What to Expect When You Enter Addiction Treatment

There are many emotions we feel when facing the unknown—one of the most powerful is fear. Many people suffering from substance use disorder put off getting sober simply because they’re afraid of failing. It’s a natural response and nothing to be ashamed of. However, you shouldn’t allow fear to come between you and asking for help, especially when dealing with something as serious as drug or alcohol addiction. 

Understanding more about rehabilitation treatment, how it works, and what to expect should mitigate some of that fear and set you up for success. 

Drug or alcohol treatment is typically performed in 3 stages: 

  • Medical detox. 
  • Rehabilitation. 
  • Aftercare. 

Medical Detox 

Medical detox is vital for many people to withdraw from substances safely, especially when the withdrawal symptoms of certain substances can be life-threateningDuring medical detox at Laguna Treatment Hospital, patients are provided with 24/7 patient monitoring by medical staff. While medically supervised detox is important and often necessary for many patients, detoxification does not make up the entirety of addiction treatment—much of the work happens in the next phase: rehabilitation treatment. 


Rehab works to rewire thought patterns and change coping mechanisms so that patients learn to recognize, avoid, and overcome the triggers that lead them to drink or use drugs. This is primarily done through therapy and, if necessary, medication-assisted treatment. Both can be provided at either an inpatient, residential treatment, or outpatient facility. The level of care that is necessary depends on the patient’s unique situation. Effective treatment facilities employ a variety of evidence-based therapy methods, such as: 

  • Motivational interviewing. 
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy. 
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy. 
  • Group therapy. 

Some facilities, such as Laguna Treatment Hospital, also provide alternative therapies that many patients find helpful when used in conjunction with the evidence-based approaches listed above. This includes: 

  • Yoga. 
  • Meditation. 
  • Mindfulness training. 
  • Music and art therapy. 

Research shows that addiction treatment is much more effective when a patient remains in treatment for an adequate amount of time—the recommended minimum being 90 days (though any length of time spent in treatment is better than none). Laguna Treatment Hospital promises that if you relapse after spending 90 consecutive days in treatment, you’ll be provided a complimentary return to treatment for 30 days. 


After rehab, many people in recovery require some form of aftercare to maintain their sobriety in the long term. 

Some may transfer from an inpatient or residential treatment center into a sober living facility. Many others find support in 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous. 

Laguna Treatment Hospital understands the importance of aftercare, and therefore employs case managers to tailor an aftercare program that fits the individual’s unique needs. If a patient requires continued prescription medication upon leaving the facility that will be arranged. If someone needs more treatment at an outpatient facility upon completion of residential treatment that will be arranged too. Each patient is assigned a case manager that will help them through the entire process. 

In addition, alumni are granted access to the recovery app and alumni network, which allows former patients to stay connected to their peers in recovery and attend meetings and events. 

If you’re considering addiction treatment, please reach out to an admissions navigator at . Taking that first step is frightening but it may be the best decision you’ll ever make. 

Was this page helpful?
Thank you for your feedback.

American Addiction Centers (AAC) is committed to delivering original, truthful, accurate, unbiased, and medically current information. We strive to create content that is clear, concise, and easy to understand.

Read our full editorial policy

While we are unable to respond to your feedback directly, we'll use this information to improve our online help.

The Best Place to Recover in Orange County
We are here to help you get sober and learn how to stay that way. Laguna Treatment Hospital is located in Orange County within easy reach of the entire Los Angeles metro. We are the premier chemical dependency recovery hospital in the OC. We offer safe medical detox, mental health support, and wellness programs.