First Time In Treatment

Even when an addict knows they have a problem and want to fix it, it can still be intimidating to check into an addiction treatment center. With no idea what to expect, it’s easy for someone to become overwhelmed and want to back out of it, no matter how badly they want to get well. If you or someone you love wants to know what to expect during addiction rehabilitation, here are some things to know:


Typically, detoxification, or “detox,” a controlled withdrawal procedure, is the first thing that will happen when someone is admitted into addiction treatment. This gives the body a chance to rid itself of the chemical toxins put in the body through drugs and alcohol. This process can be very physically unpleasant, as the body has gotten used to the toxins and reacts when they are taken away. Rehabilitation centers are prepared to handle the unpleasant physical side effects of detox. The treatment center staff often provides prescription detox medications to help lessen the side effects and ease the transition in sobriety. While hospitals help addicts detox as well, the process will often be easier and more comfortable at an addiction treatment center. The detox process varies in length depending on the type of drug involved and how long the person has been using. A full detox may last a couple of days, or it may be several weeks before the person stops feeling symptoms. The first part of detox is typically the most unpleasant, with the negative side effects becoming less and less prominent as time goes on. Treatment center staff regularly monitor patients to determine whether the drug is completely out of their system. For someone who is addicted to an action such as gambling, sex or shopping, their actions have not added toxic chemicals to their body, and the physical and medical act of detoxing will not look like this. In fact, there may be no official detox at all. They will jump right into therapy. Their treatment will focus more on the behavioral and psychological changes needed to stop their addiction, than the physical.


Some people feel that as soon as the detox is done and the drugs are out of their system that they can go home. They may feel better and their body may not be craving the drug in the same way that it did before, but they are far from being recovered, and for many of them, it’s only a matter of time before they must return and begin detox all over again. Continuous therapy proves to be the best way of ensuring long-term sobriety. It provides addicts with the tools to help them deal with the impulses or needs that make them want to give in to their addiction, so that they can control their cravings even without being under constant supervision. Someone who checks out of treatment before therapy is complete is unequipped to manage the temptation that got them in treatment in the first place. Therapy may be in a group setting or one-on-one sessions. The type of therapy recommended to each patient may vary depending on the type of addiction, is the severity of the addiction and whether there are other factors in play, such as depression. Someone who needs close attention or specialized care may benefit from individual therapy.

Inpatient vs outpatient treatment

Just as there are different types of therapy, there are also different types of treatment. When most people think of addiction rehabilitation, they think of inpatient treatment, where the addict lives at the addiction treatment center 24/7 under careful supervision. This is most common for addicts whose addictions are controlling their lives to the point where they cannot trust themselves alone and could seriously injure themselves or someone else. Inpatient treatment provides a safe, isolated space to focus on their recovery. Outpatient treatment, on the other hand, does not require the person getting treatment to live at the center. Instead, they live at home and go about their daily routines for the most part, only visiting the addiction treatment center to receive medication or attend therapy. This option allows people to continue working while still getting the treatment they need. When inpatient addicts leave the addiction treatment center, they are encouraged to receive outpatient treatment. Going from inpatient treatment back to normal life can prove to be difficult and result in addicts falling back into their old habits and risking relapse. Continued therapy and medication as needed can help them learn how to function again without their addictions. Depending on the individual, their addiction and the addiction treatment center they choose, the combination of inpatient and outpatient treatment can last anywhere between 30 days to 18 months or longer. For many people, treatment never fully ends. They may move from inpatient to outpatient or from individual therapy sessions to a peer-led support group, but addiction is an ongoing illness. Continuing to seek treatment even after officially checking out of treatment makes it easier to stay clean and eventually maybe even be able to help others in the same situation. Are you looking for a suitable addiction treatment center for you or a loved one? Call our addiction advisors for the guidance you’re looking for: (800) 260-1481