Inpatient rehab

Inpatient rehab basics: What to expect, how much it costs, and where to find more information on getting help for addiction. Plus, a section at the end for your questions.

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Reviewed by: Dr. Manish Mishra, MBBS


ARTICLE SUMMARY: Inpatient rehab is a residential setting that provides a variety of therapies to help people cope with substance abuse disorder. What can you expect during a stay in rehab? How much does it cost? This article reviews what to look for in a reputable rehab and how to prepare for a stay.


  1. Definition
  2. Why Do People Need Rehab?
  3. Privacy
  4. Is It Effective?
  5. Average Costs
  6. How Can I Pay?
  7. What to Expect
  8. How Long?
  9. What to Bring
  10. Luxury Programs
  11. What To Look For
  12. The Selection Process
  13. Is It for Me?
  14. Making the Most of It
    More Questions?


A: Inpatient rehabs are residential facilities that provides treatment and rehabilitation services to people who have abused or become addicted to alcohol or drugs. Inpatient programs offer a structured and supervised environment away from regular home environments.

Moreover, inpatient settings offer a huge variety of addiction therapies that can be adjust to your individual needs. Suggested reading on inpatient programs here:

In 2016, 1 in 13 people aged 12 or older needed addiction treatment.


A: People need rehab because they cannot quit drugs or alcohol on their own. Anyone diagnosed with a substance use disorder can restart their life with the help of rehab.

According to the National Survey on Drug Abuse and Health in 2016, this applies to the 22.5 million Americans aged 12 or older who had a substance use disorders. The numbers are divided into two categories:

Those with an alcohol use disorder = 15.1 million people
Those with an illicit drug use disorder = 7.4 million (further divided into drug category)

Moreover, the report showed that 21 million people needed substance use rehab. The numbers break down by age category:

  • 1.1 million adolescents aged 12 to 17 are in need of treatment.
  • 5.3 million young adults aged 18 to 25 are in need of treatment.
  • 14.5 million adults aged 26 or older are in need of treatment.

And if you wait to get help…overdose and death can occur. In fact, the National Institute on Drug Abuse reported 64, 000 drug overdose deaths in 2016. The CDC reported that in 2015, for every 1 prescription or illicit opioid overdose death, there were:

  • 18 people who had a substance use disorder involving heroin.
  • 62 people who had a substance use disorder involving prescription opioids.
  • 377 people who misused prescription opioids in the past year.
  • 2946 people who used prescription opioids in the past year.

Why wait to become a statistic? Get help today!


A: Yes, laws are in place to make sure that your medical record stays private unless court ordered otherwise.

Your personal information is protected under two laws: The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Patient Records Privacy Law.

Both acts protect you from public sharing of your private:

  • Billing information.
  • Electronic heath records.
  • Health information.
  • Medical files.
  • Conversations among doctors.

Furthermore, if privacy is a concern, you might look into specialized treatment centers that have experience keeping treatment confidential.

See more here:


A: Absolutely! Rehabs are effective in helping people live productive lives.

The purpose of any rehab program is to help patients turn their lives around and start over without the use of mind-altering substances. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, patients who complete a treatment stay improve their physical, psychological, and social state, stop using alcohol and/or drugs, and lower criminal activity.

Furthermore, some of drug substitution or maintenance therapies have proven to be very effective. For instance, in 2017, buprenorphine and methadone helped save many lives in New York.

Also, NIDA’s study ‘the Prescription Opioid Addiction Treatment Study’ in 2011, showed that about 49% of participants reduced prescription painkiller abuse during extended Suboxone treatment.

Still, addiction is a chronic, relapsing disease. The National Institute on Drug Abuse, NIDA, reports that relapse rates of addiction fail into the 40-60% range.

BUT, relapse is not a failure. Relapse occurs in other chronic diseases such as asthma, and diabetes. So, don’t worry, it is a part of the healing process. It is a chance to start over. So, modify your program in accordance to your needs.


A: Inpatient rehabs cost, on average, around $20K per treatment episode.

Inpatient residential rehabilitation programs usually include food, room and board expenses, but also require you to pay for the therapy and other services you receive. Because it is expensive, it is recommended that patients contact the treatment provider directly before you agree to enter rehab. Being able to predict your costs will also help you with finding ways to ease your economic situation.

The final costs of a stay in depend upon many factors including:

1. Amenities provided.

The amenities can include any type of therapy: traditional talk therapy, art therapy, music therapy, acupuncture, massage, or spa services. Some luxury rehabs offer private rooms, and personal chefs. Since some of the programs charge extra for certain therapies, you should always ask the staff what services are included in your rehab plan.

2. Program duration.

The length of the rehab stay affects the total cost. A short program of one month is always cheaper than a 90-day program, for example. However, treatment of at least 90 days is often required in cases of strong drug dependence or chronic addiction.

