Inpatient Rehab

Inpatient rehab is usually the most effective way to begin treatment for alcohol or drug addiction. Also known as residential rehab, this level of care provides structure, support, safety and around-the-clock supervision. The longer that a person receives inpatient treatment, the more likely he or she is to avoid relapse.
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Most people who have an addiction to alcohol or other drugs benefit from inpatient rehab. During inpatient treatment, clients are surrounded by support services. At quality inpatient facilities, clients safely detox from the substance that they’re addicted to. Next, they transition to individual counseling sessions, group therapy and other treatment services. They live in a safe environment and have access to nurses and other health professionals. “Inpatient rehab is a necessary part of recovery as this is where patients may finish their detox and begin the education and therapy necessary for recovery,” Dr. Kevin Wandler, chief medical officer of Advanced Recovery Systems, told “Oftentimes the building blocks of recovery are first introduced at this level of care.” Residential treatment centers shield people in the early stages of recovery from threats to their health. Clients aren’t exposed to outside stressors or triggers. They learn and practice recovery skills before they’re tested in the real world.

What Happens During Inpatient Rehab?

Inpatient rehab usually begins with medical detox. During inpatient detox, doctors and nurses help clients overcome withdrawal in a comfortable and safe environment. Detox isn’t easy, but addiction specialists can provide some medications and services to make the process more bearable.

Marta Nelson of Advanced Recovery Systems provides an overview of an average daily schedule at a rehab facility.

After detox, patients transition to therapy. They’ll attend individual counseling sessions once or twice a week and daily group therapy sessions. Some types of drug addiction can also be managed with medication-assisted treatment.
Types of therapies used during inpatient treatment include:
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Dialectic behavioral therapy
  • Contingency management
  • Motivational interviewing
Many treatment plans include educational sessions, exercise, holistic treatments and support group facilitation. Combined, these services help individuals learn to live without alcohol or other drugs. Daily treatment schedules vary by facility and patient, but the sample schedule below provides a broad overview of what an average day during inpatient rehab looks like.
Inpatient Daily Schedule
7:00 a.m. Wakeup
7:30 a.m. Breakfast
8:15 a.m. Morning Medication and Chores
9:20 a.m. Group Goals and Daily Goals Meeting
10:00 a.m. Primary Caseload Group
12:00 p.m. Lunch with Therapist
1:15 p.m. Nutrition and Wellness Group
2:45 p.m. Back to Basics
4:00 p.m. Gym & Recreation Time
5:00 p.m. Dinner
6:00 p.m. Reflection Time
7:00 p.m. AA or NA Meeting
10:00 p.m. End of Day
Many treatment plans include scheduled breaks and recreational time. Some facilities also allow friends and family to visit when it is appropriate.

Marta Nelson of Advanced Recovery Systems explains when it’s appropriate for friends and family members to visit a loved one during addiction treatment.

Who Needs Inpatient Rehab?

It’s important to detox in a safe environment because withdrawal from alcohol and certain drugs can be life-threatening. Anyone who is likely to experience serious withdrawal symptoms should detox at an inpatient facility. People who have struggled to quit using alcohol or other drugs on their own and people who have relapsed in the past should seek inpatient treatment for addiction. Medical professionals and mental health counselors create personalized treatment plans designed to give all patients the resources they need to avoid relapse. Those who live in high-risk environments should also begin rehab at a residential facility. Trying to rehab with outpatient treatment may put them at a higher risk for relapse. Inpatient rehab gives you a chance to change your daily routine and habits.
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Preparing for Inpatient Rehab

Going to inpatient rehab is a big step for people recovering from addiction. Therapists and counselors will teach you the skills that you need to maintain recovery, but you can take steps before entering rehab to increase your chances of long-term success.
Some tips on how to prepare for inpatient rehab include:
  • Accept that what happens in rehab is challenging but necessary.
  • Learn about your treatment facility and make sure it’s the right one for you.
  • Bring comfort items.
  • Mentally prepare for withdrawal symptoms.
  • Be open to talking about your emotions and experiences.
  • Think about long-term goals.
The most important components of recovery from addiction are faith and commitment. You have to believe that you can recover, and you must be willing to work hard during substance abuse treatment to reach your goals. Inpatient Rehab Fact from Dr. Kevin Wandler

How to Choose an Inpatient Rehab Center

Many inpatient facilities specialize in specific types of addiction. Some are unequipped to treat co-occurring mental health disorders. Many facilities provide inpatient treatment for 30 days. Others offer treatment plans that last multiple months, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. It’s important for people seeking treatment to make sure that they choose a facility that provides the type of treatment that they need.
Factors to consider when choosing an inpatient rehab facility include:
  • Types of addictions the facility treats
  • Types of therapy that are available
  • Length of treatment that’s available
  • Treatment services for co-occurring disorders such as depression
  • Aftercare and sober living options
  • Peer support philosophy
  • Licensing and accreditation
  • Payment options and insurance coverage
  • Location
For many people, the cost of drug rehab, the facility’s location and insurance coverage are the most important factors. Many people can’t afford to pay for treatment without help from insurance. Some people want to travel to a new location to begin their recovery, and others want to be close to home. If you have struggled to stop using drugs or alcohol on your own, inpatient rehab can help you. You’ll receive medical support in a safe environment and learn the skills that you need to live a happy and fulfilling life in recovery. Medical Disclaimer: aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.
Chris Elkins, MA
Senior Content Writer,
Chris Elkins worked as a journalist for three years and was published by multiple newspapers and online publications. Since 2015, he’s written about health-related topics, interviewed addiction experts and authored stories of recovery. Chris has a master’s degree in strategic communication and a graduate certificate in health communication.

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