Detox Vs. Rehab – What’s the Difference?

You or a loved one may be considering addiction treatment to overcome substance abuse. At this stage, you might be unsure about the difference between detox programs and rehab. It’s possible that you wonder what role each plays in recovery from addiction. This blog post provides an overview of detox vs. rehab and describes what a person can expect when entering into a treatment program.

Drug and Alcohol Addiction

Before comparing detox vs. rehab, it is useful to understand what is meant by drug and alcohol addiction. Substance abuse causes people to become dependent on the substance to feel normal. When they quit, they develop withdrawal symptoms. When a person can no longer control their use of the substance, even if it brings negative consequences, this is an addiction. Both dependency and addiction fall under the category of substance use disorder (SUD).

In 2019, it was reported that 35 million people worldwide suffered from drug use disorders, yet only one in seven people received treatment. Some people receive treatment but not enough. Between 2003 and 2011 in the United States, only 13% of inpatient hospitalizations for drug detoxification resulted in further hospital rehabilitation.

In detox, a substance is removed from a person’s body, and they go through withdrawal. However, if the addiction is left unaddressed, a person may fall back into drug use as soon as they have undergone detox. Addiction is a mental illness that needs direct attention. It is also important to deal with the underlying causes of using drugs in the first place.

Addiction often completely takes over a person’s life, making them use a substance despite all negative consequences, including the loss of valuable and long-lasting relationships with friends or family. The compulsive need to use a drug can lead a person to engage in risky behavior, abandon responsibilities, and place themselves in financial difficulty.

It is a good idea to receive a professional diagnosis to understand whether you need addiction treatment or whether detox alone is sufficient. The type, duration, amount, and frequency of drug or alcohol use, your overall physical and mental health, and your support system may determine whether you need rehab.

The Detox Process

The Detox Process

The detox process refers to ridding the body of addictive substances and toxins. The initial part of a detox process is usually physically challenging and can take a toll on a person both physically and mentally. Detoxing from opioids outside of a medical facility, for example, can be so uncomfortable that a person is very unlikely to complete detox before returning to substance use. Attempting to quit ‘cold turkey’, especially from certain substances such as benzodiazepines and alcohol, can be fatal if done without medical professionals.

The withdrawal process comes with symptoms that are often painful or involve strong cravings for the drug. While withdrawal varies depending on the kind of drug, the amount, and the duration of use, it generally includes flu-like symptoms, sweating, headaches, malaise, or exhaustion. Withdrawal from alcohol can lead to a condition called delirium tremens, which involves immense confusion and weakness. It can be life-threatening, leading to coma or death.

Withdrawal symptoms can be extremely stressful, which is why medical supervision in a detox center or treatment center is always advised. A medical professional can monitor a person’s vital signs and manage their withdrawal symptoms, in some cases with the aid of medicine. Having a medical team at hand 24/7 makes drug detox as safe and as comfortable as possible.

The detox process is intended to cleanse the body of toxic substances. Medical assistance can reduce pain and discomfort, lower anxiety and manage stress levels, and help the body’s immune system regain strength. A detox may help someone gain control over their behavior because it lessens their drug and alcohol cravings.

Drug or alcohol detox essentially lays the foundation for recovery. This is where the ‘real’ work in battling addiction begins. If detox vs rehab were a contest, both would win because each plays an essential part in recovery.

Is Detox Required to Attend Rehab?

Is Detox Required to Attend Rehab?

Detox programs and rehab focus on different objectives. Undergoing detox does not stop someone from using drugs again. It does successfully break the body’s immediate dependency on a drug. A detox process followed by a recovery program is usually needed to achieve long-term sobriety.

A detox program allows a person to regain control of their body, giving them more space to function optimally again. Addressing the physical effects of drug use is often needed for a person to start addressing the underlying factors – or the psychological and emotional consequences – of their substance use. Without detox, rehabilitation may be far away, as the body may continue to malfunction due to the presence of addictive substances.

In some cases, where a person is not physically dependent, or the substance they abused does not require a medical detox, their recovery journey may begin directly with what is known as inpatient or residential treatment.

The frequency and depth of a person’s drug use influence the treatment they need. However, both detox and rehab are generally essential to beating addiction. There is no contest of detox vs. rehab because they are actually two parts of a single, vital process.

Drug Rehab

At the start, medical personnel may evaluate a person’s overall health and design a treatment plan to meet their specific needs. One of the strengths of addiction treatment is that it typically uses a holistic approach focused on healing the whole person. This means that the mind, body, and spirit are cared for.

