A brief overview of the purpose of rehab and its goals. More here on who, when, why and how to go to rehab, with a section for your questions at the end.

minute read

The purpose of rehab is to treat substance abuse disorders. Rehab, or rehabilitation, is a step by step process that provides addicts with information, resources and support to overcome chemical dependency and reintegrate back into a healthy life. There are three goals of drug or alcohol rehab programs.

  1. Reducing substance abuse or achieving a substance-free life
  2. Maximizing multiple aspects of life functioning
  3. Preventing or reducing the frequency and severity of relapse

Rehab overview

Many addicts worry about how rehab will affect their lives. Will they have to stay in a treatment facility, will they see their family, what will happen to their job, friends, relationships etc. Thankfully, there are answers to these questions and more in this article. Read on for more about rehab, why it’s important, how long it takes and they different types available to you or your family on their journey to recovery. Then, we invite your questions about rehab at the end.

Q: Who should consider a rehab center?

A: Anyone who’s having problems with drugs or alcohol.

Anyone who wants to kick a drug or alcohol habit should consider rehab. Studies have found that those who spend time in rehab programs achieve better rates of long-term sobriety. In fact, the greater the amount of time engaged with addiction support services, the greater the rate of success in kicking the addiction.

Q: What are different types of rehabs?

A: Rehab is mainly distinguished by inpatient or outpatient treatment.

Rehabilitation programs based in inpatient rehab centers or outpatient rehab centers. Local support groups, extended care centers, recovery or sober houses, addiction counseling, mental health, and medical care complement rehab. Some rehab centers offer age and gender-specific programs.

Inpatient rehab – Residential programs usually last from 3 to 6 weeks, and address acute withdrawal (detox), psychological motivations, and life skills. Inpatient rehab is a good option for those that need a change of environment to support drug abstinence and recovery.

Outpatient rehab – Outpatient rehab centers teach skills development and offer psycho-educational groups, process-oriented recovery groups, or interpersonal process groups to support addiction recovery. Outpatient rehab is a good choice for highly motivated individual who can maintain sobriety while at home and/or who are working.

Q: Why are rehab centers so important?

A: You can live the life you’ve always wanted.

Rehab is important because addiction is complex and often affects more than one aspect of your life. Through rehab programs, an addict can begin to build the life they always wanted in a controlled and supported way.

Let’s verify your coverage for treatment at an American Addiction Centers location. Your information is kept 100% confidential.


Q: What types of addictions are treated in rehab?

A: Chemical addictions or process addictions.

The most common types of addictions treated in rehab programs are addiction to alcohol, illicit drugs, prescription drug addiction, and co-occurring mental health disorders (anxiety, depression, trauma, etc.). However, there is growing interested in so called “compulsive disorders” such as shopping, sex, or internet addictions.

Q: How long do you stay in rehab?

A: At least 28 days, but sometimes up to a year.

There isn’t a set period of time that applies to everyone in rehabilitation. Everyone is different with different needs. An individual’s history with addiction, and any other health conditions such as depression, anxiety, physical health, emotional or spiritual needs, will also determine which programs are best suited for rehabilitation and how long a person is involved with the rehab process. A general rehab timeline follows:

Short term rehab (90 days or fewer) — Typically, 30-90 days of non-acute care in a setting with treatment services for alcohol and other drug abuse and dependency.

Long term rehab (more than 90 days) — Typically, three to six months of supervisory care in a setting with treatment services for alcohol and other drug abuse and dependency; this may include transitional living arrangements such as halfway houses. Long term rehab can be extended up to a year, or more, as needed.

Q: Where do rehab programs take place?

A: It depends. Hospitals, clinics, specific centers, or even strip malls host rehabs.

Rehab facilities can be found in many community centers and hospitals. However, if you want a more private, secluded rehab experience, private rehab centers can help. While these centers may be slightly more expensive, the customized and personalized care is unmatched. You receive your own room or building in which to reside while your rehabilitation and recovery take place. The food can be gourmet, and the centers are usually located in a remote yet beautiful area.

Q: Why doesn’t everyone choose to go to rehab?

A: One word = cost.

Many families cannot afford the ongoing cost of rehab programs and opt for more short term, community based programs such as detox and halfway houses. In fact, addiction rehab programs range in price substantially from place to place. The cost depends on a variety of things, such as whether the rehab is inpatient or outpatient, what is included, location and privacy. Within the United States, low cost rehab options can start at $2,500 to $7,500 per month for in patient support. Some of the more luxury rehabs can cost $120,000 or more a month.

Get Personalized Addiction Treatment Text Support

Receive 24/7 text support right away and at your convenience. There is no obligation to enter treatment and you can opt out at any time.

Want to get help, but not ready to talk? Instead, sign up for text support to receive:
  • Resources about addiction and recovery
  • Information about our treatment process
Reference sources: Substance Abuse: Clinical Issues in Intensive Outpatient Treatment, Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 47.
State of Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs
National Criminal Justice Reference Service
U.S. Department of Justice DEA
SAMHSA: A Guide to Substance Abuse Services for Primary Care Clinicians. Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 24. Chapter 5—Specialized Substance Abuse Treatment Programs
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
I am ready to call
i Who Answers?