Rehabilitation for addictions – what does it mean?

Addiction rehabilitation means the medical or psychotherapeutic treatment for dependency on psychoactive substances such as alcohol, prescription drugs, and street drugs.

It implies that the individual reintegrates into the social fabric, after getting clean and sober. He becomes a responsible, productive member of the family and community.

Now, that’s easier said than done!

Rehabilitation Treatment – Starts at a Rehab

Rehabilitation treatment for substance abuse (and other disorders such as eating and gambling) usually starts with admission into a competent rehabilitation facility. Subsequently, the client may experience ‘withdrawal’, which varies with the substance. Withdrawal may by physical as well as psychological. It is the uncomfortable symptoms emanating from withdrawal from the substance or addictive behaviour.

Denial – Get it out of the Way for Further Treatment

After withdrawal management, the next stage is addressing the denial of the client. The addict may be believing that he or she does not have a big problem (minimizing) or that he or she indulges in self-destructive behaviour due to some external factor/s (rationalizing, justifying, blaming). Most addicts also believe that they are still in control, in spite of evidence to the contrary. They may believe that they really do not need external help or that a little help is adequate and the rest they can handle on their own.

It is obvious that denial has to broken in order for rehabilitation treatment to work. Unless the addict can see the enormity and gravity of the problem, he will not willingly follow therapeutic directions.

Denial breaking is usually done through interventions involving the family members and/or employers. These persons are briefed about the session by a trained counselor or interventionist. In brief, they remind the client about his behaviours and attitudes, how it has affected him and how it has impacted the family and employer. This is followed by them clearly laying down the consequences the person is going to face in case he does not change. Sometimes, interventions are conducted prior to admission if the individual is resisting treatment.

This usually helps in the individual getting insight into his problem and becomes a motivating factor.

Rehabilitation Treatment – Toward CHANGE

Thereafter, the individual undergoes a structured therapy program that may involve step work based on the 12 Steps of AA (Alcoholics Anonymous), CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy), individual and group sessions, psycho-educative inputs. Some rehabs supplement this with other therapies such as Yoga and meditation.

Basically, rehabilitation treatment means CHANGE. The individual needs to bring about a significant shift in his thinking, behaviour and attitudes. This change empowers him or her to be able to join the stream of life and flow toward happiness and fulfillment