Learn / Why Choose Residential Rehab? 8 Benefits to Consider
When it comes to addiction treatment, there’s no one, universal approach. Psychologists and medical experts today have a better understanding of substance use disorder treatment than ever before. We now know that everyone’s path to recovery is unique and that there are many different ways to heal.
Some people want to keep up with daily responsibilities and have a strong support system at home. For these people, an outpatient program may be the best fit. Others might find their support network lacking, or face everyday stressors that could hinder their recovery efforts. In these cases, attending a residential rehab might be a more effective choice.
Residential rehab, also known as inpatient rehab, isn’t just for people who need distance from their everyday environment. Residential treatment provides you with round-the-clock care, the opportunity to fully focus on achieving your sobriety goals, an empathetic community of people undergoing similar experiences, and other supportive aspects, from on-site detox opportunities to a peer support network.
Residential rehab can be an appropriate option for clients who require specialized treatment, including those who are concerned about substance withdrawal. It can be physically and psychologically uncomfortable or even dangerous to quit certain substances cold-turkey following prolonged use. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), withdrawal symptoms from substances like opioids, alcohol, and stimulants1 can range from anxiety, headaches, and nausea to delirium, hallucinations, and seizures. For this reason, undergoing detox under the supervision of experienced professionals is the safest option.
With this in mind, some inpatient rehabs provide on-site detox services. Completing a safe, medically supervised detox at the same location as your program can result in a smoother transition into treatment.
In contrast, Boston Medical Center’s HealthCity platform reports that the period following detox can “be a dangerous time if it doesn’t lead to continued treatment.”2 This is because the possibility of relapse combined with the risk of unintentional overdose. In a study by the Grayken Center for Addiction at Boston Medical Center, out of 30,681 patients who were admitted to a detox facility, those who didn’t receive any treatment in the month following the detox program had the greatest mortality rates.3 By 12 months after detox, 2% had died. On the other hand, “the greatest mortality reduction, 89%, was seen among the few patients who received both medication and an inpatient residential stay within the month following detox.” These rates show a vital benefit to continuing treatment as soon as possible post-detox.
The length of an average detox program is 3 to 7 days. However, if you’re detoxing from certain substances like benzodiazepines, withdrawal symptoms can persist even after you’ve completed the program. In these cases, it’s valuable—and potentially life-saving—to have access to experienced medical staff on campus. Any continuing withdrawal symptoms can then be addressed and treated alongside therapy to help with deeper issues.
Some residential rehabs that don’t offer on-site detox work closely with detox centers in the area and can help with the transition from detox to addiction treatment.
Whether it’s pressure at work or friction at home, day-to-day life is full of triggers. These triggers can lead to substance use that disrupts your daily schedule. In turn, a lack of structure in your day can produce ripe conditions for engaging in damaging habits. This is where residential rehab programs can offer unique support. When you live on-site at a facility, you’ll be following a fully scheduled treatment program.
A typical schedule at a residential center often includes opportunities for individual therapy, group meetings, and recreational activities. Medical support is also incorporated into the day’s program. Most residential programs also allow participants some downtime to unwind and digest what they’re learning. But regular schedules are strongly featured, though the level of intensiveness may vary from program to program. This routine can serve to close the gaps in time that allow cravings to grow and instead help you fully concentrate on your recovery. Time and attention that you would otherwise spend on household, family, and job responsibilities can go on pause during inpatient treatment. All scheduled activities share the goal of providing opportunities for you to give attention to yourself and your needs. At the end of the day, the most important item on your agenda at residential rehab is to work on changing your life.
Sierra Tuscon offers an example of a well-structured day at rehab.
“The residential treatment structure at Sierra Tucson makes for a busy day. Typically, individuals will wake up somewhere between 6:30 and 7:00. They receive support from nursing and our residential safety coaches in the morning, followed by breakfast and then a lodge meeting. Later in the morning, they’ll go to group lectures, group therapies, complete a two-hour process group and then they’d have a number of individual appointments. When the day starts to close down, they go for dinner and join wind-down group activities, which are meditative or artistic expressions. Finally, they end with a lodge meeting, connecting with peers, and say gratitude for the day. We start the day by setting intentions and end the day with gratitude.”– Dr. Chasleen Chhatwal, Chief Medical Officer, Sierra Tuscon
A change in environment can have a positive impact on brain chemistry,4 according to research published in the journal Nature Neuroscience. “New and diverse experiences are linked to enhanced happiness, and this relationship is associated with greater correlation of brain activity, new research has found.”
Going away for addiction treatment may provide you with the motivation you need to work on your relationships with the goal of rebuilding them when you return. On the other hand, creating physical distance can encourage emotional separation from bad influences. The time away can be a good start in distancing yourself from destructive relationships, whether you’re beginning to create permanent boundaries or taking a break to regroup and consider your options.
A change of scenery can also be a catalyst for a change in perspective. In fact, behavioral health experts recommend that we “place ourselves in situations and locations that spark growth.” But what if our regular environment seems to spark only negativity? Spending time away in different surroundings and participating in new experiences can help us view life through a different lens. This, in turn, can assist us in moving away from a negative mindset and toward a more positive outlook on life.
It’s worth noting, too, that triggers may not necessarily come from toxic relationships or stressful situations. They may also come from the mundane sights, sounds, or smells that are present in our everyday environments. Physically stepping away from these possible triggers can do a world of good and can help you find freedom from some of the basic, yet sometimes unnoticed, habits of addiction. You’re less likely to encounter some of those signals that trigger cravings when you’re in the organized, healing-focused environment of a residential facility.
