How Do Alcohol and Drug Rehab Programmes Differ?

Addiction is a complex disease, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution

Different addictions require different approaches to treatment. In this blog post, our Houghton House Professional team will discuss the differences between alcohol and drug rehab.

The main difference between alcohol and drug rehab programmes is the substance that’s being treated. Alcohol rehab programmes are specifically designed to help people who are struggling with alcoholism, while drug rehab programmes are designed to help people who are addicted to drugs.

One major difference between alcohol and drug addiction treatment

The social stigma surrounding each is very different. Alcohol is a socially acceptable substance, so identifying an alcohol addiction can be more difficult than identifying a drug addiction. Many people with drug addictions may also fear getting in trouble for seeking help since many controlled drugs are illegal.

Alcohol and drug rehabilitation programmes are similar but also different in many ways. Programs for alcoholism or substance addiction may provide a variety of services, depending on an individual’s particular needs. Alcohol rehab programmes typically focus on cognitive-behavioral therapies, such as 12 step programs, while drug rehab facilities usually have more intensive approaches. Both types of treatment strive to help individuals find the resources to recover from substance abuse and maintain sobriety in the long-term.

The main difference between alcohol and drug rehab programmes is the substance that's being treated.

Because of the intricate characteristics of the affliction, a single remedy cannot address all cases of addiction. Therefore, diverse addictions may necessitate distinct techniques. In this piece, we discuss into the contrasts between rehabilitation for alcohol reliance and rehabilitation for substance abuse.

Addiction is an incredibly intricate condition and no two people are similar. Consequently, treatment can be different for those with the same addiction, since it needs to be tailored to each individual.

However, there are also some other key differences between these two types of treatment programmes. Let’s take a closer look:

1. Detoxification Process

One of the first steps in addiction treatment is detoxification, which is the process of removing the substance from the body. However, the detox process can be different for alcohol and drug addiction.

Alcohol withdrawal can be dangerous and even life-threatening in some cases, so alcohol detox is typically done in a medically supervised setting. Patients may be given medication to help manage their symptoms, and their vital signs will be closely monitored.

Drug detox, on the other hand, may be done on an outpatient basis or in a residential setting, depending on the severity of the addiction. While there may still be some discomfort during the detox process, drug withdrawal is generally not as dangerous as alcohol withdrawal.

Detoxification Process

2. Treatment Approaches

While both alcohol and drug rehab programmes share many of the same treatment approaches, there are some differences in how these approaches are implemented.

For example, alcohol rehab programmes may place more emphasis on cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) and other forms of talk therapy, since alcoholism often has underlying emotional and psychological factors.

Drug rehab programmes may focus more on medication-assisted treatment (MAT), which involves using medication to help manage withdrawal symptoms and cravings. MAT may be used in conjunction with talk therapy and other forms of behavioural therapy.

3. Length of Treatment

The length of alcohol and drug rehab programmes can also differ. Alcohol rehab programmes may be shorter, since alcohol withdrawal tends to be shorter and less severe than drug withdrawal. However, the length of treatment will ultimately depend on the individual’s needs and progress.

4. Support Services

Another difference between alcohol and drug rehab programmes is the type of support services that are available. Alcohol rehab programmes may offer more family therapy and support, since alcoholism can have a significant impact on family dynamics.

Drug rehab programmes may offer more vocational training and job placement services, since drug addiction can often lead to employment problems.

5. Relapse Prevention

Finally, relapse prevention strategies may also differ between alcohol and drug rehab programmes. Alcohol rehab programmes may focus more on helping patients develop coping skills to deal with triggers like stress and social situations, while drug rehab programmes may place more emphasis on avoiding high-risk situations and environments.

Getting Help

At Houghton House Rehab, we focus less on the substance of choice and more on the root cause behind the addiction. We offer a wide range of treatments designed to target different aspects of addiction, including individual intervention, group therapy, the 12-step program, cognitive-behavioral therapy, motivational interventions, and family support.

Seeking assistance can be a difficult step but it is an essential one on the path to recovery. There are various forms of support out there which can provide individuals with the necessary tools they need to overcome their addiction and go on to have a healthier, happier life.

Houghton-House-drug-rehab Getting Help

To start, one of the main disparities between alcohol and drug addiction treatments is how social approval can thwart many individuals from asking for assistance.

Although alcohol is allowed, many people battling addictions are afraid of the consequences if they reveal their struggles and do not reach out for assistance.

In our society, drinking alcohol is commonly accepted, with binging on weekends as something of a regular occurrence. Sadly, this results in it being harder to spot an alcohol addiction, even when its signs are right in front of us.

Society tends to make drinking alcohol seem less serious than using drugs, meaning many people don’t recognize how serious their alcohol addiction is and neglect obtaining the treatment required.

The lack of understanding surrounding prescription drug addiction means that many people do not realize the associated risks, as it has been given to them by a medical professional. Just like any other drug, though, abusing prescription medication can have considerable consequences.

