Drug abuse rehabilitation centers: What can you expect?

A review of the stages of addiction treatment (and what happens during rehab), with a section at the end for your questions.

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The basics of drug rehab

Drug abuse treatment aims to help addicted individuals stop compulsive drug seeking and use. Treatment can occur in a variety of settings, take many different forms, and last for different lengths of time. For many, treatment is a long-term process that involves multiple interventions and regular monitoring. But what can you expect in terms of stages of rehab and addiction treatment process? And what goes on in a drug abuse treatment center?

We review here. Then, we invite your questions about rehab at the end.

Drug abuse rehabilitation stages

Each stage of a person’s treatment (early, middle, and late stage) differs by individual. Rehabs have become more aware of the need for individualized plans. While you will pass through these basic stages in order, the drug rehab time and effective therapeutic strategies that are used will be different.

1. Early drug rehab

In early treatment, it is normal to be emotionally fragile, ambivalent about giving up your drug-of-choice, and resistant to treatment. For this reason, treatment strategies focus on immediate concerns:

  • achieving abstinence
  • preventing relapse
  • managing cravings

During this time, you’ll go through detox, meet your counselor(s), and become a part of a gender based group.

It is very important that you become a part of a stable working group, because groups form the core of the therapeutic model in rehab. Groups help you learn through other people’s experiences about hope, cohesion, and universality. Support systems are incredibly powerful during addiction recovery, and you start to listen and share in early treatment. Emotionally charged factors, such as catharsis and re-enactment of family of origin issues, are deferred until later in treatment.

2. Middle stage drug rehab

In the middle, or action, stage of treatment, you’ll continue to need a group’s assistance in recognizing that substance abuse causes many of your problems and blocks you from getting things they want. At this stage of rehab, you can expect lots of group therapy and individual one-on-one counseling sessions. Family therapy might even become a part of your treatment plan.

The main goal of the action stage of treatment is to explore the reasons WHY you use…and to develop coping mechanisms to choose a new way of dealing with life. As you reluctantly cut ties with your drug-of-choice, you still need help managing the loss and finding healthy substitutes. Often, you’ll need guidance in understanding and managing your emotional life, as well as work on changing beliefs related to drugs.

3. Late stage drug rehab

Late stage treatment spends less time on substance abuse per se and turns toward identifying the treatment gains to be maintained and risks that remain. During this stage, you may focus on the issues of sober living, resolving guilt, reducing shame, and adopting a more introspective, relational view of yourself.

You will also be encouraged to set up an aftercare treatment plan, which can include a combination of:

  • continued psychotherapy
  • outpatient rehab
  • sober living
  • support systems

An aftercare treatment plan can be crucial to a person’s success in achieving and maintaining a drug-free lifestyle. Preventing relapse is necessary for maintaining the positive effects of rehab. And sometimes, as with other chronic conditions, episodes of relapse may require a return to prior treatment components.

Still, a continuum of care will include a customized treatment regimen to address all aspects of your life. This plan should include medical, social, legal, and mental health services and follow-up options.

Drug abuse rehabilitation protocol

The most important thing to know about drug rehab is that evidence-based practices lead to successful outcomes. So, you can get clean and sober, especially when you follow suggestions!

Medication and behavioral/psychotherapy, especially when combined, are important elements of an overall therapeutic process. There are medications available to help you cope with cravings, withdrawal, and can help your recovery. Remember, however, that you MUST address the psychological issues that led you to drugs in the first place. If you leave your inner pain untouched, unresolved, and at the core of your being… you can return to drugs after a stay in rehab.

Drug abuse rehabilitation center costs

The average out-of-pocket cost of drug rehab centers is about:

  • Inpatient rehab = $20K per treatment episode (1 month)
  • Outpatient rehab = $3-6K per treatment episode (2-3 months)

That said, you can find an entire range of rehabs that work with federal/state vouchers, Obamacare insurance, and/or who offer sliding scale payment fees. Plus, keep in mind that these number are an AVERAGE. Private rehabs will be much more expensive than non-profit driven centers.

Drug addiction treatment has been shown to reduce associated health and social costs by far more than the cost of the treatment itself. Treatment is much less expensive than its alternatives, such as incarcerating addicted persons. For example, the average cost for 1 full year of methadone maintenance treatment is approximately $4,700 per patient, whereas incarceration averages over $30K annual.

Low cost drug abuse rehabilitation center

One of the the biggest problems people individuals face in attending drug rehab is the inability to travel to quality, affordable facilities. If possible, every effort should be made to get yourself or your loved one into a high quality, low cost drug rehab, even if it is outside your local area.

If you or your loved one has no choice but to attend the closest or the cheapest low cost drug rehab you should definitely still go and get drug rehab treatment for yourself or your loved one. Getting help from a drug rehab is much better than receiving no drug rehab at all.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) can help guide you through the process of finding a low cost drug rehab program and provide you with a full menu of choices. Thanks to low cost drug rehab options, you don’t have to suffer with drug addiction, because of inability to afford proper treatment.

Drug abuse rehabilitation center questions

In this article, we have tried to explain the stages of drug abuse rehabilitation, as well as the cost of these services. If you still need some clarification about the process in whole, we encourage you to ask questions in the comments section below. We will do our best to answer all relevant questions personally and promptly.

Reference sources: NIH: Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction
NIH: Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment
NIH: Is drug addiction treatment worth its cost?
NCBI: 5 Stages of Treatment
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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