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Substance Abuse and Addiction Health Center

Going to Rehab

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Who Needs Rehab? continued...

People who have these symptoms often say they have “reached rock bottom,” says Michael Fiori, MD. He's the inpatient treatment unit chief at Butler Hospital, a mental health facility in Providence, RI. Many people try to avoid coming into the hospital and only come to rehab when “they are at a point where things have either completely fallen apart or they are about to." 

Most will fight their problem for years, even for a lifetime, says Fiori. As many as 60% of people who kick their habit at some point use drugs or drink again, and some will return to rehab many times, he says. “One of the very common feelings patients have is shame. They lost control and had to come back.”

One goal of rehab is to find the triggers that make a person want to drink or take drugs, then teach them ways to fight urges, Fiori says. 

Addiction is a physical disease, not a weakness, he says. “The biggest myth is that someone is choosing to behave badly. Nobody chooses to be an addict.”

Limited Access

In rehab, you may have little contact with life outside the center. You may have to leave phones or computers at home. Even family visits may be limited or supervised by your doctor. 

“We’ve found it to be safer. Sometimes people visiting think they are doing the patient a favor, relieving their pain, and bring them substances. But they’re doing harm,” Fiori says. Sometimes family conflicts may hurt recovery, so doctors approve visits on a case-by-case basis, Sack says.

Talk It Out

Family therapy can foster healing for some people, Sack says. “Guided by a therapist, the goals of these sessions are to improve communication and help families support their loved one’s recovery.” 

Rehab is only the first phase of healing for addiction, he says. Most people need long-term therapy and active involvement in support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or similar groups in order to maintain their sobriety. 

“Rehab’s strength is that it gives people who are struggling with addiction a safe place to focus on what needs to be their top priority: recovery,” Sack says.

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Reviewed on April 01, 2014

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