Stages of the Rehab Process
Although unique and suited to the specific person, rehab consists of several stages. These stages outline a general path someone may take as they shift from addiction to sobriety. Not all people will require all stages of rehab, but these stages are available for those in need.
All trustworthy rehab programs begin with a thorough intake evaluation performed by a mental health, medical health or substance abuse expert. This assessment will focus on gaining as much useful information about the person and their substance use as possible.
Topics covered during an intake include:
- Current prescription, illicit and over-the-counter substances consumed
- The dose, frequency of use and duration of abuse
- Current mental health issues
- Current and former physical health problems
- Active supports and stressors like financial, legal or family problems
With this information, the professional can recommend the best choice for the next stage in rehab. They’ll also take time to discuss insurance and payment options before you start, so you’re comfortable moving forward.
People who are likely dependent on substances will need a detoxification period to safely and comfortably rid their body of drugs in a safe environment. This stage is especially necessary in alcohol, opioid or sedative dependence, as withdrawal can be very dangerous and potentially deadly.
Medical professionals may offer medications during detox to ease symptoms or simply observe them to track their symptoms and make them comfortable. In either case, medical detox is focused on minimizing distress caused by withdrawal to foster recovery.
Some people will consider rehab the total treatment process, while other people will use the term to refer exclusively to therapy and medication management. People often think of inpatient rehab when they hear the word, including living at a treatment center with other people in recovery, away from people, places and things that trigger their substance use.
However, it doesn’t always look like this. Depending on your addiction treatment needs, rehab can involve:
- Living in a residential treatment program or at home
- Attending individual, group and family therapy sessions
- Meeting with a prescriber to discuss available medication options
- Learning about addiction, mental health issues and coping skills
- Building bonds with other people in recovery
- Preparing to re-enter life as a sober person
- Exploring ways to improve your whole life and overall well-being
Different treatment programs will have varying levels of structure and freedom. Most people in rehab treatment start in a more structured environment suitable to their needs. As you continue to recover and improve, The Recovery Village at Baptist Health helps you step down to less intensive levels of care until you can enter regular life in recovery.
Aftercare is always a critical part of rehab. When someone completes treatment at the rehab facility, the risk of relapse increases. They are now in the regular world, where they may come to face relapse triggers and daily struggles without substances. Aftercare programs support you so you aren’t alone in the recovery journey. Relapse prevention plans, continuing therapy outside the facility, online therapy, support groups and alumni support networks are just some of the aftercare programs that help you avoid relapse and continue life in recovery.
In addiction, recovery is never a destination. It is always a journey. Because of this, people should plan to continue with some level of professional and nonprofessional care for the foreseeable future.
During your life in recovery, you may still have regular but less frequent appointments with a therapist and other prescribers. You’ll most likely attend a support group regularly and continue engaging with the recovery community. Appointments with therapists and prescribers may be more spread out with month-long gaps. The Recovery Village at Baptist Health offers alumni events and resources for you to use.
See Related: Life After Rehab