Studies done in 2015 found that 23 million U.S. residents needed treatment for drug and alcohol addiction, but only a mere 10 percent of these individuals got the help they needed. In retrospect, it is believed there is a lack of knowledge regarding inpatient drug rehab.

Fast forward to 2018, and we have reached epidemic levels, in part, because of the opioid crisis in the country. In 2017 alone, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 72,000-plus Americans died from drug overdoses, which is up from 63,000 in 2016.

With such a high level of deaths attributed to drug overdoses alone, it is imperative that there is easier access to information that can lead to people getting help. Drug abuse affects millions worldwide, but it costs the United States alone a staggering $740 billion a year.

While the federal government alone does not keep statistics with regard to these issues, the CDC records the high numbers of cost and deaths associated with drug use.

Drug addiction is dangerous, and when it goes untreated, it can lead to fatalities.

With that said, a drug user alone isn’t at risk as addictions are also a family disease. In many cases, the drug user’s loved ones think that without their help, their relative will be consumed by addiction and ultimately die. This way of thinking is common among families who are dealing with addiction, and it is just one example of how this disease can poison an entire family.

As time progresses, users’ chance of surviving addiction decreases. It is of utmost importance to get the user into treatment to give them the best chance of survival.

The problem, however, is that for drug addiction to be treated, affected users must seek help on their own. When a user is forced to attend rehab, the likelihood of the person remaining sober is slim. Unfortunately, statistics and research to support those claims are minimal. The International Journal of Drug Policy concluded in its study that forced rehabilitation is somewhat effective in the short-term, but more studies are needed to understand the long-term effects of compulsory drug treatment.

What Is Drug Rehabilitation?

Drug rehab is, for the most part, administered by medical and healthcare professionals at a treatment center. Having some knowledge about how the process works before deciding to seek treatment can help you or loved one feel confident about your decision.

Simply put, “drug rehab” refers to when someone who has a substance abuse problem engages in medical and/or psychological therapy to treat the disorder. Substance use disorder, or more commonly referred to as addiction, is defined as a long-lasting, chronic disease that requires long-term, if not lifetime, care, and treatment. While it is seen as a disease, there is no cure for this. The only effective method of treatment is through a prolonged drug rehabilitation program.

Drug rehab centers use a variety of treatments and therapy methods to help treat addiction. The main focal point of drug rehab is to help curb future drug abuse and ease recovering users comfortably into sobriety. Depending on the severity of the addiction, a soon-to-be client has several options.

Clients can participate in a treatment program that either is inpatient or residential, in which they live on-site during rehab. Or, they can participate in an outpatient program, in which they live off-site as they receive therapy and services. Choosing not only the right facility but the right type of treatment is key to successful long-term recovery.

Drug Rehabilitation Process

It’s necessary that recovering users each have a customized plan for their recovery. The different levels of care provided are based on the severity of the addiction, not the type of drug abused, which is a common misconception.

During the drug rehab process, a patient will be under continuous medical supervision and care. The intensity of medical intervention will change throughout each level of care, and those participating in residential care receive different levels of care than someone in an intensive outpatient center.

Over time, clients will earn more privileges and freedoms. With great freedom comes great responsibility.

Sobriety is the primary objective of drug rehab. Encouragement through working toward more privileges teaches responsibility and how to prevent relapse in stressful situations.


Medical detoxification is the first of many steps in the sobriety process. This is widely considered to be the most difficult because of pending withdrawals that affect the mind and body. Detox safely helps recovering users manage the acute physical symptoms of withdrawal that emerge when drug or alcohol use is reduced or stopped.

Albeit the first step of the process, it does little by itself to change long-term drug habits. This step alone is rarely sufficient in achieving long-term abstinence. However, it is an ingredient necessary for effective drug addiction treatment.

As more drugs are used over time, the substance(s) builds up in the body. This becomes increasingly apparent as the brain stops producing natural chemicals.

When abstaining from a drug, the body, which is dependent on the substance at this point, cannot produce its natural chemicals to offset the lack of drugs in its system. This is what withdrawal is, and symptoms can range from mild to severe depending on the dose.

