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What’s the Difference Between Drug Detox and Addiction Rehab Treatment?

Engaging in drug abuse practices on a regular basis can quickly snowball into a way of life, commonly known as addiction. During the course of abusing drugs, the brain and body undergo changes that only work to promote continued drug use. By the time addiction becomes an issue, a person requires more than one form of addiction rehab treatment in order to regain control of his or her life.

For these reasons, addiction recovery often entails a lengthy process made up of stages of treatment. While drug detox treatment remains an essential first step towards drug-free living, the addiction rehab process doesn’t actually begin until the detox stage ends. Understanding the difference between drug detox and addiction rehab treatment can better equip you to make the most of your recovery process.

The Purpose of Drug Detox Treatment

Whether abusing opiates, sedatives or stimulants, addictive drugs have a chemical makeup that can alter the brain’s normal chemical activities. When ingested, these substances force one or more groups of brain cells to secrete excess amounts of neurotransmitter chemicals. In the process, chemical imbalances start to take over the brain’s environment.

Detox and Addiction Rehab

Detox is often the first step in the recovery process, helping to ease withdrawal symptoms and remove physical dependency.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, these interactions set the stage for physical dependence to develop as the brain becomes increasingly dependent on drug effects to produce needed neurotransmitter chemical supplies. In most cases of addiction, physical dependence marks the first stage of the addiction cycle.

The first stage of the recovery process entails breaking the brain’s physical dependence on a drug’s effects. Drug detox treatment specifically addresses this aspect of the addiction cycle. As stopping drug often poses the greatest barrier to overcoming an addiction problem, drug detox programs provide a person with the physical and emotional supports needed to make it through this initial stage.

The Purpose of Addiction Rehab Treatment

While physical dependence does play a pivotal role in creating an addiction problem, addiction per se has to do with the psychological damage long-term drug abuse causes. With frequent, continuous drug abuse, brain chemical imbalances become progressively worse, eventually impairing major areas of the brain. Addiction develops once the brain’s reward system starts to malfunction.

The brain reward system regulates learning and memory processes based on the experiences a person has from day to day. It uses daily experiences to determine what activities best serve a person’s best interests in terms of survival and thriving in daily life. Ultimately, the information gathered by this system determines a person’s overall belief systems, motivations and priorities from day-to-day.

In effect, the brain reward system determines a person’s psychological makeup, which dictates his or her choices and behaviors. Once addiction takes hold, this system has come to view the drug “high” and anything having to do with drug use as top priorities in a person’s daily life. These developments account for the compulsive, drug-using behaviors that characterize addiction.

Addiction rehab treatment deals specifically with the psychological effects of addiction in a person’s life, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. This entails helping addicts see the addiction problem for what is and helping them replace addiction-based thinking and behavior with the types of habits and behaviors that promote drug-free living.

So, if you’re considering getting help for an addiction problem, it’s essential to continue on in treatment after completing drug detox or else you’ll likely end up relapsing soon thereafter. If you or someone you know is considering getting addiction treatment help, please feel free to call our toll-free helpline at 800-481-6320Who Answers? to speak with one of our addictions specialists.

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