Drug abuse and addiction invariably result in major changes in an individual's brain chemistry and
As a consequence, one of the first priorities in the rehabilitation process is the detoxification of the
drug and alcohol addict's body by ridding his or her system of the toxic chemicals and their residue that
This may come as a surprise, but complete or 100% detoxification can take months or even years.
Licensed rehabilitation centers and hospitals that feature detox and rehabilitation programs, however, also
provide detoxification that is "short term."
This is done so that the substance abuse professionals can deal more effectively with a person's withdrawal
symptoms and lessen their danger, pain, discomfort, and in some cases, the threat of fatality.
During the detox process, patients receive counseling, doctor-prescribed medications, medical monitoring,
and other forms of therapy.
Substance Abusers: Common Misconceptions
When they first start abusing drugs or alcohol, almost all addicts tell themselves that they can control the
usage of their drugs and can thusly quit any time they desire without requiring professional help.
Sadly, a review of the substance abuse research literature does not corroborate this viewpoint.
In fact, from a statistical perspective, most addicts who quit taking drugs and/or alcohol and attempt to
detoxify themselves will be unsuccessful in the vast majority of cases, especially when their long-term behavior is
Researchers studying the outcomes of chronic addiction have found that observable changes in the brain's
functioning are identifiable long after the drug dependent person has quit his or her substance abuse.
As a result, one of the primary issues facing most drug and alcohol abusers is this: individuals who wish to
recover from their addiction need more than self-assertion or strong willpower to overcome their addiction and
achieve long-term recovery.
In fact, self-detoxification and self-rehabilitation are exceptionally difficult for most addicts for a host of
reasons, including the following:
- The addict has to fight and resist the cravings for the drug to which they are addicted.
- The addict has to suffer through the withdrawal symptoms that regularly occur after abruptly stopping drug
- The addict has to overcome the physical, psychological, and the social "reasons" that are at the root of
- The addict has to adjust to and deal with the changes in brain chemistry during abstinence.
Drug and Alcohol Detoxification
Detoxification is undertaken to get rid of the toxins and chemicals that have accumulated in the addict's body
due to his or her substance abuse.
As a result, the first step in the detoxification process commonly focuses on helping the drug dependent
individual safely overcome his or her withdrawal symptoms while his or her system is getting rid of the poisons and
chemicals that remain.
If the withdrawal symptoms are severe, however, doctor-administered medications are usually given to minimize
the pain and the hazardous nature of the withdrawal symptoms.
Detoxification is done in a number of ways depending on the drugs that were abused, the health of the addict,
the location and extensiveness of the treatment, and the treatment team administering the protocol. Many
rehabilitation centers offer basic medical treatment to help the addict overcome excessive withdrawal symptoms.
At the upper end of the treatment framework, however, a "comprehensive" detoxification or rehabilitation center
houses staff that not only helps the addict overcome his or her withdrawal symptoms (usually via doctor-prescribed
medications), but they also provide the addict with counseling all through the detoxification procedure so that he
or she can start identifying and working on the social and psychological components that more likely than not led
to the person's addiction.
Once this rather difficult task is undertaken and improvement has been made, the drug and alcohol abuser will be
more able to accomplish long-term sobriety without experiencing a relapse.
The Three Phases of Drug and Alcohol Detoxification
A comprehensive alcohol and drug abuse detoxification includes the following three separate, but interconnected
- Medical Detox. A medical professional will monitor and manage the withdrawal process, thusly
helping the addict complete this phase a harm-free environment that minimizes complications.
- Psychological Detox. Since substance abuse detoxification can be quite taxing on an addict's
emotional health, many of the better detoxification and rehabilitation centers administer counseling through
the entire detoxification protocol. Since dependency on drugs has become such a fundamental part of the
addict's mental, social, and psychological makeup, these significant factors of the addict's life need to be
addressed and worked through in counseling and therapy if recovery is to be successful and lasting.
