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For a vast multitude of drug or alcohol addicts the first step into a rehabilitation centre for de-addiction treatment amounts to a baptism by fire. It is indeed the most toughest and courageous decision of his or her life. Ask any formerly addicted person about their experience, and he or she will surely tell you: it’s like being born again!

Unique rehab programmes

This underlines the crucial role that the drug rehabilitation centres play in the lives of addicted persons. But, just as no single individuals are similar, there can be no single rehab programme for all types of addictions. And, this places enormous responsibility on professionals and doctors at rehab centres to identify and address the unique problems of each patient, and prepare them for living a meaningful life, free from addiction.

Bringing to rehab centre difficult!

There might be umpteen rehab centres around, but bringing an addicted person to one nearest to him or her is not always the easiest. This becomes even more difficult when the person in question refuses to acknowledge his addiction problem. In many cases recalcitrant patients are forcibly brought to one of the rehab centres through a court order.

Key to recovery

However, the key to an effective recovery lies in the hands of an addicted person alone. It calls for a total commitment and unflinching resolve on the part of the patient to come out of the addiction. Once that happens, it becomes much easier for both patients and rehab doctors and caregivers to expedite the recovery process.

Willingness to change

Medicines and therapies can be effective only when the addicted person shows an explicit willingness to change his or her habits. This is easier said than done. Long-term intake of drugs brings about drastic changes in a person’s behaviour pattern. This is because drugs affect the brain of an addicted person and brings about drastic behavioural changes that take a long time and effort to reverse or get rid of. This is one of the biggest challenges being faced by a rehabilitation centre while trying to help patients deal with their addiction problems.

Choose the ‘Right’ centre

No wonder, it is important that a suitable drug rehabilitation centre capable of addressing the unique problems and needs of patient is chosen for undergoing de-addiction treatment and rehabilitation. A good rehab centre should be able to convince patients and their families about its ability to provide the right kind of atmosphere for a patient to regain his or her normal life in a safe and healthy manner.

Need based rehab centres

There are rehab centres that cater to specific needs of individual patients. Some rehab measures specifically address one particular type of drug addiction. A few others are meant exclusively for either male or female patients, who feel more at home being among same-sex or same-age categories of people. Then, there is also inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation facilities at some rehab centres.


Detoxification is the most important step preceding rehabilitation treatment of a drug addicted person. It involves freeing the body of addictive substances. It is only after the ‘Detox’ treatment that doctors or caregivers at rehab centres initiate the recovery regimen. Initially, the patient is kept under observation for a week after Detox treatment before starting the rehabilitation programme.

Attitudinal changes

What makes even starting the rehabilitation process such a difficult task is a patient’s constant denial or opposition to any kind of treatment. This brings us to the first crucial step of bringing about attitudinal changes in a patient. The aim is to make him or her realise the imperative of undergoing rehab and make an honest effort towards changing his habit with the help of professional psychiatrists, doctors and nurses.

Course of action

Once a patient realises the importance of rehabilitation, doctors and counsellors come into the picture. Their role is to chart a clear course of action for a time bound recovery of the addicted person. It is then up to the patient to commit himself or herself to the rehabilitation goals and work towards that with the help of their near and dear ones.

Educating on addiction

As part of the rehabilitation process, doctors and expert psychiatrists try and educate an addicted person about the need for giving up addictive substances. They apprise him or her of the adverse ramifications of drug addiction on their health, particularly mental health. The idea is to motivate persons to change their old ways and begin afresh for a drug-free, healthy and normal life.

Counselling important

For all their efforts at de-addiction, rehabilitation centres lay equal emphasis on individual counselling for patients, undergoing short-term or long-term treatment regimen. In case of some patients with severe addiction problem daily counselling is offered. The counselling sessions help patients understand the root causes of addiction – emotional or psychological factors – and help address them though an effective treatment system for complete recovery. Counsellors also train patients to recognise factors that may trigger drug abuse in them and how to quickly come out of such a situation in future.

Anunitha’s programme

Anunitha is a modern, well-equipped, de-addiction centre – a part of the Bengaluru based Cadabam’s Hospital, a multi-speciality psychiatric and neurology hospital. It follows an innovative de-addiction and rehabilitation programme. The centre has evolved numerous therapeutic interventions for effective de-addiction and rehabilitation of patients. It has also developed unique process and tools for sustained and well-managed care even after the discharge of a patient for reducing the relapses.

Today, most young people are no longer inhibited about drinking and have accepted alcohol as a part of their lifestyle. Globalisation, easy access and availability of alcohol, disposable incomes starting early with youth and a social acceptance value together have made young adults drink more regularly than ever. Studies also show that India has over 70 million alcohol users (excluding social drinkers) of whom more than 12 million are alcohol dependent. A majority of these alcohol dependents are in the age group of 18-28 years.

What exactly is alcoholism or alcohol dependency?