Rehab focuses on getting to the ‘why’ of addiction so that a person has a solid chance of full recovery. After learning about dependency, a person learns about themselves so that they may regain total wellness and stay sober in the long run.

Rehab lasts longer than detox. Treatment programs may run anywhere between 30, 60, or 90 days. The length of stay usually depends upon the severity of a person’s addiction, their commitment to the rehab process, and their willingness to learn and grow. There are various types of programs, such as inpatient or outpatient treatment or aftercare programs, which vary according to an individual’s needs.

You may attend inpatient treatment at a residential facility; this is rigorous since you will live at the treatment facility 24/7. This may be followed up with outpatient treatment, whereby you reside at home and attend specific therapies at the center.

Most programs also offer aftercare services. Some people may require an aftercare program or to stay in sober living homes to transition back into life outside the treatment facility and continue abstinence. A rehabilitation team can help a person set up a plan that includes where to go for support, back-to-work plans, addressing family issues, and any other concerns a person may have.

While most people seeking treatment wish to overcome addiction as quickly and painlessly as possible, The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and many others have shown that people who fully complete rehab are more likely to achieve and maintain sobriety. A complete investment in the recovery process and long-term treatment produce higher success rates in overcoming addiction.

The main aim of drug and alcohol rehab is to allow a person the time they need to cope with the range of causes behind their addiction and to develop new coping skills to minimize the risk of relapse. It further helps to replace negative habits with healthier ones, which allows a person to maintain their addiction recovery.

What Does an Addiction Treatment Program Entail?

What Does an Addiction Treatment Program Entail?

Apart from detox, a rehab treatment program typically involves various types of therapies. It also includes activities that contribute to health and well-being. Many programs may include activities such as educational lectures or alternative activities like yoga, art and music therapy, and exercise.

Individual Therapy

Drug use is usually treated by individual therapy, typically cognitive behavioral therapy, as part of a treatment program. One-on-one sessions with a therapist allow an individual to identify the underlying causes for their drug use, triggers for returning to drug use, and the skills to respond to these triggers healthily. It helps a person to develop new habits and ways of thinking about themselves and the outside world.

Group Therapy Sessions

In a group setting, these sessions follow 12-step programs and involve sharing experiences, challenges, coping skills, and accomplishments throughout recovery. Group therapy can teach a person how to handle stress, manage emotions, and improve their relationship with others. Group therapy sessions also provide a good support system for maintaining sobriety.

Family Therapy

Family therapy is also part of the recovery process. As substance abuse also affects those surrounding a person suffering from addiction, family therapy is there to help rebuild broken relationships. It involves family members expressing how they have been affected by a loved one’s drug use and serves to improve communication skills and family dynamics. The strengthening of the family unit can greatly support someone in recovery.

Where Can I Find Detox and Rehab?

If you are seeking detox or addiction treatment, NP Addiction Clinic can help. Our highly trained clinical team can provide around-the-clock help, support, and guidance to ensure that your initial detox is as safe and comfortable as possible while additionally treating the underlying cause of your addiction.

By using a variety of treatment modalities that combine specialized, cutting-edge therapeutic techniques with FDA-approved medications, NP Addiction Clinic can address both the medical and behavioral aspects of substance abuse.

Contact us to find out how we can help you. We offer treatment detox and rehab for addictions to alcohol and drugs. Our other services on offer include:

  • Dual diagnosis treatment for co-occurring substance use disorders and mental health disorders.
  • Specialized treatment for substance abuse in pregnancy
  • Treatment for PTSD
  • Treatment for depression
  • Treatment for personality disorders

We know that overcoming addiction is individual and personal. That is why we design an individualized master treatment plan according to your needs. NP Addiction takes the stress of everyday life from your shoulders so that you get the time and space you need to recover and lead a life free from substance abuse.

Begin the first day of the rest of your life

To find out more contact our team


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Samantha Kelly​

Director of National Business Development & Admissions Coordinator

I am a dedicated and passionate professional with extensive experience in business development Admissions and marketing. I have an incredible passion for showing others that there is a light at the end of this dark tunnel if someone truly wants it.
Being in recovery myself I understand the struggles of addiction and alcoholism. I Started this Career path in 2009. With multiple years of experience, I bring a multi-faceted approach and am always seeking new ways to make a difference in the lives of those I work with.

Kim L. Buckner


As a Substance Abuse Motivational Speaker, Pastor, Peer Advocate, and Facilitator. Kim helps clients avoid relapse by understanding their triggers. Those people, places and things that can cause craving, as well as internal triggers like feelings, thoughts, or emotions. Kim also clients with identifying and building healthy relationships now that they’re clean and sober.

