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What to Know Before Going to Addiction Rehab

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While the definition of rehabilitation may vary depending on who you ask, it usually involves the idea of restoring or recovering something. In the case of addiction rehabilitation, it’s a person’s health.[1] Going to rehab is one of the biggest changes a person can make in their lives, which is why making the decision to go can also be extremely challenging.

By deciding to go to rehab, you have already taken the first and one of the most important steps in your healing process. While the journey of recovery looks different for every person who is on it, it’s crucial to try your hardest to make the most of your time in rehabilitation.

Tips for Getting the Most Out of Rehab

Do Some Research Before Enrolling

Because you’re going to be spending a good chunk of time at any substance recovery treatment center, it’s important to do a bit of research beforehand. Healing is a unique process for everyone, so you will know the kind of help you will respond to best. When looking for a rehab facility, checking out the different types of treatments offered and the approaches that are used is an imperative step.

In addition, there are usually rules in place at different treatment centers that are good to know before going in. For example, many rehab centers won’t allow patients to keep their cell phones with them for most of their treatment. Others don’t allow the use of tobacco products, which can be a deterrent for nicotine users.

Keep an Open Mind and Commit to Change

Going to rehab is intimidating, which is why it’s so important to keep an open mind no matter your situation. While you may not love every part of your journey of recovery, every aspect along the way can help you move forward. Keeping an open mind and staying positive during your treatment and the possibilities to come are a great way to stay optimistic through your time at a rehabilitation center.

It’s also crucial to commit to the change you want to see. Unfortunately, as humans we tend to do the same things repeatedly and expect a different result to occur. When it comes to recovering, committing to change and actually changing your behavior is the only way to see a different outcome.

Follow the Recovery Facility’s Rules

A handful of rules may be one of the last things you want to deal with in recovery, but they are ultimately there to help you. Following the rules your rehabilitation center puts in place is a big part of your healing process. Those rules are implemented for a reason and are intended to help you in the best way possible. While rules like no smoking or no phones may seem silly at first, in the long run, you’ll be thankful you followed them to focus on healing. Remember: those rules won’t be in place forever, but your recovery is its own lifelong reward.

Focus on You

The primary reason you’re going to rehab is to help yourself. When given the opportunity, like rehabilitation, it’s crucial to focus on yourself when you have the time. Pick up new hobbies or fall in love with your old ones again. Start creating healthy habits. Think about the good in your life and the bad that you want to fix. There are so many ways to help yourself on top of just simply stopping the use of drugs and alcohol, and a rehabilitation center can give those to you.

Find Support and Stay Connected


Find Support and Stay ConnectedPhoto from Getty Images

One amazing aspect of residential rehabilitation programs is the support systems you can create within them. While everyone’s situation may be different, you’re all ultimately there for the same reason—to begin recovery. The connections you make during your treatment can be lifelong if you wish, and they can help you to create a strong, core support network for you as you heal and after. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Find an Addiction Treatment Program That’s Right for You

While the process of becoming sober can be difficult for anyone, it’s important to find a facility that will make you feel as comfortable as possible so that your healing process is best supported. You know better than anyone what approaches really speak to you and what kind of approaches you may not respond to as well. When looking for a treatment program that’s best for you, it’s important to keep a few questions in mind.

What Are the Types of Treatments Offered?

When it comes to treatments for those who struggle with drug and alcohol use, there are many different options. Treatments are often structured as inpatient or outpatient programs, and you can choose either depending on what you and the professionals at the rehab center think is best for your situation. Outpatient programs allow you to spend time both in treatment and at home, whereas inpatient programs are more intensive and require you to stay at the center for a certain period.[2]

Each facility may also use different approaches when helping their clients heal. For example, many rehabilitation centers follow a 12-step program. Most forms of treatment also include additional aspects like individual therapy, support groups, mindfulness techniques, and more. When looking for a treatment option that’s right for you, think about the things you would enjoy and the approaches that would help you most.

Does the Rehab Center Have Experienced Addiction Recovery Staff?

Experienced StaffPhoto from Getty Images

Going to rehab can already be intimidating, which is why it’s important to find somewhere with staff you can trust. You’re most likely going to  be working with a variety of professionals, from doctors to therapists. This makes finding a treatment center with experienced staff crucial. When weighing your options of different facilities, research their staff members and look for licensed professionals who are trained in substance abuse treatment.