Alcoholism can be described as a chronic disease including uncontrolled drinking and preoccupation with alcohol. People who get under the clutches of alcoholism are unable to control drinking because of a physical and emotional dependence on alcohol.

Impact of Alcoholism on youth

Alcoholism, physiologically, can potentially trigger over 60 diseases including those of the heart, liver (cirrhosis) and the brain. On a social level, it can create problems emotionally, psychologically, sexually, legally and economically for addicts. This further creates difficulty in relationships with families and others connected to those addicted to alcohol.

Alcoholism at best is not helpful to anybody. At work, alcoholism can induce hangovers, regular absenteeism, occupational injuries and accidents leading to reduced productivity, social withdrawal, and eventually job loss. On a personal relationships level, these can make an alcoholic suicidal, perpetuate household and societal violence and even commit crime.

How do you recognise you have an alcohol dependency?

For most people, alcoholism gets triggered by ‘social drinking’ (drinking alcohol only on specific occasions). While for teenagers and young adults drinking alcohol starts off mainly due to peer pressure. As time progresses, an individual may gradually lose control over the amount and frequency of drinking.

And contrary to popular belief, drinking alcohol is not just for boys and men. Girls and women also engage in social drinking and could be end up being alcoholics too. Across India, women who drink irrespective of their socio-economic class are plenty.

How do you recognise if your son or daughter is alcoholic?

As a parent or a guardian, it is normal to be concerned if your son or daughter is behaving strangely in their teenage years or young adulthood.

Some warning signs to look for: Unusual smells on breath, body, or clothing. Physical signs of alcoholism like bloodshot eyes. Changes in appetite or sleep patterns. Sudden weight loss or weight gain. Seizures without a history of epilepsy. Ignoring personal grooming or physical appearance. Changes in coordination, injuries/accidents/bruises that they won’t or can’t tell you about. Incoherent or slurred speech, impaired or unstable coordination.

  • Some warning signs to look for: 

  • Unusual smells on breath, body, or clothing.

  •  Physical signs of alcoholism like bloodshot eyes. 

  • Changes in appetite or sleep patterns. Sudden weight loss or weight gain. 

  • Seizures without a history of epilepsy. Ignoring personal grooming or physical appearance. 

  • Changes in coordination, injuries/accidents/bruises that they won’t or can’t tell you about.

  •  Incoherent or slurred speech, impaired or unstable coordination. 

Behavioural signs of alcohol abuse

  • Skipping class, low marks, getting in trouble at college/university.

  •  Drop in attendance and performance at work. Unable to explain sudden job loss. 

  • Loss of interest in fun activities, hobbies, sports or exercise. 

  • Complaints from co-workers, supervisors, teachers or classmates. 

  • Acting withdrawn, silent, being secretive or acting suspiciously. 

  • Clashes with family values and beliefs. 

  • Sudden change in relationships, friends, favourite hangouts and hobbies. 

  • Using eyedrops to mask bloodshot eyes and dilated pupils. 

  • Avoiding eye contact, constantly arguing or getting into fights.

  •  Covering up the smell of cigarettes and alcohol by using incense, perfume or air fresheners.

Psychological warning signs of alcohol or drug abuse

  • Unexplained, sudden changes in personality and/or attitude.

  • Swinging mood changes like irritability, angry outbursts or laughing for no reason. 

  • Unusually hyperactive or agitated with people around.

  • Lack of motivation with an inability to focus.

  • Fearful, withdrawn, anxious, or suffer paranoia for no reason. 

What not to do if your child is an alcohol addict?

  • If you recognise any of the signs above in your son and daughter, here are some things you should avoid: 

  • Do not lecture, threaten, bribe, preach or moralize the person. 

  • Do not resort to emotional appeals as that may only increase feelings of guilt and the compulsion to drink more.

  • Do not cover up, lie or make excuses for their behaviour. 

  • Do not take over their responsibilities. This will only protect them from the consequences of their behaviour. 

  • Do not argue with your son or daughter when they are using alcohol as they can’t have a rational conversation. 

  • Do not feel guilty or responsible for their behaviour. It is not your fault. 

  • Do not join them. It is of no use to keeping up with them by drinking with them.

What is rehabilitation?

Generally, rehabilitation in healthcare is the process of helping individuals to improve, maintain or restore physical strength and mobility. This type of rehabilitation helps us gain independence after any illness, injury or surgery.

But in mental healthcare, rehabilitation can also be used to help an individual overcome dependency on alcohol or drugs, manage mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and many other disorders. This process helps in giving a better quality of life to the person suffering from such illnesses.

Why should I look at rehabilitation?

Many times, it becomes very difficult to manage mental disorders or overcome alcoholism or drug addiction. As you or your loved one faces this difficult situation, it becomes extremely hard to see the correct perspective on what steps to take to become well again. Rehabilitation helps in restoring mental and physical well being by using a combination of short and long-term therapies and medication giving a big impact on your recovery.

How do I choose a good rehabilitation centre?

