Every person has a different story, has experienced different things in life, and may even have different reasons for winding up in rehab.
However, if a person is in rehab for drug addiction or alcoholism, they turned to drugs and alcohol for some reason. Rehab is there not only to get the individual clean, but to help them understand why they turned to drugs and alcohol in the first place.
2.6 million people turned to inpatient rehab in 2009.
The numbers of individuals who need rehab have been rising since. Whether their family made them, they had a court order, they decided by themselves, or some other reason, a person in rehab hopefully will make the best of it.
Rehab generally attempts to help the addict find out more than just “I’m addicted.”
It should address the root of drug addiction and help the addict with solutions so they do not wind up in the same situation – or if they do, they can deal with it.
Detox Only vs. Complete Rehabilitation
A drug detox program which only addresses getting the user clean and then throws them back into life without addressing the root addiction issue cannot be considered a true rehabilitation program.
Many of the 30-day programs work this way. The addict does a detox. They get off the drugs they have been abusing. They might get a lecture about drugs or some group therapy while in detox. After the addict is clean, they graduate the program.
Detox is a very important step in the rehab process.
It helps the person think clearly, see the world through their own eyes, and make their own decisions – unclouded by drugs.
However, if the person still possesses the same drug abuse causes, if these go unaddressed, if they still have “reasons” to turn back to drugs, if they have no support group – it is highly unlikely they will last very long without turning to drugs again.
Effective Drug Rehab
Effective drug rehab starts with detox, and then proceeds to help the addict take a good look at themselves and their life.
It must help a person discover what in their life upsets drug abuse. Once the addict spots his or her upsets, they are able to address these situations instead of running to drugs in order to solve their problems.
For example, an addict might have had a situation at school where he was failing, his parents were mad at him, and he didn’t know what to do. Maybe a friend or classmate told him to let it go and just get high. He got high and felt better.
Now, in his current life, whenever he gets into a stressful situation at work or home and someone is upset with him, his “solution” is to get high. On a physiological level, the drugs stimulate the pleasure centers of his brain and make him feel better – at least for a short time.
Sooner or later, he learns that drugs are not the answer. In fact, they often make things worse.
Running away from a stressful situation at work to get stoned is a great way to get fired. Snorting coke in the bathroom when your wife gets mad at you for not picking the kids up from school will likely lead to that wife and those kids leaving you.
An addict must discover that both, the upsets and the fact that the drugs were actually harming his life.
In the case of the young man in school, he may have had the goal to get good grades and got stressed out when he started to fail. His parents getting mad at him only built upon his feelings of failure. In rehab, he gets a chance to sort these things out.
The whole rehab process deals with much more than just getting a person clean and sending them back to lead the same lifestyle or fall into the same patterns they did before.
Approaches to Rehab
Every single addict is different.
Some may be very religious or spiritual, while others may have no affiliation. Some may dislike group therapy and only want one-on-one sessions, while others may prefer interacting in a group environment. Others still may have no idea which approach suits them best – they’d just like to see if they can stay clean. This is why there are varied rehab methods.
The end goal for each method is essentially the same. A rehab facility wants their graduates to be healthy, happy, drug-free individuals who will not relapse.
Some of the methods and approaches to rehab are:
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These involve self-help support groups like Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous, attending lectures from other recovering addicts, educational, and other steps – all geared towards enabling a person to rise above their addictions.
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There are many groups and materials geared specifically to indigenous cultures. The Native American Wellbriety movement is a large part of the recovery effort in the US today. The goal is to help indigenous people heal from their addiction physically, mentally, and spiritually. Even people who are not of Native American descent may choose to follow this deeply spiritual route.
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Spirituality can be a huge part of helping an addict move through the recovery process. There are many excellent faith-based programs (Twelve Step and otherwise) which help a person on their religious or spiritual journey.
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Yoga, Aikido, and other martial arts training can help an addict recover by giving them focus both mentally and physically. There are proven holistic paths to empowering oneself over addiction, including acupuncture, guided imagery, and meditation.
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There are various types of therapy which have been proven effective in rehab. Gaining an inside knowledge of yourself with the non-judgmental assistance of a professional – who is there to guide you through the difficult path of recovery – can give the addict the boost and self-knowledge they need to beat their addiction.
After a person has addressed their addiction in any of the modalities available, they often leave a very caring and close-knit group for the wider world that drove them to addiction in the first place.
Aftercare programs are there to help the addict understand that they are not alone in their continued recovery process.
There are so many people just like them who no longer have their old group of drug abusing friends or may have alienated their family.
Aftercare is there to help the former addict reforge broken connections and rebuild their life into one that is drug free, healthy, and happy.
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
White Bison Wellbriety Movement