What to Know About Residential Drug Rehab Programs

If you or someone you know is addicted to drugs and/or alcohol, there is a wide range of treatment options to consider. Although outpatient programs such as Narcotics Anonymous, addiction counseling groups and private psychotherapy have their places in addiction medicine, they are often unable to provide the comprehensive care an addicted individual needs.

drug-rehabResidential care may be necessary for a variety of reasons. First, achieving sobriety through outpatient care does not eliminate everyday stress and temptation, which makes focusing on recovery extremely difficult. Second, there is also no help for withdrawal symptoms, which usually include powerful cravings to use again. Diagnosing a co-occurring disorder such as depression may also be difficult through addiction counseling.

Residential drug rehab programs often provide each of these services. They also help recovering individuals return to everyday living with a plan to cope with stress, bad habits and temptation.

Withdrawal and Detox

Drug withdrawal is a serious health challenge that can include psychological, emotional and physical components. The intensity and length of withdrawal depends on the type of drug you use, how much you use and how frequently you use it. If you combine drugs with alcohol, your withdrawal may be more intense.

In general, common withdrawal symptoms include:

  • drug cravings
  • vomiting and diarrhea
  • hallucinations
  • insomnia or exhaustion
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • shakiness
  • seizures
  • changes in appetite
  • disturbing dreams
  • irritability or anger

These symptoms usually last for a few days to a couple of weeks. In some cases, they can last for months, while waxing and waning in intensity.

Drug detox protects against relapse, as it typically reduces cravings. Succumbing to cravings during withdrawal can be extremely dangerous because it can lead to overdose. Some rehab centers provide medically assisted detox, which can relieve or eliminate these uncomfortable symptoms. Other rehabs offer medically monitored detox, which only provides intervention if absolutely necessary.

After Detox

Although withdrawal is challenging, it is only the first leg of a long journey. Detox does not help with your psychological, behavioral or emotional recovery from drug abuse. These issues usually require intensive therapy and counseling. Residential rehabs can provide a variety of treatments to address these common recovery problems. For example, you or your loved one might examine the reasons why drug abuse started in the first place. You can also analyze problem habits and thoughts that seem to lead to using drugs.

drug-rehab2In many cases, people who are addicted to drugs also have a mental health disorder. Rehab centers with staff who are qualified to treat mental health disorders can help you recover from addiction and improve your wellbeing at the same time.

Dual Diagnosis

Co-occurring disorder, or dual diagnosis, is another name for suffering from addiction and a mental health disorder at the same time. Many people unwittingly self-medicate a problem such as depression or anxiety with drugs. Unfortunately, addiction to drugs only makes the mental health disorder worse.

Treatment for dual diagnosis at a qualified rehab center can help you or your loved one heal both problems at the same time. It can also reduce the chance of relapse. If you suspect that dual diagnosis may be a problem, finding a rehab center that treats addiction and depression at the same time is extremely important.


Aftercare helps people transition to everyday life after rehab. Personalized aftercare can help recovering individuals avoid the places and people that might lead to relapse. It can also provide a continuity of care through follow-up phone calls, counseling and therapy. Aftercare is most effective when supportive family members and friends are involved. A high quality rehab center will include supportive loved ones in the aftercare plan.

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