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Understanding Short-Term Drug and Alcohol Detox

Patients who have been struggling with drugs and alcohol long enough to need help detoxing often find that the process is more complicated than they realized. It does not help that many of these treatments are also expensive. However, this article provides information on an affordable and effective short-term program that can be done in the best facilities near you.

There are a lot of options out there when it comes to therapy. If you or your loved one is suffering from substance abuse, you might feel overwhelmed with the options available. Short-term and long-term programs can last from 14 days to 90 days. It is always best to ask your therapist if the 14-day rehab is ideal for your case. You may want to consider this as this does not necessarily keep you inside a facility for long.

What does It Mean for a Shorter Rehab?

A short-term drug and alcohol detox can be done at many centers, and these types of detox programs are typically the first step in the lengthy process of addiction treatment. This program will help people overcome the physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms of quitting drugs or alcohol. A short-term drug and alcohol detox might last for a few days to weeks, depending on the patient’s condition.

Ideally, the patient will spend no more than three months while they are in this program. The first steps may consist of two to three weeks of inpatient model, then the individuals will then move to the outpatient therapies. Generally, there are follow-ups and extensions because the process will take time.

What are the Stages Involved?

  1. Initiation of Treatment

When you are reaching help from a professional counselor or therapist, this is when the initiation of the treatment happens. This is the first stage of recovery, where a series of questions are asked. During the first few days, you may even feel ambivalent towards the program, and you are hesitating to give up the lifestyle that you have known since you were a child.

Others may even begin thinking that their cases were not as bad as the others, and they begin to crave going back outside. At the initial phase, denial and ambivalence will be your worst enemies, so be prepared for it. Read more about ambivalence on this page.

At this point, it is going to be up to the patient to decide whether they will continue or actively participate in the programs or not. Abstinence is the goal, and for people to accomplish this, a counselor may be looking at the following:

  • Show the damaging and long-term effects of an addiction
  • Explore denial and other feelings that an individual may have with regards to the problem
  • Motivates the person to continue treatment.
  1. Abstinence


The next step is abstinence, where people often show their commitment never to use drugs or alcohol again. This will significantly affect the outcome depending on the treatment, and some will find this one of the therapy’s toughest stages. Some of the symptoms that may feel include:

  • Physical craving
  • Psychological dependence
  • Continuous withdrawal symptoms
  • Triggers that can tempt a person to have a relapse

The challenges at this stage may include social pressure, personal cravings, and other high-risk situations. It is essential to have a trained medical counselor reach out to the patient and tell them about the coping mechanisms that they need to learn. They would set expectations and ensure that the individual will choose to live a more sober life. Strategies included may be the following:

  • Setting up a tailored program and encouraging everyone
  • Finding alternatives to alcohol or illegal drugs rather than engaging more in them
  • Participating in group sessions, self-help counseling, and obtaining information
  • Getting support from friends, families, and the entire community inside the facility
  • Recognizing and avoiding the triggers that may include people, things, or places
  1. Maintenance

Abstinence can be up to 90 days, and after you have completed this without a hitch, you are moving on to the next stage, which is maintaining your hard work. If this has been a residential treatment, you may go inside a rehab to continue their healing journey. See more about the roles of rehab in treating addiction in this link:

Another focus of the maintenance phase is to prevent relapse from happening. You will know about the triggers, warning signs, and steps that you can take to avoid consuming alcohol and illegal drugs. Some tools will help you learn about early abstinence in other areas of your life, which can be pretty effective. Other coping skills that you may learn during this phase are the following:

  • Create a lifestyle that is free from illegal substances
  • Build healthier relationships
  • Avoid substituting your addiction
  • Manage your anger issues
  • Be more adept when it comes to money management
  • Protect your job and financial freedom
  • Utilize nutrition and exercise for a full recovery
  1. Advanced Recoveries

Generally, about five years into the abstinence phase, a final and fourth stage can be reached, and this is the advanced recovery. At this point, you have learned various skills and coping tools that will pave the way to a more satisfying life. You have learned a lot through counseling and group sessions, your family loves you, and you have a support group that you can count on. Some of the strategies used at this point are:

  • The creation of long-term goals
  • Establishing a consistent routine and schedule
  • Forming relationships with other people who do not consume drugs or drink alcohol
  • Participate in healthier recreational activities that do not involve any substances
  • Find ways to reach a fulfilled and happy life, whether it is in the form of spirituality, religion, etc.

The short-term drug and alcohol detox is the most common type of rehabilitation program out there. It typically lasts a few days or years, depending on the patient’s case. The main goal of this type of program is to help individuals reduce their use of drugs and alcohol and get their life back on track. With this said, call a rehab center today and learn more about what is good for you.