Rehabilitation or "rehab" programs traditionally consist of following basic treatment elements: abstinence, your initial evaluation, learning about your addiction, group counseling, AA or another 12 step program, individual counseling and family counseling.

The medical professionals at a drug rehab center should determine the correct treatment for the addict as an individual, as no single treatment is right for every addict. Effective treatment should attend to the multiple needs of the addict and also address the behavioral and psychological needs of the addict as well.

Abstinence is crucial, it seems that as long as the substance is in the blood stream, thinking remains distorted. Often during the first days or weeks of total abstinence, the addict will see a gradual clearing of thinking processes. This is a complex psychological and biological phenomenon, and is one of the elements that inpatient programs are able to provide by making sure the addict is fully detoxified and remains abstinent during his or her stay.

As addictions progress, addict’s relationships deteriorate in quality. However, the bonds between addicts in a recovery setting are widely recognized as one of the few forces powerful enough to keep recovery on track. The rehab experience, whether it is inpatient or outpatient involves in-depth sharing and bonding in a group setting. This kind of sharing creates strong interpersonal bonds among group members. These bonds will help to form a support system that will be powerful enough to sustain the individual during the first months of abstinence.