Now that you’ve decided to get help for your substance abuse problem, it’s time to plan your trip to rehab. The idea of enrolling in a residential recovery center might seem overwhelming, but by deciding to get help, you’ve already done the hard part. The moment you call your rehab center is the moment you can start to leave your fears, worries, sickness and anger behind. Welcome to the first day of the rest of your life – now it’s time to focus on your recovery.

How Does Rehab Help?

A high quality rehabilitation program helps every aspect of your physical, psychological, emotional, behavioral and spiritual health. Addiction is more than getting high, crashing low and managing cravings. Addiction has its roots in ingrained behavioral habits, uncomfortable emotions, and sometimes, mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety. In some cases, drug dependency even develops because of chronic pain.

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When you go to rehab, you’ll spend some time detoxing under the attentive care of trained professionals. After your physical healing, you will examine the feelings and behaviors that trigger using for you. Most importantly, you will learn how to manage common recovery problems such as cravings and temptation. You’ll also reengage with activities, habits and thoughts that will help you manage “real life” situations without turning to drugs or alcohol. The best rehabilitation centers stay involved with your life long after your temporary residence ends.

How Long Does it Take to Detox?

The length of detox depends on what kind of substances you use and how much you use them. Some individuals may be able to detox in a few days. Others may take as long as a few weeks. Don’t try to detox alone, as it can be extremely dangerous and sometimes fatal — especially with certain substances such as alcohol or anti-anxiety medications.

In addition, if the substance you use causes physical tolerance and dependency, relapsing during early sobriety can end in overdose. This happens because the body loses the tolerance it develops quickly. Having 24-hour care through this difficult time will help you adjust to sobriety more comfortably. It may even eliminate common withdrawal problems such as insomnia, vomiting, hallucinations and seizures. Best of all, professional detox helps you avoid potentially deadly relapse.

How Long Does Rehab Take?

Individuals who accept that substance abuse recovery takes a lifetime of commitment are far more likely to stay sober. That doesn’t mean you have to stay in rehab for the rest of your life. It does mean that getting comprehensive care, and following it up with continued outpatient therapy and counseling, can lead to success. If you’re diagnosed with a mental health disorder such as depression or anxiety, you’ll also benefit because you can continue to receive the interventions you need to naturally feel more relaxed and satisfied.

Many individuals choose to stay in residential care for 30 days. This may be because of insurance considerations or because taking time off from “real life” is extremely challenging. Although your rehab stay will be tailored to your needs, remember that detox can take as long as 2 weeks. This only leaves about 2 more weeks to tackle issues you will need to manage for the rest of your life. That’s why longer rehab stays are generally better rehab stays. How long your rehab stay lasts depends on a range of factors, including severity of addiction, insurance coverage, personal commitments and more.

how does rehab help

There are also 60- and 90-day programs to consider. The American Medical Association recommends inpatient stays of 90 days for physicians who become addicted to drugs or alcohol. This program has proven remarkably effective, and physicians who participate enjoy better outcomes than individuals who stay in rehab for shorter periods. Nevertheless, many people cannot take 90 days away for residential rehab. That’s why a strong post-care plan is essential.

Aftercare helps newly sober individuals adjust to living outside of rehab. The most effective aftercare programs include ongoing telephone outreach from the rehab center as well as counseling or therapy. They should also include participation in an addiction support group such as Alcoholics Anonymous. Most importantly, accepting that certain people and places are off-limits is absolutely essential. A high quality rehabilitation center will keep your family and other loved ones closely involved, so you have a network of support when you return home.

How Do I Get to Rehab?

Before you plan your travel arrangements, call your rehab center. Many American rehabs arrange transportation to and from residential care — all you have to do is pick up the phone. Even if you need to take a plane or train to rehab, your center can send a representative to help.

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What to Bring to Rehab

Although your rehab center has rules about what you can and cannot bring, you may be surprised to find that you may be able to take personal items such as a laptop or a cell phone. Don’t forget to ask about off-limits items when you arrange for transportation. Some of the things you may want to pack include:

  • Medication
  • Comfortable, weather- and occasion-appropriate clothing. Do not pack revealing clothing
  • Toiletries. Avoid items that contain alcohol or that could be used as an inhalant
  • Your wallet, including any cash, credit or debit cards, health insurance card and identification
  • A journal, stationery and stamps

Don’t bring alcohol, drugs, products that contain alcohol, and products that could be used as an inhalant. Check with your center to see what rules apply for reading material and other items you may be unsure about. Be prepared to have unauthorized items confiscated if your center considers them unsafe.

Call a Counselor for More Information

Every center has its own rules for what and what not to bring, as well as its own procedures for checking into rehab. For more information about checking into rehab, check out our top rehab centers and contact a counselor today.