Kim’s background includes extensive experience as a motivational speaker and work in faith-based organizations helping youth and adults alike. He says he is motivated by giving back to the community, understanding, and not judging who she comes into contact with. Kim’s favorite quote is by Dr. Raymond Johnson: “The respect given to others rebounds to the giver to deny the scared in the Other is to deny it in oneself.”

Caty Burns


Caty graduated from Indiana University Bloomington in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and minors in Counseling and History. Throughout her undergrad, she worked at the local CASA program, supporting volunteers advocating for children who had experienced abuse and neglect. Caty worked for seven years at a community mental health center (CMHC), partnering with children, adults, and families.

During those seven years, she taught life and coping skills as well as behavior management, provided case management and peer recovery services, and facilitated treatment teams that included the client, family, providers, and community members. I have also worked at an IOP providing group therapy services. She is currently working towards my Master of Social Work.

In her free time, Caty enjoys reading, especially historical fiction, spending time outdoors and having movie nights with her family. Disney World is her happy place, and she dreams of living among the elephants.

Madison Knowles

Mental Health Therapist

My name is Madison Knowles, I am a Mental health therapist at NPAC. I am a single-mother of two and I have a daughter who is globally delayed and has been diagnosed with autism. I have been in this industry since I was 16 years old, as I was fascinated with human behavior. I obtained my masters in applied behavioral analysis and started off working with people with disabilities. I then found my love for counseling when I worked with juveniles who had mental health and substance use issues. I then decided to go back for my mental health therapy license after that and working in a forensic treatment center. I went on to obtain my therapy credentials and since 2017, I have also been working on my PhD in forensic psychology in which I am currently working on my dissertation. I am inspired by change and how resilient people can be. My favorite inspirational quote is “Some will, Some won’t, So what, NEXT!!!” This quote has inspired me to try, try, and try again no matter how hard life gets, someone will give you a chance eventually. As a therapist at NPAC, I have been given the opportunity to work with diverse populations such as in substance use and mental health and I am known for my work with people on the schizophrenic spectrum as well as with other clients with other severe conditions including personality disorders.

Megan Carmona, LMHC

Lead Therapist

Our Lead Therapist, Megan, is a bilingual Licensed Mental Health Counselor who specializes in working with adults who struggle with addiction, anxiety, depression, and trauma. As Lead Therapist, she provides individual, family, and group therapy sessions to our clients.  Megan says “I am very passionate about therapy, especially about supporting my clients in exploring their strengths and identity. My goal is to provide individuals with the tools that can help them achieve independence in coping with their challenges and facilitating personal development.” In her free time, Megan enjoys watching docu-series and playing video games with her family. Her dream is to own acres of land so she can care for vulnerable animals, especially old dogs, cats, and horses. 

Kristen Bensley

Primary Clinician

As Primary Clinician, Kristen works with all aspects of our clinical team, from case management to primary therapy.  She has broad experience working in the mental health field. Prior to joining our team at the Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic, Kristen was part of the team awarded the Evernorth Behavioral Health Center of Excellence Designation by Cigna. She says her motivation is to help people rediscover who they are and become excited about the future and all the possibilities life offers. Kristen’s favorite quote is: “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.”

Ronn Daigle, MSW

Therapist, Utilization Review Clinician

Ronn Daigle services as a Therapist and Utilization Review Clinician at the Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic. He has been working in the field of substance use disorder treatment since 2011, with experience in all facility-based levels of care. Ronn earned, both an Associate of Arts in Psychology (2013) and Bachelor of Science in Human Services, with an Addiction Studies Concentration (2015) from Indian River State College. 

Ronn additionally earned a Master of Social Work degree in 2021 and is a current Registered Clinical Social Work Intern working toward licensure (LCSW). He describes himself as detail oriented, and solution focused.

Ronn says: “There is nothing more fulfilling than working with someone who doesn’t believe in himself or herself, and being there in the moment with them when the belief begins. We work with individuals who come to us at a point and time in their respective lives where they do not believe that change for others is possible; let alone for themselves…throughout the process they eventually come to a point where they realize that change is not only possible, but achievable.”

