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Detox vs. Rehab: What’s the Difference?

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Detox vs. Rehab: What’s the Difference?

Written by Genesis Recovery

Addiction is hard to overcome. Left untreated, addiction and substance use disorders can destroy lives before individuals even attempt to recover. When you are ready to face addiction, you will want to seek out professional addiction treatment, which consists of detox and rehab. While treatment, rehab, and detox are closely related, they aren’t synonyms.

Detox and rehab are two separate processes with different purposes. Detox focuses on preparing an individual for treatment while rehabilitation focuses on treating your body, mind, and behavior. Together, they help you regain control of your life. If you try to overcome addiction by going through one process without the other, you’re likely to relapse. Detox without rehabilitation does not provide critical therapy and support, which can lead to further substance abuse. Rehabilitation without detox, on the other hand, is rarely successful. Even though detox and rehab work together to provide successful treatment, you’ll need to participate in both processes. The more you understand the differences between both rehab and detox, the more you’ll understand why successful recovery typically includes both.

Detox: Preparing the Body and Mind for Treatment

Detox is the first phase of addiction treatment. The goal is simple: to prepare the body and mind for treatment. The most important way to do this is to rid the body of any toxic substances. Most detox programs last anywhere from 3 to 10 days and help:

  • Cleanse the body of toxins
  • Reduce the pain and discomfort of withdrawal
  • Lower stress and anxiety levels
  • Strengthen your body’s immune system
  • Regain your ability to control your behavior
  • Manage withdrawal symptoms
  • Lessen drug and alcohol cravings

But that’s not all. Drug and alcohol detox also helps to establish the foundation of your sobriety. During detox, you regain control of your body while your brain starts to function optimally again. Without detox, addictive substances can continue to cause your body to malfunction, making rehabilitation a distant dream. Luckily, after your body and brain are free of drugs and alcohol, you’re in the perfect position to remain sober. That’s where rehab comes in.

There are some best practices for detox that you should keep in mind when seeking a treatment program:

  • Do not detox “cold turkey.” This is dangerous and can lead to severe withdrawal symptoms that could affect your lungs, liver, and heart.
  • Avoid at-home detox kits. These kits are not regulated by the FDA so there’s no actual proof that they’re effective. In general, avoid any at-home detox, which can result in medical complications and risks, particularly if you’re cutting back on opioid or alcohol use.
  • Always detox under medical supervision. Withdrawal is a strenuous process that affects your body, mind, and emotions. Some symptoms like an irregular heartbeat, trouble breathing, seizures, vomiting, and high blood pressure can be severe. You’re more likely to complete detox successfully when you have the care and support of a medical team on your side.

Rehab: Regaining Control of Your Mind and Life

Drug and alcohol rehab, unlike detox, focuses on the health of your mind. In fact, the ultimate goal of rehabilitation is to develop a new lifestyle with new habits that encourage sobriety. When your body is free of drugs and alcohol, you’re able to start working toward your new life. That process takes longer than detox does. The average rehab program lasts for 30 to 90 days. But you might need treatment for up to 120 days depending on your history of substance abuse. In rehab, your focus will shift from physical symptoms to coping skills that will help reduce your chance of relapse. You’ll participate in a range of activities designed to help you regain control of your mind, including:

  • Counseling
  • Individual, group, and family therapy
  • Mindful meditation
  • 12-step programs and other peer support groups
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), which will teach you how to live in the moment, handle stress, manage emotions, and improve your relationship with others.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which will help you develop healthier thinking habits.

Rehab will also help you focus on your holistic health. Most programs have activities that focus on your health, holistic well-being, social needs, and creativity, as well. In rehab, you’re not defined by the substances you once used, you’re identified by the person you’re becoming. Rehab also helps equip you for life beyond the treatment program by providing you with aftercare services and alumni program activities.

Other Differences Between Drug Detox and Rehab

  • Detox focus on the physical effects of addiction.
  • Rehab focuses on the mental, emotional, psychological, and social effects of addiction.
  • Detox removes the problematic substances from your life.
  • Rehab fills your life with healthy cognitive and stress management skills.
  • Detox helps cleans up your past (i.e. substance use).
  • Rehab focuses on your future (i.e. new behavior patterns, coping skills, and social circles).
  • During detox, your support comes from clinical and medical personnel.
  • In rehab, support comes from your therapist, counselor, mentors, and peers.
  • During detox, family visits aren’t allowed.
  • Rehab encourages family therapy.
  • Detox helps ease the pain of withdrawal symptoms.
  • Rehab encourages you to explore and talk through your pain in behavioral therapy.

Successful Recovery Requires Detox & Rehabilitation

If you’re serious about overcoming your addiction, you’ll need to undergo both detox and rehab. Detox clears your body of toxic substances, but you can’t stop there. You need to address the mental, emotional, relational, and psychological effects of substance abuse, as well. Rehab can help you do that.

Detox doesn’t explore why you started using substances in the first place. Eliminating drugs and alcohol from your system won’t teach you how to avoid them in the future, either. That’s why successful recovery consists of detox and rehabilitation.

Comprehensive Care You Can Trust

Here at Genesis Recovery, we believe in comprehensive care. Our mission is to help rebuild lives broken by addiction. We do that by addressing and treating all aspects of our members’ lives. We focus on their physical, emotional, psychological, mental, social, and holistic needs. We strive to see every aspect of your life improve, and with time, excel. Don’t try to treat your substance abuse challenges halfway; go all the way. Our expert staff members are ready to help you guide you through every step of the addiction treatment process. Contact us today 619-797-7319 if you’re ready to rebuild your life.

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