What is a Rehab and how does it work ?

How a rehab works

From the outside, a rehab might look very much like a smart hotel or country club, or a five-star resort.

A rehab/treatment center is quite likely to be situated in a very pleasant location, such as in Florida. This is obviously intentional, as a rehab/treatment center is a business and needs to attract customers.

In this case customers are patients suffering from alcoholism/alcohol abuse who go into a rehab/treatment center as a way of getting sober and learning how to stay sober.

A rehab/treatment center will be a very tightly controlled environment in terms of its internal structure and timetable.

This is in part to allow a wide range of therapeutic techniques and activities to happen, it is also to give some sense of order to the life of an active alcoholic whose life seemed to him or her to be very much out of control.

Having said that few regulations and timetable can seem quite oppressive, and it is important to understand the thinking behind how a rehab/treatment center actually works.

The structure of a rehab/treatment center falls into two main areas.

One is the admissions procedure which is quite a detailed narrative, and the other is the structured timetable and rules and regulations for the period of time the patient resides there.

A rehab/treatment center will have quite a detailed list of what the person should bring and what they should leave at home. The clothing list that a rehab/treatment center for a person to bring is normally fairly extensive.

The person will be requested to leave at home any clothing that shows alcohol, drugs, sex or violence etc. In addition the clothing the person requires will be detailed on the rehab’s website .

In general a rehab/treatment center is trying to put people off bringing or wearing clothes could in some sense to be deemed inappropriate.

Clients will be required to bring with them an appropriate insurance card if they have one, a prepaid telephone calling card, their own stack of cigarettes if they smoke, any particular books they might want to read.

Reading material will normally be expected to be related to recovery issues and is likely to be vetted by someone at the rehab to see if it is appropriate or not.

There will be a long list of things that people are not allowed to bring into rehab, some of them fairly obvious, others not so. In general people will be asked not to bring into a rehab/treatment center any medication that is non-prescription.

They will be requested however to bring with them any prescription based medication that they are on. In addition most rehabs/treatment centers ban all forms of cellphone/laptops/computers/iPads/tablets etc.

The use of phones and computers and television is highly monitored in a rehab/treatments center. Note that it is a selling point of some so-called luxury rehabs that they allow these things and actively encourage some type of business environment for people when in treatment.

The effectiveness of this approach is debatable. No products containing alcohol will be allowed such as mouthwash, aftershave etc.No item that might be deemed sharp or dangerous such as razorblades, knitting needles etc will be allowed.

The type of food that people can bring is normally heavily restricted and will exclude a lot of items that are essentially sugar-based.

A rehab/treatment center will normally allow smoking and people to drink caffeine, but at the same time will be critical of it, indirectly, in order to discourage it.

This can often put added pressure on people trying to deal with one particular problem.

The thinking behind it by a rehab/treatment center is often that people are so called addictive personalities and try and break any form of addiction to any mood altering substance or chemical.

A rehab/treatment center will have a very strict timetable for inpatients following admission and any potential detox that might be needed.

The timetable will specify limited periods of time during the day, from the moment a person gets up to the moment they go to bed, that has taught activities and group or individual work that is expected to be undertaken during those times.

The thinking behind this is simply to give a sense of order and structure that can aid recovery.

In addition a rehab/treatment center will encourage so-called good behaviour during the persons stay there and potentially give them a sort of bonus structure by way of allowing them to privileges such as watching television, using a cell phone for a certain length of time, or using a laptop or computer.

Whilst this may encourage certain people, the whole sense of being in such a tightly controlled environment may also adversely affect some peoples sense of their recovery.