A drug rehabilitation program may officially last for only a few months, but rehab is much more than just a 90-day fix. Recovery is a process that evolves through a series of stages, and your growth in sobriety can continue for the rest of your life.

Detox, managed by consulting physicians, is often the first phase of a drug rehab program, but overcoming your chemical dependence is really only the beginning of treatment. In an integrated treatment program, you’ll learn that recovering from addiction requires a long-term commitment to rebuilding your physical and psychological health.

Clearing Drugs from Your System

The goals of detox are to free your body of drugs and alcohol, help you cope with withdrawal symptoms and to identify or treat co-existing health conditions. The goals of rehabilitation are to help you become a strong, sober person—physically, mentally and emotionally—to teach you to lead a drug-free life and to help you build stronger relationships at all levels.

You can go through detox at an outpatient treatment center, a residential rehab facility, a hospital or an emergency room. As your body adjusts to the absence of alcohol or drugs, you may experience withdrawal symptoms and cravings that are difficult or impossible to tolerate. When you detox in a medically supervised setting with consulting physicians, you can receive services like intravenous (IV) fluid replacement, pharmaceutical therapy and nutritional support to help you recover more quickly from the effects of withdrawal.

Depending on the drugs you use and how long you’ve been addicted, outpatient therapy may be as effective as inpatient treatment. Social detox relies on intensive counseling and group therapy to help you get through the initial phases of withdrawal, with or without the added support of medication. After you’ve reached a state where your body is free of substances and you’re ready to focus on recovery, the next phase rehab can take place.

Finding a Supportive Rehab Environment

The environment you choose for drug rehab plays an important role in the success of your recovery. Whether you enroll in rehab at an outpatient center, a residential recovery community or an inpatient program, the facility you choose should provide a setting that supports sobriety. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism points out that both outpatient and inpatient treatment can offer a supportive environment that fulfills the client’s needs.[i]

Outpatient rehab may be appropriate for you if you meet the following criteria:

  • You have mild to moderate withdrawal symptoms.
  • You are strongly motivated to get sober without 24-hour supervision.
  • You draw strength from remaining active in your current social network.
  • You want to maintain employment and incur lower treatment costs.

Outpatient rehab is often more cost-effective than inpatient treatment, but outpatient care isn’t the answer for everyone.An inpatient setting may be more suitable for you if you meet the following conditions: