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Different types of rehab

‘Rehab’ is not a standard term that means one singular thing, rather a descriptor for a variety of options and range of offers.

There are many different types of rehab for all kinds of addictions and addictive behaviour.

Rehab is something that can be carried out residentially or in the community and is distinct from detox. Put simply, detox is about dealing with the physical withdrawal from a substance, whilst rehab is about developing the tools to become free of the negative consequences of addiction. Depending on your circumstances, detox, with or without associated medication, may be advised or necessary as part of or prior to rehab.

Rehab is available through the NHS for those who qualify. Your GP is a sensible first point of contact. 

Other people prefer to choose private rehab, which allows more personal discretion in terms of the type of setting and environment, the methods of treatment provided and immediate access.

Residential or community rehab

In our experience at Port of Call, for many people, particularly those with entrenched addiction issues, a period of residential rehab is the most effective way to begin recovery.

For some people, a residential placement may be impossible due to their personal circumstances in relation to caring responsibilities, work or something else. 

There are rehab services available in the community including those provided through the NHS, private clinicians, such as counsellors, as well as charities and not-for-profits. Some of these options are also useful, vital even, to maintain recovery after residential rehab.

Types of rehab environment

There is a lot of variation in the environments and feel of specific rehab centres. Some have more of an institutional, clinical quality. Others try to give more of a sense of a hotel or homely environment.

It’s sensible to get advice on the centre best suited to you and your requirements. You may even like to visit before committing to a specific centre.

It is not necessarily the case that the rehab closest to where you live is the best one for you.

Different types of rehab treatments 

Both residential and community-based rehab providers will differ in the approach they take and specific methods offered.

Many rehabs have a focus on talking therapies such as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and psychotherapy.

CBT is intended to challenge thought processes and allow the development of alternative ways of thinking and behaving by breaking specific issues down into small parts. 

Psychotherapy is also designed to help you discover the root causes of problems through talking either one-to-one or in a group. 

Some therapies will help you focus more on practical solutions to allow you to move forward and behave in different ways. Others will dwell more on why you have come to behave the way you have, in order to help you better understand yourself and choose differently in the future.

In addition to talking therapies, rehab centres may offer and encourage other types of holistic support, such as mindfulness, yoga, exercise or pet therapy.

Some community-based rehab options 

SMART Recovery programme

SMART Recovery (Self-management and Recovery Training) is a nationwide, not-for-profit organisation providing support groups and online assistance for people struggling with all types of addiction. 

It is not linked to religion or spirituality in its foundations or delivery. It is a system that aims to teach how to enhance and maintain abstinence, cope with cravings and impulses, manage thoughts, feelings and behaviours and distinguish and choose between short term and long term gratification.

Language like ‘addict’ and ‘alcoholic’ are not used to underline the school of thought that people are not their behaviours and do have personal choice.

Alcoholics Anonymous

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a fellowship based network of groups where members meet and support one another to achieve and maintain sobriety.

AA has a ‘12 steps’ programme of recovery, based on those written in 1946 by the founders of the organisation. 

The 12 steps are:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Members do not have to accept and follow all 12 steps. 

There is an underlying belief in AA that alcoholism is an illness that cannot be cured but can be halted through abstinence.

Many residential rehab centres incorporate the ethos of the 12 steps approach.  

Narcotics Anonymous

Narcotics Anonymous (NA) is a not-for-profit society of men and women who meet to help each other stay clean of drugs.

NA is not affiliated to any other organisation or any religious, political or law enforcement groups. It follows the same 12 steps as AA and, in a similar way, there are self-organised groups that meet across the UK.

Like Alcoholics Anonymous, there is much emphasis put on the belief that part of its success and therapeutic value is in the power of addicts working with each other to achieve recovery.

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