3. Location.

The location of the rehab is another factor that have impact on the last price. Wilderness, resort, or beachfront rehabs are more expensive than local clinics. If you are traveling to rehab, keep in mind to include your transportation costs.

More Addiction Blog articles on costs here:


A: You can pay for rehab with insurance coverage, out-of-pocket, or look into state subsidized treatment.

Before you decide on what program you are going to, check with your insurance company whether your insurance plan covers the addiction treatment. Maybe you qualify for Medicare, while some of your costs may be tax deductible. Don’t forget to ask the rehab center whether they offer sliding scale payment options and whether they take the kind of health insurance you have. Still, you can find low cost inpatient rehabs through your state’s Department of Health and Social Services. Federal vouchers exist to help supplement financial costs, and some programs are even state funded.

Some alternative paying options include:

  • Employer Assistance Programs
  • Federal SAMHSA vouchers for treatment (call your State’s Department of Health and Social Services for more info)
  • Scholarships
  • Sliding scale payment

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



A: The course of most residential rehab programs are about the same. Rehabs usually offer detoxification services, psychological treatment and counseling services. Plus, inpatient rehab can includes referral to aftercare programs such as outpatient treatment, halfway houses, or community recovery centers.

When you first visit an inpatient rehab, you will be clinically assessed and the extent of substance dependence and use will be diagnosed. Then, treatment modalities follow, with continuing evaluation to help adjust your treatment program, as necessary. Following are the general steps and stages of inpatient addiction treatment.

STEP 1. Assessment and evaluation.

During this stage, you will complete the paperwork, and medical professionals will evaluate your addiction. This part helps them to create your rehab program.

STEP 2. Medical detox

Inpatient programs offer 24/7 medical care since you may go through severe withdrawal. Doctors and clinicians may use different medications to address these symptoms.

STEP 3. Phamacotherapy (medications) combined with psychotherapy and psychological treatment

Pharmacotherapy. In order to deal with substance dependence, you may need help with medications. Some of them reduce cravings, while others manage withdrawal symptoms. Medications are prescribed due to your drug of choice, level of dependency, and severity of withdrawal.
Psychotherapy. Psychological therapies are the heart of the program. They can help you get to the roots of your addiction, and to learn why you became addicted in the first place. Most common psychotherapies used throughout the course of treatment include:

Individual therapy.
Group therapy.
Family therapy.
Behavioral and cognitive therapies.

STEP 4. Education on the nature of addiction

During your stay, you will attend several education sessions that will teach you how addiction affects your brain. You’ll look directly at the negative consequences of use and learn how to avoid triggers in the future. These sessions are designed to help you understand addiction, and how to overcome it.

STEP 5. Supportive services

Many rehab programs provide support services such as emotional, vocational, and educational support. Some of them may offer financial support to those who cannot afford treatment.

STEP 6. Aftercare and transitional living

Aftercare programs offer therapies once you have finished your stay. Their purpose is to help you stay sober, and these therapies or services may last for several months to a year. Usually, an aftercare program includes:

  • Counseling
  • Support groups
  • Mentoring
  • Coaching
  • Living in a halfway or 3 / 4 way house.

The primary goal of rehab is to help people stop using their drug of choice and stay stopped. In fact, addiction recovery is the most important element of an inpatient rehab program. It is typically necessary for a person who is addicted remain abstinent after detoxification, because attempting to control the use of drugs or alcohol isn’t feasible.

Find more information here:


A: Inpatient alcohol rehab programs can last anywhere from 28 days to 12 months.

Rehabs can offer an environment where there is a singular focus on recovery. However, inpatient programs are not a quick and easy process. Treatment isn’t over when the substance is out of the system.

Working on the underlying causes and the psychological aspects of addiction is crucial for providing long term sobriety.

Longer rehab programs allow patients to take their time, work daily with professionals and employ the most effective ways to cope with addiction. This is why most experts agree that a residential program of at least 3 months is optimal. However, the duration of the rehab stay should always correspond with your individual needs.

Keep reading here:


A: A positive attitude, a collection of photos or objects to inspire you, and comfortable and low-key clothing are essential to any stay at rehab.

It’s most likely that you will need to go through a check-in process, so check with the rehab about what IS and what IS NOT allowed during your stay. For example, digital devices may be collected during your stay or should be left at home. Likewise, perfumes or any toiletries that contain alcohol may not be allowed. On the other hand, you’ll want to bring comfortable clothing that is not too revealing, and personal items that make you feel like you’re at home.

Inpatient alcohol rehabilitation centers: What to bring with you?


A: Luxury programs offer alternative amenities such as aromatherapy, spa therapy, acupuncture, etc and concentration on providing a high level of customer service.

