If you are planning to seek help with a drug or alcohol problem, you can choose between both short and long term rehab options. Short-term rehab can be as short as seven days or as long as twenty-eight. Long-term rehab goes much longer. The shortest programmes run about four weeks while the longest programmes can be upwards of a year. It all depends on your unique circumstances.
In speaking of long-term rehab, we are talking about programmes that include both detox and residential rehab. There are some free programmes offered by the NHS that can run the course of several years, but they are not intended to. They typically only run that long because the NHS does not have the financial or personnel resources to effectively treat individuals. For that reason, we will focus the rest of our remarks on treatment that uses a residential rehab model.
What Residential Rehab Is
Residential rehab is a means of treating addiction problems by having the individual live at the treatment facility throughout the entire course of treatment. The shortest residential programmes usually run about four weeks and include a seven-day detox programme. That said, the average long-term programme lasts about 12 weeks.
The purpose of residential treatment is to provide the greatest chances of long-term success by isolating the recovering addict so he or she can concentrate completely on their recovery. For someone who does not deal well with distractions, residential rehab is the best option. It provides a distraction free environment combined with the support of medical professionals and therapists who are dedicated solely to recovery. They don’t have to worry about other things as NHS practitioners do.
What It Involves
If you need long-term rehab, you will likely need to begin with detox. The detox process is one of forcing the recovering addict to abstain from the alcohol and/or drugs he or she is addicted to. Detox can be either medicated or non-medicated.
You should know up front that detox could be somewhat uncomfortable due to the withdrawal symptoms associated with coming clean. The specific withdrawal symptoms you experience will depend on the substances you are addicted to and the severity of the addiction. They can be as minor as a headache and nausea or as extreme as hallucinations and seizures.
Most of the clinics we work with utilise medicated detox whenever practical. Under this model, doctors will use certain types of medication that take the edge off withdrawal symptoms and make for a more gradual rebalancing of brain chemicals. In some cases, maintenance medications might also be used to reduce future cravings.
After detox is complete, the recovering addict begins several months of psychotherapeutic treatments. The point of these treatments is to break the psychological and emotional addictions in the same way detox dealt with the physical. It is fair to say that psychotherapeutic treatments are not nearly as uncomfortable, at least physically speaking.
Within the universe of psychotherapeutic treatments, the therapist has many options to choose from. In most cases, the clinics we work with will develop a customised treatment plan around the unique circumstances of each client. That plan will include multiple therapies as deemed most appropriate by the therapist. Some of the more common therapies are:
- 12-step programmes
- one-on-one counselling
- group counselling
- physical and mental challenges
- group leisure activities
- cognitive behavioural therapy.
Each of the therapies included in individual recovery plans have a specific purpose. Clients may not know the purpose at the beginning of treatment, but that doesn’t matter. As long as therapists have their full cooperation, recovering addicts can be helped.
Psychotherapeutic treatment is designed to accomplish three things:
- Recognition - In order to fully recover, addicts need to learn to recognise what it is that triggers their addictive behaviour. Oftentimes, these triggers are related to emotional issues or incorrect thought patterns. Therapies will teach them how to identify these things so that they can be avoided in the future.
- Retraining - When addicts enter long-term therapy they usually have an unrealistic view of life combined with unreasonable thought patterns. For example, addicts often believe that their addictive behaviour is the solution to their problems rather than the cause of them. These thought patterns need to be altered by retraining the brain to perceive life more realistically.
- Ownership - Lastly, addicts often come to recovery blaming others or external circumstances for their addictive behaviours. Psychotherapeutic treatment aims to encourage recovering addicts to take ownership of their own lives. It encourages them to understand what they have done in the past, where they are now, and what they can do to control their own lives moving forward.
The ownership portion of psychotherapeutic treatment is one of the most important aspect of successful recovery. You may have heard it said that a drug addict or alcoholic could only be helped when he or she truly wants to be helped. That is absolutely true. What’s more, it’s part of the ownership principle.
Only the addict can make the decision to get well. Only the addict can take full advantage of the treatments offered to that end. And only the addict can practice the lifelong abstinence that is the only true cure for addiction. Making all this possible is admitting that one has a problem in taking total ownership of it.
We dare not conclude the discussion on long-term rehab without talking about the principle of lifelong recovery. In other words, once structured rehab has been completed and the addict returns home, his or her recovery has only just begun. Recovery is a lifelong process that will likely require some additional support in the weeks and months following rehab.
If you are suffering from any sort of addiction problem, long-term rehab might be what you need to finally overcome. We would like the opportunity to help you by providing you with a free and comprehensive assessment along with a recommendation for treatment options. We can only do that when you make first contact. Please call us or send an e-mail right away so that we can get started.