It is a common misconception that the problems of drug abuse and addiction can be successfully and permanently resolved by abstaining from drug use. True, this may put an end to the immediate problem created by drug use, but it does nothing to resolve the many physical, mental and emotional causes and effects of drug use. It is something like saying that putting out a house fire successfully and permanently resolves the entire problem, when clearly it doesn’t. The individual has to find out what started the fire (or their drug use) so they can prevent it from occurring again in the future, and they have to fully rebuild the damage caused by the fire (or drug use) in order to have a stable foundation for the future. This is the purpose of rehabilitation treatment.

About Drug Use

Drug use begins by the individual’s choice – they encounter some difficulty in their life for which they have no easy solution, and they turn to drugs. Drugs cannot solve the problems for which they are taken, but since they can effectively suppress the symptoms of these problems, the individual may decide that they are helpful. When this occurs, the individual finds that they have to continue taking drug substances regularly, as their desirable effects are only temporary.

Once the individual grows to tolerate drug substances, they find that the same quantity of drugs no longer produce the same desirable effects. Instead of abandoning drug use, however, the individual often chooses to increase the doses they take in an effort to force the desirable effects they once experienced. They may not even recall what initially drove them to use drugs, but they now feel that drugs are helpful and necessary to their life.

Eventually, a body that is constantly interrupted by drug use is forced to establish a new “normal” that includes drug substances. This is known as drug dependence, and is the point at which the individual loses control over their drug use. They are driven by powerful cravings and the threat of uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms to maintain a certain level of drug substances in their body at all times. Many individuals who suffer from drug dependence are willing to do anything in order to obtain more drugs, even if it means stealing from, lying to or deceiving others. They may recognize that drugs are damaging their lives, and they may wish to be free from drug use, they simply don’t know how to recover.

What Rehabilitation Must Do

Whatever drove the individual to use drugs in the first place, this root cause for drug use must be uncovered and resolved in rehabilitation treatment. In this way, the individual can become strong enough to prevent a similar situation from occurring again in the future. Additionally, rehabilitation treatment must also help the individual take responsibility for all the damaging effects caused by their drug use. In order to do this, the key components to a successful rehabilitation treatment program include:

Physical detoxification to rid the body of residual drug toxins.
Counseling to help the individual uncover the root causes for their drug use and take responsibility for their choices and their life.
Life skills education to give the individual the skills and abilities they need to successfully navigate their future life without returning to drug use.

Types of Rehabilitation

There are many different types of drug rehabilitation facilities and programs, designed to meet a variety of different needs. Some basic types of rehabilitation include:

Residential rehabilitation. The individual is removed from their normal life environments and routines in order to reside at the rehabilitation facility for the duration of their treatment program. They receive around-the-clock care in a safe, drug-free and supportive environment, and they can provide treatment programs that last anywhere from thirty days to six months or longer, as needed.
Outpatient rehabilitation. Normally recommended as a follow-up to residential rehabilitation or in cases where drug abuse or addiction problems are less severe, outpatient rehabilitation provides treatment services on an intensive schedule while allowing the individual to return home each evening.

Regardless of the type of treatment an individual selects, their own dedication and commitment to recovery can play a large part in their success. After all, it was their choice to turn to drug use in the first place, and so it is by their choice that they can leave drug use behind them permanently.