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  • Writer's pictureShalmalee Gadgil

How Rehabilitation Center Works?

Updated: Nov 1, 2022

Rehab facilities are often the first step to getting clean or sober. This is accomplished by providing a combination of medical and psychological care, skills development, and isolation from drugs and drug use. Treatment centers can provide a gateway to allow drug addicts to find themselves so that they can learn how to stay clean.

However, choosing to attend rehab is a big step. If you or a loved one is suffering from drug or alcohol addiction, you are probably wondering what happens in rehab. Specifically, you might want to know how it works and what should you expect.

While every rehabilitation center is different and you will receive different care depending on the program and therapy you choose, most follow a similar treatment structure.


Every patient will move through the stages of addiction recovery at their own pace. However, your rehabilitation treatment will likely move through several stages which include different types of treatment and different goals or focuses. Knowing what to expect in rehab can help you to plan. You need to make the right decisions for your needs and choose whether to attend an inpatient or outpatient program.

Step 1: Detox

During detox, you will receive medical care to help you safely withdraw from your substance. However, a detox program will vary significantly depending on whether you choose an inpatient residential program or an intensive outpatient program.

Step 2: Early Abstinence

Early abstinence is defined as the first period of rehabilitation, typically beginning with detox. Here, your goal is almost entirely focused on moving past substance use and harmful behavior.

This is often considered to be the most difficult period of recovery. That’s because you must overcome the strongest cravings and you’ll experience withdrawal symptoms. After that, you begin to learn coping skills that will help you to remain clean or sober. After detox, you will begin to work with a therapist or trained addiction counselor. This is the person who will help you to begin to overcome cravings and triggers so that you can learn the tools to remain clean or sober after you leave.

Step 3: Maintaining Abstinence

Maintaining abstinence programs are typically begun after you have been abstinent for a period of 30-90 days, and include long-term abstinence treatment, group therapy, aftercare, and ongoing recovery.

Step 4: Discharge

Your rehab program will discharge you either after a certain number of days or after you have been deemed to be ready to remain clean or sober on your own.

Step 5: Aftercare

Most rehabilitation centers offer some form of aftercare, which will help you to ease back into your life, will help you to find and move into self-help groups such as 12-step groups, and will help you to adjust to your normal life and responsibilities.

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