Choosing a good rehabilitation centre or programme whether for alcoholism or drug addiction issues can be difficult. With so many options out there and with little or no guidance, zeroing on one facility might be quick but the care given can come up short. It is very important to find a programme or facility that fits well with your individual situation and preferences; the likelihood of recovery is higher.

Finding that perfect rehabilitation centre

Consult your doctor first. She/he will be the best to guide on whether you will need short or a long-term rehabilitation programme. Once this is clear, the next step is to look for the ideal facility to help you overcome your addiction.

Step 1

Talk to your doctor. With her/his experience and exposure to the services offered by rehabilitation facilities, the success rates are also verified. This helps in narrowing down the right facility for you or your loved one. Statistically, it has been proven that the longer a patient remains in rehabilitation, the greater the chance they won’t suffer a relapse when they return home.

Step 2 

Short- and long-term residential rehabilitation treatments for alcohol and drug deaddiction come in various forms.

It is important to know that good rehabilitation facilities are not located in a hospital setting. These rehab facilities are set in a modern and comfortable environment, and staffed with qualified healthcare professionals. They can also provide various types of programs on a 24/7, 365 days basis with care and behavioral monitoring, full staff participation in the recovery process, and tailored programs that are designed to fulfill the needs of the patient.

Some are holistic programmes that approach treatment from a whole-body and mind perspective, incorporating various natural therapies and or medications to promote overall health and contentment like Cadabam’s Amitha. There is also Cadabam’s Anunitha that offers rehabilitation care for men. This helps in focusing on recovery without distractions from the opposite sex and to address certain issues that are particular to their gender.

Step 3

Once you have figured out a facility with all the above perspectives, a visit is a must. Once you visit and see the work that the facility is undertaking giving care, its success rates, team of counsellors and doctors – it becomes easier to settle on the right facility.

Now that you know what it takes for you or your loved one to take the next step in overcoming your addiction, no time should be wasted. Once you are on the road to recovery, life takes on new dimensions adding meaning and purpose.

Addiction is a complex disease that can cause uncharacteristic compulsive behaviors leading to destructive actions that pull families apart and ruin lives. The effects of addiction are hard to ignore, but often, they are quickly justified, or dealt with through, harsh, and sometimes rushed treatment processes.

Because the fingers of addiction reach into every facet of life, each addiction situation is a little different complicating the treatment process.

Effective treatment programs incorporate individualized treatment approaches to deal with the varying facets of addiction. And with a combination of time, quality care, and personalised strategies, every addicted individual can start on their unique path to recovery.

What an individualized treatment program looks like

Since the 1970s, a lot of research has been done in the realm of addiction and recovery. We’ve learned a lot, and as a result, scientists, psychologists, and counselors have collectively come up with a solid list of treatment best practices.

Here is a list of some of the most important principles of an effective individualized approach to addiction recovery (source: National Institute of Drug Abuse):

  • Addiction is a complex but treatable disease: Addiction affects brain function and behavior; because of this, medical attention is a necessary part of an effective treatment program.

  • No single treatment is appropriate for everyone: Treatment centres should not use the same approach and treatment steps for all of its patients. This is not to say treatment centres shouldn’t have a basic philosophical approach to treatment, it just means that addiction is different for everyone, and should be dealt with situation by situation.

  • Effective treatment attends to multiple needs of the individual: Treatment should deal with the psychological, emotional, and physical effects of the drug problem.

  • Remaining in treatment for an adequate period of time is critical: There is no such thing as a  quick-fix’ when it comes to addiction treatment. Long-term recovery takes time and commitment from the treatment program, and the addicted person.

  • An individual’s treatment and services plan should be adjusted to his or her needs: The assessment of the patient’s needs should be continually modified as necessary to ensure that it meets his or her changing needs.

  • Many drug addicted individuals also have other mental disorders: Dealing with these mental disorders should be an important part of the recovery process.

  • Medically assisted detoxification is only the first stage of addiction treatment: Detox by itself does little to change long term drug abuse.

Individualized Treatment in Practice

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Programs that focus on the individual needs of their patients will strive to incorporate these ideas into their core approach to treatment. A good example of this in action is DARA Drug & Alcohol Rehab, located in Koh Chang, Thailand.

DARA is a world-renowned centre that seeks to individualize their treatment program through a number of clinical strategies:

They offer over eight unique treatment therapies to help their patients deal with different aspects of addiction.

Their program includes integrated family treatment, and personal dietary and fitness evaluations and classes.

Every patient leaves DARA with an individualized aftercare plan, a sober coach, and free addiction aftercare visits for life.

DARA is just one example of a treatment program whose approach reflects the values listed above.

Learn more about DARA >

Taking the First Step

Taking the first step towards recovery is often the hardest. Finding an effective treatment program, and reaching out for help while dealing with an addiction can be overwhelming and intimidating.

We’ve tried to make this first step a little easier by collecting more than 600 centres throughout India and around the world and listing them all on this website.