Intervention spreads awareness, but rehab delivers purpose and an application to recovery. Substance abuse is a complicated cycle, and each individual’s addiction is influenced by their unique emotions, circumstances and environment. Staging an intervention is the first step toward helping someone see that there is a way out of the endless cycle, but rehab is the method of actually breaking the loop and developing a new, healthier lifestyle.
Rehab doesn’t cure addiction, but it makes a life without drugs or alcohol seem more possible. In rehab, individuals gain important skills they need to cope with recurrent urges, temptations and challenges that will arise during the first few months of recovery and beyond.
When Should You Go to Rehab?
After an intervention, the first thing a person needs to do is detox. Removing the high levels of drugs from their system will allow them to cleanse their body from the harmful toxins brought on by drug abuse and start rehabilitation with a clearer head. It’s not possible to go through extensive drug rehab before undergoing detox for several reasons. First, detox can take an extensive physical toll on the body.
Drug detox can last anywhere between a few days to several weeks depending on the type of drug and severity of the addiction. Here’s a breakdown of some general timelines for the detox period of frequently abused drugs:
- Alcohol: Five days to one week
- Benzodiazepines: One week to one month or three to five weeks with gradual dose reduction
- Marijuana: Five days
- Nicotine: Two weeks to one month
- Opioids: Four to 10 days, with methadone treatment lasting 14 to 21 days
- Stimulants: One to two weeks
Some people may not experience a great deal of drug withdrawal symptoms during their initial detox period while others may have intense flu-like symptoms and psychological side effects such as anxiety, depression and restlessness that span several days to over a week.
You should begin rehabilitation treatment after you have completed a detox program under the supervision of substance abuse professionals.
A Word of Caution
Detoxing by yourself can be dangerous and even life-threatening in some cases. People who take mind-altering substances like benzodiazepines are at an elevated risk of experiencing extreme psychological reactions to acute withdrawal, including hallucinations, severe anxiety, depression and even suicidal urges.
To protect yourself and make acute detox easier, find a medical detox program you can check into that will help alleviate the intensity of withdrawal. After you’ve completed this stage, it’s time to find the right treatment program to begin your recovery.
Choosing the right program for you might take some time and consideration, but an intervention counselor and the staff at the detox clinic should be able to point you in the right direction. Remember the importance of honesty and openness when you’re looking for a program. There are many reasons to procrastinate searching or avoid entering a program: You don’t want to leave home, you don’t have the money to pay, etc. While some of your reasons may be valid, most addiction centers prioritize helping people over profit, and there are plenty of financing options available to make treatment more accessible.
What Are the Benefits of Rehab for the Family?
Friends and family who stage an intervention often see rehab as the glorious finish line. After months or years of watching their loved one struggle and lose more of themselves to addiction every day, rehab is the light at the end of the tunnel. What many family members don’t realize is that rehab is just the beginning of a lifelong journey for the recovering individual.
While someone agrees to check into inpatient counseling, there is a lot of free time to recuperate from the pain of loving someone with an addiction. Emotions are inevitably going to shift from relief to sadness and maybe even anger and fear. After everything that’s happened, relationships have been tested, and people have more than likely said things they regret or wish they could change.
It’s natural for families to struggle with understanding the cause of someone’s addiction, and the guilt associated with the anger and resentment toward someone for using substances in the first place is hard to deal with. Rehab gives families a chance to step back, breathe and reassess their emotions. After a tiresome battle, now is the time to resolve past hurts and feelings to focus on the present and on being an active part of someone’s recovery.
During and after addiction treatment, a family counselor can help people move past old wounds and begin to heal their relationships. The most important thing to remember is that everyone is experiencing hurt and pain. Parents may never be able to understand why their child turned to drugs, and a child may never know the devastation of watching their own son or daughter lose themselves to an addiction. This doesn’t mean both sides can’t reach a point of understanding and empathy to overcome their pain and grow stronger together.