Erika Melecio, LMHC, MCAP, CEI

Assistant Clinical Director

Erika Melecio, LMHC, MCAP, CEI is the Assistant Clinical Director at Neuropsychiatric Addiction Clinic who specializes in the treatment of LGBTQ, addiction, as well as mental health disorders ranging from depression and anxiety, to Bipolar Disorder, trauma, personality disorders, psychotic disorders, and eating disorders. Erika utilizes a number of modalities including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and Mindfulness amongst others. Erika has been in practice for close to a decade and has earned her license in Mental Health Counseling, as well as being a Master’s Certified Addiction Professional. Erika has worked with many individuals including couples counseling and family therapy, and is fluent in Spanish.
Throughout my years of practice, one of the things I enjoy helping people find is inner peace. Whether you are in the deepest parts of depression, overrun by your anxiety, controlled by your addiction, or there are certain issues in your life that are negatively impacting your ability to function, and have a happy, healthy life, maybe now is the time to talk about it. I am a big believer in empowerment, working hard in therapy, and utilizing different techniques to help you regain that inner peace that may have been lost along the way. I want to work with you as a team because with two people, absolutely everything is possible. I want to be there as a therapist, to help build you up, support you, but also help you be honest with yourself and accountable. At the end of the day, when all is said and done, my biggest goal for you is going to be simple….for you to no longer need my services. Why? Because if you no longer need my services, it means that you have regained your peace, you have regained your strength, you have regained your confidence. It means that you now have the tools to address any issues that try to derail you, and best of all, you will have the insight to overcome and thrive. So let’s begin this journey together, and get you to the place you want to be, emotionally, mentally, psychologically, and in your sobriety.

Aurelio Ayuso, MSW, LCSW, CAP, ICADC

Clinical Director

Aurelio has worked with those that suffer from the disease of addiction in adults and juveniles alike for over 10 years, beginning in the United States Navy where he proudly served for 20 years, working with those that were succumbed by addiction due to trauma and continuing his passion for helping those in need locally in Central Florida.

He specializes in both Addictions and Trauma, he has worked first as a therapist then as the clinical supervisor to both the Juvenile and Adult Drug Court programs in Brevard County. Aurelio has been instrumental in developing substance abuse treatment programs directly tailored to help those that also suffer from complex trauma due to their addiction. He has been recognized by several organizations for his forward thinking and ability to tailor treatment to individuals in the most restrictive environments.

Mr. Ayuso received his Graduate Degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of Central Florida in Orlando. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker as well as Certified Addictions Professional in the State of Florida, and Internationally Certified Alcohol & Drug Counselor. Aurelio specializes in the treatment of Addiction, Trauma, and Abandonment using strength based strategies deeply rooted in Solution Focused, and Mindfulness Therapies. At the Neuropsychiatric Addiction Clinic he passionately develops holistic curriculums that foster the belief that through addressing the mind, body, and spirit together, the Disease of Addiction can be addressed successfully.

Robert Lehmann, MHSA

Chief Operating Officer

Bob Lehmann is the Chief Operating Officer at the Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic. He has a Master’s Degree in Human Services Administration with a concentration in Mental Health Administration and over twenty-five years of experience as a senior executive at addiction and mental health treatment facilities.

One of the reasons for his commitment to excellence in addiction treatment was his experience related to family members who suffered from the disease of addiction. Bob has been actively involved in community organizations throughout his career. Recently he was one of the founders of the Florida Addiction Treatment Coalition (FATC) and is its present Vice President. FATC was designed to bring together treatment executives in Florida to advocate on behalf of treatment facilities and the clients they serve adhering to a foundation of integrity and service excellence.

Jose R. Toledo, M.D.

Medical Director

A well-rounded and accomplished individual, Jose R. Toledo, M.D., is the Medical Director of Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic.

Dr. Toledo is a neurologist with 25 years of experience and has been in private practice since 1991 on the Treasure Coast of Florida. He completed his neurology training at the State University of New York and his Fellowship training at the University of Pittsburgh in Epilepsy and Clinical Neurophysiology.

He also completed 24 months of acute inpatient psychiatry at the Western Missouri Mental Health Center, University of Missouri in Kansas City. In 2008, Dr. Toledo participated in and was certified in the continuing medical education activity entitled “Buprenorphine and Office-Based Treatment of Opioid Dependence” from The Medical University of South Carolina during which began his quest to found and head Neuropsychiatric Addiction Clinic.

Dr. Toledo is a brain specialist with particular competence in addiction medicine and out-patient detoxification treatment and integrates the fields seamlessly. He is certified to prescribe Buprenorphine (Suboxone). He incorporates his background in neurology into the addiction field. Dr. Toledo is member/fellow of The American Medical Association, The Florida Medical Association and The American Society of Addiction Medicine