What Is Rehab Like? A Day In the Life of an Addict

Did you know that more than 20 million Americans struggled with substance abuse in 2017? The total cost of drug abuse rises to nearly $750 billion every year. This includes medical expenses, treatments for addicts, and crime-related costs.

Joining a rehab center is definitely the best way to kick a substance addiction, but have you ever wondered what is rehab like? What types of treatments are used and how does an addict spend his day at the rehab facility? Keep reading this article to find the answer to these questions and understand what is drug rehab like.

Most Rehab Treatments Can Take up to 3 Months

Fighting a substance use disorder is not an easy thing. That's why patients will eventually sit at the rehab center for a few weeks or a few months. The typical rehab therapy period is between 30 and 90 days. It is possible to stay for less than 30 days, but only if the addiction is minor for the patient in question.

The actual rehab period is different for each patient. Some people have more than one substance abuse disorder. They might need to spend more time to recover completely. People who battled alcohol or opiates for years might need to stay 90 days or more. The rehab specialists take into account various factors when establishing the treatment period. Some of these factors include age, the severity of the addiction, medications used, drug history, etc.

The Rehab Begins With a Detox Period

The detox period is very important for a recovering addict. This is the step when the patient gives up on addictive substances for good. In most cases, withdrawal symptoms will appear. Some of the symptoms can be really severe, that's why the detox process needs to happen under the close supervision of rehab specialists. 

The therapists at a rehab center will administer certain medications to ease the withdrawal symptoms. This will help a patient stay off the drugs and begin his/her journey to recovery. In worst-case scenarios, the withdrawal symptoms might include seizures. That's why it's important to do the detox process gradually.

Patients Receive 3 Healthy Meals a Day

A healthy lifestyle contributes to the successful recovery of each patient, regardless of the type of drug he or she is using. The patients need to learn healthy habits to help them stay off drugs and recover faster. Various substances such as alcohol can deplete the nutrients and minerals in the body. Eating a healthy and balanced diet is key to replenish these nutrients.

The day begins with a healthy breakfast that includes vegetables and fruits. Different types of light meals are also served to patients at lunch and dinner such as fish, chicken, and turkey. The rehab therapists also emphasize healthy drinks such as lemonade and herbal tea. For obvious reasons, cigarettes and alcoholic drinks are forbidden at any rehab center.

12-Step Meetings Are Organized for Addicts

The 12-step program has been successful for many recovering addicts. This program helps a patient learn how to give up substance abuse completely and how to live drug-free. Attending 12-step meetings and similar therapies are crucial for achieving a full recovery and a healthier lifestyle.

In some cases, these meetings are held in the evening. Some meetings are done individually with every patient, others are done in groups. 

CBT Might Be Used to Help Recovering Patients

CBT stands for cognitive-behavioral therapy. It's a type of treatment used in many rehab centers for certain patients. CBT puts an emphasis on discovering the triggers of a particular addict and finding out what makes him/her rely on substance abuse. Once these triggers are discovered, the therapists help patients come up with healthier coping mechanisms and avoid taking drugs or drinking alcohol.

CBT proves to be successful for patients who battled substance abuse for years. This type of therapy is done by experienced rehab professionals and it's closely monitored by them. The meetings are completely confidential, giving the patient the possibility to open up about his/her addiction and find ways to conquer it. Check out the following link to learn more about how a good rehab center should look. 

Various Healthy Activities Are Encouraged at the Rehab Center

It's paramount to help the recovering addict find new and healthy habits to ward off substance addiction and withdrawal symptoms. That's why rehab specialists encourage patients to engage in different types of activities such as reading, meditation, prayer, or journaling. Certain periods of time are set apart at the end of the day for these activities to help the patients cultivate new habits.

The recovering addict also has the possibility to come up with his preferred activities, as long as they are healthy and don't disturb others. For example, some prefer long walks in the middle of nature, listening to music, watching documentaries about the universe, etc.

Recovering Addicts Can Play Various Sports

Apart from following a detox procedure, most addicts would also benefit from a regular exercise program. At the rehab center, you can play different types of sports such as basketball, table tennis, soccer, and so on. These activities are encouraged because they help the patients get in better physical shape and they promote teamwork.

If some patients don't want or can't do intense physical exercises, other recreational activities are recommended. For example, recovering addicts can play chess, do yoga or Pilates. Yoga is particularly useful because it strengthens the emotional system and stimulates the detoxification process. Practicing yoga or Pilates once or twice a week is usually sufficient to reap its benefits.

Certain Rules Need to Be Followed at the Rehab Center

A successful recovery is achieved by following simple rules that are made clear when a patient joins a rehab facility. For example, violence, threats, or demeaning behaviors are strictly forbidden towards the other recovering addicts and the rehab personnel. Additionally, the patients must attend all required meetings and therapy sessions to achieve a full recovery.

The patients also need to agree on being tested at regular intervals. This type of testing checks the health status of the patient. His/her vitamin and mineral deficiencies are also tested. It's not possible to monitor a patient's progress without doing these tests. That's why they are mandatory at the facility.

Recovering Addicts Might Be Eligible for Rewards and Prizes

Reward systems are commonly used at rehab facilities across the country. These systems prove to be successful at maintaining a patient on the right path and ensuring his/her complete recovery. The rewards can be different and they have the power to motivate and inspire the patients enrolled in the rehab facility.

For example, certain patients might obtain a reward after they completed 30 days of treatment. They might also be rewarded for good behavior towards the other recovering addicts. The rewards might consist of gift cards, books, etc. Each rehab facility sets its own reward system that needs to be followed accordingly.

Patients Can Follow Other Types of Therapies at the Facility

The purpose of the recovery program is to help a patient kick substance abuse. To achieve this, the patients follow different types of therapies, apart from CBT and 12-step meetings.

For example, some patients do well with dance therapies. Their stamina and physical condition improve, their outlook in life changes, and the therapy helps them stay off drugs after leaving the facility as well. Other patients do well on equine therapies which involve horseback riding in the middle of nature.

Another type of therapy involves painting or art creation. Patients can express their feelings by drawing or painting. This type of activity improves mood and helps to release negative energies and emotions. Music therapy is also beneficial for recovering addicts. It involves listening to certain music genres or playing a musical instrument.

Treatment for Substance Addiction Might Continue After Leaving the Rehab

Although most patients might achieve a successful recovery at the rehab center, the fight is not over yet. It's important for the recovering addicts to remain drug-free for the rest of their lives. The rehab specialists might work closely with each individual to create after-care programs.

For example, some of these programs might involve attending AA sessions once or twice a week. It might involve visiting a psychologist to discuss trigger points and how to remain sober. Some patients also work with psychiatrists who assist them with their medication intake. Patients who fail to follow the after-care protocols are at greater risk of relapsing. A single relapse can undo all the hard work done at the rehab center.

Now You Know What Is Rehab Like

Hopefully, this article answered your original question - what is rehab like. All these activities and therapies are commonplace at rehab centers to help recovering addicts kick substance abuse for good. Taking advantage of such professional treatments is the right thing to do, whether it's for yourself or someone you love.

To learn more about rehab treatments, their cost, and how to pick the right facility, make sure that you check out the other articles on our website.


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