While its purpose is to address the behavioral aspects of drug addiction and to ultimately help patients develop healthy coping strategies to avoid relapse, drug rehab means different things to different people. Its definition stretches only as far as what patients need it to be. The reality is that avoiding further drug use in everyday life is only the beginning. For so many, it not all addicts, relapse is tied to the everyday difficulties they experience in trying to transition into their families, careers and communities. For some patients, rehab means learning how to reconnect with their families so they have a solid support system, once they complete their program.
Other patients may require longer-term drug rehab to sort out the lifestyle fallout they have sustained through prolonged and untreated substance abuse. Many wind up losing their entire savings in service of their habit and they need help getting back on their feet. Some recovering addicts may even need extended medical care and to relearn basic life skills as they endeavor to live independently. This may require prolonged occupational therapy and other modalities to help them develop relapse-prevention methods. In essence, drug rehab is whatever one needs to live independently from drug addiction.
One thing that all drug rehab programs must do, however, is address the root causes of drug addiction. This will help treatment professionals and future therapists use context and behavioral history to help develop anti-relapse strategies, going forward. There’s a reason why it’s recommended that treatment facilities offer customized treatment for each patient: drug rehab means different things for everyone. While the ultimate goal is the same, the means of achieving it vary greatly from case to case. Forcing patients into a program in which they’re uncomfortable will almost certainly result in relapse, and possible discourage from further treatment altogether.