Luxury rehabs provide a retreat where patients can move far away from the addictive environment and take a rest from the difficulties they face in everyday life.
It seems that this type is all about having fun and vacationing, but it is NOT. Luxury rehabs have strict schedules that will help patients develop coping mechanisms in order to make positive changes in their lives.


A: Certification, treatment modalities, and a tailor-made program.

1. Certification. One of the most important things to look for in a reputable rehab is accreditation. Be sure that the inpatient rehab is certified in your state and reports to your State’s Department of Health and Social Services. Check also for national accreditation. National accreditation programs include the Joint Commission, the National Committee for Quality Assurance, the All-States, and the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). You can be sure the inpatient rehab is listed in the SAMHSA Treatment Directory and/or check to see if the rehab is run by licensed, mental health professionals and addiction specialists. In other words, verify the medical qualifications of the rehab before considering enrollment.

2. Appropriate program and treatment modalities. Second, you’ll want to look for a treatment plan that will fit your needs. All substances require unique detoxification interventions. Further, depending on your drug-of-choice, specific treatments and types of treatment modalities like medications may help. Drug and alcohol detox is often accompanied by unpleasant and potentially serious side effects, and withdrawal administered by a physician in an inpatient setting reduces your risk of problems. Medications are available to assist in the withdrawal from opioids, benzodiazepines, alcohol, nicotine, barbiturates, and other sedative drugs.

3. The program meets your personal needs. Then, see if a rehab designed for a particular community (women, professionals, LGBT population, teenagers, elderly people, etc.) will create a more comfortable setting for you. Check out the accommodation, see what kind of therapy is included, and plan for covering the costs or ways to lower the expenses of inpatient addiction rehab.


A: A tailor-made program is the key.

The right rehab will be different for different individuals. Inpatient centers provide intensive drug or alcohol rehabilitation, different therapy models and tools to help you recover from addiction. However, your individualized treatment should be unique, just as your relationship with your drug-of-choice is unique. So, how do you know what’s right for you?

Your doctor can refer you to a rehab center in your area, or you can explore your options locally. You can look for references from psychotherapists, social workers, community leaders, or even trusted friends. You can also search for inpatient rehabs online – then contact the rehab facilities you are interested in directly.


A: Rehab is for people who struggle with substance abuse, and want to break free of their addiction.

If you are not sure whether you have a substance problem or not, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you feel an urge (cravings) to drink or use drugs?
  • Do you have financial, legal, or family problems because of your use?
  • Do you hide or lie about your use?
  • Do you need excuses to drink or use drugs?
  • Have you failed in quitting alcohol/drugs?
  • Do you continue to use no matter the consequences?

If most of your answers are yes, you may need to ask help from a professional to diagnose your severity of addiction. Also, to be more sure, take a look into this NIDA screening tool.


A: Choose the right rehab program that will provide you with physical, psychological and emotional support and help that you need.

After you have selected a rehab that is a good match for you, your rehab treatment begins. The process starts with an initial assessment by professional medical personnel to determine your general health state, medical requirements, what degree of medical assistance you may need during detox and then proceed with detoxification. Detox is an important part of the rehab process because it’s the time when the substances leave your system and withdrawal symptoms need to be managed. Once detox is over, you will move on to the rehabilitation part of recovery.

But how can you make the most of all of this work?

Trust the process! Being motivated and determined to work on changing your habits is also helpful. Medical professionals will be there for you to help monitor and assist you through a number of issues, such as:

  • Going through the withdrawal stage.
  • Coping with cravings.
  • Resisting the urge to relapse.
  • Transitioning into abstinence.
  • Learning new and positive behaviors.
  • Feeling emotional safety.
  • Relieving stress levels.
  • Focusing strictly on rehab.
  • Make significant lifetime changes.

Indeed, rehab can be an effective way to get clean and sober. But, you’ll need to set up realistic expectations of yourself and the facility before going. What are some final considerations?

Many rehab centers use both individual and group therapies as their base therapeutic modalities. Group therapy can provide social reinforcement that promote abstinence and a non-drug-using lifestyle. Some of the more established behavioral treatments, such as contingency management and cognitive-behavioral therapy, have been adapted for groups. However, a lot of the work is internal. Finally, keep in mind that combinations of behavioral therapies and medications (when available) generally appear to be more effective than either approach used alone.

More Questions?

Are you feeling alone? Do you need help for a drug problem but don’t know where to start? Has your drinking or drug use gotten out of control?

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Reference Sources: NIH: Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide
NIH: Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction
NIDA: Is drug addiction treatment worth its cost? 
NIDA: What helps people stay in treatment?
US Department of Veteran Affairs: Treatment Programs for Substance Use Problems
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.
Medical Reviewers
Dr. Manish Mishra, MBBS serves as the Chief Medical Officer of the Texas Healt...

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a licensed medical professional.

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