For someone who is not familiar with drug addiction or alcohol abuse, the terms Detox and Rehab can be difficult to understand and with good reason. In the field of substance abuse, there is a misuse of these terms and the application is also incorrect in many instances. Detox is short for detoxification the action of removing toxins from a person or thing. Rehab is short for Rehabilitation which is the action of bringing a person back to a former ability or healthy condition.
Anyone addicted to some illicit drug or any other mind-altering substance will, over time, have physically accumulated too much, and the toxic level will be such that the physical dependency now requires attention. This is usually where we hear the phrase “I’m going to detox”. What the person is actually saying is that they are taking themselves out of the daily life activities of intoxicating their body and mind and stopping taking the particular substance.
Most detox centers will have a seven to a ten-day program where the person is assisted sometimes with other prescription drugs or medication to aid in their period of withdrawal. These programs however do not actually do a detoxification process, as stated above “remove toxins from”.
In the field of substance abuse detox has come to mean “stop adding toxins to” or “coming off of drugs”. When this Detox is achieved, meaning an overall 7 to 10 days of not taking their drug of choice the person is considered to be detoxed.
Much of this belief is based on the fact that after this time there is no more physical or mental effect on the person. But this is only true of the last doses of the drug taken. It is not a complete conclusion on the accumulated effects.
In our system today the next step or the next thought after Detox is that the person is ready for addiction rehabilitation hence the saying “he is going to rehab”. This action in most provinces across Canada can only be done once the ‘detox’ step has been successfully completed.
Entering Rehab simply means the person is going to learn about how drugs or alcohol have affected them and why this was used as a substitute for another means to dealing with their condition. Unfortunately, there are many addiction treatment centers that are under the firm belief that drugs or alcohol addiction is a disease with no cure. Maintenance and coping mechanisms are the sole solutions, according to some professionals.
Any good drug rehab will take into account that the substance abuser was not a drug addict from birth but due to lack of a better solution to some life problem alcohol or drugs tended to make the problem vanish. Who thinks of their marital problems or work conditions after a few good shots of whiskey? Or a few lines of cocaine?
Drug and alcohol rehab programs are intended to aid the person to uncover the reason for starting to use mind-altering substances and once that is located, give the person tools and means to handle the real underlying issues. With sound advice and guidance and some knowledge and know-how on various life problems, the person can regain their former abilities to live a normal enjoyable lifestyle, drug-free and productive.
Any person who is dependent; meaning that he or she NEEDS a line of cocaine, a pipe of crack, a joint of weed or a glass of wine or some pills to face going to work, deal with the kids or simply be accepted in some social gathering; can be traced back to some hidden unwanted personal condition the person didn’t know how to deal with. Drugs and alcohol only mask from awareness the condition, drug rehab counsellors guide the person to uncover this and aid to dig and find the underlying causes and supply lasting solutions.