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Alcohol and Drug Addiction Rehabilitation Process

Four Phases of Addiction Treatment

Though individual experiences may vary, in general, people who complete an addiction rehab program can expect to progress through at least four distinct phases of the treatment process — intake, detox, rehabilitation, and aftercare/ongoing recovery. Intake consists of a comprehensive evaluation, which is then used to create an individualized treatment plan for recovery. Detox manages unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.

What does Rehabilitation Programs Involve?

Rehab involves extensive therapy, which aims to rectify drug-seeking behaviors, instill better coping mechanisms, and teach important relapse prevention skills. As part of ongoing recovery, various outlets of aftercare provide individuals with long-term support and continued relapse prevention opportunities.

Understanding the Addiction Rehab Process

The journey from a substance use disorder (SUD) to a healthy, sober life is not a quick and easy one. For many, it takes a lifelong commitment of dedication and hard work. The road toward sobriety may be difficult, but professional treatment helps many people start that endeavor.

Rehab programs can cause confusion and anxiety. Need help understanding what’s involved in rehab? Our admissions navigators are here to walk you through the process and answer all your questions.


Phase 1: Intake – Creating a Customized Care Plan

If you have a co-occurring disorder or a dual diagnosis, you will discuss additional treatment options to ensure that you receive the necessary support and care.


Phase 2: Detox – Safely Removing Addictive Substances from Your Body

The withdrawal syndromes associated with certain types of physical substance dependence can be markedly unpleasant and/or dangerous. People at risk of developing these dicey withdrawal syndromes benefit from the added supervision, monitoring and, potentially, the pharmacologic interventions availed by medical detox settings. 1,2,3

Detox will be under supervision while at a rehabilitation center and in many instances, medication will be given to ease the withdrawal symptoms associated with certain drugs, including heroin and prescription opioid drugs.1,2,3


Phase 3: Rehab – Building the Foundation of Long-Term Treatment Efforts

3rd phrase of the recovery process

With the successful completion of detox, the next phase of recovery is rehabilitation. This phase allows for intensive therapy where you can examine the underlying issues that lead you to your substance use disorder.

When it comes to selecting a treatment setting, it is important to familiarize yourself with the available options.

Inpatient, Outpatient & Partial Hospitalization

Inpatient treatment programs strive to remove those struggling with SUDs from their old ways of life by taking them out of a potentially problematic home environment and placing them into a treatment facility that offers 24/7 care from staff personnel.1

If you have significant work or familial obligations—such as caring for children or elderly parents—outpatient care allows you to maintain some of those responsibilities.1 Outpatient care is a good option for those with more mild or short-lived addictions but may be a less optimal choice for those with serious, long-term addictions or for those with dual diagnosis conditions.

A partial hospitalization program (PHP) is a hospital-based form of outpatient drug rehabilitation. While a PHP can take place in the same setting as an inpatient treatment program, the levels of care are distinct.7  PHPs provide care to patients who have mild to moderate withdrawal symptoms that likely won’t be extreme or potentially fatal and do not require medical supervision around the clock.7  Different PHPs may be tailored to meet the needs of adolescents or adults.


Phase 4: Recovery and Aftercare – Continuing Healing for Long-Term Recovery

aftercare treatment program to maintain sobriety for a long period

Regular therapy sessions post-rehab, both individual and group therapy, can help patients stay accountable to their sobriety on their path toward recovery.

Even after patients have completed their initial rehabilitation program, they are not finished with recovery work—in fact, recovery is a lifelong process. Prior to completion of an addiction treatment program, the patient will meet with counselors to discuss a plan for aftercare.

Building a solid plan of aftercare is important, but the individual components of aftercare may differ from one person to the next.


Recovery is a lifelong process. Are you ready to start on your path toward sobriety? Call our help line at for assistance. Learn more about who answers and what to expect.


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