Substance abuse usually triggers extreme changes in a person's brain and body chemistry. Therefore, one of
the first priorities in recovery from addiction is to detoxify the body from the toxic chemicals and their
byproducts that are in an addict's system.
While total detoxification can take months or perhaps years, licensed detox centers provide medical
supervision, medications, and counseling during the first few hours or days of abstinence when withdrawal symptoms
can be physically unbearable, dangerous, or in some instances, fatal.
The Misconceptions of Most Alcohol and Drug Addicts
When they first start abusing alcohol or drugs, virtually all addicts tell themselves that they have control
over their addiction and can quit any time they desire on their own without the need for professional
Sadly, a review of the substance abuse literature does not substantiate this mentality.
In fact, from a statistical perspective, most addicts who quit taking the alcohol and/or drugs to which they are
addicted and try to detoxify themselves on their own will be unsuccessful over an extended period of time.
Research into the consequences of long-term addiction has demonstrated that significant changes in the way the
brain functions are present long after the addict has stopped abusing drugs or alcohol.
One of the bottom-line realities for the vast majority of addicts, then, is this: drug and alcohol addicts who
wish to recover from their addiction need more than self-control or strong willpower in order to achieve successful
recovery. In fact, self- detox and self-recovery are exceedingly difficult for a number of reasons, including the
- The addict has to battle the cravings for their drug of choice.
- The addict has to cope with and adjust to the changes in the manner in which the brain functions.
- The addict has to suffer through the withdrawal symptoms that usually occur after abruptly quitting the
drug of choice.
- The addict has to overcome the psychological, physical, and social reasons that lie at the foundation of
The short-term goal of drug rehab is to help the person get through detox and through the withdrawal processes
while enhancing his or her ability to start functioning in society.
In a similar manner, the ultimate goal of drug rehab is to enable the addict to achieve lasting abstinence from
drug use as he or she learns how to responsibly function in society.
Fortunately, professional drug rehab usually helps minimize the medical, the physical, and potentially, the
social and the psychological complications of drug abuse.
How Long Does Successful Drug Rehab Take?
Research shows that addicts who stay in drug rehab longer than three months commonly experience more beneficial
and effective results than individuals who stay in rehab fewer than three months.
Moreover, the research literature demonstrates that addicts who go through medically assisted detox in order to
minimize the discomfort of withdrawal but who do not receive further outpatient rehab, perform about the same in
terms of their substance abuse as those who never went through drug rehab.
Inpatient Drug Rehab
Inpatient drug rehab centers offer structure, support, and medical assistance for addicts who ask for help in
dealing with their alcohol or drug problems. Inpatients reside "on location" for the duration of the rehabilitation
Even though the length of time required for rehab may vary, most programs are at least 28 or 30 days long and
offer 24/7 care.
Inpatient drug rehab, as compared with outpatient rehab, usually results in longer-lasting abstinence and more
successful addiction recovery.
Fortunately, addicts who attend an inpatient drug rehab and USE the new information and tools they have learned
are then able to re-enter society and lead more responsible, successful alcohol and drug-free lives.
Outpatient Drug Rehab
Addicts who are involved in outpatient drug rehab do not reside at the drug rehab facility as they would in an
inpatient drug rehab center. Not unlike their inpatient counterparts, outpatient drug rehab programs are designed
to provide long-term abstinence from drugs and alcohol.
In fact, many outpatient drug rehab programs last many months or even years. Outpatient drug rehab approaches
employ a number of different techniques including 12-step programs, problem-solving groups, and other "specialized"
methodologies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy and insight-oriented psychotherapy.
Outpatient drug rehab programs vary in the types and intensity of services offered. Low-intensity outpatient
drug rehab programs may offer little more than drug education and counseling.
Other outpatient drug rehab models, such as intensive day treatment, can be comparable to residential programs
in services and effectiveness, depending on the individual's characteristics and needs.
In the final analysis, the ultimate goal of outpatient drug rehab is to help the addict recover from drug
addiction so that he or she is able to re-enter society and lead successful, more responsible drug and alcohol-free
Alcohol and Drug Detox
The goal of detox is to rid the body of the toxins that have accumulated due to drug or alcohol abuse. The first
step in the detox process usually centers on helping the addict safely deal with the withdrawal symptoms while his
or her body is ridding itself of the drugs or alcohol that remains.
If the withdrawal symptoms are severe, doctor-prescribed medications are usually administered that help diminish
the uncomfortable and the potentially damaging symptoms of drug withdrawal.
Detox is performed in a number of different ways depending on where the treatment is undertaken. Most detox
centers simply provide medical treatment to help the addict avoid excessive physical withdrawal.
At the high end of the spectrum, a "quality" detox center will not only help the patient manage and control his
or her withdrawal symptoms, typically via doctor-prescribed meds, but they will also provide the patient with
counseling during the detox process so that he or she can start identifying and dealing with the psychological and
foundational causes of the person's addiction.
