the stages of drug rehab

What Are The Stages of Rehab

Are you considering going to rehab, but are feeling a bit anxious about the prospect? Sometimes just having some basic knowledge about what to expect in rehab can help reduce much of that stress. To learn about the four stages of drug rehab, read on.

10 Signs You Need to Consider Rehab

Of course, the first order of business is determining whether your drug use is problematic enough to enroll in a rehab. Most people who misuse substances are in denial about what the drugs or alcohol are doing to their brain and their health. 

This handy list of ten signs of substance use disorder can help you decide if rehab should be on the radar in your case:

  1. Increasing tolerance to the substance has resulted in higher consumption.
  2. Neglecting responsibilities and obligations because drug use takes priority.
  3. Changes in your appearance, such as weight loss, pinpoint pupils, or skin sores. 
  4. Engaging in doctor shopping to obtain more refills.
  5. Withdrawing from friends and family and avoiding social events.
  6. Obsessing about the drug, obtaining it, keeping enough on hand, hiding the substance, and looking forward to getting high.
  7. A decline in your work or academic performance.
  8. Continuing to use drugs despite mounting negative consequences.
  9. Financial and legal problems caused by the drug abuse.
  10. Withdrawal symptoms emerge when coming off the drug.

What are the 4 Stages of Drug Rehab?

It helps to think of rehab as the only way to reshape your response to triggers or cravings and thus keep you off drugs. Rehabilitation is a process involving four stages, each of them helping you to achieve sustained abstinence.

The recovery process is a continuum that begins when you decide to get clean and sober. Once you embrace the goal of living a drug-free life you will begin the journey along the recovery continuum. 

Here are the 4 stages of drug rehab:

1. Assessment

When you enter rehab you will meet with a clinical team member to undergo the intake and assessment process. This involves an interview where you will be asked about your substance abuse and how it has impacted your life. The clinician will review your mental health and medical history, and inquire about prior attempts at detox and rehab.

Assessments are usually included in this process, which assist the clinician in fine-tuning your diagnosis. From this data, a tailored treatment plan will be created for you.

2. Detox and withdrawal

Now that you are abstaining from the substance your system will begin to detox any remaining toxins from the body. The absence of the drug causes the body to become unstable as it attempts to regain stability.

This detox process causes withdrawal symptoms to emerge, which will vary in intensity depending on the specific drug and addiction severity. On average detox takes about one to two weeks to complete.

3. Rehabilitation

After detox has been completed, you will begin the treatment stage of rehab. This is a necessary part of the recovery process because it helps you change the ingrained addict behaviors. To accomplish this, you will participate in a medley of therapies and activities that work in tandem to guide you toward positive changes, such as:

  • Individual therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Education
  • Life skills training
  • 12-step theory
  • Holistic therapies
  • Nutrition and Fitness

4. Aftercare

Once the treatment program is complete, it is time to put all that you have learned into action. The central purpose of this aftercare stage is to avoid a relapse. To strengthen your recovery, you will need to consider engaging in various aftercare activities, such as:

  • Outpatient therapy
  • Sober living
  • Joining a local recovery community, like A.A. or SMART Recovery
  • Getting a sponsor
  • Building new sober friendships
  • Establishing healthy lifestyle habits.

How to Avoid Relapse

Relapse is extremely common during the first year after rehab. That is the vulnerable period in early recovery when the coping skills learned in rehab haven’t become second nature yet. 

Cravings may persist, your family may not be supportive, or a major life setback may cause mental health issues. Getting sober is one thing, but staying sober is quite another.

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Here are some tips for avoiding a relapse:

Post your recovery goals

Place a list of your recovery goals in a place where you can see them. This acts as a reminder of why you decided to get clean and sober. Include things like improving your marriage, career goals, spiritual growth, and health and fitness goals.

Know your triggers

Create a detailed list of your known triggers, and then make it a daily goal to avoid them at all costs.


Prioritize health and fitness, improve sleep quality, comply with prescription medication dosing, and keep stress under control through meditation and yoga.

Practice coping skills

Begin practicing the coping skills learned in rehab. These include conflict resolution, better communication skills, self-affirming thought patterns, and deep breathing techniques. 

Take action

If you recognize the signs of an impending relapse, take immediate action. Here are some of the actions to take:

  • Call your sponsor
  • Get to a 12-step meeting
  • See your therapist
  • Distract yourself with a run or hike, a workout at the gym, lunch with friends, or going to see a movie
  • Use mindfulness techniques, acknowledging the thoughts that are distracting you from your recovery
  • Avoid events where liquor or drugs will be present.
  • Avoid old friends who would actively use drugs or alcohol in your presence
  • Consider sober living housing or hiring a sober companion if your home environment is not supportive

Now that you are prepared mentally for the stages of drug rehab, it’s time to take the next step. Do not delay in getting the support and guidance you need to change your life.

Annandale Behavioral Health

California Drug and Alcohol Rehab Services

Annandale Behavioral Health is a residential addiction treatment center that combines holistic treatment elements with evidence-based therapies. To learn more about our rehab program, please reach out to us today at (855) 778-8668