What is the difference between drug detox, drug rehab, and drug treatment?

I hear people use the words detoxification ("detox"), rehabilitation ("rehab"), and treatment to describe the same things. What's the difference between them? Where do they overlap?

asked 16 Feb '12, 00:06

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Detoxification (detox) is a process that removes unwanted substances from the body of the addict, so they may begin a sober recovery. Rehabilitation (rehab) may include detox at the beginning, but it most commonly refers to further inpatient or outpatient treatment at professional facilities. Rehab usually continues until the recovering addict is able to live a healthy and normal life on their own. Treatment defines all help offered during the recovery process, from doctors, to counselors, to medication, to fellowships and other programs, etc.

(25 Feb '12, 12:43) Jack ♦


Drug Addiction

Drug addicts use treatment methods like detox and rehab to increase the chance of a successful recovery from addiction.


Drug Detox

Drug detox cleanses the body of toxic substances, so a recovering addict may begin treatment with a sober mind and body.


Drug Rehab

Drug rehab includes inpatient or outpatient treatment, and can last anywhere from a few days to a year (or more).


Drug Treatment

Detox and rehab are drug treatment methods commonly practiced by recovering drug addicts and alcoholics.

Treatment includes everything. It includes specific programs like counseling as well as the types of detox and rehab. Rehab is usually residential treatment, but could be long term group therapy or weekly meetings. In rehab they teach people how to recover their health, and learn the skills needed to live a normal life. Detox is on specific kind of treatment given in the beginning. Detox gets the drugs/alcohol out of the system, with a minimal of sickness and anxiety (they use meds for that).


answered 16 Feb '12, 00:19

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Jack ♦
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Usually if you go to rehab they send you to detox first, and won't take you into rehab unless you're clean through the detox. Probably good thing because if you go into rehab high you're not going to listen very well.


Private therapy, psychiatric care, outpatient and even some inpatient programs can be lumped together under the heading “treatment.” Any or all of these may combine clinical help from professionals with resources such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous and other programs. Treatment can also refer to maintenance programs conducted with drugs such as methadone and Suboxone, and to therapeutic help after completing other programs. It is not a very specific term.

Rehab, on the other hand, is fairly specific. It almost always refers to inpatient programs that may include detox, and usually combine other protocols such as:

individual and group therapy; education about drugs, their effects, and what to expect as bodies continue to adjust to sobriety; guidance in adjusting to life without drugs; skills that will be needed after leaving rehab; assistance with legal issues; family therapy; procedures such as hypnosis and EMDR; and development of supports such as alumni, AA, NA and so forth, in order to prepare clients for their life in recovery.

Detox (detoxification) refers to short-term protocols designed to get addicts through their initial withdrawal from drugs. In some cases, such as withdrawal from alcohol and/or benzodiazepines such as Valium, Ativan and Xanax, the initial (acute) phase can be life-threatening, and requires medical assistance in order to be accomplished safely. The use of appropriate medications assists patients through this difficult time. Therapy and educational sessions help patients understand the process and what they will need to do after leaving detox. Referrals to various rehab facilities and other treatment programs are made when appropriate.


answered 16 Feb '12, 00:42

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Asked: 16 Feb '12, 00:06

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Last updated: 07 May '12, 16:02