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Drug rehab is a term for the processes of medical and psychotherapeutic treatment, for dependency on “street drugs” and/or prescription drugs. The general intent is to enable the patient to cease substance abuse, in order to avoid the physical, psychological, legal, financial, and social consequences that can be caused by it. Various types of programs offer help in drug rehab, including residential treatment (in-patient), out-patient, local support groups, extended care centers, and recovery or “sober houses.” Some rehab centers also offer age and gender specific drug rehab programs.

Psychological dependency on the substance is addressed in many drug rehab programs by attempting to teach the patient new methods of interacting in a drug-free environment. In particular, patients are usually encouraged or required not to associate with friends who still use the addictive substance. Twelve-step programs encourage addicts not only to stop using alcohol or other drugs, but to examine and change habits related to their addictions. Many programs emphasize that recovery is a permanent process.

Certain opioid medications such as methadone and more recently buprenorphine are widely used to treat addiction and dependence on other opioids such as heroin, morphine or oxycodone. Methadone and buprenorphine are maintenance therapies used with an intent of stabilizing an abnormal opioid system and used for long durations of time though both may be used to withdraw patients from narcotics over short term periods as well. Ibogaine is an experimental medication proposed to interrupt both physical dependence and psychological craving to a broad range or drugs including narcotics, stimulants, alcohol and nicotine. Some antidepressants are also used in moderating drug use, particularly to nicotine, and it has become common for researchers to re-examine already approved drugs for new uses in drug rehabilitation.

There are two primary types of drug rehab program: outpatient and inpatient. An outpatient program has the individual attending drug addiction treatment during the day, and then returning home in the evening to be with their families. With inpatient care the individual moves into the rehab facility for round-the-clock care.


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