The Difference Between Rehab And Recovery

Rehab and recovery are two terms that are sometimes used interchangeably, but they do not necessarily refer to the same things.

Drug rehab programs can help someone with a substance use disorder get on the road to recovery. But recovery itself is a process, and does not always involve actively receiving treatment.

If you or someone you know is living with an addiction, here is what to know about the difference between drug or alcohol rehab and addiction recovery.

What Is Drug And Alcohol Rehab?

Rehabilitation, commonly referred to simply as “rehab,” is a term used to describe treatment for drug or alcohol addiction. 

For instance, this might refer to an inpatient rehab program, which offers 24-hour care, or an outpatient treatment program, which is less intensive.

The purpose of rehab is to help someone whose drinking or drug use has had negative effects on their health and way of life – and help them begin the process of healing.

What Does Rehab Look Like?

Rehab is a term that can be used to refer to a few different types of treatment programs. 

Typically, the type of rehab program someone needs will depend on the severity of their problem, ongoing physical or mental health concerns, and other personal factors.

Common forms of rehab include:

  • detox programs: These are short-term programs (three to five days, on average) that can help a person safely stop their use of addictive substances.
  • inpatient rehab: This is an intensive program that involves staying in a rehab center for 30 days on average for around-the-clock care.
  • residential rehab: This form of rehab is similar to inpatient treatment in its intensity, but may or may not include detox services for those in withdrawal.
  • partial hospitalization: This is a step-down program that does not involve overnight care. You attend treatment during the day and go home at night.
  • intensive outpatient: This is similar to partial hospitalization, but typically requires attending treatment for fewer hours each week.
  • outpatient rehab: An outpatient program is a low-intensity treatment program that can be flexible to meet your schedule. This might involve counseling, medication management, and visits to the doctor.

What Happens During Rehab?

Rehab is intended to help someone heal from the effects of their addiction and begin to rebuild a healthy, fulfilling, and successful future in recovery.

That can involve receiving medical services, behavioral health treatment services, as well as access to social services like employment assistance and assistance finding housing.

At Bedrock Recovery Center, for example, our rehab programs offer:

What your treatment plan within a recovery program looks like will depend largely on the type of rehab program, the rehab facility, and your or your loved one’s needs for care.

The core goal of addiction treatment is to provide people with the resources and coping skills they need to abstain from former drugs of abuse and reach their full potential.

How Is Rehab Different From Recovery?

Drug rehab refers specifically to substance abuse treatment. Recovery, on the other hand, is a process that can often, but not always, begin with accessing a treatment program.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) defines recovery as “a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live self-directed lives, and strive to reach their full potential.”

According to SAMHSA, the four dimensions of recovery are:

  • community
  • purpose
  • health
  • home

What Does Recovery Look Like?

What recovery looks like is different for everyone. This will often involve addressing health-related effects of addiction, as well as other areas of life affected by substance use.

What you might address during the recovery process:

  • relationships with family members
  • marriage/romantic partnership
  • ability to care for children/dependents
  • feeling of self-worth
  • employment status
  • school life
  • friendships
  • housing situation
  • criminal justice-related issues

How Long Does It Take To Recover From Addiction?

Healing in addiction recovery takes time. And there is no single timeline that applies to every single person’s situation. It can take months, or years, to find stability again.

Your timeline may depend on factors such as:

  • your age
  • duration of your substance use issues
  • the severity of addiction
  • co-occurring mental health or medical conditions
  • whether you have stable housing
  • your financial situation
  • your existing support system
  • interactions with the criminal justice system
  • access to continuing care (e.g. outpatient counseling) for addiction

Moreover, many people describe recovery as a life-long journey — one that involves continually making the choice each day to choose life in recovery.

What’s important is recognizing the problem for what it is, and seeking help. It’s only when you ask for help that you’ll be able to find the right path for you.

Find Addiction Treatment At Bedrock Recovery Center

Bedrock Recovery Center is an accredited treatment facility based in Canton, Massachusetts. We offer evidence-based care for drug addiction, alcohol addiction, and dual diagnosis.

For more information about addiction treatment options at our Massachusetts rehab facility, call our helpline today to speak with a treatment admissions specialist.

  1. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) — Recovery and Recovery Support
  2. U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) — Treatment and Recovery
  3. U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) — Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction DrugFacts

Written by Bedrock Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2023 Bedrock Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

Prefer Texting?
We've got you covered.

Receive 24/7 text support right away.
There is no obligation and you can opt out at any time.

Sign up for text support

Receive 24/7 text support right away.
There is no obligation and you can opt out at any time.
Ready to make a change? Talk to a specialist now.
(617) 657-2877
icon-angle icon-bars icon-times