Why Drug Rehab Is the Best Choice for Any User
The benefits of rehabilitation far outweigh the fear, uncertainty and anxiety leading up to admission. Going through detox is rough, and some people don’t even feel like they’ll make it to a rehab program during the initial stages of withdrawal. When you have used drugs for a long time, it’s hard to even know who you are without them. In the eyes of your distraught family members and friends, abusing your substance of choice has become second nature. Without drugs to cope with your own hurricane of emotions during this transitory period, rehab offers stability and security.
When you go to rehab, you have the opportunity to start over. You will still have to go back home and face all the old problems you had when you were using drugs or alcohol, but rehab will give you a much-needed safe space as you adjust and learn new ways to cope with your struggles.
The Top Three Benefits of Rehab
The first thing you’ll gain from rehab is structure. Inpatient counseling is rooted in routine, so you won’t spend hours at a stretch just sitting around waiting for the urge to use drugs again to pass. Rehabilitation isn’t about passively allowing your addiction to fade into the distance; rehab empowers you by placing you in a structured environment that forces you to take action toward treating your addiction.
Drug abuse robs people of their sense of control. Your days are oriented around your next high, and the loss of control you feel as a result only perpetuates the unruly cycle of addiction. Structure and routine give you time back. Now, you’re able to follow a schedule and begin to ease your way back into a life of responsibility. Your well-being is no longer at the hands of the drugs you use; you’re in control of your health and emotions now, and you will have a skilled team of professionals by your side to help you understand why that doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
The resources you have access to in an inpatient facility or intensive outpatient program will make it much easier to tackle all of the feelings and difficult thoughts that bubble up to the surface. In addition to emotional support and therapy, you’ll develop new skills and habits that allow you to live life drug-free. At first, your focus might just be on the little things like eating proper meals three times a day, maintaining a healthy sleeping pattern and showering regularly. It takes time to readjust, and you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself if it’s tough to start. Addiction can fundamentally change how you live each day, and you aren’t abnormal for finding it difficult to do simple tasks that sober people perform every day. Your newfound schedule will take time to accommodate, but you’ll fall into it and soon realize you’ve adopted to the new rhythm without even noticing.
Finally, there is the sense of purpose you achieve by undergoing a drug rehabilitation program. When you have been treading water for so long, it’s easy to feel helpless and incapable in your own head. The first several months without drugs are some of the most difficult as your entire existence can feel displaced. Rehabilitation will help you reach many emotional and mental milestones that give you a sense of accomplishment. You deserve to feel proud of yourself. As you work with an addiction therapist, you may uncover things about yourself you never even realized before. It’s natural for this to make you feel out of touch with your own identity or even your entire life up until this point, but don’t think of it as getting lost. Think of this time as a period of transition and growth.
How Long Does Recovery from Addiction Take?
There is no true addiction recovery timeline. Some people insist that once they completed treatment, they haven’t had the urge to touch another substance since. Others will tell you that every day of their recovery has been an uphill battle. The struggle gets easier with time, so your counselors in treatment will advise you to be patient. While most inpatient treatment programs last 30 to 90 days, outpatient therapy and one-on-one counseling can go on for years.
Your Addiction Isn’t Something to Be Ashamed Of
You don’t have to go to rehab in hopes of walking out squeaky-clean. People aren’t their pasts. We have all done things we aren’t proud of, and we’ve all wrestled with demons that pushed us to places we never could have fathomed. Your struggle with substance abuse is not the end of your story, and the point of recovery isn’t to pretend nothing ever happened. You survived drug addiction. You wrestled with all the emotions and painful things holding you back to conquer the disease ruling your life. Every day might be a challenge, but it’s a challenge you have fought your way toward and have the power to overcome.
There is no shame in addiction or getting help. Intervention is sometimes the major wake-up call people need to fully grasp the extent of their addictions. Other times, an intervention is an opportunity for people to get the help they need but don’t know how to ask for. As painful as leaving an intervention to enter addiction treatment may be, it marks the beginning of a new life focused on long-term health and recovery. With a support network and the help of qualified professionals, you can spend the rest of your life sober.