What is Substance Abuse Rehabilitation?

Substance abuse rehabilitation (often referred to as “rehab”) is the treatment of drug and alcohol addictions, and can refer to a broad range of medical and psychological approaches.
Various approaches are used in substance abuse rehabilitation. These include:

  • Inpatient/residential treatment. An addicted person lives in a hospital or residential treatment center for a period of weeks to months, and receives 24-hour monitoring and care.
  • Outpatient treatment. An addicted person lives at home and returns home every day, but comes to the treatment center for group therapy and support on a regular basis. This includes outpatient detox, where you receive medical supervision at the center during the day, and return home with the medication you’ll need for the evening.
  • Support groups. These groups meet regularly and provide an addicted person with a community to which they are responsible, and who can help them with the day-to-day struggles of recovery.
  • Halfway houses. These supervised homes allow a recovering addict to start reintegrating with society while still receiving monitoring and support. These homes can be an important link from a life of addiction to a life of productive involvement in the world.
  • Addiction counseling. Individual counseling provides one-on-one interaction and accountability with a counselor who specializes in a particular addiction therapy. Addiction counseling can also be done with groups. Counseling is also important for couples and families who have been affected by the substance abuse.

New approaches for substance abuse rehabilitation are being discovered and used all the time. While most approaches are behavior based, others make use of advances in medicine and nutrition, in order to restore a person’s biochemistry and stop the addiction.
The most popular forms of behavioral substance abuse treatment include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy. In this kind of therapy, you are helped by trained counselors to recognize and avoid the situations that might cause you to relapse.
  • Family therapy. This therapy includes those who have been affected or harmed by your active addiction. It supports your recovery through the improvement of relationships within the family.
  • Motivational therapy. As the client, you are motivated to change your life through the use of incentives, such as regaining access to things you enjoy or love at certain milestones in your treatment.

The most popular forms of pharmacological substance abuse treatment use methadone (marketed in America as “Subutex”) and buprenorphine (“Suboxone”). Both medications reduce the craving for opiates, which then reduces illegal drug use. While there is still a bias in the medical community (and the population at large) toward behavioral substance abuse treatment, the success rate with pharmacological substance abuse treatment is heartening.
Work in the field of diet and nutrition has led some researchers to posit links between certain foods, like sugars, and certain addictions, like alcoholism. This is an expanding field of research, and new forms of substance abuse treatment have been developed with varying levels of success.
A good outpatient substance abuse rehabilitation center is aware of and experienced with the latest research in effective substance abuse treatment. Counselors and medical staff are there to help you on your path to healing and recovery.

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