What is Alcohol Rehab Like?

Alcohol rehab is usually a highly supervised environment during which you attend multiple counseling and educational sessions daily. More on what you can expect during alcohol rehab here.

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Alcohol rehab has been described as an intensive therapeutic experience, like a combination of sleep-away camp and counseling. Read on to find out what to expect during alcohol rehab here. Then, we invite your questions about rehab at the end. We’ll try to respond to your question personally and promptly.

What do alcohol rehabs do?

The main goal of any alcohol rehab program is to help alcoholics understand their problem and give them the knowledge and tools they need to stop drinking. In order to accomplish these goals, alcohol rehab programs use several methods and addiction treatment techniques.

However, the final outcome of an alcohol rehab program will mostly depend on the person. If a person is truly ready for treatment and ready to stop drinking, rehab can be very successful. Otherwise, there’s a good chance for relapse.

Who offers alcohol rehab?

There are a number of different types facilities that offer alcohol rehab, including hospitals, addiction rehabilitation centers, and clinics. Alcohol rehab programs can be completed on either on an inpatient or outpatient basis.

What is inpatient alcohol rehab like?

Inpatient alcohol rehab is like going to summer camp with a crazy set of unpredictable and sensitive personalities. More concretely, inpatient alcohol rehab is a type of live-in center where you spend 24 hours a day under supervision. There is also a list of necessities you should take to rehab and things you shouldn’t bring along. The daily schedule is planned. Attendance in counseling groups, education sessions, and individual counseling is required. You must follow by a set of general rules. And meals are provided.

During a stay in inpatient alcohol rehab, you go through an initial evaluation, which is used to create an individual care plan. Some people may require alcohol detox during the initial stages of alcohol rehab. This is the process of allowing the body to rid itself of alcohol and often results in some uncomfortable side effects, including nausea, vomiting, headaches, insomnia, nervousness, and irritability.

Traditionally, inpatient alcohol rehab programs take roughly 28 days to complete, although some may take longer. After the initial treatment period is completed, however, a person’s addiction treatment is not over. Recovering alcoholics that receive follow-up care are much more likely to maintain sobriety. Follow-up care can last anywhere from several months to several years and usually includes a combination of transitional housing, psychotherapy, and/or regular attendance at support groups.

What is outpatient alcohol rehab like?

Outpatient alcohol rehab does not require a person to check into and stay overnight. Instead, you meet frequently with addiction specialists, often several times per week, individually or in a group setting. Outpatient rehab enables a recovering alcoholic to go about your life normally, while getting the treatment you need.

Outpatient alcohol rehab requires an initial assessment to determine a treatment plan. Outpatient alcohol rehab usually includes individual counseling and therapy sessions, as well as group therapy. Family counseling is also usually offered in outpatient alcohol rehab programs; this helps individuals and their loved ones reconnect and repair the damage that alcohol has caused in their lives.

There is no specific time limit for outpatient alcohol rehab, as everyone responds to it differently. This type of treatment may take several months or years to complete, with the frequency of counseling sessions tapering off over time.

Are you ready for alcohol rehab?

Determining if you’re ready for alcohol rehabilitation can be difficult. Chances are, though, if you’re reading this, you already realize you have a problem and need help. This is the first step toward a successful recovery. The most effective recoveries start with alcoholics that are willing to work hard and want to take charge of their lives.

There are a number of other factors you should consider before determining if you’re ready for alcohol rehab. For instance, addiction treatment can be costly and inpatient rehab will require you to be away from your family and job for at least a month. You should try to make sure that you have support from your loved ones and that your finances are in order.

Questions about alcohol rehab?

Do you still have questions about rehab? Please leave us your questions in the comments section at the end. We’ll do our best to get back to you with a personal reply or to refer you to a specialist who can help you immediately.

Reference Sources: NIAAA: Exploring Treatment Options for Alcohol Use Disorders
California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs: FAQ
State of New York Department of Health: What is addiction Treatment?
NIDA: DrugFacts: Treatment Approaches for Drug addiction
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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  1. It really helped when you said that alcohol detox includes getting rid of side effects such as nausea, vomiting, headaches, insomnia and other symptoms. If I were struggling with alcoholism I would want all of the help I could get when trying to go through a detox. It’s great that there are rehabilitation centers that can help individuals deal with addictions.

  2. Most doctors and therapists these days recognize that it is incredibly unhealthy to quit cold-turkey and will advise against it. Do the outpatient programs require that you quit without tapering off? And I don’t want to have to stay off it forever, I just want for it to not have so much power over me.

    1. Hi KZ. It depends from the outpatient program you choose. Call a toll-free Alcohol Helpline on 1-888-675-1820 to find a high-quality alcohol addiction treatment program. This helpline is accessible 24/7 and gives you the chance to speak with trusted treatment consultants who can help you find an alcohol recovery program suited to your individual needs.

  3. Hi my partner has been in the who’s hunter tc cessnock for almost 1month of a 3 month program he wrote me a letter last week but says he can’t have any contact yet! Why is a letter to me ok but no phone contact allowed? Isn’t a letter classed as “contact”?

    1. Hi, Suellen. You’re right: letter is a written contact form. However, rehabs have different approaches when a patient contacts with the family. Some allow weakly monitored phone calls, others visits after several weeks.

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