Addiction to drugs and alcohol is a problem that is reaching epidemic levels in America. There are now in the region of 15,000 drug and alcohol rehab centers across the nation dealing with the rising number of people struggling with substance abuse. In this article, we take a closer look at what’s involved at drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers and how people can overcome their addiction by taking one of many treatment paths.

How Rehab Works

There are typically the same steps to take when a person goes through inpatient or outpatient alcohol treatment as follows:


Before any further progress can be made on treating a person’s substance abuse, they need to be detoxed. It is crucial to completely expel the toxins that have built up over time as a result of substance abuse so they are ready for the next stage of residential or outpatient alcohol treatment. Many people require medical detox or around-the-clock supervision to treat difficult withdrawal symptoms and each individual should be assessed before detox begins.


It is not uncommon for people who have been abusing substances to also be suffering from a mental illness. Some people start using substances to treat the symptoms of illnesses such as depression, bipolar disorder or in response to a traumatic life experience. There are others who develop the symptoms of a mental illness as a consequence of abusing alcohol or drugs. These individuals are referred to as dual diagnosis and the exact nature of both co-occurring conditions needs to be determined before inpatient or outpatient alcohol treatment can commence.

Behavioral Therapy

Behavioral therapies such as CBT are designed to adapt the negative thought processes driving addictive behaviors. This is a discussion-based therapy that is very often offered in drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers and it has been shown to provide valuable insights into the root causes of addiction. Clients are guided to identify the areas of life they hold the most negative attitudes on and then empowered to change them around in order to promote healthier behaviors.

Family Therapy

Addiction is an illness that does widespread damage and not just to the person abusing substances. Close friends and relatives are sucked into the negative patterns of addiction and some may even be enabling their loved one without realizing. Relationships that have been damaged by addiction can be healed in family therapy which is an important part of the process at a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center.

Holistic and Complementary Therapies

Elevate Addiction Services are among a growing number of substance abuse treatment centers offering holistic therapies in our drug and alcohol rehab centers. Many of these therapies have been used for thousands of years as a form of healing before what we now consider to be conventional medicine was discovered.

The holistic approach to rehab focuses on healing the individual’s overall well-being in terms of their emotional, physical and psychological health. Many of the therapies offered can be used in recovery as effective coping mechanisms and relapse prevention and include the following:

  • Meditation: This is a mindfulness practice that promotes mental clarity. Clients are guided through a process that focuses on deep-breathing to achieve a completely relaxed state. Daily meditation is a useful tool in developing a more relaxed mindset and also an effective defense against stress.
  • Massage: Massage therapy is something that is considered by many to be a luxury although it has significant therapeutic value. Massage is used during the detox process to ease withdrawal symptoms like muscle and joint aches and pains. Many clients continue to take regular massages in recovery for their proven medical benefits.
  • Art & Music Therapy: People who have been struggling with substance abuse often lose a sense of who they are. By getting involved in artistic and musical activities, clients are introduced to other ways of communicating their thoughts and feelings. Art and music therapy also encourage introspection which is an important part of residential or outpatient alcohol treatment.
  • Physical Exercise: Many people entering drug and alcohol rehab centershave become unfit or out of condition as a result of substance abuse. Physical exercise promotes the production of natural serotonin which creates a feel-good sensation and helps clients to replace addictive behaviors with healthier pursuits. Physical exercise also boosts confidence levels and self-esteem which is often much needed by clients in rehab.


Treatment for substance abuse doesn’t end when a person completes an outpatient program or leaves a rehab center. Because addiction is a relapsing illness, there is always the potential for people to return to substance abuse even years after completing rehab. Aftercare is offered as continued support for clients transitioning from a treatment program and back into their daily lives.

This transition period can be overwhelming for some as they learn to apply all they’ve learned in rehab to “real life.” Aftercare is delivered on an outpatient basis and allows recovering addicts to get real-time help and support to prevent them from relapsing in response to triggers or cravings.

An introduction to a local support group is available on an aftercare program so that recovering clients are able to meet with like-minded people on a regular basis. Sharing experiences, thoughts and feelings with others at varying stages of a recovery journey has been shown to be highly effective in promoting long-term recovery.