What is a Drug Rehabilitation Program?

Drug rehabilitation is an umbrella term for a variety of processes by which a person addicted to a drug stops using that drug. These processes can vary from cold turkey to the use of substitute drugs which do not have the same action upon the state of consciousness as the original drug to which the person was addicted.

A drug rehabilitation program includes attempts to change the patient's behavior. In particular, patients are generally encouraged or required not to associate with friends who still use the addictive substance. Twelve-step programs encourage addicts not only to stop using alcohol or other drugs, but to examine and change habits related to their addictions.

Drug rehabilitation programs are often part of the criminal justice system. People convicted of minor drug offenses may be sentenced to rehabilitation instead of prison, and those convicted of driving while intoxicated are sometimes required to attend 12-step meetings or counseling.

Drug Rehabilitation Program Info

Drug rehabilitation programs should offer a variety of treatment options that can meet individual needs and offer sustained help. Programs may include inpatient, residential, outpatient, and/or short-stay options. While drug addiction progresses through predictable stages, each individual’s experience has quite personal and unique characteristics. It takes a trained professional, either a physician or therapist specializing in addictions, to make an accurate diagnosis and prescribe the most appropriate drug rehabilitation program.

Drug Addiction

Those who struggle with drug addiction don't set out to destroy themselves and everyone and everything in their path--rather, these disastrous consequences are the effect of the vicious cycle of addiction. For many, drugs seem to be a means of averting emotional and/or physical pain by providing the user with an illusionary escape from life's realities. In fact, more problems--often life-shattering ones--are created by using drugs. Over time, a person's ability to choose not to take drugs can become compromised. Soon enough, the person rationalizes the need to use consistently and will do anything to get high.

Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol abuse differs from alcoholism in that it does not include an extremely strong craving for alcohol, loss of control over drinking, or physical dependence. Alcohol abuse is defined as a pattern of drinking that results in one or more situations within a 12-month period. These situations can range from continued drinking despite having ongoing relationship problems that are caused or worsened by the drinking to having recurring alcohol-related legal problems, such as being arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or for physically hurting someone while drunk.

Prescription Drugs

Although most patients use medications as directed, abuse of and addiction to prescription drugs are public health problems for many Americans. However, addiction rarely occurs among those who use pain relievers, CNS depressants, or stimulants as prescribed; the risk for addiction exists when these medications are used in ways other than as prescribed. Health care providers such as primary care physicians, nurse practitioners, and pharmacists as well as patients can all play a role in preventing and detecting prescription drug abuse.