What Is Rehabilitation?

Rehabilitation, also called informally as ‘rehab’, is a prominent part of the medical sector, aimed at helping individuals recover after injuries, surgeries, trauma and other forms of events which debilitate an individual. The end goal of rehabilitation is to allow an individual to live independently (that is, without the help of medical aids or other individuals to support him) fully, or at least, to the greatest extent possible.

Based on the reason which debilitated an individual, rehabilitation can be further divided into a number of smaller categories, such as drug rehabilitation, psychiatric rehabilitation, physical rehabilitation (i.e. physical therapy or physiotherapy), vision rehabilitation or vocational rehabilitation.

• Drug rehabilitation – the better known field in rehabilitation, drug rehab aims at reducing addicts’ dependence on unhealthy substances such as alcohol, prescription medicine (i.e. medicine given by a doctor) and other illegal street drugs such as heroin, marijuana and cocaine. Drug abuse is a serious condition with physical, physiological, financial and many other negative consequences. Drug rehabilitation aims to posit these consequences and make the addict come to face with them.

• Psychiatric rehabilitation – psychiatric rehabilitation is aimed to recover the emotional well-being of individuals suffering from traumatic disorders, depression, suicidal thoughts and other similar psychiatric disabilities. It also tackles negative personal traits or behaviours which tend to marginalize individuals or prevent them from fully assimilating in the society. Also known as psych rehab and psychosocial rehabilitation, psychiatric rehabilitation is undertaken by a wide range of professionals, ranging from the psych rehab specialists of the hospital to the school counsellor found in every school.

• Physical rehabilitation – often abbreviated to simply physio or PT, physical rehabilitation is the direct counterpart to psychiatric rehabilitation – it aims to restore the independence of an individual following an injury or surgery which has debilitated the functioning of the body. Physical rehabilitation is also capable of curing certain physical disorders which might otherwise require the need of invasive surgery, such as pains, aches, strains and the like.

• Vision rehabilitation – abbreviated as vision rehab, vision rehabilitation is tasked with the rehabilitation of individuals who have suffered from visual impairments. Under vision rehabilitation, the common visual impairments which can be corrected by the aid of glasses or contact lenses are not included – vision rehabilitation is usually aimed to complete vision loss (i.e. blindness) or impairments heavy enough that they cannot be correct by glasses (i.e. low vision).

• Vocational rehabilitation – vocational or occupational rehabilitation is aimed at helping individuals who cannot find employment, maintain it or return to it due to disabilities which can be functional, emotional, physical, etc. Vocational rehab specialists often assess the reasons as to why the individual cannot be employed, and attempt to overcome these barriers through alternative methods.