Rehab focuses on the earliest stages of recovery from addiction, in which people tend to have the strongest substance cravings and the temptation to relapse is particularly strong. It can allow patients to detox and withdraw from a substance safely and with minimal distractions or triggers, and then provides them with the skills they will need to recover from addiction in the long term.
Drug recovery is a far longer process, and it continues long after a patient leaves a rehab centre. It may involve ongoing individual or group therapies and support meetings. Some may also take part in additional hobbies or activities to support recovery, such as exercise, meditation, or art or other creative pursuits.
This long term recovery process is usually started within the rehab process, when patients establish an aftercare programme ready for when they leave the treatment facility. Research has found that these types of aftercare programmes make relapse less likely.