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Concerns about the severity of withdrawal symptoms are one of the biggest obstacles to people getting the substance abuse treatment they need. There are many misconceptions about detox and withdrawal, largely promoted by a false representation in the media which gives the impression it’s always an intensely torturous experience.

In truth, professional drug and alcohol detoxification treatment is the safest way a person can come off drugs or alcohol without putting themselves at risk of developing complications in withdrawal. Substance abuse treatment centers also offer people an environment where they can focus on rehabilitation from substance abuse and prepare for a healthy life in recovery.

In this article, we take a closer look at what’s involved in drug and alcohol detox programs and the benefits they offer.

Evaluation and Assessment

Once a person has taken the important step of accepting they need treatment for substance abuse, the first step is evaluation and assessment. Many people with substance use disorders also have physical or mental health conditions to cope with and the nature of them needs to be determined before an individual treatment program can be devised for them. When a patient is evaluated by therapists and physicians, it is possible to create a better picture of their substance abuse treatment needs on admission to the substance abuse treatment center.


Detox is a process that takes as long as it takes. Everyone has a different experience of addiction and it is not possible to predict how they will respond without stimulus from drugs and/or alcohol. Withdrawal symptoms can vary wildly from person to person which makes the around-the-clock supervision that’s available in an alcohol rehabilitation center invaluable. Having highly-qualified clinicians on-hand to deal with any unpleasant or dangerous withdrawal symptoms as and when they emerge provides patients with a better chance of successful detox.

Education and Counseling

When someone is rehabilitating from substance abuse, it is important that they understand the nature of their illness. This includes learning about the ways alcohol and drugs affect a person’s emotional, physical and mental health. Addiction is a relapsing illness that takes many years to overcome, remaining a lifelong challenge for a significant number of recovering addicts. Understanding how addiction works serves as an effective defense against relapse in recovery.

Relapse Prevention

Many people who have completed drug and alcohol detox programs feel anxious about the prospect of returning home. This is why one of the most important objectives of a substance abuse treatment program is preparing the individual for the challenges they will inevitably face in recovery.  Coping mechanisms take many different forms and increasingly includes several holistic practices such as meditation and yoga. Other types of experiential treatment such as music and art therapy or adventure therapy are often offered in holistic substance abuse treatment centers. These are particularly beneficial in empowering individuals to protect sobriety in recovery and prevent relapse for the long-term.


Because of the challenges people face when they leave an alcohol rehabilitation center, aftercare is usually offered on an outpatient basis. Aftercare programs last for as long as the individual requires additional support to cope with daily life. The first days and weeks of recovery are often the hardest for people leaving rehab and it is extremely beneficial for them to have instant access to therapeutic support to help them.

It is important that people make significant changes in the places they frequent and people they hang out with in order to protect sobriety after rehab. An aftercare program has the advantage of providing alternative routes to a healthier lifestyle by offering individuals continuum of care as they ease themselves back into their daily routines.

It isn’t unusual for people to feel a sense of isolation when they first return home after rehab. This is largely because they have to avoid those people and places that trigger substance abuse. They may also feel that everyone close to them is viewing them through a magnifying glass to make sure they are really substance-free. Being viewed with this kind of suspicion can be particularly challenging for people working to overcome addiction. When people leave home and return to supportive environments, research shows they have a better chance of achieving long-term sobriety.

Recovery Is a Journey

Recovery from substance abuse cannot be achieved overnight. It is an illness that is intensely personal and each individual entering an alcohol rehabilitation center will deal with in their own time. The reason rehab programs are effective in helping people achieve their recovery objectives is because of the fact they are heavily structured. When someone enters an inpatient or residential rehab, they have a schedule of therapy and treatment sessions that leaves them with little time to dwell on obtaining and using drugs and/or alcohol.

Inpatient rehab removes people from the people and places they associate with substance abuse so that they are able to focus on getting better. Addiction takes some time to develop and so it is natural to expect it to take time to heal from. Many people who have been struggling with substance abuse find they are so conditioned by addictive behaviors that the illness takes considerable time to unravel. It is essential that individuals are offered substance abuse treatment programs that address their specific needs so they are armed with the coping mechanisms to deal with their everyday lives in recovery.

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