Due to the uncertainty of what can occur, medical detox is necessary to ensure the patient has 24-hour supervision for comfort and safety reasons while weaning off.

At California Highlands, our highly qualified staff of professional physicians, nurses, doctors, and case managers have many years of experience in drug rehab. Upon their arrival, clients are evaluated before the best course of action is chosen for their particular needs.

Inpatient (Residential)

After completion of detox, patients will either be admitted into an inpatient (residential) or outpatient treatment program. These structured programs are monitored 24-hours a day, and clients are required to live on-site at the facility for the duration of their treatment. They can stay for 30 days or longer, depending on the situation.

Residential treatment provides clients with an environment in which they can solely concentrate on their addiction without outside temptations and distractions. This can make clients feel as comfortable and confident as possible as they address their substance abuse issues.

A schedule is created to help recovering users develop a daily routine. During this time, people interact with medical professionals and have the opportunity to live with other users who are facing a similar path ahead. Methods and therapies vary based on the values of the treatment center, but all hold social interaction in high regard to support a successful outcome.


Outpatient programs can be looked at as the opposite of inpatient, residential treatment centers. They offer low-to-moderate intensity and more flexibility when it comes to cost and time. People in recovery who have a stable living environment at home and personal obligations, such as a job or school, may want to consider outpatient treatment. This is a better option for a “functioning user” who needs treatment but cannot spend a month or more in residential treatment.

Outpatient Treatment May Involve A Combination Of Several Disciplines, Such As:

  • Substance addiction education
  • Cravings and triggers management
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Relapse prevention education
  • Mental health treatment
  • Individual and group therapy
  • 12-step fellowship programs
  • Referrals for transitional living arrangements (sober homes)

There are three levels of outpatient care that all serve a different purpose. They are partial hospitalization (PHP), intensive outpatient (IOP), and routine outpatient (OP).

  • Partial hospitalization is the first level of outpatient treatment. This form of outpatient care requires clients to participate in therapy sessions four or five days a week. This feels like full-time treatment, but at the end of the session(s), clients are allowed to return home. PHPs provide medical attention and supervision to ensure clients’ success, but they also give them the right balance of independence.
  • Intensive outpatient treatment (IOP) requires nine hours per week as a minimum attendance, but clients could attend for as many as 20 hours per week. This is a therapeutic approach to treatment that feels less like a chore and full-time responsibility. People in IOP therapy also have more time for work, school, and other obligations.

Intensive Outpatient (IOP)

IOP is a primary treatment program that will be recommended by clinicians in specific circumstances. As mentioned above, it requires nine hours per week as a minimum of attendance. It is also recommended for those not requiring medically supervised detox.

Intensive outpatient will help people in treatment to continue the recovery therapies following detox. It is an intense part-time schedule, and its focus is to accommodate work and someone’s family life.

One of the most critical aspects of the treatment process is to rebuild your personal life. You must start to mend family ties immediately, and when you are able to live at home and participate in outpatient treatment, it helps this process from the start.

Intensive outpatient helps you build the foundation with your family that will establish a lifetime of support. It is one benefit over a residential program because you don’t have to wait until you return from living away.

Partial Hospitalization (PHP)

Those who attend partial hospitalization programs have demonstrated enough improvement that they can leave treatment at night and remain healthy. Partial hospitalization is used in situations where clients have other commitments, such as caring for elderly family members or children. These situations make it so they cannot leave and participate in residential care.

Partial hospitalization is structured and concentrated, and if a client does not show anticipated signs of progress, or if they relapse, they will be required to live at an on-site facility until they’ve demonstrated improvement.

While there is much more freedom in this format, partial hospitalization will offer the same dedicated treatment and staff that residential offers. It means individual or group therapy session, as well as support groups,  will be a part of the routine. Clients will have the privilege of learning how to live again on their own in a safe and drug-free environment.

Partial hospitalization is a popular program, and it helps alleviate symptoms of health distress and depression. The program allows clients to manage cravings, handle difficult emotions, and improve interpersonal relationships for a better future.

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