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What's The Difference Between A Detox Center and Other Residential Rehabs?

By Nigistry Lulu
Medically Reviewed by Christopher Rodgman, MD on February 03, 2021
There is a difference between detox and rehabilitation, but both are essential to the journey of lasting recovery.

Seeking treatment is a critical first step in recovering from addiction. But do you know what type of treatment is best for you?

Drug addictions, referred to in the medical community as substance use disorders, affect over 23.5 million Americans, and under 12% of those addicted get treatment. Although detoxification and rehabilitation are essential to beating addiction, they are not the same. There is a difference between detox and rehabilitation, but both are essential to the journey of lasting recovery.

What is a Detox Center?

According to Washington Circle Group (WCG), detoxification is a medical intervention process aimed at helping a substance abuser through the experience of acute withdrawal.

Detox is the process of getting all addictive substances out of your body. This could mean going "cold turkey," where you stop using altogether.

After you seek medical assessment, you may be referred to a detox center as your first phase of recovery. A detox center is a medically supervised facility to handle symptoms related to drug detox. The initial detox process is physically challenging and takes a significant toll on an addict's mind and body. “Cold turkey” detoxes from certain substances, specifically benzodiazepines and alcohol, can be fatal if not done under the care of a medical professional.  Other detoxes, such as from opioids, can be so physically and mentally uncomfortable that the individual is unlikely to make it through the process before resuming substance use if a detox is attempted outside a medical facility. Withdrawal symptoms can be extremely straining on addicts. Thus, it is best to undergo detox within the confines of a medically supervised facility, like a detox center, to monitor and help ease the discomforts of withdrawals. Opting for a detox center can help you transition to inpatient substance use treatment at a residential rehabilitation program or outpatient therapy..

What are Residential Rehabs?

Once you have successfully made it through detox, either at home or a detox center, ideally, a rehabilitation program or "rehab" is the second phase that can help you achieve long-term success. This is strongly recommended, as those who undergo a brief detox and choose not to go to rehab are at a significantly higher risk of relapse.

At a residential rehab center, you are provided 24/7 monitoring that can help you manage and sustain the gains made in detox without any distractions. Residential rehab centers vary, but tend to treat all aspects of addiction, including mental, emotional, and spiritual healing. While there is 24/7 monitoring in the rehab facility, it doesn't have to feel like lockdown. Many facilities offer activities including family therapy, lectures, and even alternative therapies like yoga, music, and exercise.

Rehabilitation programs are available for private admissions as well as for public needs. The goal of drug and alcohol rehab is to allow addicts the time they need to cope and minimize the risk of relapse. Many residential rehabs offer a construct of modern comforts, all while encouraging and supporting recovery.

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