Frequently Asked Questions

If you or a loved one is battling addiction, you likely have many questions about drug addiction, drug withdrawal, detoxification, treatment and more. We can help you understand the disorder. Find answers to common addiction treatment questions below.

Drug Rehab


Is drug rehab expensive? How do I pay for it?

The cost of drug and alcohol rehabilitation varies according to the type of rehabilitation you have.

An outpatient program costs as little as $1,000 to as much as $10,000 for a 30-day program. Intensive outpatient programs cost between $3,500 and $11,000. Partial hospitalization program run between $7,000 and $20,000 for a 30-day program. A basic inpatient rehabilitation program may cost just a few thousand dollars to as much as $25,000 for a 30-day program.

Check with your insurance company as you consider your options. Many insurance companies pay for drug and alcohol addiction rehabilitation.

How long does rehab take?

Rehabilitation is just the start of your recovery.

Most intensive rehabilitation programs are designed to get you off of your abused substance and started on a path toward sobriety. These programs typically take a minimum of 30 days.

Some programs last as long as 90 days. After the 90-day period, you are transitioned to sobriety programs in the community, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA).

Do I have to be an inpatient to recover from my addiction?

There are many successful inpatient rehabilitation programs for alcohol and drug addiction. Many outpatient programs that are also equally successful. There are programs in between such as intensive outpatient programs and partial hospital programs.

If you cannot do an inpatient program or think you don’t need one, speak with your insurance company about which outpatient programs for drug and alcohol addiction are covered under your plan.

You can always start in outpatient rehab and transition to inpatient alcohol and drug rehab later. You may decide to do this if you do not reach sobriety quickly or if there are too many distractions to healing in outpatient rehab.

What type of programming offerings do rehab programs have?

Most alcohol and drug addiction rehab programs have many types of offerings. They may involve individual counseling, group therapy, recreational therapy, family therapy and educational programs. The goal is to use as many programs as necessary to help you attain and maintain sobriety.

Medical Detox


What is the goal of detox?

The goal of detox is to eliminate the drug from your system so you can more effectively participate in the recovery process.

Individuals who still have addictive drugs in their system cannot effectively participate in rehabilitation. They also cannot undergo the learning processes it takes to recover from drug addiction.

What is medically-assisted detoxification?

Detoxification can be very painful and fraught with side effects. Most (but not all) drug addictions respond positively to medically assisted detoxification.

Individuals who are detoxifying from alcohol, certain types of sedatives and opioid drugs can take medications prescribed by a specialist. These medications decrease cravings and reduce the number of side effects that happen with detoxification. Ask your doctor if there is a medically assisted detoxification plan available for you.

Do I have to detoxify in a hospital?

In cases of serious addiction or problems with relapse, it may be necessary to detoxify in a hospital where medically-assisted detoxification can occur. In less severe cases, and especially if you are highly motivated, you can detoxify in the comfort of your home with close contact with your doctor and loved ones.

Drug Withdrawal


Is withdrawal the same thing as detoxification?

If you are withdrawing from a drug or alcohol and it leaves your system completely, then withdrawal is the same thing as detoxification. Withdrawal, however, happens whenever you are taking less of the drug than you are used to.

This will lead to uncomfortable symptoms and cravings to use the drug again. These cravings often cause you to relapse. Withdrawal symptoms are especially common if you have a high tolerance to the drug and are dependent on it to feel normal.

What types of withdrawal symptoms can I expect?

There are many types of withdrawal symptoms that vary according to the drug of choice. Many people feel ill with things like nausea, vomiting, headache and muscle aches. You will likely feel intense cravings to use your drug of choice.

There are some specific symptoms that depend on the drug you are using. For example, patients withdrawing from alcohol will feel shaky, have tremors and possibly experience seizures and hallucinations.

How long do withdrawal symptoms last?

Withdrawal symptoms occur when you reduce the amount of drug that you have become dependent upon. The length of withdrawal depends on the drug. It takes longer to withdraw from long-acting drugs than from short-acting drugs.

Actual physical symptoms of withdrawal may last for several days. Psychological symptoms, such as dysphoria, depression, and anxiety can last for many weeks. Cravings for the drug can last indefinitely.

Remember that treating withdrawal is not the same as treating addiction.

Addiction


What is drug and alcohol addiction?

Drug addiction is related to Substance Use Disorder (SUD). It is the most severe type of this disorder.

Addiction is complicated. It involves chemical changes in the brain that make it very difficult to stop using the drug. A person addicted to a drug or alcohol will continue to use the substance even though they have severe social, emotional, relational and occupational consequences.

Key features of addiction include:

  • Drug cravings
  • Drug-seeking behavior
  • Drug use and abuse despite devastating consequences

Is addiction treatable?

