Rehab vs Detox

Old 02-27-2018, 06:30 AM
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Rehab vs Detox

This post is not intended to nit pick or belittle anyone, but rather an attempt to provide information. I use the word addict to describe both a person with a drug problem or alcohol - they are all drugs and alcoholics are also addicts only their drug of choice changes.

Sometimes, both in my Nar Anon home group and in some posts here, I hear the words rehab and detox used interchangeably.

Just so the newcomers know, rehab and detox are very different animals. Detox is always part of rehab, but rehab is not necessarily part of detox.

The first step of recovery is for the addict to freely admit to themselves that they have a problem and decide for themselves that they want to at least try to get clean and sober. This is a HUGE step and frequently the hardest.

Detox is the very first step in recovery. During this relatively brief process, which should be supervised by doctors, the addict's body is allowed to cleanse itself of the drugs. Withdrawal symptoms are frequently eased during this process by other drugs such as Suboxone. This process will take a week or so, at which point the addict's body will be free of drugs.

Once detox is complete, the rehab process continues for at least three weeks and preferably longer. It is during this time period that the addict confronts and hopefully conquers at least the main reasons they began using in the first place - this is the daily personal struggle which can be aided by 12 step programs such as NA, CA, AA or professional therapists and counsellors or perhaps a combination of several of these.

Rehab takes two main forms, both work for some people. The first and generally accepted as the best treatment is "residential rehab". The addict lives 24/7 at a supervised facility. Generally these facilities provide a very full daily schedule of education, counseling, self exploration and group therapy. They attempt to teach the addict avoidance and a personal desire to remain clean and sober. Many facilities incorporate a 12 step program into their curriculum. This is probably the easiest to manage for an addict since the 12 step programs are readily available once they "graduate" from the rehab.

The downside of residential rehab is their cost, they are almost invariably very expensive. There are a few programs around the country which are very long (up to a year) which are "free" in exchange for labor. Typically a residential rehab term is about a month. Hazeldon, Caron and Ashley Addiction Treatment are examples of month long residential rehabs.

As a lower cost but usually longer term alternative to residential rehab, there are I.O.P.'s - Intesive Out Patient programs which attempt to accomplish and teach the same things, however, the patient does not live at the treatment facility. The patient will attend the program several hours of several days each week (3 to 5) but return home every evening. Frequently, IOP programs are used AFTER a residential program. A person might complete a 28 residential program and then attend an IOP for several a more months. ..........and then continue with a 12 step program for a lifetime.

My observation is that the only program which ALWAYS works is detox - simply because this a physical process which is not controlled by the addict, it is controlled by nature. If the addict is denied access to drugs for a week or so, their body will successfully cleanse itself. No drugs being ingested allows the body to miraculously clean itself. Anybody can successfully detox, whether they are willing or not - hundreds of people detox against their will every week in jails around the country, it always works! Staying drug free remains another question......

Sometimes I hear "My son went to rehab last week, he is back at home now." I hate to be the messenger, but he didn't really "go to rehab", he went to detox and without additional support, the odds are very good that he will go right back to using within a very short time.

This is not to say that a clean and sober life cannot be achieved IF the person really wants it. This is, and always will be, the key.

I offer my brother as an example. In his mid-30's he made a decision, he DETOXED in a hospital setting and then followed the "90 meetings in 90 days" program of AA. With the help of the AA fellowship he remained sober until his death some 25 years later from unrelated causes.

I am probably preaching to the choir with this post, but hopefully someone will gain from it.

Keep coming back,

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Old 02-27-2018, 03:04 PM
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Great post!
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Old 02-27-2018, 05:20 PM
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Yes, great post, Jim. I was confused at the beginning too and I had no idea how much there was available.

I just want to add that, in Canada where I live, many many rehabs are free...not just the Salvation Army program. The Ministry of Health pays the rehab a certain amount per month, per resident. That and fundraising events keep the rehab solvent. Just thought the Canadian newcomers may want to know that and if they need any information on how to find them, they are welcome to send me a private message.

Again, thanks for putting this all on one thread, Jim.
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