Alcohol vs Drug Detox

When a person is dealing with addiction, it can be crucial to understand the differences between alcohol detox and drug detox. This is important because the approaches for treatment of these two types of addictions are not quite the same. Alcohol intoxication needs to be managed differently than other substance abuse issues, as do their respective withdrawal periods.

During detox, treatments vary greatly; different substances can cause distinct withdrawal symptoms. In the case of alcohol, medical supervision is usually necessary as it might be potentially fatal.

In comparison, drug withdrawal symptoms may not be as intense, but can still cause uneasiness and need medical care.

Alcohol withdrawal can produce both psychological and physical effects, whereas cannabis withdrawal is more likely to yield only psychological symptoms.

Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal

The physical symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can be quite varied. Some people experience agitation, anxiety, headaches, insomnia, nausea and sweating as they attempt to stop or significantly reduce their drinking. Other symptoms include tremors, confusion, irregular heart-beat and seizures in more serious cases.


Anxiety can be a debilitating and isolating emotion, affecting the way we think, act and feel. It leaves us feeling apprehensive and panicked, sabotaging our attempts to socialize or reach our goals. This type of fear has the power to immobilize us, halting progress in our personal and professional lives.

Mood Changes

If you experience low moods or changes in your mood, it may be an indication of a mental health problem. Mood alterations can range from extreme lows to towering highs and may feel like a rollercoaster of emotions.


Nausea is an unpleasant feeling that can be caused by a wide range of medical issues. It is usually accompanied by vomiting and dizziness and can cause discomfort. People suffering from nausea often feel queasy and may become nauseated for no apparent reason.

Sleep deprivation

Sleep deprivation can have a very serious effect on a person’s physical and mental health. Not getting enough sleep can lead to fatigue, irritability, depression, difficulty focusing and can even increase the risk of certain illnesses.

is your body’s way of cooling down as you heat up. As you exercise, your body temperature rises and your sweat glands produce sweat. Your body uses the evaporation of sweat from your skin as a way to lower its temperature and cool down.

Aches and pains

Aches and pains can be bothersome, but they can also be a warning sign from your body that

something might not be working properly. Aches and pains should not

be taken lightly; it is important to listen to what your body is telling you

and to take the proper steps to ensure that your health remains in top shape.

Shakes and Retching

Heaving, vomiting and gagging are some of the symptoms of retching. It is an unpleasant reflex that involves a series of spasms in his throat to expel food or fluid from your stomach. Retching often accompanies other gastrointestinal discomfort such as nausea.


Seizures can occur suddenly and without warning. They are often caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain. Seizures may range from brief lapses of consciousness to convulsions and loss of muscle control.

Delirium Tremens

Delirium tremens is a serious medical condition that can be very dangerous. It is caused by sudden withdrawal from alcohol, and it can lead to a variety of physical and psychological symptoms. It can be life-threatening if not treated quickly and properly.

Symptoms of Cannabis Withdrawal

Cannabis withdrawal can cause a range of symptoms, including irritability, insomnia, decreased appetite, restlessness and cravings. It is common for people who have been using cannabis for an extended period of time to experience several of these symptoms when trying to withdraw from the drug.

Sleep problems

Sleep is a very important part of our daily lives and if we don’t get enough sleep it can have a serious impact on our health and wellbeing. Insomnia, narcolepsy, sleep apnea and other sleep disorders can prevent us from getting the rest that our bodies need. Poor quality or inadequate amounts of sleep can lead to fatigue, stress, depression and an inability to concentrate.

Anxiety and restlessness

Anxiety and restlessness can be debilitating and they can prevent us from living our lives to the fullest. Anxiety can stop us from achieving our goals and living the life we want, which is why it’s so important to work on managing and alleviating these feelings.

Irritability and anger

Irritability and anger can oftentimes be the result of

exhaustion, confusion, and being overwhelmed.

When someone is withdrawing from alcohol, medical attention and support are necessary to make sure the withdrawal of the substance is safe and comfortable.

Depending on the type and severity of an addiction, individuals with alcohol addictions may need to undergo a controlled detox to manage any withdrawal symptoms.

Those struggling with drug addiction may benefit from drugs like benzodiazepines, antidepressants, and clonidine to reduce their withdrawal signs.

How Treatment for Drug and Alcohol Addiction Differs

Treatment for alcohol and drug addiction differs in a number of ways. The primary difference is the structure and purpose of each type. Alcohol treatment is designed to help individuals identify problematic drinking behaviors, while drug addiction requires a more intensive program of care. Treatments may include counseling, therapy, education, lifestyle changes, support groups, 12-step programs and medications.

At Houghton House Rehab, our inpatient programme focuses in on the underlying causes of the addiction, rather than just the substance.

Everyone’s root cause of addiction differs, which we understand. As a result, the approach to treatment can be unique for each individual, regardless of whether they are addicted to alcohol or a single drug.