Residential rehabs provide a sober living environment. In most accredited rehab centers, you wouldn’t have access to the substances that could jeopardize your recovery. These centers provide an environment that’s carefully formulated to be conducive to your sobriety. This confidence can help you cope emotionally during the challenging phase of coming off of substances and transitioning into the deeper work of recovery.
According to studies conducted by the U.S. National Institute of Health (NIH) on groups and substance abuse treatment,5 “Groups intrinsically have many rewarding benefits—such as reducing isolation and enabling members to witness the recovery of others—and these qualities draw clients into a culture of recovery. Another reason groups work so well is that they are suitable especially for treating problems that commonly accompany substance abuse, such as depression, isolation, and shame.”
These benefits can be attained in the residential rehab setting. Some are hesitant to seek treatment because of the stigma associated with substance abuse. But entering a residential treatment environment can connect you with people who truly understand the suffering that addiction brings. Clients benefit from the social dynamics at rehab facilities since they provide group support and opportunities to improve interpersonal and communication skills.
The professionals you’ll meet on campus act as understanding guides, while your recovery peers’ shared experiences create a sense of camaraderie. This environment fosters a valuable sense of connection that, in turn, can be empowering. Even meals shared with people who can relate to what you’re going through can provide comfort when you need it most.
A person in residential treatment can truly focus on themselves, free from the constraints they left at home. It might seem difficult at first to put other obligations aside along with destructive habits, but one-on-one therapy sessions can help clients begin caring for themselves again. Opportunities to express your feelings in a confidential setting with a trustworthy therapist can help you stay on course throughout the process. Studies even show that building rapport between counselor and client can contribute to a higher possibility of continuing recovery.6
Residential rehabs offer a wide variety of programs that can cater to different clients’ needs. Since you’ll be spending considerable time at a facility, you may find it helpful to choose a treatment format that suits your personal philosophies. Many residential facilities, for example, include faith-based rehab programs; others may offer a form of animal-assisted therapy or a pet-friendly environment. Other centers may place a greater emphasis on family participation. With so many options, clients have a better chance of finding the right center for their unique set of needs. This can provide a measure of comfort during a challenging time.
According to the U.S. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), complementary therapies are non-mainstream therapy approaches7 that are used together with conventional treatments, such as talk therapy. If non-mainstream therapy is used instead of conventional medicine, it’s considered “alternative therapy.” The research shows that “most people who use non-mainstream also use conventional health care.”
Following are some examples of complementary therapies:
An important aspect of many residential rehabs is the incorporation of complementary therapies as an integral part of the treatment experience. Residential facilities that utilize these therapies recognize that this can help clients learn more about themselves by breaking old patterns and experiencing something new. Complementary therapies can integrate different aspects of a person’s thinking besides just the psychological component involved in talk therapy.
In some circumstances, talk therapy may not be as conducive to healing. Those who have experienced trauma, for example, may even risk becoming retraumatized by talking about their experiences. This is why, for example, many PTSD sufferers drop out of exposure-based therapy before seeing any results.
On the other hand, complementary therapies allow clients to access their emotions in a different, relaxing, or fun context. This can actually help them become more receptive to treatment. For example, art therapy can immerse you in the process of creative expression and open the door for breakthroughs that you may have never expected. These benefits can be a key part of the therapeutic experience and are part of the program at many residential treatment centers.
Complementary therapies are important for healing.
“In the wintertime, we’re able to go out and take advantage of skiing or snowshoeing and hiking in the mountains. In the summer we have activities like fly fishing and rafting, so that individually and together, clients can also have fun. Fun and play are super important to getting well.”– Ryan Soave, Director of Program Development, All Points North Lodge
Whitney Armistead on All Points North’s hospitality team adds, “We offer a lot of holistic approaches to our clients’ healing process, including massage, Reiki, detox facials, a float tank; anything we can do to help our clients relax and help reset their bodies.”
Recovery doesn’t end once your time in rehab is up. Setting clients up for success when they leave residential therapy is a practical and important component of treatment. According to the U.S. National Institute of Health, “There is convincing evidence that continuing care can be effective in sustaining the positive effects of the initial phase of care.”8 With this in mind, residential rehab facilities may arrange for aftercare provisions:
Unplugging from your everyday surroundings for a time can be a wise choice in taking the first steps toward recovery. Making this significant life change requires time, focus, and the support of experienced treatment professionals.
Residential rehab can help by affording you the time and space you need to focus on getting well. This immersive environment provides a way to disconnect from potentially toxic relationships and surroundings, as well as important opportunities to share this journey with others who understand what you’re going through. And the complementary therapies and recovery-friendly facilities at residential treatment centers can provide enjoyable ways to access and heal new parts of yourself.
Residential rehab offers several benefits:
• On–site detox at some centers
• Round-the-clock support
• A structured environment
• A break from triggers
• Access to medical professionals
• Personalized treatment plans
• Therapeutic activities
• Peer support
These benefits enhance the chances of successful and long-lasting recovery.
Residential rehab offers treatment plans tailored to individual needs, although the level of personalization depends on the center. Treatment plans often include evidence-based therapies, individual and group therapy, and complementary therapies. Types of therapies and treatments vary based on the facility.
Residential rehab provides round-the-clock support through a team of dedicated professionals. They offer continuous monitoring, guidance, and assistance. This level of support helps create a safe environment for individuals to navigate their recovery journey.
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