Recovering from drug and alcohol addiction on your own without medical care can be difficult, painful, and deadly due to possible complications surrounding withdrawal. Drug rehab centers use treatments and services designed to help you safely overcome addiction both physically and psychologically. But do drug and alcohol detox treatments really work, and can rehab truly help you overcome addiction for good?

Here’s a closer look at how addiction recovery really works, and whether it can benefit you or your loved one to go to drug rehab.

What Happens at Drug and Alcohol Rehab?

Substance use disorders can be effectively treated as a whole using detox and behavioral therapy. Detox helps you overcome physical dependence on drugs and alcohol, while behavioral therapies treat the psychological aspects contributing to the addiction. For instance, cognitive behavioral therapy is often used to help patients identify and change negative thoughts and behaviors that may be driving their substance use disorders.

Drug rehab can take place in either an inpatient or outpatient environment, though inpatient rehab programs that last a minimum of 90 days are shown to have greater effectiveness than shorter programs. Inpatient rehab centers allow you to live at the facility during treatment, while outpatient rehab centers allow you to live at home while attending daily or weekly therapy sessions.

How Does Drug Detox Work?

Quitting drugs and alcohol abruptly can cause severe withdrawal symptoms that may be deadly for some. Heavy drinkers who suffer from alcohol use disorder face the risk of a severe form of withdrawal called delirium tremens, which can cause seizures, hallucinations, and even death. But many of today’s drug and alcohol detox treatments involve the use of medications that can treat specific symptoms or eliminate symptoms completely.

Drug detox may be safest when performed as a medical detox at an inpatient rehab center where patients can withdraw from substances while receiving 24/7 medical care and supervision. However, some detox treatments can be performed on an outpatient basis, such as medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for heroin and opioid use disorders. MAT for opioid addiction requires patients to visit the outpatient rehab center daily to receive their dose of methadone, which reduces drug cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

Relapse Rates for Substance Use Disorders

A relapse, or return to drug use after trying to stop, is a normal, common part of trying to overcome addiction. Relapse rates for substance use disorders are slightly lower than those for other chronic medical conditions, such as asthma and high blood pressure. For instance, the relapse rate for asthma is between 50 and 70%, while the relapse rate for substance use disorders is between 40 and 60%.

Some people think that relapsing back to drug and alcohol use means that drug rehab has failed. However, relapsing only means you must continue working with your doctor to find other addiction treatments that are better for you. In some cases, this involves going back to drug or alcohol rehab to achieve sobriety and prolonging recovery the next time around.

Who Can Benefit from Drug Rehab?

Drug rehab can benefit anyone who needs help recovering from substance use disorders and addiction, no matter how mild or severe the condition. Treatments at drug rehab can be tailored and customized for each patient based on factors such as the severity of the addiction, the lifespan of the addiction, and the drug being used. Family therapy is available for those who want to repair family relationships that have been broken due to addiction, while group therapy is available for those who need help boosting their confidence and self-esteem after suffering from drug abuse.

Evidence suggests that people who go to drug rehab can stop using drugs, decrease their criminal activity, and improve functioning in their careers, social lives, and psychological health. If you need help recovering from addiction, drug rehab may help you improve your health and overall well-being.