We provide a great variety of approaches tailored to the unique needs of each addiction. Treatments may include:

Individual Intervention

Individual intervention is an important aid in the treatment of various kinds of mental illnesses. It can help people to gain a better understanding of their own emotions, thoughts and behaviours and can also assist them in managing their symptoms.

Individual intervention involves personalized sessions that delve into the person’s psychology, catalysts for their addiction, and background. Looking into the source of the problem can assist in helping them comprehend their emotions and thoughts.

Group Therapy

Group Therapy is a type of therapy where multiple people, who are facing similar challenges, meet together to discuss and support each other. In this type of therapy, each individual will be able to learn from hearing the experiences of other participants. Everyone in a group therapy session can gain insight into their own issues and make positive changes in themselves through understanding the experiences of others.

Group Therapy at houghton House Rehab

Group therapy is a great way for individuals in rehab to tackle similar issues together. These sessions are supervised by experienced professionals and held in a secure, therapeutic setting.

Benefits of Group Therapy

Group therapy can provide an individual with many advantages. Its supportive atmosphere offers a safe place to explore and process challenging issues. Participants are able to benefit from the shared experiences and insights of those involved in the group, as well as feeling less isolated and more connected. Additionally, individuals can learn new coping strategies from their peers that may help them manage their situations more effectively.

Building bonds and spending time with family is an important part of bonding.

Alleviating isolation

At this present time, when so many people are feeling isolated, it has never been more important to find ways to reduce feelings of isolation. We must take steps to help those who are struggling with loneliness, and aim to build bridges between people so that everyone feels connected.

Sharing experiences

One of the most enjoyable parts of living is being able to share our life experiences with others. Experiencing things together can create lasting memories and bring people closer. Making these moments happen often requires taking a chance and opening yourself up to new experiences, but it can be so rewarding when you do.


Providing motivation to remain abstinent from drugs or alcohol is the sole responsibility of family and friends. The people who care for the individual in question have to be the ones to keep them on track. They have to be the ones that provide encouragement and support.

These techniques are put in place to get rid of bad habits and foster beneficial alterations.

12-Steps Therapy

12-Steps Therapy is a type of group therapy that helps individuals who are struggling with addiction. It also helps those suffering from depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions. This therapeutic approach utilizes 12 specific steps to help individuals work through their struggles in a way that works for them. In this form of therapy, members participate in support groups to learn coping strategies and build a support system.

The 12 step programme

The 12 step programme is an invaluable code of conduct to promote healing. It has been proven to be an effective method for recovery.

This approach aids individuals in recognizing their issues, making them aware that there is a solution available. It also encourages candidness about past mistakes and how to improve behaviour and thinking to keep from relapsing.

sponsor at the Best Rehab near me -Houghton House as your choice of Rehab in South Africa

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) Approaches

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a psychotherapeutic approach which aims to improve mental health. It helps individuals to reduce their distress and modify problematic behaviours by changing their thought patterns and beliefs. CBT focuses on the idea that our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours are interconnected, and how these elements can be altered in order to reach certain goals.

CBT is a type of psychotherapy that utilises psychological principles to help individuals link their thoughts, emotions and behaviours. By providing them with the necessary resources, it empowers them to effectively manage their addiction day-to-day.

By using CBT, people are presented the opportunity to investigate the psychological motivations for their activities and conduct, as well as how their thought processes and cocaine addiction are associated. This facilitative setting helps them to replace unfavourable patterns and construct healthier behaviours.

Motivational Interventions

Motivational interventions are a type of intervention that is designed to help individuals increase their motivation. These interventions aim to encourage and inspire people to do more and be motivated in their goals and ambitions.

This therapy is designed to enhance one’s motivation to implement positive changes and take action that will lead to more rewarding life choices.

Family Support

The support of family can be extremely important for someone in need. It is invaluable to have the support of family when it comes to difficult times.

Studies have demonstrated that when family are involved in the rehabilitation process, the individual in question experiences greater success and more positive long-term results, due to them being provided with additional support.

Family support in treatment is designed to provide care and comfort for both the individual and their family members. It facilitates difficult conversations through visitation and communication, as well as providing emotional support for those in the midst of recovery.

Some people may need to use all of these therapies during their treatment, while others might only have to make use of a few. Ultimately, our goal is to eliminate negative behaviors and promote healthy, positive changes in individuals with addiction.

At Houghton House Rehab, we offer a comprehensive approach to treating alcohol and drug addiction. We provide personalized programs that are tailored to the individual’s needs, with the aim of addressing both the physical and psychological aspects of substance abuse. Our programs are designed to help those suffering from addiction to break free from these destructive habits and reclaim their lives.

If you feel that you are struggling with a drug or alcohol problem, please don’t delay in contacting us at Houghton House Rehab. Our team of experts can provide you with a confidential consultation.

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