Addiction Rehabilitation Process – Steps to Recovery

The steps required to overcome addiction will vary according to the nature of the addiction and the needs of the individual concerned. If you would like more information on entering a treatment programme or want to know what steps will be required to overcome a specific addition, request a callback or use our contact form for free and independent advice without obligation.


Step 1 – Admission

Once you have made arrangements to enter a rehabilitation programmes, whether residential inpatient or outpatient, the admission process will be fairly universal. On arrival at a treatment centre, a member of the clinics admission team will meet you and take care of all the formalities.

The team will help you settle in and explain all you need to know about the programme structure and any rules that may need to be followed. They will then ask you some questions to develop an individualised treatment plan that addresses your specific needs.

arriving for treatment at a drug rehab centre

A doctor will usually perform a physical assessment and establish the extent to which medical supervision or pharmacological support may be required.

It will be necessary to provide details of any medications that are currently being used and the degree to which they are required. In addition, the doctor will try to ascertain the extent of substance misuse (including alcohol) and determine whether a detox is required.

All questions asked at this stage should be answered honestly in order to receive the highest level of care.

Physical assessments will continue throughout the duration of treatment in order to monitor progress. A more tailored admission process may be required in the case of dual diagnosis, eating disorders, or where serious mental health issues exist. Don’t forget that your Addiction Friend adviser is still available to help you at this stage if you have any question or concerns.


Step 2 – Detox

Detox Addresses the Physical Aspect of Addiction

Addicts can develop a physical dependency to drugs and alcohol following extended use. Suddenly ceasing to use a substance can cause withdrawal symptoms that range from mild to severe depending on the type of substance and the extent to which it has been abused.

A detoxification cleanses the body of the chemicals and residues accumulated from sustained substance misuse. The method and time frame for a detox depends on the type of substance involved, the extent of abuse and the level of dependence experienced by the individual requiring care.

A detox will often involve the use of medication, although it is possible to go without under certain circumstances. The process of detoxification must be carefully managed due to the potential health risks associated with the sudden withdrawal from a substance.

In the case of alcohol and benzodiazepines, a more gradual detox is necessary to allow the body to adjust to its new state.

Drugs like marijuana and cocaine may not require any medications during a detox. Alcohol, heroin and other opiates usually will require them, the extent to which will depend on the severity and duration of the addiction.

Medicated detox during addiction treatment
Detox under medical supervision

A detox in a safe and medically managed environment can be a necessary part of treatment for substance dependence. It is also possible to perform a detox at the rehab centre itself when there are resources in place to deal with the medical needs of its patients.

Many residential rehab centres will have facilities and qualified medical professionals in-house for a detox to take place on site.

This means you do not necessarily need to be clean of substances before entering a treatment programme.

It is important not to attempt to detox on your own without medical supervision as it is essentially a medical emergency that carries the potential for serious injuries and even death.

If a detox is necessary, it is advisable to carry out this stage of treatment at a suitably equipped rehab centre as part of an extended programme.

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Step 3 – Rehab

Inpatient and Outpatient Rehab

Rehabilitation is the process of treating the psychological side of addiction by addressing the reasons behind the addictive behaviour. By identifying and confronting the issues that have led to the addiction, an addict can then move forward to recovery.

Treatment will include developing strategies to escape from an addictive cycle and teaching skills that allow you to identify triggers that might cause a relapse after completion of the programme.

Rehab is a safe and supportive place where you can make real progress with a treatment plan. By sharing your experience with others in a similar position, you can maximise your chances of recovery.

A reputable rehab facility will have a high staff-to-patient ratio with specialists in multiple disciplines. A treatment plan will encompass all teams within the rehab environment working together to address the individual needs of a patient.


Treatment in rehab will:

  • Address the underlying issues of the addiction
  • Challenge negative thoughts and behaviours
  • Enhance confidence and self-esteem
  • Teach coping mechanisms for stress and trauma
  • Develop skills for building healthy relationships
  • Provide skills for self improvement


Is Rehab the Best Option?

If you are serious about recovery and your addiction requires it, rehab is likely to be your best option. Long term care in a residential rehab facility has been proven to be a highly effective way of recovering from addiction. By removing yourself from your current environment you can focus 100% on recovery.


Step 4 – Aftercare and Recovery

Aftercare Helps to Minimise the Risk of Relapse

Completing a rehabilitation programme is a major achievement, but it does not necessarily mean you have finished the recovery process.

Recovery is a lifelong commitment that must be maintained through aftercare planning and participation. It plays an important role in relapse prevention and reinforces what was learned during time in treatment.

aftercare helps to minimise the risk of relapse
The duration of aftercare activities depends on the individual’s ability to maintain a life free from addiction.

As well as providing support, it should also teach the necessary skill sets that help during the transitional period from leaving a treatment facility to returning to a normal life.

Aftercare is not compulsory but it is highly recommended, especially during the first year of recovery; it will help you remain motivated and focused on maintaining long-term abstinence.