- Physical Detox. After the addict's body and brain are no longer drug dependent, the individual
needs to work on building up his or her physical endurance and health. A nutritionist and a physical therapist
can be beneficial during this phase, helping the substance abuser develop physical stamina while learning how
to eat a more balanced diet--improvements that will go far in helping the addict successfully carry on with the
Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation
The immediate objective of drug and alcohol rehabilitation is getting the person safely through the detox and
the withdrawal processes in a non-threatening manner.
The long-term goal of drug and alcohol rehab, however, is to help the dependent person achieve lasting
abstinence as he or she learns how to function more successfully and more responsibly in society.
Fortunately, professional drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers are typically able to provide competent and
compassionate rehabilitation that leads to a reduction of the medical, psychological, physical, and social effects
of drug abuse.
A Time Frame for Effective Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation
Research has shown that alcohol and drug addicts who stay in rehabilitation longer than three months commonly
experience more lasting and more beneficial outcomes than individuals who stay in rehabilitation centers fewer than
Not only this, but the addiction research literature demonstrates that addicts who go through medically assisted
detox but who do not receive additional follow-up treatment or therapy perform about the same in terms of their
drug abuse as addicts who never went through professional drug and alcohol abuse rehabilitation.
The point: successful rehabilitation means much more than simply detoxifying the body of accumulated poisons and
Indeed, without doctor-administed medications and intensive counseling during the entire rehabilitation process
and without the requisite investment of resources, effort, and time, long-lasting, productive drug and alcohol
abuse rehabilitation is not only difficult, but in most cases, impossible.
Inpatient Drug Abuse Rehabilitation
Inpatient substance abuse centers offer counseling, education, medications, structure, support, and medical
assistance for addicts who ask for help in dealing with their drug or alcohol problems.
Inpatients reside "on location" for the entire duration of the rehabilitation protocol. While the length of time
necessary for drug rehabilitation varies with the program, most professional rehab programs last between 28 and 30
days and offer treatment 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.
Why would an individual request inpatient rather than outpatient drug abuse rehabilitation? According to the
substance abuse research literature, inpatient drug rehabilitation usually results in longer-lasting abstinence and
more productive and successful drug abuse recovery.
Fortunately, addicts who attend an inpatient drug rehabilitation program and make use of the educational tools
and training they have received are often better able to re-enter society and lead more successful and responsible
drug and alcohol-free lives.
Outpatient Drug Abuse Rehabilitation
As the term would suggest, substance abusers who receive outpatient rehabilitation do not reside "on location"
as they would in residential drug rehabilitation facilities.
Not unlike their inpatient counterparts, however, outpatient addiction rehab programs are built to provide
long-lasting abstinence from drugs and alcohol.
To point out the length of the programs in question, numerous outpatient drug abuse programs can last a number
of months or perhaps years.
Outpatient drug rehabilitation methodologies employ a variety of treatment techniques including family therapy,
problem-solving groups, cognitive-behavioral therapy, individual and group counseling, 12-step programs, and
Outpatient drug abuse rehabilitation approaches vary in the types of services that they offer and in the
intensity of their programs.
For example, while low-intensity outpatient substance abuse rehab programs may offer little more than
detoxification and basic drug education and counseling, other more intensive outpatient addiction programs, such as
those offering extensive day treatment, are similar to residential programs in terms of the services provided and
In the long run, no matter what kind of outpatient program is selected, the eventual objective of outpatient
drug abuse rehabilitation is to help the addict attain abstinence so that he or she can re-enter society and lead a
more responsible, productive drug and alcohol-free life.
Drug Abuse Rehabilitation Centers: Types of Programs
An appraisal of the various programs that are available at different rehabilitation centers is quite extensive
to say the least. The following list represents a broad sample of the different rehabilitation programs that are
available to addicts from any and all walks of life:
- Mature adult programs (over age 55).
- High-profile-people programs (offering full amenities such as a daily massage, a scenic, enjoyable view,
yoga and life coach, and a private room).
- Programs by various States and regions.
- Men only programs.
- GLBT programs (programs for gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender persons, and transsexuals).
- Relapse prevention.
- Teen boot camps.
