A program designed to rehabilitate someone who has become dependent on an illegal substance is not identical to one designed for an alcoholic. Yet the two have many similarities. Though each has been associated with one or two unique features, there are many ways in which drug rehab and alcohol rehab are the same.

The Difference between Drug and Alcohol Rehab

In both cases the treatment has the same basic goal. Both treatment programs aim to establish and maintain the patient’s recovery from dependence on an addictive substance. The recovery process must be a dynamic one, one that begins as soon as the addictive substance has been completely removed from the patient’s body. It focuses on healing and personal growth.

However a comparison of drug rehab and alcohol rehab ought to be examined at the beginning phase of each program. That phase involves removal of the poison to which the patient has become addicted. Every drop of alcohol and every molecule of any drugs must be cleaned from the system of the person who wants to recover from a period of dependency.

Drug and Alcohol Rehab Centers

In both cases the next phase focuses on personal growth. That means emphasizing those acts that can help a person become a functioning member of society. At this point, patients are encouraged to develop interests that extend well beyond a desire for that next drink or that next fix.

As that second phase winds down, it becomes necessary to introduce ways for ensuring maintenance of the patient’s recovery. Patients receive training on how to avoid temptation. Ideally, their willingness to develop a hobby or other interest will allow them to live in the world without resorting to dependence on an addictive chemical or beverage.

Over the years adaptations have been made to the traditional programs. Some were rather minor; others were of a more radical nature. Patients who elect to try such an adaptation are apt to be more aware of the differences between the two rehabilitation programs.

For example, methadone maintenance has been used as a way to treat a drug addict. Those who elect to try that approach can expect to undergo a slightly different detoxification program. Programs that rely on methadone maintenance do not incorporate a total detoxification into their treatment plans.

In the case of those programs designed for the alcoholic, not all of them are exactly like the one offered by Alcoholics Anonymous. Not all of them insist on total abstinence. One method uses a very controversial approach called moderation training.

This unusual approach seeks to deal with the fact that alcohol is more readily available than an illegal substance. It utilizes cognitive-behavioral techniques. While reminding clients that the drinking of an alcoholic beverage always involves some risk, it also asks each client to keep a diary. In that diary he or she is supposed to keep track of his or her drinking patterns.

Mention of the moderation training points out one big way in which drug rehab and alcohol rehab are not the same. A former drug-user must make a point of avoiding contact with other addicts. A recovered alcoholic cannot expect to refrain from meeting up with and associating with some people who enjoy a drink now and then. He or she must learn how to say this: no thank you.


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