Fourth: Residential Treatment

Residential treatment is often an integral part of an addiction treatment program. Understanding when a person goes to residential treatment, and what happens when they get there can eliminate many of the worries of those who are planning to attend rehab.

Detox is only a preliminary step in rehab. After detox, recovery treatment begins. This can be residential (or inpatient) or outpatient (IOP or PHP).

If your SUD reached a point where detox was necessary, you probably also need residential treatment to unlearn these behaviors. It’s an easy transition at Chapters Capistrano because detox and residential treatment take place in the same house.

Some health insurance won’t cover the cost of residential treatment, only detox or outpatient care.

What happens in residential treatment?

Residential treatment involves removing people with substance use disorders from their former environments, from the triggers—people, places, situations—associated with their substance abuse so they can learn not to use these substances again.

Rehab is a reeducation program. Substance use disorders (SUD) are diseases in that some people have a genetic predisposition to substance abuse while others, even those who consume more of the substances more often, can and do stop with no problem. But SUD is also a habit, a behavior. Recovery requires that people with SUD learn new, less problematic behaviors.

Residential treatment removes most distractions and opportunities for relapse when the client is most vulnerable: after detox. Substance abuse isn’t just behavioral: it physically changes the brain. It disrupts the production of feel-good chemicals called neurotransmitters, making individuals dependent on drugs or alcohol to feel normal, let alone good. This makes the temptation to resume use very strong.

Abstinence alone might not be enough, so clients remain at Chapters Capistrano for the duration. The day is structured, beginning with a wakeup time, a full schedule of events—meals, classes, individual and group therapy, time and facilities for recreation and meditation—until lights out.

Clients are encouraged to bring books and other reading materials (nothing pornographic), a journal, and personal knick-knacks. Electronic devices are allowed and there’s good Wi-fi.

This level of care is necessary when the clients’ abstinence is new, shaky, or fragile. They may have just completed detoxification: medically monitored withdrawal from drug use.

There are also opportunities for physical activities such as hiking, swimming, and exercising.

Most importantly, there are therapies to cope with the urge to relapse and teach better ways to cope with life’s problems.

Will I be able to choose my treatment program?

No treatment is 100% effective all of the time, so multiple treatments and therapies are offered.

Among the most common and effective therapies for SUD at Chapters Capistrano are:

  • Behavioral therapies. The most common and effective behavioral health therapy is cognitive-behavioral therapy, but there are others, from basic psychotherapy (talk therapy) to contingency management.
  • Twelve-step facilitation. Twelve-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous, while not therapy in themselves, are practices that help people remain sober through peer fellowship. The 12 steps are a series of actions designed to help people remain sober by acknowledging and atoning for past wrongdoing while inebriated. Unlike rehab, they are free and widely available. They also help newly sober people build a new support system of people who also do not use alcohol or drugs. So Chapters Capistrano and many other rehabs encourage their clients to join a 12 step program to help maintain sobriety after rehab ends.
  • Non-12-step. One drawback of 12-step programs for some people is that they are quasi-religious and Christian. The 12 steps ask members to acknowledge a power greater than themselves, sometimes referred to as God. For those who don’t have faith, aren’t Christians, or have a bad association with the Church, there are similar non-religious groups, such as SMART Recovery.
  • Holistic rehab treatments. Some physical and meditative or spiritual practices sometimes help in recovery. These include physical exercise, movement exercise (yoga, tai chi), riding and caring for horses, and art or music therapy.

Medical disclaimer:

Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.

Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.

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