A Elements Behavioral Health Guide to Drug Rehab
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Drug Treatment Programs

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Drug Rehab - Choosing the Right Treatment
Drug Treatment Programs

Although residential treatment comes to mind first when thinking about drug treatment programs, drug rehab is really just shorthand for drug rehabilitation and this does not necessarily indicate inpatient treatment. Drug rehabilitation involves different phases of care and treatment, from detox to aftercare to sober living.

If you are searching for a drug rehabilitation program you will probably need to think about what type of treatment you need and what type you can afford to do. The main questions to ask yourself are:

  • Scenic Drug Treatment ProgramsDo I need detox as part of treatment?
  • Can I take some vacation time, disability or sick leave  to do inpatient treatment?
  • What can I afford (and for some, what will my insurance cover)?

Answers to these questions will determine what types of drug rehab program you will choose:

  • Intensive Outpatient Program
  • Day Patient Treatment
  • Individual and Group Counseling
  • Residential Drug Rehab (30-90 days)
  • Long-Term Drug Rehab (60 days to a year)
  • Hospital Detox
  • Sober Companion or Coach
  • Sober Living or Halfway House

Do I Need Detox?

If you have been abusing substances for a while, chances are you need a medically supervised detox. This is not an easy process, and it can be dangerous. Some people need medication to prevent agitation, seizures, vomiting, hallucinations, or other severe withdrawal symptoms. The last thing you want to do is discover in the middle of detoxing that you are now critically ill. It is generally recommended that whatever drug rehab program you choose, detox should be done by medical professionals. Note that most of the well-respected drug treatment programs will offer medically supervised detox.

Most respected addiction professionals would not recommend home detox or even rapid detox (where you are put into a deep sleep while detoxing), as they both add unnecessary risks. There is no benefit to a rapid detox other than it’s rapid. If you’ve been abusing drugs for years, it isn’t wise to rush the detox, and most people who do so are attracted to the idea that their “treatment” is over quickly. Detox is NOT rehab; it merely gets you clean to start the rehab process.

Do I Have Vacation or Sick Time?

Some states, such as California, have very good policies for disability leave. However, it may be unpaid leave depending on your company’s policies. You may be eligible for state disability, although only a few offer this and you will need a medical diagnosis.

If you are destroying your life with drugs, whether or not you have enough vacation time to go to a residential drug rehab program is probably the least of your worries. Addiction will catch up with your family, your career, and maybe even take your freedom (DUIs) or life if you don’t deal with it soon.

Residential Drug Rehabilitation Programs

If you can take disability or sick leave, do consider a residential drug rehab program. You will be focused on one thing for 30 days: your recovery. You will have the opportunity to develop skills and strategies to avoid triggers and build supportive communities. You will have some time to be free of drugs while not subjected to other people’s drinking or drugging.

The drawback is that you do have to commit to a minimum of 28-31 days usually. Not everyone can afford to do this. If you can, you are very lucky, because the drug rehab statistics in the United States show many people with addiction do not get the specialized treatment they need.

The cost of residential drug rehabilitation programs varies dramatically from one drug rehab facility to another. There are some county-funded rehabs that can be free or nearly free, some nonprofits that have many insurance contracts, and then luxury private rehabs that cost upwards of 50,000 dollars.

Intensive Outpatient Drug Treatment Programs

If you absolutely cannot take vacation time, you might consider an Intensive Outpatient Program for drug rehabilitation in your local area. These programs generally have evening sessions and sometimes weekend sessions. You can maintain your job while attending in many cases. These are also less expensive and much more likely to be covered by insurance.

The drawback is that you will not be in a safe, protected environment that makes it easier to avoid temptation and triggers. You will still have to walk by the local liquor store, or drive by your favorite watering hole. Your friends might call you up to go out on the weekend. Your drug dealer might call to find out why he hasn’t heard from you.

“The Intensive Outpatient Treatment (IOT) level of care is designed to bridge the gap between medically managed or medically monitored intensive inpatient treatment and traditional outpatient services of low intensity.” (U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, Public Health Service, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Substance Abuse Treatment)

Day Treatment Programs

Daypatient Treatment Programs are usually 6-8 hours long and start in the morning. Participants either go home at night or stay in sober living houses.

Daypatient drug rehabilitation programs generally are best suited for people who:

  • Have completed a residential drug treatment program and need transitional support
  • Can not attend a residential drug treatment program but are highly motivated to be in recovery
  • Are living in a sober living environment but need more structured time during the day

Because the treatment takes up a good portion of the day, you can’t hold a traditional 9-5 job during day treatment. However, some people will get part-time jobs in the evening or night so they can afford to have more time in treatment than they might in evening outpatient programs.

“Day treatment for substance abusers has been viewed by many as a viable treatment modality, particularly in light of the success of psychiatric day treatment programs. The available research also supports the efficacy of day treatment versus inpatient treatment for substance abusers. Nevertheless, day treatment programs for substance abusers have had difficulty gaining acceptance with treatment providers and patients alike. This paper offers several explanations for this lack of acceptance and proposes that managed care settings are ideally suited to pioneer substance abuse day treatment programs. Practical suggestions will also be offered to help market this treatment modality and minimize patient resistance.” (Schneider RJ, Herbert M. Substance abuse day treatment and managed health care, J Ment Health Adm, 1992 Spring; 19(1):119-24.

Sober Living Houses

Part of drug rehabilitation is learning how to live sober. For some people, this means staying in a halfway house or sober living house for a period of time. This might happen after residential treatment or during outpatient for day patient treatment.

Sober living houses usually house a maximum of six to eight people depending on the zoning in your area. You will usually share a room with another person. For most houses, the residents share the responsibilities of cleaning and cooking, although some higher end sober living houses may provide meals and cleaning services.

Drug Rehabilitation Programs Companionship Sober Coaches or Companions

Sober coaches and companions are exactly what they sound like: people who will either live with you or spend significant amounts of time with you to ensure you stay on track and do what you need to do to stay sober. This is a very expensive option so it’s usually rock musicians or movie stars you hear about hiring such people. Some actors have had to hire sober coaches while shooting a movie as a condition of employment (the movie will not be insured otherwise).

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