In the United States, residential treatment centers offer live-in programs for substance abuse, behavioral problems, and mental illnesses. Often referred to as rehab, short for rehabilitation facilities, these centers are often a last resort in the struggle against mental illness or addiction. They offer individuals the chance to remove themselves from their current situation, detoxify, and undergo therapy in order to overcome their illness.
Characteristics of Treatment
Residential treatment involves around-the-clock care, medical supervision, and support, most often in a non-hospital setting. In many cases, individuals live with a community of other individuals coping with addiction or related illnesses. When a patient enters treatment, he or she also enters a community of staff, medical personnel, and residents, where individuals support each other through the recovery process. This is called “resocialization,” and involves creating a new social world independent of drugs or alcohol triggers for the patient. Many treatment centers view addiction as a disease with psychological, physical, behavioral, emotional, and spiritual components. Following detoxification, the individual is forced to confront the beliefs, patterns, or destructive behaviors in his or her life that may have contributed to the development of an addiction. The individual is held accountable and responsible for his or her own life and given the goal of finding ways to interact harmoniously with others. Most facilities involve a highly structured treatment schedule that may involve activities such as individual counseling, group therapy, yoga and/or fitness, specialty groups, and Twelve Step activities. Once this process is complete, patients may work with a specialist to prepare for a substance-free life outside the facility. This includes finding resources and professionals in the individual’s hometown, employment, and family re-integration.
Short- Versus Long-Term Residential Treatment
Residential treatment programs have traditionally required long-term involvement, lasting anywhere from 90 days to twelve months in total. However, in the 1980s a need grew for shorter residential programs addressing substance use or abuse and not necessarily dependence. Originally, short-term residential treatment referred to three- or six-week hospital-based programs, which were followed up with intensive outpatient treatment and participation in group therapy such as Alcoholic’s Anonymous. These types of short-term programs are still offered at various hospitals around the country and provide a more flexible option for individuals suffering from mild to moderate substance use issues. The crucial aspect of short-term programs is participation in outpatient programs following release from the hospital. This has been found to greatly reduce the patient’s risk of relapsing.
Rehabilitation measures are one of the most successful ways to treat drug and alcohol addiction, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. However, the success of the program does depend on the individual’s situation, including the severity of the disease, the extent of his or her issues, the quality of care, and the appropriateness and applicability of treatment.