Short Term Treatment Programs
The first stage in any treatment
program, short-term or long-term,
is for the patient to break free
of their drug dependency through
a process of detoxification. Significantly,
detoxification or ‘detox’
for short does little to prevent
or manage long-term drug addiction
and is only intended as the first
step towards drug rehabilitation.
As such, it is meant to aid patients
in the safe withdrawal from acute
and sometimes painful physical symptoms
that occur when they stop taking
drugs cold turkey. Defined as the
“the period during which the
patient receives detoxification
medications”, the immediate
goals of detoxification are:
provide a safe environment for withdrawal from drugs to
occur and aid the patient in becoming drug free.
- To provide relief from withdrawal symptoms that is humane
and respects the patient's dignity.
- To prepare the patient to enter a drug rehabilitation
For some drug addictions, including opiates like heroin and
alcohol, detoxification may be done in a hospital setting
under the supervision of medical professionals.
Short Term Treatment
While there are no quick fixes for drug addiction and dependency,
patients may opt for a short-term treatment program over a
longer, more protracted rehabilitation process. Generally
speaking, short-term rehabilitation programs last less than
six months and may include everything from residential therapy
(living full-time in a drug rehabilitation facility with other
substance abusers), medication therapy (includes the use of
prescribed drugs to aid in the rehabilitation process) and
drug-free outpatient therapy (encompasses a wide variety of
different programs that include regular visits to a drug clinic).
Although there is no fixed amount of time at which point
an addict can be said to be ‘cured’ of his or
her addiction, studies have shown that a threshold is reached
at around three months, after which significant improvement
can be observed. After the three-month period, further treatment
still remains necessary in order to achieve a full and complete
That being said, the appropriate duration of time spent in
a drug rehabilitation facility depends a great deal on the
individual’s needs and the severity of the dependency
and should not be motivated by a desire to check out of the
centre at the earliest date possible.
Treatment in a short-term program typically includes group
and individual therapy, as well as a commitment to continue
attending Narcotics Anonymous, Alcoholic Anonymous meetings,
a personal therapist or a drug clinic once the patient has
been released from the care of the drug rehabilitation centre.
Short-term treatment programs are usually reserved for first-time
addicts without a long history of drug dependency or involvement
in criminal activity.