The Four Definitive Stages of Rehab

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Addiction has increased considerably over the last decade. Not only are there more drugs in pharmacies and on the streets, but they have also become more powerful and accessible. The response has been to create personalized and comprehensive treatment that aims to treat addiction treatment as medical treatment for the entire person. However, the basic stages of rehab remain the same. Starting with detox, working through the initial 30-day inpatient or outpatient treatment, working the steps, and getting a sponsor, and, finally, going through aftercare.


Detox is the process of going through withdrawals after a person stops using drugs and/or alcohol. The withdrawal symptoms differ from person to person and from drug to drug. Depending on the addiction and the substance, supervised detox may be necessary. Often detox is separate from the inpatient treatment. 

Typically, a person stays in a medical environment and is supervised by medical professionals. This can last for a few days, a week, or longer. Whether you are going to rehab for alcohol or opioids, supervised detox is necessary. It depends on the facility, but sometimes supervised detox can be coupled with inpatient treatment in the same rehab.

Inpatient or Outpatient

Inpatient rehab is what you typically see in the movies and TV shows about rehab. It usually takes place over a month but there is also 60 day inpatient rehab. During this time, the person goes through the initial stages of addiction treatment. After the initial stages of detox, the treatment begins. Patients in rehab see a counselor for individual sessions, go to group meetings, and work the 12-step program. While working the steps, the patient gets a sponsor and attends the meetings. Eventually, the person will get to the point where they become a sponsor themselves. Over time, sobriety gets easier.

Outpatient, on the other hand, is a similar treatment, except you don’t stay overnight. Outpatient treatment is for functional people, those who need to work, and those who need to take care of their families. You start working the same steps, attend group meetings, and get a sponsor just the same. You will meet with a counselor routinely and get the same treatment as an inpatient. Outpatient can also be used as a form of aftercare.

Working the Steps

Even after inpatient or outpatient treatment, the person should continue working the steps. Working the 12-step program, going to meetings, working with a sponsor, and sponsoring others should all be continued to establish long-term sobriety. Long-term sobriety is difficult, and relapse is a part of it. When someone relapses, it’s important to return to meetings and begin the steps again, work with a sponsor, and return to rehab if necessary. 

Recovery is continuous. It is long-term in every sense. People who have struggled with addiction should always attend 12-step meetings and work perpetually on their recovery. This is also why the rest of the person’s life should be fulfilling and prosperous. When the person’s life is rewarding overall, there are a lot more reasons not to give it up and throw what you live away.


Finally, the best way to have longevity in sobriety is through aftercare. Aftercare is essentially working the program and continuing to get treatment. Sober living homes are a common form of aftercare. Weekly meetings where people can share their feelings and stories. Working with a sponsor is essential. Becoming and staying a sponsor is also pivotal. Aftercare in general will help people stay sober. Whether you were addicted to alcohol, pills, or intravenous drugs, aftercare is one of the most necessary parts of addiction recovery.

Addiction has spread a lot in recent years. There are more people who are struggling with dependence on drugs and alcohol than ever. Luckily, to respond to this, specialists are coming up with new specialized treatments that are comprehensive. Dual diagnosis, which aims to treat the whole person and the underlying mental health issues that led to the substance abuse and addiction, is also necessary.

Individualized treatment for addiction is instrumental. Whatever the person needs, the four definitive stages of treatment are needed. When the person goes through detox, inpatient, outpatient, the steps, and aftercare, long-term sobriety is more likely. Even if the person relapses, the infrastructure is there to help them get back on track and do what needs to be done to live a fulfilling life.