.

About the Author: Hyrum Taffer is a freelance writer with a great deal of experience in drug addiction/recovery. After counseling in an Arkansas drug rehab and gaining much personal experience and a lot of research, Hyrum became dedicated to help others benefit from his writing.

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Posted by Robert Cordray on May 16th, 2013 in Health, New Directions | 0 comments

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