What Your Loved One Can Expect in Treatment

The thought of your loved one entering into treatment can feel intimidating, overwhelming and even scary. We’re here to take the fear of the unknown out of the equation and answer your questions about what addiction rehab is really like.
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What comes to your mind when you picture rehab? For most people, the only reference they have of addiction treatment is movies or popular TV shows. Unfortunately, those portrayals are often negative, 28-day-only, misrepresentations of what rehab really looks like for those with a substance use disorder. 

So what is it really like? What can your loved one honestly expect when entering into treatment? We’re here to answer a few of the most commonly asked questions. 

How does rehab work?

Addiction treatment is individualized to each person’s unique situation. If necessary, it can involve detox as well as inpatient rehab or outpatient treatment programs.

To start, your loved one will receive an assessment by a licensed professional to determine what services are most appropriate for their particular clinical needs. Regardless of the type of recommended treatment, core treatment components may include:

  • Group therapy
  • Individual therapy
  • Educational sessions 
  • Integrated mental health services
  • Specialized focus groups
  • Twelve Step fellowship
  • Wellness activities
  • Spiritual care services 

The key component of how rehab works is that your loved one partakes in these services substance-free. When they no longer have substances in their system masking other issues—trauma, other mental health disorders, relationship issues, etc.—they can truly begin to break down the walls separating them from long-term sobriety. 

What can my loved one expect in addiction treatment?

The steps taken and services provided in addiction treatment all depend on each individual’s needs and required level of treatment.  

Residential treatment—also referred to as inpatient treatment:

This level of treatment begins with detox on a medical unit. Your loved one is safely monitored by licensed health care professionals 24/7 as they go through this process. On the medical unit, they may receive medications to safely and comfortably detox from the substance or substances they’ve been using. 

After detox, they’ll be transferred to their treatment unit where they’ll be assigned a room and roommates. Private rooms are not an option. Addiction is a disease that feeds off of isolation and recovery is rooted in fellowship. Each day your loved one will receive a copy of the day’s treatment schedule, which is also designed to their specific needs. If needed, they may continue receiving medical services while on their treatment unit.

Outpatient treatment: 

If outpatient treatment is right for your loved one, they’ll receive many of the same services as inpatient services—just less frequent. This level of care is often recommended after an inpatient stay as your loved one learns to manage their own recovery. For an added level of recovery support, sober living is often paired with outpatient treatment. 

Regardless of the level of rehab, your loved one can expect to be treated in a safe place where they’ll be met with dignity and respect. 

How do rehab treatment programs help my loved one become and stay sober?

Whether in an inpatient or outpatient rehab program, your loved one will learn what addiction really is—a chronic disease. Through rehab, they’ll be given the tools needed to help them manage that disease. And they’re empowered to do this in a stigma-free and judgment-free environment.  

Various substance use disorder professionals will determine how much time your loved one needs to spend in rehab to further their chances of long-term recovery. The professionals review each person’s clinical milestone progress, adjust their program accordingly and determine the appropriate length of their stay. 

Some may transition from more intense levels of care to lower levels of treatment as they learn to manage their own recovery, and rely less on clinical interventions. As they progress, they’ll learn about the triggers that increase their chances of a relapse event and strategies to avoid them in their everyday lives.