- Suboxone programs (programs employing FDA approved medications for the treatment of opiate dependence).
- Teen wilderness programs.
- Outpatient Programs.
- Young adult programs (ages 18 - 27).
- Multiple disorder programs (for people with a number of "problems" such as drug addiction, eating
disorders, alcoholism, sex and love addictions, etc.).
- Women only programs.
- Faith-based treatment (for instance, Christian and Jewish-oriented therapies).
- Non 12-step programs (treatment approaches that focus on a non 12-step methodology including education,
individual counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy, group therapy, and FDA approved doctor prescribed
- Self-help programs (including listings for national self-help groups, organizations, help lines, and public
- Sober living home programs.
- Holistic approaches (with a focus on customizing the treatment for the whole person).
- 12-step programs (based on the Alcoholics Anonymous model).
- Teen only programs (age 13 - 19).
- Inpatient programs.
- Dual diagnosis programs (addicts who struggle with both mental illness and substance abuse).
- Adolescent programs (age 12 - 20).
- Specific programs for different drugs (alcohol, heroine, crystal meth, cocaine, marijuana, prescription
drugs such as oxycontin, darvocet, percocet, vicodin).
Treatment Costs at Drug Abuse Rehabilitation Centers
The cost for substance abuse rehab and detox is as varied as the number of different treatment protocols that
exist. There are some obvious cost-benefit aspects that need to be considered:
- What services your health insurance provider will pay for.
- An understanding of everything that is included in the program you select.
- What will be added later to your bill as a "fee-for-service" option.
If you are looking for the best value for your treatment dollar, be aware that "price" becomes meaningful only
when the program considered is effective, professional, and productive.
As a final note, it is important to realize that most insurance companies do not usually pay for programs that
are seen as "educational" as compared with programs that are viewed as "medical." Fortunately, most of the
"educational" programs can be paid for with the major credit cards.
As a general barometer of cost, however, it is worth mentioning that the national average for a 30-day
detox/rehabilitation residential program costs between $20,000 and $30,000.
From a slightly different perspective, one well-known substance abuse rehabilitation center charges $10,000 for
their 28-day drug and alcohol rehabilitation program. The bottom line: do your research, look into what is
available, and ask intelligent questions, and you can probably find a quality detoxification or rehabilitation
program that is affordable.
Self-Payment Costs At Inpatient Rehabilitation Centers
The following list is a sample of the self-payment costs that many inpatient rehabilitation centers charge:
- Detox: $400 per day.
- Intensive Outpatient (20 sessions): $3,500.
- PROMETA (Alcohol): $13,000.
- Residential Treatment (30 days): $8,500.
- PROMETA (Methamphetamine/Cocaine): $15,000.
- Transitional living: $70 per day.
Note: The PROMETA treatment approach makes use of prescription medications and nutritional supplements to
minimize the physiological cravings that often lead to relapse.
Outpatient Rehabilitation Costs
The cost for 30-day rehab/detox outpatient programs can be approximately $2,500 at the low end of the scale and
as high as $6,000 or more, depending on the services offered, the client base, and the scope of treatment
Conclusion: Rehabilitation Centers
In most instances, the first priority in the drug addiction recovery process involves detoxifying the body from
the poisons and chemicals that remain in an addict's body.
Whereas "total" detoxification can take months or even years to complete, licensed rehabilitation centers
provide doctor-prescribed medications, medical supervision, and counseling during the first few hours or days of
treatment when withdrawal symptoms can be hazardous, physically unbearable, and in some instances, fatal.
The short-term goal of drug rehabilitation is to help the drug dependent person get through detox and overcome
the withdrawal process in a safe manner.
Fortunately, successful rehabilitation centers feature detox professionals who excel in minimizing the social,
emotional, medical, and physical consequences and complications of drug abuse detox and rehab.
After the substance abuser has completed the detoxification process and prevailed over his or her withdrawal
symptoms, the long-term objective of drug abuse rehabilitation can start, namely, helping the drug dependent person
reach lasting abstinence while helping him or her function more productively and responsibly in society.