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Five things you didn’t know about rehab

Russel Brand has written books about it and Amy Winehouse sang “No no no”, but what actually happens inside a treatment centre or rehab?

When you think rehab, you could be forgiven for thinking it’s like a spa retreat for celebrities who have gone off the rails and that A-listers check in and out like it’s a glamorous Hilton. However, the reality is much different.

Here are the five things you didn’t know about rehab:

1.Not just celebs

It isn’t just the rich and famous who go to rehab, anyone can fall victim to an addiction. One in seven Australians have used an illicit drug in the last year and two in five people in Australia smoked tobacco, drank alcohol at risky levels or used an illicit drug (National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2013). Treatment centres treat people addicted to illicit drugs and alcohol, however most also treat people struggling with prescription drugs, gambling, trauma, sex or even internet misuse.

2.No electronics

Forget Instragramming your rehab journey (#healthy, #recovery).

The best treatment centres restrict use of, or remove electronic devices, aka mobiles, iPads and laptops. This is to make sure there are no distractions from the outside world interfering in the process of recovery and rehabilitation.

Having access to electronics during this time can be counterproductive as they enable people to disengage from their peers and from their own emotions or experiences.  After all, it’s easy to disappear behind a screen or to ‘hide’ in plain sight on your phone.

3.Withdrawal is just the beginning

Withdrawal occurs because your brain works like a spring when it comes to addiction. Drugs and alcohol are brain depressants that push down the spring. When you stop using drugs or alcohol, it’s like taking the weight off the spring and your brain rebounds by producing a surge of adrenaline that causes withdrawal symptoms.

Withdrawal can be physically and psychologically tough but at the end of the dark tunnel is the light and hope of recovery. Detoxing from an addiction is the first step towards a life beyond your wildest dreams.

4.Everyone helps each other

After finishing the withdrawal process, people in treatment will begin attending group therapy sessions.

In group therapy, stories are shared and others in the group offer support to each other. Cognitive behavioural therapy helps people to identify and cope with underlying triggers that can cause addiction. It’s a really inclusive and supportive way to get back on the right path in life and move into recovery.

5.You need your family

Having someone you love suffer from an addiction takes a huge toll both physically and mentally. It’s only natural that the family can also benefit from treatment and education. It’s a great idea to include the family in treatment so they can begin to understand why their loved one had such a problem with addiction and to understand how their family dynamic might have contributed to this vicious cycle.

Family therapy identifies common warning signs and gives families a plan of action on what to do should a relapse occur. It also helps families learn how to be supportive during rehab and recovery.

Rehab isn’t glamorous but it does change lives. Behind the scenes of rehab, you will see find ordinary people trying hard to change their lives for the better. There is always hope for a better future. Rehab might be tough, but addiction is definitely tougher.

About South Pacific Private: South Pacific Private is Australia’s leading mental health and addiction treatment facility offering inpatient and day programs to treat anxiety disorders, mood disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, behavioural addictions, alcohol addiction and substance abuse. Treatment at South Pacific Private offers the best possibility of recovery through its multidisciplinary, tailored programs which are designed to meet the individual needs of clients. www.southpacificprivate.com.au