Alcohol rehab treatment centers: What’s included?

A guideline of what services are included in the cost of alcohol rehab and treatment for alcoholism. More here.

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Looking for alcohol rehab info?

If you are considering checking yourself (or a loved one) into alcohol rehab and are wondering what to expect from alcohol rehab treatment, you are in the right place. Rest assured that you will find useful information here about the main services and costs of alcohol rehab treatment centers. But, first of all, how can you make sure that you are actually in need of one?

Assessing alcohol problems

Before you enter rehab, specific screening tests should be completed. These will usually include a combination of an initial screening stage, a problem assessment, and a personal assessment. Assessments can be performed by license clinical psychotherapists, licensed clinical social workers, or medical doctors. These mental health and medical professionals use standards set up in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) which is published by the American Psychiatric Association.

To get started, you’ll need to determine the stage of alcoholism with the help of a medical professional. This process is crucial in order to treat the physical dependency. While detoxing your body from alcohol, you may experience quite severe withdrawal symptoms. If so, you need to be under medical surveillance and assisted when necessary. Whether you opt for inpatient or outpatient treatment, make sure you consult a medical professional beforehand.

While many tools exist to assess drinking problems, the National Institutes of Health currently recognizes the following for use in identifying drinking problems:

  • CRAFFT (Part A)
  • AUDIT – C
  • CAGE – AID
  • NIDA Drug Use Screening Tool

An alcohol use disorder is usually detected during the first two stages of assessment; while the third stage is crucial for your treatment planning process so as to make sure ensure that treatment truly matches your individual needs.

While each individual has different needs, there are some general rules that apply to rehab, so we hope that the following will come in handy in case you consider undergoing treatment. At the end, we invite your questions and comments about your expectations of alcohol rehab treatment centers.

The basics of alcohol rehab treatment centers

There are two basic options when it comes to alcohol rehab programs: either you reside in a rehab treatment center for inpatient treatment or you attend an outpatient center from home. For patients with severe alcohol dependency, the inpatient treatment is preferable, while those with milder drinking problems are somewhat flexible since they may not need to be monitored 24/7.

Inpatient alcohol rehab centers are medically managed treatment facilities that provide staff supervision 24 hours a day. Medical supervision is provided 24/7 during the detox stage. Patients are assessed within a day of admission, and are continuously monitored and given medications if necessary. During a stay inpatient rehab, people spend a great deal of time in individual and group therapy sessions. The duration of a treatment depends largely on a person’s individual needs and may last from few months to a year.

Outpatient alcohol rehab centers are suitable for those who do not need to be observed and monitored on a daily basis, and are can find transportation to the clinic for a daily/weekly therapy sessions. Outpatient centers also provide initial stabilization, biomedical assessments and intervention if necessary, and are less pricey than inpatient centers.

Alcohol rehab treatment costs

Inpatient alcohol rehabs cost, on average, about $700 per day, or $20K per treatment episode for a 28 day stay.

Outpatient alcohol rehab centers cost under $200 per day, and final cost will depend on length of treatment.

The final fee for an alcohol rehab center covers everything from:

  • intervention
  • personnel
  • room and board (inpatient)
  • medications
  • training costs
  • therapy costs
  • facilities
  • other miscellaneous items

While the costs will vary from one facility to another, what’s common is that inpatient treatment is more costly than outpatient treatment. However, research has shown that not necessarily more expensive means more effective.

While inpatient treatment may seem pretty expensive at first, it should be taken into consideration that alcoholism is a chronic disease which means that many individuals will require multiple treatments over the course of a lifetime. To be more precise, when calculating the cost, it is important to look at the big picture and decide if a more expensive inpatient treatment will reduce the number of needed treatments over the long run. It is of crucial importance that the rehab program is tailored to the individual needs, especially if getting out of an unhealthy environment is crucial to sobriety.

Alcohol rehab treatment stages

What are the stages you go through in order to fully recover from alcoholism? There are three (3) main stages, namely:

1. The early stage of alcohol rehab treatment: The focus is on getting the toxins out of the body, dealing with cravings and remaining sober. During this stage, people are likely to experience emotional fragility, ambivalence, denial and as a consequence provoke a relapse. Individual and group therapy sessions are crucial in this early stage for achieving long term goals.

2. Middle stage alcohol rehab treatment: Once the withdrawal symptoms subside and the cravings for alcohol become less stron, people can experience strong emotions as they need to “digest” the “break up” with alcohol. Some drinkers get strongly tied to alcohol and those will certainly find it hard to break this tie and come to terms with the loss. During this stage, the focus of the therapies is on recognizing the damaging nature of alcohol and finding a healthy substitute.

3. Late alcohol rehab treatment stage: The focus shifts from alcohol abuse to acknowledging the gains from “the break up”. During this stage, former drinkers are taught how to continue living and maintaining sobriety, and are provided with useful tips about dealing with guilt and shame and starting over without alcohol.

Alcohol rehab treatment low cost

There are people who are aware that they have a drinking problem and are in need of a rehab treatment, but cannot afford one. Luckily, there are some facilities that offer low cost treatment based on several factors. Check the SAMHSA’s Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator at to find facilities that offer free or reduced cost treatment. You can sort through the “sliding scale” centers by state of zip code.

Alcohol rehab treatment centers questions

Do you still need clarifications about alcohol rehab treatment centers? Please let us know in the comment section below, and we will do our best to get back to you personally and promptly.

Reference sources: NIDA: Chart of screening assessments
NCBI: Detoxification and substance abuse treatment
SAMHSA Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 41
NIAAA: Assessing Alcohol
NIAAA: Cost research on alcoholism treatment
SAMHSA: Free treatment available
SAMHSA: Alcohol and drug treatment: How it works


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.
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