Does the Treatment Center Meet Your Unique Needs?

To best help yourself, you want a treatment center that is going to meet your needs. While people sometimes don’t have the time to research before going into rehab, if you are able to do so, it can help your healing process immensely. Your age, the amount of time that was spent using drugs or alcohol, your living situation, and other aspects of your life all play a part into what treatment center will be best for you.

Some centers will offer specialized help. For example, many centers offer support groups specifically designed for young adults or specialized group therapy sessions for people who have had long-term substance abuse issues. Looking into specialized programs and the types of treatment offered at different facilities can help you find one that can help you the most.

Types of Addiction Treatment and Approaches

There are several forms of treatment available for those who are struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. Here are just a few of the types of programs and approaches you may encounter when going to rehab.

Inpatient Programs

Residential inpatient programs are often recommended for those who are looking to recover from drug and alcohol dependency. This is to create a safe atmosphere where you can feel comfortable and focus on your journey of recovery without distraction. Inpatient programs allow the patient to stay at the facility for an extended period — generally anywhere from a month to 60 days at a time, depending on their situation. Being in a stable environment while being active in therapy and treatment, on top of receiving support from your peers, are just a few of the advantages of inpatient rehabilitation programs.

There are both short-term and long-term residential rehabilitation programs, as well. In short-term residential programs, patients are still required to stay at the treatment facility, but usually not for a great deal of time. Short-term inpatient programs condense a variety of approaches, like the well-known 12-step program and other treatments, to assist in recovering from substance abuse issues. They are based on some of the earliest models of recovery. [3] Short-term stays are often used as the first phase of treatment, providing a more intensive treatment plan for the first 30 days and then transitioning the individual into a lower level of outpatient care.

Long-term residential programsPhoto from Getty Images

Long-term residential programs focus on keeping the individual in that more intensive phase of inpatient care for a longer period of time, sometimes 60-90 days or even up to a year, depending on the severity of the addiction and the individual and their specific needs.

Behavioral Therapy

Therapy is incredibly beneficial for many people and is an important tool for those who are on the road to recovery. Many individuals recovering from drug and alcohol disorders are also experience co-occurring disorders like anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. The process of healing from extreme drug or alcohol use is both emotionally and physically draining and having the help of a therapist and psychiatrist is crucial to these individuals

Behavioral therapy is a form of therapy that focuses on a patient’s thoughts, behaviors, and feelings, as well as what links them together.[4] It not only helps patients to build healthy coping mechanisms and learn to deal with stress, but it has also been found to help improve long-term recovery rates immensely when used alongside treatment in rehabilitation. [5]

12-Step Programs

The 12-step program is a well-known approach that has been around for years. Most commonly known for its use in Alcoholics Anonymous, the 12-step program focuses on slowly healing and becoming sober. While some people find themselves avoiding this strategy due to its religious roots, the aspect of a higher power doesn’t always have to relate to a separate divine being. Many people benefit from viewing each of the 12 steps as little affirmations of healing.

What to Know Before Going to Rehab

Quitting substances you have used as a form of comfort or release is never easy. However, you are more than capable of getting through it. It’s also important to know that every facility is different. Each treatment center may use a different approach or different types of therapy depending on how they operate and what they believe to be the best strategies. Staying positive, making goals, and focusing on healing are going to be your main priorities when in rehabilitation.



↑1 Buetow, S., Kapur, N., &  Wolbring, G., (2020). From rehabilitation to ultrabilitation: moving forward, Disability and Rehabilitation, 42: 11, 1487-1489.

↑2 Bovonratwet, P., Webb, M. L., Ondeck, N. T., Lukasiewicz, A. M., Cui, J. J., McLynn, R. P., & Grauer, J. N. (2017). Definitional Differences of ‘Outpatient’ Versus ‘Inpatient’ THA and TKA Can Affect Study Outcomes. Clinical orthopaedics and related research, 475 (12), 2917–2925.

↑3 NIDA, 2020. Types of Treatment Programs. NIDA Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (3rd Edition). Retrieved May 24, 2022, from

↑4 Fenn, K., & Byrne, M. (2013). The key principles of cognitive behavioral therapy. InnovAiT, 6 (9), 579–585.

↑5 Glasner-Edwards, S., & Rawson, R. (2010). Evidence-based practices in addiction treatment: review and recommendations for public policy. Health policy (Amsterdam, Netherlands), 97 (2-3), 93–104.

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