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What does rehab entail?

March 9, 2018

While the exact nature of a rehab programme will vary from individual to individual, most are made up of a combination of three key elements: detoxification, substance abuse therapy, and aftercare planning. Let’s take a look at each element in more detail.


Detox tends to be the initial step of any rehab programme, with the aim being to remove all toxic substances (i.e. drugs or alcohol) from the body. Detox should be medically supervised in order that participants can be made to feel as comfortable as possible throughout the process, and to manage risks associated with withdrawing from substances.

Sometimes withdrawal symptoms can be severe and even dangerous, but the level of discomfort each individual experiences depends on the type of substances they take, the frequency of use, and the doses usually taken. Each individual’s detox process is different.

Substance abuse therapy

After detoxing from a substance, participants can then focus on the behaviours and emotions surrounding their addiction in order to learn how to prevent future relapse. Therapy tends to occur in both group and individual sessions, and focuses on helping individuals to identify the cause of their addiction and address it.

In time, therapy will then turn towards education in relapse prevention. At this stage, participants will learn how to identify their triggers and the situations in which they would be at a high risk of relapse. Then, they will develop skills to prevent relapse and remain sober, in spite of risky situations or triggers.


Once the addiction rehab programme reaches its close, participants will work to develop an aftercare plan. This will be a strategy that is very personal to them to help them remain sober long after leaving the rehabilitation centre. Ongoing therapy and support groups commonly feature in aftercare plans, and in some instances individuals may be provided with sober living arrangements if it is deemed appropriate.


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