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Detoxification and Drug Treatment Facilities – What is Addiction and What Happens in Rehab?

Incidences of drug addiction are increasing as social drug use becomes more prevalent each year. Although drug addiction has been a major problem for hundreds of years, more is understood about the nature of addiction today. Years ago, those caught in the vicious life of drug addiction had very few options and those options did nothing to help the nature of the problem, they simply treated the symptoms.

The truth about addiction

Addiction is a disease that is progressive and fatal if not arrested. Most drug treatment facilities and professionals now base their treatment on the fact that if an addict achieves sobriety, the first hit or shot will take them straight back to their previous existence of obsessively and compulsively seeking drugs.

This disease leaves the sufferer living a painful existence, ruled by their need for drugs. The narcotic dependency is only a symptom of a deeper problem. The drugs are not the issue but a result of the underlying problems and the need to escape from uncomfortable feelings. No matter what the consequences, an addict will still use drugs as the compulsion to consume them is so great. This is why families are broken, marriages fail, jobs are lost, houses are repossessed and health and hygiene decline rapidly as a result of drug addiction.

When a drug user’s life has become completely unmanageable, rehabilitation is incredibly beneficial at arresting the disease and beginning a process of recovery. Drug treatment facilities offer intensive in-patient programmes for addiction treatment.

Firstly, an addict needs to detox from drugs if they have formed a physical dependence on them as their bodies will enter a state of withdrawal.


Drug treatment centres always carry a policy regarding detoxification and admission to the centre. Some have a rule that the client must be detoxed before admission and must achieve a ‘clean’ result in a urine test. Others have a detoxification programme with the correct facilities to cope with this. Detoxification cannot be taken lightly: when the human body is physically addicted to a substance such as heroin or alcohol, the withdrawal can be fatal.

A detoxification usually requires the assistance of medicines to ease the discomfort and symptoms of withdrawal. Heroin addicts are often given Methadone and Subutex to relieve pain. These medicines must be given in metered doses by trained professionals who are experienced in coping with the detoxification process. Addicts struggling with withdrawal symptoms in confinement can be unpredictable and detox facilities and the staff should also be trained and experienced in easing client’s discomforts.

Types of treatment centres

12 Step treatment centres are structured in different stages aimed at clients in different stages of recovery. Primary Care rehabilitation is a four week, intense programme where patients receive therapy throughout the day for their addiction. Secondary care is the next stage of treatment which allows clients a little more freedom – some allow clients to go to work or attend university but the programme has strict requirements regarding curfews and daily therapy groups which must be attended. Tertiary care offers even more freedom than Secondary care as all clients are required to work, study, volunteer or be seeking employment. The therapy groups are less frequent and curfews are later.

Extended Primary care is another type of 12 Step treatment centre which offers the same intense programme as a Primary Care centre, only without luxuries such as housekeeping, catering and laundry services, therefore keeping costs down. This allows clients to remain in the treatment programme for much longer than the four weeks which Primary care offers. It has been found that addicts who complete at least three months as an in-patient in a rehabilitation centre have a much higher rate of maintaining sobriety.

Life in rehab

Drug treatment facilities will all have different programme schedules and services but a 12 Step treatment centre will generally offer individuals counselling as well as group therapy. Individuals counselling is important in addiction treatment as it provides a safe space where a client can speak freely with a counsellor with whom they work on a regular basis. Group therapy offers clients the chance to work on issues with the help and experience of other recovering addicts in the centre and the opportunity to confront issues arising in their present situation.

The 12 Steps are an integral tool in recovery. These steps provide a recovery programme which is used after the client has left the centre and provides a stable support system and tools for coping with everyday life. Treatment centres offering long term treatment facilities, therapy, a 12 Step programme and the endorsement of a healthy lifestyle have the highest success rates in addiction recovery. The combination of these factors for addiction treatment is incredibly beneficial in helping an addict to find their feet in the world and piece their lives back together.

Drug addiction can be arrested and managed if the addicted individual is able to abstain from using their drug of choice and undergo an internal change. The disease of addiction is an internal problem – people, places and things are not the problem – the addict is. Each sufferer will benefit from access to drug treatment facilities as rehab centres provide a safe place for detoxification and recovery..

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