How Does Alcohol Rehab Differ From Drug Rehab?

alcohol vs drug rehabilitation

How Does Alcohol Rehab Differ From Drug Rehab?

How Does Alcohol Rehab Differ From Drug Rehab? Regardless of whether a substance abuse treatment center is caring for alcohol abuse or drug use, such treatments can last anywhere from 15 days to several months. And while the duration of two substance abusers’ stay at one of these facilities can be the same, there are noticeable differences in the two types of treatment. If you have ever looked into attending a rehab facility, then you likely know that there are those dedicated to alcohol treatment, drug treatment, or a combination of both. While neither type of facility is necessarily better than another, there are generally differences in how each option treats a patient’s addiction.

For the rehab facilities that offer both alcohol and drug rehab treatment options, they abide by the delicate, yet tough task of taking care of both kinds of patients, which quite honestly, is not optimal for users that need specialized treatment. Because drug and alcohol rehab can be so different, often times a user is much more successful in a treatment program designed specifically for their addiction. To better illustrate just how the two types of treatments vary and how the corresponding rehab facilities follow suit, here is a breakdown of the differences between drug rehab and alcohol rehab.

Differences In Physical Effects

Alcohol is almost always consumed through ingestion into the body in the form of a liquid drink. Various drugs on the other hand can enter into the body’s bloodstream through many different methods. More specifically, depending on the drug, such substances can be in inhaled, injected, or a number of other unique ways of being introduced into the body. This is the primary root of variation in how drug and alcohol dependencies are treated. In addition, because everybody’s body is different no treatment is typically the same. For such reason, rehab facilities often have to tailor their treatment programs to the individual and the substance(s) they are addicted to. In this sense, regardless of whether an abuser is addicted to alcohol or drugs, they will likely need to be treated at least slightly different than most other patients even with the same dependency.

The Detox Process

The process of detoxing is a something that our society is widely familiar with. Most adults have heard of the process, even if they have not actually gone through it, and actually know what it physically feels like. For alcohol addiction, a typical detox takes anywhere from three to seven days. On the other hand, drug detox can last substantially longer, more in the range of three to 10 days. Under both circumstances, patients often need 24-hour a day supervision to ensure they go through the detox process in as healthy a way as possible. Such supervision is also needed to make sure there are no health complications throughout the process, such as pulmonary, brain, or lung conditions, which commonly arise in such situations.

As for additional differences when detoxing from alcohol and drug addiction, the two often share some similarities, but also hold many differences. For instance, medications can be used to ease a drug detox and to ensure there are no serious physical complications. An alcohol detox typically starts with withdrawal symptoms appearing anywhere from five to 10 hours after last consumption, which is why alcoholics feel the need to so frequently have a drink

Physical Symptoms that are Associated with an Alcohol Detox:

alcohol vs drug rehabilitation• Nausea and vomiting
• Head pain or aches
• Sleeplessness
• Fever and chills
• Heart palpitations
• Nervous shakiness
• Loss of hunger
• Memory loss
• Hallucinations

In contrast, here are some of the physical symptoms that can occur during a drug detox. They also generally vary from that of an alcohol detox. Please keep in mind that these are general symptoms, which differ quite often depending on the particular drug that someone is detoxing from.

  • Loss of sleep
  • Vomiting
  • Upset stomach and diarrhea
  • Irregular heart rate and blood pressure changes
  • Numbness in body, particularly the limbs
  • Uncontrollable seizures

Differences In Psychological Effects

In addition to the physical differences that the body encounters during alcohol and drug rehab, there are also many psychological differences as well. Because drugs often affect the central nervous system (CNS), during rehab treatment, more specifically the detox phase, many similar or even worse symptoms can occur. Because the effects of alcohol do also impair the CNS, there can be intense psychological issues that arise during alcohol rehab treatment as well. However, the two types of side effects are often very different.

Also, in the mix is the individual. In fact, many psychological side effects of both alcohol and drug dependencies vary largely depending on the user. Most notably during drug rehab treatment, patients can endure serious psychological effects, including panic attacks, psychosis, irritability and rage or overwhelming aggression. These are all very serious issues that the staff at any given drug rehab facility must be prepared to deal with when administering such rehab treatment.

Differences In Long Term Effects

Even after a successful rehab treatment for drugs or alcohol, the long term effects can still be apparent in individuals after frequent substance abuse. For abusers of alcohol, this can mean health problems such as liver damage and high blood pressure. On the other hand, drug users typically face long term effects in the way of heart conditions and memory problems, but again, this depends on the specific drug that was being abused and over what specific length of time.

Treatment Works Best

While many people in the general public often think of the dependency on drugs and alcohol as similar or the same, there are many stark differences in the rehab treatment of both. In addition, many of the variations during rehab treatment depend on the individual being treated, as well as the substance their body is dependent on.

Regardless, the differences between alcohol and drug treatments should be weighed carefully when considering various rehab facilities. While some such treatment centers boast they treat all kinds of substance abuse, such may not necessary be best for a given individual. In other words, someone that needs treatment for a particular substance dependency may fail in a broader scoped drug rehab center, whereas they would be much more successful in a more specialize treatment center.

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