Addiction is a disease that can affect anyone. It is a real, tangible illness and no one should feel ashamed to get help treating. Deciding on drug and/or alcohol treatment can be frightening for someone who is struggling with substance abuse. Becoming knowledgeable on the process of detox to rehab is a core component in the success of the recovery journey.

Although many use the terms interchangeably, detox and rehab are not the same thing, and each have their own purpose. While detox primarily focuses on addressing the physical effects of addiction, rehab focuses more on the psychological effects. Detox treatments are designed to prepare your body and mind for rehab.

What is Detox?

The medical term for detox is medical detoxification. According to The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), medical detoxification is a set of interventions aimed at managing acute withdrawal and intoxication. With detoxification, there is a clearing out of toxins that have accumulated in the body. In simple terms, the medical detoxification process safely manages the physical symptoms of withdrawal under medical personnel.

Numerous drugs significantly impact the overall functioning of both the body and mind. If the use of drugs and/or alcohol abruptly stops, you can experience a series of physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms that can be exceptionally uncomfortable and physically painful. The detox process under the supervision of medical personnel can help minimize painful withdrawal symptoms and allow you to become physically and psychologically stable.

During the medical detox process, you will undergo a comprehensive physical evaluation as well as a mental health screening. This will allow medical professionals to learn if you suffer from any co-occurring mental disorders such as depression and/or anxiety. If there is a co-occurring disorder, an individualized recovery plan that addresses these issues will be created.

The process of detoxification from substance abuse varies depending on the type of drug or drugs that have been abused, the frequency of the abuse, and the length of time in which the drug or drugs were taken. In general, the detox process can last from 3 to 10 days.

There are two basic options for detox:

• Inpatient: You check into a hospital, detox clinic, or rehab center and live there during the process. You will have medical staff caring for you 24/7. This option may cost more because more services are offered.

• Outpatient: You get treatment during the day but live at home. This may be as simple as visiting a health care professional regularly to retrieve meds. This tends to be less expensive. This option is only recommended if you are experiencing mild to moderate withdrawal symptoms and will only be successful if you have the support at home.

Detox is an essential step in the recovery process and the beginning of your long-term recovery. Before achieving sobriety, it is crucial to flush out the drugs and/or alcohol from the body. Once you are in a state of stability, you will be prepared to enter formal treatment

What is Rehab?

Rehabilitation (Rehab) is counseling along with support and education that focuses on helping individuals address their psychological dependence for drugs and/or alcohol. Not everyone who gets through detox goes to rehab. However, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) states that individuals who complete a long-term treatment program are more likely to remain clean than those who don’t. In fact, the NIDA reports that addicts who go through detox without any rehab treatment are almost as likely to relapse as those who don’t go through detox at all. Rehabilitation is just the first part of recovery, it is not a cure for drug or alcohol addiction.

The length of rehab programs varies and is typically a case-by-case basis. Unfortunately, it’s not a question that can always be accurately answered early on. Most patients start by agreeing to a standard 30-day program and then adjust the length as needed. Generally, rehab is referred to as:

• Short-Term Rehabilitation: These are shorter programs that offer some hope to addicts for whom time is an issue. This is usually a 30-day program that compresses a 90-day treatment through intense therapy. For most people, this is not enough time to recover from addiction.

• Long-Term Rehabilitation: Treatment is usually 90-days or longer. According to the NIDA, longer-term programs of about 12-weeks are needed to give an addicted person enough time to recover.

Each residential rehab facility is different in its physical features. Common names for treatment facilities are:

• Inpatient Treatment Centers: Patients stay in a hospital, usually for at least 28 days. Patients receive intensive and highly structured care. These programs can have an array of components to them. Patients may participate in different artistic activities, peer-led activities, individual therapy, and group therapy.

• Outpatient Treatment: Patients live at home and visit a clinic or facility regularly for sessions with substance use treatment professionals.

• Residential Treatment: Patients receive intensive care in a nonhospital setting that is highly structured.

• Recovery Housing: Patients live in supervised, temporary housing where they participate in treatment programs.


The decision to go to a treatment facility may be the best one of your life. To determine whether you need detox, rehab, or both, your substance of choice, usage interval, and the severity of your addition must be determined by a substance abuse professional.

No two treatment facilities are the same and there are basic factors to consider when choosing a facility for the first time:

• Decide Your Goals: Every treatment facility has different specialties and will measure success differently. It is important that you choose a facility that will be able to help you reach your rehabilitation goals.

• Consult With a Treatment Professional: The best way to find out what your treatment options are and to find a facility that matches your rehab goals is to consult with a treatment professional.

• Research Various Treatment Facilities: Whether you found rehab options from your own research or were provided by a treatment professional, it is important that you investigate them.

No matter what type of rehab you choose, choosing treatment can help put you on a path to lifelong sobriety.


National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2012). Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (3rd Edition).

“Treatment, Prevention, and Recovery.” Substance Abuse and Mental Health Publications,

“Start Your Recovery: Substance Abuse Resources & Support.” Overcoming Drug & Alcohol Problems Among Teens,

Author's Bio: 

Author's Bio:
I am a professional blogger and I love to write technology articles for my own blogs. I also write the latest news in different magazines and newspapers.