The first step and the key to success to every inpatient rehab program is the detoxification program, or detox. It’s the part of most treatment programs that people who have been through the program usually refer to as the worst and hardest part of their treatment. It’s the detox period that keeps most people addicted, especially those who try to go through it on their own.
When a person stops using drugs, the body reacts to the lack of them with a variety of symptoms. And there are emotional and mental symptoms that occur, too. These combined are known as withdrawal. Without help, the withdrawal period can be so frightening and painful, that a person will continue to use drugs to avoid it. During an inpatient rehab program, detox is completed while supervised and monitored, with approved drugs to help ease the worst of the symptoms.
One the detox period is complete, some programs allow patients to leave and come back for outpatient treatment. This approach is only advised for those who are not severely addicted or who have been using drugs for only a short period of time. For most drug addicts an inpatient rehab program that continues past the detox period is best and gives them the most chances for success.
The reasons an inpatient rehab program is often better than inpatient detox immediately followed by outpatient treatment are many. First, just because the worst of the physical symptoms have abated after the detox period, that doesn’t mean they’re entirely gone or that the person doesn’t still want to use the drug. Just the emotional attachment, habit and a variety of other factors can tempt a person back into using the drug, all in the absence of any serious withdrawal symptoms.
Another reason is that a person who has just gone through detox that leaves a facility is immediately thrust back into the outside world and their life as it was before, but this time without the cushion and padding of drug use. If the person escaped reality with drugs, then being plunged back into reality without the escapist benefits of drugs can make real life seem even worse than it did before, and lead the person back to drug use.
Another reason why an inpatient rehab program is almost always a preferable option is that detoxification is not an exact science. It’s believed that drugs typically leave the system within 3 to 7 days, so the detox process scheduled in a treatment program usually falls in that span of time somewhere. But some experts believe that the drugs don’t leave a body entirely for several months, so traces are still there that can tempt the person to use again.
Usually these urges occur shortly after detox, within the first several weeks. If a person has the benefit of being in an inpatient rehab program and within a number of weeks after the detoxification process the person falls back into feeling withdrawal-like symptoms, he or she is in a safe place where these symptoms can be treated.