Each year, more than 500,000 deaths – or over one in four – in the United States are attributable to abuse of alcohol, tobacco or other drugs. There are many types of rehab centers available to the recovering addict today. It’s important to remember that drug addiction recovery is a long-term process. Abstinence from all drugs takes a strong commitment from the addict and a reliable support system. That support system can make all the difference in terms of lifelong recovery. Rehab centers play a vital role in that recovery.

Rehab centers abound. The key is to find one that treats the particular addiction being battled and provides offerings tailored to the addict’s needs. Rehab centers provide programs ranging from individualized treatment programs to 30 day stays to 90 days. Some rehab centers offer faith-based programs while others offer dual treatments and yet others specialize in teens.

Here is an overview of typical rehab centers and their different provisions.

Brief Interventions

Brief interventions are used to help the addict understand the disorder and what they can do about the addiction. This intervention should be done under a physician’s care and they should emphasize the negative consequences of all drug use. Educational materials should be given as well. If the addict can fight the abuse or control the habit enough to return to a normal life, the intervention has been successful. If they cannot, more intensive therapy options such as detoxification or inpatient treatments must be utilized.


To start the process of rehab, detoxification is necessary. This can be done either as an inpatient treatment or outpatient. If outpatient detox is used, it’s important that the patient has a sober and responsible family member or friend who to help encourage participation in the program, watch for serious signs of withdrawal, get the patient to the physician’s office and get rid of any alcohol or drugs in the patient’s home. If these things cannot be done or if outpatient detox doesn’t work, inpatient therapy is necessary.

Hospital Treatment

Hospital treatment can be a first step in recovery. There are many types of treatments available for all addictions ranging from alcohol to opiates to stimulants. For best possible outcomes hospital treatment should be part of an outpatient long-term treatment program. One piece of that long-term program should be a twelve-step program or other recovery support group. New behaviors are formed in these groups which replace the old addict’s patterns of dishonesty, emotional avoidance and self-destruction.

12-Step Programs

After detoxification, it’s important that every addict gather a combination of professional (group or individual) counseling plus attendance at a self-help group to maintain sobriety. These programs have reportedly helped millions of people maintain sobriety and health. There are several variations of the well-known Alcoholics Anonymous such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA), Cocaine Anonymous (CA). For those who don’t feel AA or NA works best for them, other self-help groups are available such as Rational Recovery (RR). Rational Recovery emphasizes a self-actualizing cognitive-behavioral approach.

Outpatient Therapy

Outpatient treatment can vary in length. It can be several meetings at a particular treatment rehab center to a lifelong commitment. The number of meetings typically varies depending on the intensity needed. The more intense the level of treatment needed, the more meetings that must be attended. For example, if the treatment needed or desired is highly intensive, there are roughly four or five meetings per week. And as the level of intensity required goes down so do the number of meetings to attend, usually at least once or twice a week however. The actual length of time involved will also vary depending on the program selected. The most thorough and professional facilities combine education and group therapy. Outpatient therapy can come in many forms and is typically tailored to the particular addiction and may cater to a certain group of people (such as female narcotic addicts or men with an opium addiction). When the right rehab center is found for outpatient therapy, it’s important to be sure the entire program is overseen by a professional with experience and/or certification in addiction counseling.

Long-Term Residential Treatment

If short-term detoxification followed by long-term outpatient treatment doesn’t work, another treatment option is long-term residential treatment programs. The success of long-term residential treatment is a stable, comfortable environment where the addict can tackle the complex problems of recovery.

In this regard, family physicians can play a pivotal role. They are well positioned to make the diagnosis because patients frequently seek medical care for the complications of drug and alcohol abuse. In addition, family physicians have an expanding role in the treatment of substance abuse as a result of recent advances in the understanding and pharmacologic management of addictive disorders.