With the proper treatment, addiction is highly treatable. There are medications in some cases that will work for addiction. Many people also need behavioral therapies to fight their addiction.

Unfortunately, relapse is a common thing that can happen even after many years of abstinence from the drug or alcohol. Some people need several rounds of rehabilitation programming in order to have sustainable sobriety from their drug of choice.

How quickly can a person become addicted to a drug?

This is a difficult question to answer. How quickly an addiction forms in a person depends on their genetics, age, the type of drug and their environment.

Some people can take a drug repeatedly and will never become addicted. Others will become addicted after taking the drug just a few times.

You should never assume that you cannot become addicted to a drug, especially if you have a family history of addiction or a personal history of a past addiction.

How do I know if I am addicted to a drug?

There are certain signs of drug addiction that can become clues to being addicted to a drug.

These include changes in:

  • Physical appearance and personal hygiene because of drug use
  • Appetite and sleep patterns
  • Weight
  • Relationships with people you know and with activities you are used to doing

Compulsively using a drug despite adverse consequences is an important sign of possible addiction.

Sobriety


What does sobriety mean?

The strict definition of sobriety means not using drugs or drinking alcohol. In reality, sobriety means much more than this. Those on a path toward sobriety are excited about the new relationships and new experiences that come from living a life without drugs or alcohol.

Sobriety sees people change their attitudes about drinking or using drugs. People seeking sobriety are motivated to live a life free of drugs and alcohol. They find peace in total abstinence from addictive substances.

Will I still have cravings when I am sober?

Cravings for drugs and alcohol often persist even when a person has been sober for a long time. Fortunately, with the drug out of your system and with new experiences being sober, cravings tend to decrease over time.

As time goes on, you will find creative ways to deal with cravings. Some people can be sober for so long that the cravings are almost nonexistent. It is important to have an action plan to deal with the cravings that will inevitably happen while you are sober.

What kinds of things interfere with sobriety?

Sobriety involves living a new kind of life after recovering from addiction.

The things that interfere with sobriety the most include:

  • Having friends who use the drug you were once addicted to
  • Putting yourself in situations where drug use is possible

For example, if you are recovering from alcohol addiction, you don’t want to go out with friends who drink at a bar. That would significantly increase your risk of a relapse.

Being sober may mean changing your friends and the places you go to when you want to enjoy yourself.

Answers for Parents


How do I know if my child is addicted to drugs or alcohol?

Young people often go to great lengths to hide their drug or alcohol addiction from their parents. It is difficult to be addicted to drugs without having some kind of obvious effects on mood, behavior and relationships.

Things they can’t hide include:

  • New onset of school-related problems
  • Missing classes
  • Changing their set of friends
  • Isolation
  • Mood swings
  • General misbehavior

Because addiction is so severe and potentially long-lasting, it is important to ask your child about drug use. Become involved in their lives so that you can identify a possible drug addiction.

If you use prescription drugs or alcohol, pay attention to how much is left and how much may be missing. This is a common way that teens and children get ahold of drugs and alcohol.

Will my child simply outgrow their drug and alcohol use?

Drug and alcohol use in adolescence is very dangerous. It is common to have risky behaviors, accidents and possible overdoses when using drugs or alcohol at this age.

It is unsafe to assume that your child will outgrow their use of drugs and alcohol. They will not their overcome addiction without help.

This is why it is very important to get some type of rehabilitation and treatment for your child as early as possible. The longer a child uses drugs or alcohol, the greater their risk of becoming addicted through their adulthood years.

What are some drugs that a teenager is likely to become addicted to?

Commonly abused drugs by adolescents include alcohol, tobacco and marijuana.

The most common drugs of abuse in teens are those that are relatively inexpensive and easy to come by, such as prescription drugs kept around the house.

Very young adolescents tend to use inhalants (breathing the fumes of common household products) while older adolescents often abuse synthetic marijuana (K2 or Spice) and prescription medications such as opioid and stimulants.

How can I help my child in recovery?

Parents should be actively supportive of their child in the recovery process.

This involves providing emotional support. It also involves helping with the practical parts of recovery, such as dealing with insurance companies, giving them rides to therapy and making sure they attend their appointments.

Many programs offer “family-based drug abuse treatment.” This type of treatment can improve family communication and teach problem-solving skills that will help when the child becomes sober and returns to family life.

Author:Kent Hoffman
Kent Hoffman

Dr. Kent Hoffman has been practicing medicine for nearly 30 years. He is board-certified to practice addiction medicine and family medicine. Dr. Hoffman gets to know his patients on a first-name basis to provide compassionate and professional health care.

Last modified: 01/14/2019