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The Difference Between Traditional And Non-traditional Drug Rehab



When a drug addict decides to make a change in their life, or when a family decides to intervene the first thing they must do is decide on a drug rehab program. Most people go through a traditional drug rehab program. These programs consist of both short-term and long-term programs, depending on how severe the addiction is. While these programs work for many people, others have found that more non-tradition programs are more effective.

What is a Traditional Rehab Program?

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services states that traditional drug rehab treatment is “designed to break down a client’s denial, defenses and/or resistance to his or her addictive disorders, as they are perceived by the provider”. There are two types of traditional treatment, short-term and long-term.

Short-term treatment is based on the twelve-step program, originally developed by Alcoholics Anonymous. It includes steps such as admitting one cannot control his or her addiction, examining past errors, making amends for those errors, etc. This intense program is designed to have an effect in a brief time frame and has been found to be effective for all types of addicts.

In long-term treatment, the client is monitored 24/7 usually at a location designated for rehab. It is common for clients to stay in this treatment for eight to sixteen months with staff who are trained to pressure addicts to stay sober.

What is a Non-traditional Rehab Program?

Some people find that traditional methods just don’t work, and therefore look elsewhere for help. In fact, traditional programs have an approximately 30% success rate. Non-traditional programs vary but generally try to take a more holistic approach. In some cases, they are much more successful than the traditional approach.

One program for example focuses first on flushing out the toxic chemicals that get stuck in the fatty tissues of the body. The client begins their recovery by sitting in a low-heat sauna, sticking to a very specific diet of nutritional supplements, and engaging in moderate exercise. These help release toxins, which can trigger cravings down the road. Many people have found that programs like this completely eliminate their cravings.

Other non-traditional programs bypass the physical aspects of recovery and attempt to cut to the emotional core of the client. These programs believe that rehab requires a fundamental shift in the client’s view of the world and themselves. They may attempt to address issues such as does the patient continues to suffer from childhood wounds, have they experienced physical, psychological, are sexual abuse, do they have unresolved grief from the death of a loved one, are parents or other family members addicts, are there other family issues such as parental divorce?

The answers to these questions often give professionals help in understanding potential roadblocks to recovery. The emotions that these issues can lead to such as anger, depression, anxiety, guilt, or numbness are significant factors in recovery.

The decision to participate in a drug rehabilitation program is an important one. Whether you choose a traditional or non-traditional program it is important to look for a program that fits your needs. It is always smart to weigh your options before making a decision.