Home Health What Is the Difference Between Drug Detox and Drug Rehabilitation?

What Is the Difference Between Drug Detox and Drug Rehabilitation?


If you’re in the early stages of your recovery journey, you might be considering between drug detox and drug rehabilitation. They definitely sound similar, but there are key differences between them, and there’s a good chance you may need both at different times.

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In this post, we’re going to cover the differences between drug detox and drug rehabilitation.

What is Drug Detox?

When your body gets accustomed to a drug, you may develop a physical addiction. And if you’re physically addicted and don’t get your drug of choice, you’re going to experience physical withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms can vary based on a variety of factors, but generally speaking, the longer you are physically addicted, the worse it will be.

This is why many people who are addicted to drugs choose a detox program to help get them safely through the first part of recovery. Physical detox symptoms can range from mild to life-threatening, and it’s always safer to detox under the supervision of a professional team.

You’ll almost always find inpatient drug rehab programs instead of outpatient programs because the patient may need round-the-clock care.

What is Drug Rehabilitation?

Drug rehabilitation is actually quite a different thing than detox. A person cannot enter drug rehabilitation without first going through detox. You don’t necessarily need to go through an inpatient detox, but the detox period has to be in your rearview mirror before you can be accepted to any drug rehabilitation program.

In a drug rehab treatment program, patients focus on the changes they need to make in their lives to reprogram maladaptive behaviors like using drugs and/or alcohol.

In a rehabilitation program, patients learn healthy coping mechanisms, how to control impulses, and how to regulate their emotions. These skills are all aimed at helping a person reenter society and continue abstaining from drugs and alcohol.

There are many different types of drug rehabilitation programs. You can find facilities that cater to a specific gender, socioeconomic group, or religion. Or, you can find a more general-purpose, non-secular facility where you can recover alongside a more diverse peer group.

Detox vs. Rehabilitation Program

Because detox is such an essential part of recovery, many rehabilitation programs offer detox as part of the overall program. But regardless of whether you detox in rehab or elsewhere, this is an integral part of recovery that needs to be addressed. And, in many cases, you’re going to need some level of medical supervision while you’re detoxing from drugs and alcohol.

So, it’s never a choice between detox and rehabilitation. Both are essential parts of the recovery process, and detox must come first.

But once you have successfully detoxed from drugs, your journey isn’t over. There are secondary withdrawal symptoms like insomnia, depression, and anxiety that can last for months. These will be addressed in counseling and group sessions in any rehabilitation program.

In rehab, you’ll also learn how to cope with triggers that may have otherwise led you on a path towards drugs and alcohol.

Even after a successful detox and rehabilitation program, you will need support to remain drug-free. Many people find a local group and/or outpatient programs helpful during this time.

Peer support and sober connections are an instrumental part of recovery in the post-detox and rehabilitation phase.

If you’re struggling with drug addiction, understand that there’s help available for you. Don’t put off treatment because you think you can’t afford it. Call the National Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) hotline at 800-662-HELP (4357). Someone is always available to discuss options for treatment, starting with a detox program, and working your way through to drug rehabilitation. It may be a journey, but you are worth it.