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What Happens in Rehab for Addiction?: What to Expect

What Happens in Rehab for Addiction?: What to Expect

They say the first step toward recovery is acknowledging that there is a problem. For someone with an addiction, going to rehab can be intimidating. Understanding what happens in rehab can make things easier. If you or a loved one are planning to enter rehab, continue reading to know more about what to expect.

Requirements for Rehab in the Philippines

Drug use and addiction is a serious problem. Based on the 2019 statistics from the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB), there were over 5,000 reported admissions to rehab facilities.

However, going to rehab takes more than just walking into a center. Firstly, an application is needed. Drug users and dependents should set an appointment with an accredited doctor. Alternatively, a referral form from the legal division of the DDB is allowed.

The next step is to get a police clearance. There should be no pending criminal cases from the court.

Once the application has been approved, a drug dependency exam will be done by the accredited doctor via appointment. Then, the DDB will process the petition. The release of the petition will be to either the applicant or authorized representative.

What Happens in Rehab for Addiction?

In the Philippines, drug rehabilitation centers use different treatment modalities. Some examples of these include:

  • The multidisciplinary team approach
  • Therapeutic community approach
  • The Minnesota model
  • Spiritual approach

Addiction treatment is not one-size-fits-all, therefore selecting an appropriate center is essential for recovery.

Behavioral and Cognitive Treatments

Addiction is a disorder that alters a person’s normal behavior and thought processes. Addiction to drugs or behaviors like sex, gambling, and gaming occur because the brain has been programmed to “need” these things. This is because different drugs activate the brain’s reward system that produces feelings of pleasure or euphoria. This is what’s known as being “high”.

In order to treat addiction, experts attempt to undo the unhealthy obsessions. First, a thorough physical and psychological examination is necessary. This will help the medical and social workers understand how the addiction came to be and how severe the addiction is.

Psychological therapy and counseling are done regularly by a psychiatrist and psychologist. Individual and group therapies are often utilized together to improve outcomes.

Behavioral therapy works to do the following:

  • Motivate people to participate in treatment
  • Offer coping strategies
  • Reduce cravings
  • Teach avoidance methods
  • Prevent relapse
  • Improve communication
  • Restore relationships and social skills

12-Step Programs

The 12-step program was first popularized by Alcoholics Anonymous to treat alcohol addiction. Since then, elements from this method have been adapted to treat other types of addiction.

The typical 12-step addiction therapy outline:

  1. Admitting the addiction is out of your control.
  2. Believing that a higher power (e.g. God) can help.
  3. Turning control over to the higher power.
  4. Taking a personal inventory.
  5. Confession or admission of wrongs.
  6. Make yourself ready for correction.
  7. Allow the higher power to correct your shortcomings.
  8. Create a list of wrongs done to others and make amends.
  9. Reconnect with those whom you’ve hurt, unless it would cause harm.
  10. Continue taking personal inventory and admitting wrongdoings.
  11. Pray and meditate regularly.
  12. Use your knowledge to mentor and guide others in need.

Group Therapy

In addition to individual treatment, group therapy is a common approach. Connecting and interacting with others fosters a sense of togetherness and understanding. Patients in centers far away from their home may feel especially lonely, as treatment can last for months.

However, group therapy is not for everyone. In some cases, group sessions may inadvertently worsen or reinforce addiction. Minors with dependency and addiction problems are especially susceptible to peer pressure.

Another approach is Family Behavior Therapy (FBT). FBT involves the patient along with one or more family members. It aims to address addiction as well as underlying problems that may be environmental and social triggers. In addition, FBT improves family relationships and home environments so that patients can safely return home. The inclusion of family members is especially powerful for adolescents.

Spiritual enrichment

Additionally, many addiction treatment approaches include religious or spiritual components. The majority of these treatment modalities use Christian-based teachings. Generally, addiction is a sin or consequence of sin. However, as per Christian teaching, forgiveness is always an option.

Even patients who are non-practicing or non-religious can benefit from these teachings.

Pharmacological interventions

Detoxing also happens in rehab. Substance use and dependency cause chemical imbalances in the body. By clearing these chemicals and neutralizing side effects, the body can start to recover.

Additionally, withdrawal symptoms are one of the major barriers to successfully quitting substance abuse. These symptoms vary depending on the individual and what type of addiction they have. Usually, withdrawal is most intense during the first week after quitting. Psychological or social support during this time is essential to prevent early relapse.

In order to reduce withdrawal symptoms and improve recovery, medications may be prescribed. Oftentimes, other mental health issues co-exist before or during addiction. Treating the co-existing or accompanying mental health issue is also recommended. This can be done through psychotherapy and other treatment modalities.

If the patient was previously taking medications before entering rehab, they should continue taking them unless advised otherwise by a doctor.

Key Takeaways

In summary, this article gives a brief overview of what happens in rehab. Results and actual treatment will vary between treatment centers. For more information and treatment, contact a doctor or local addiction rehabilitation center.

Learn more about Addiction here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


Treatment and Rehabilitation https://www.ddb.gov.ph/sidebar/64-treatment-and-rehabilitation Accessed February 24, 2021

2019 Statistics https://www.ddb.gov.ph/research-statistics/statistics/45-research-and-statistics/499-2019-statistics Accessed February 24, 2021

ATLAS of Substance Use Disorders https://www.who.int/substance_abuse/publications/ Accessed February 24, 2021

Principles of drug addiction treatment https://www.drugabuse.gov/sites/default/files/podat_1.pdf Accessed February 24, 2021

12 Step Programs for Drug Rehab and Alcohol Treatment https://americanaddictioncenters.org/rehab-guide/12-step Accessed February 24, 2021

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Written by Stephanie Nicole Nera, RPh, PharmD Updated May 26