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Group 401

What to Expect During Recovery from Addiction

While every addiction recovery process will be different depending on the person, the type of addiction they’re dealing with, and the proposed treatment plan, there are key elements that most programs share: intake, detoxification, rehabilitation, and ongoing recovery.

During the intake process, you’ll probably meet with a doctor and a psychologist, and/or a counselor or therapist. You’ll review your medical and mental health histories, and often you’ll be given a physical exam and a mental health screening. You may be subject to urine and other drug screen testing or a breathalyzer test. To help them develop your personalized treatment plan, you’ll probably be asked about your substance abuse, such as when it started, how much you use, and what you feel are the events that led to it. Remember that these conversations are completely private, and you can be totally honest.

Detoxification (detox)
This is the phase that most people are concerned or even frightened about. The body needs to be rid of the toxic influences of drugs or alcohol—and many substance withdrawal symptoms can be unpleasant, if not dangerous. But, detox is generally a safe process when undergone in a supervised medical setting. And, in some cases of drug abuse, such as opiate prescription drugs or heroin, maintenance medication may be given to ease the process.

Rehabilitation (rehab)
Once the physical detox phase is over, you and the doctors and therapists will work together to try and identify the issues and reasons behind their addictions. This might include individual behavioral therapy, group therapy, and family therapy. Addicts are also taught to identify high-risk situations and triggers, and develop relapse prevention skills to maintain sobriety. While many rehab programs are 3o days long, there are longer-term treatments available if you need extra time to develop and maintain a steady recovery path. This will depend on the history and severity of your addiction; the substances abused; and any additional medical, mental, or behavioral health conditions.

Ongoing Recovery
No matter how long your rehab program lasts, staying sober is a lifelong process. Once rehab is over, you have to return to real life—which includes work, family, friends and hobbies but hopefully not old habits. Certain circumstances and events can trigger cravings and temptations, but hopefully rehab will have taught you to understand and avoid your triggers. You can also:

  • Continue with individual or group therapy.
  • Get regular check-ups with a mental health professional.
  • Go to support meetings such as AA
  • Pursue new activities and develop a new kind of social life that doesn’t involve drugs or alcohol.
  • Build a daily routine that provides structure and prevents boredom and thoughts about using.

If you have questions or concerns about starting treatment for a substance use disorder, don’t hesitate to call the team at Horizon Health Services at (716) 831-1800. We’d be happy to help.