Once this is accomplished, the addict will be more able to achieve abstinence and recovery without experiencing
The Three Stages of a Comprehensive Detox Program
A comprehensive drug detox can be seen as consisting of three separate, but interrelated, stages:
- Medical Detox. A medical doctor will supervise, manage, and control the physical withdrawal symptoms, thus
helping the addict complete this phase in a harm-free environment that contains minimal complications. Contrary
to the beliefs of most individuals, interestingly, a thorough medical detox can take several days.
- Physical Detox. Once the addict's body and brain are no longer dependent on drugs, he or she will need to
work on building up his or her physical health. A physical therapist and a nutritionist can be helpful during
this phase, enabling the addict to develop physical stamina as well as a balanced diet to help him or her
succeed through the remainder of the detoxification protocol.
- Emotional Detox. Due to the fact that drug detox can be exceptionally demanding on an addict's
psychological health, most rehab and detox centers offer addicts counseling during the overall detoxification
process. Since the dependency on drugs has become such an intrinsic part of the addict's psychological, mental,
and social life, these important aspects of the addict's life need to be addressed in counseling if recovery is
to be successful and long-lasting.
What Types of Programs Do Detox Centers Provide?
A review of the various kinds of programs that are available at different detox centers is truly amazing. The
following represents a relatively comprehensive list of the multitude and diverse possibilities that are available
to virtually ANY addict:
- 12-step programs (based on the Alcoholics Anonymous model).
- Adolescent programs (age 12--20).
- Dual diagnosis programs (addicts who struggle with both mental illness and substance abuse).
- Faith-based treatment (for instance, Christian and Jewish-oriented therapies).
- GLBT programs (programs for gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender persons, and transsexuals).
- High-profile-people programs (offering full amenities such as a yoga and life coach, a daily massage, an
enjoyable scenic view, and a private room).
- Holistic approaches (with a focus on customizing the treatment for the whole person).
- Mature adult programs (over age 55).
- Men only programs.
- Multiple disorder programs (for people with a number of "problems" such as drug addiction, eating
disorders, alcoholism, sex and love addictions, etc.).
- Non 12-step programs (treatment approaches that focus on a non 12-step methodology including education,
individual counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy, group therapy, and FDA approved doctor prescribed
- Outpatient Programs.
- Programs by various States and regions.
- Relapse prevention.
- Self-help programs (including listings for national self-help groups, organizations, help lines, and public
- Sober living home programs.
- Specific programs for different drugs (alcohol, heroine, crystal meth, cocaine, marijuana, prescription
drugs such as oxycontin, darvocet, percocet, vicodin).
- Suboxone programs (programs employing FDA approved medications for the treatment of opiate dependence).
- Teen boot camps.
- Teen only programs (age 13 - 19).
- Teen wilderness programs.
- Women only programs.
- Young adult programs (ages 18 - 27)
How Much Does Treatment Cost At a Drug Detox Center?
The cost for drug and alcohol addiction detox treatment is as varied as the number of different possible
programs. Keep in mind, however, how important it is to know exactly what is included in the program, what will be
added to your bill as a fee-for-service option, and what services your health insurance provider will pay for.
If you are seeking the best value for your treatment dollar, remember that price can be meaningful only in the
context of performance and quality.
Make sure you are aware of the fact that insurance companies do not generally cover programs that are considered
to be "educational" rather than medical. The educational programs, fortunately, accept the major credit cards.
As a broad guideline, it is worth mentioning that the national average for a 30-day detox/rehab program costs
between $20,000 and $30,000. On the other hand, one particular drug rehabilitation program advertises that it costs
$10,000 for their 28-day program.
Self-Payment Costs At Residential Detox Centers
The following represents some of the self-payment costs that can be found at a number of residential rehab/detox
- Residential Treatment (30 days): $8,500
- Transitional living: $70 per day
- Detox: $400 per day
- Intensive Outpatient (20 sessions): $3,500
- PROMETA (Alcohol): $13,000
- PROMETA (Methamphetamine/Cocaine): $15,000
Note: The PROMETA treatment protocol uses nutritional supplements and prescription medications to reduce
physiological cravings so that instances of relapse are minimized.
Costs for Outpatient Rehab/Detox Programs
The cost for outpatient 30-day rehab/detox programs can be as low as $2,500 and can cost $6,000 or more,
depending on the program.
Conclusion: Detox Centers
One of the first priorities in recovery from addiction is to detoxify the body from the toxic chemicals and
their byproducts that are in an addict's system.
While "total" detoxification can take months or perhaps years, licensed detox centers provide medical
supervision, counseling, and medications during the first few hours or days of abstinence when withdrawal symptoms
can be physically unbearable, dangerous, or in some instances, fatal.
The short-term goal of drug rehab is to help the addict get through detox and through the withdrawal process
while improving his or her ability to start functioning in society.
Fortunately, professional drug rehab done at detox centers usually helps minimize the medical, the physical, and
potentially, the social and the psychological complications of drug abuse.