What is inpatient alcohol rehab like?

Inpatient alcohol rehab is like a combination of summer camp and adult education. More here on what you can expect during a stay in a residential addiction treatment facility…with a section at the end for your questions.

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If you or a loved one are suffering from a drinking problem, it can seem nearly impossible to live a normal life. Inpatient rehab treatment is often very effective for anyone who’s truly ready to overcome alcohol addiction. But what’s it like? Keep reading to find out more about inpatient alcohol rehab here. Then, we invite your questions about rehab at the end.

What do inpatient alcohol rehabs do?

Inpatient alcohol rehab programs are designed to help people overcome dependence on alcohol. This is usually accomplished by helping problem drinkers understand addiction and arm them with skills to resist the urge to drink. Generally, inpatient alcohol treatment combined with diligent aftercare is usually quite effective. However, it’s most effective for individuals who are dedicated to making changes in their life.

During inpatient alcohol rehab, you can expect lots of group and individual psychotherapy as well as educational sessions. It’s a little like a combination of summer camp with adult education and intensive therapy at the core of the activities.

What is inpatient alcohol rehab like?

An inpatient rehab program is a type of intensive addiction treatment program that requires you to stay under 24-hour supervision. Typically, rehabs are very structured so that the environment is safe for everyone. You will sleep, eat, and undergo treatment alongside other recovering men and women in various stages of treatment. So in this way, rehab is a lot like summer camp…for alcoholics.

Residents in inpatient alcohol rehab facilities will often need to bring some personal items from home for the duration of their stay. This usually includes items such as a week’s worth of clothing, personal hygiene items, prescription medications, and a small amount of money or a credit card. Most inpatient alcohol rehab programs do not allow patients to bring anything containing alcohol, unopened over-the-counter medications, revealing clothing, or food. Patients should double check with the facility they will be residing in before packing for their stay.

What can you expect during an inpatient alcohol rehab program?

1. Intake, assessment, and detox

The first couple days in an inpatient alcohol rehab program are often very intense. An initial assessment is usually performed shortly after a person is admitted into inpatient alcohol rehab. This assessment includes an interview, full medical/family history, a medical exam, and blood/urine samples that are tested for substance. The assessment enables addiction specialists to evaluate your specific case and determine your individual needs. During this assessment, an addiction treatment plan will be drafted.

Depending on the severity of the addiction, an alcoholic may need to go through medical detox upon entering rehab. This involves medical supervision and possible use of medications while going through withdrawal. During medical detox, doctors and nurses attend to you and can possibly help relieve some of the withdrawal symptoms with the use of prescription medicines. Serious symptoms will be addressed immediately.

2. Treatment

Psychological treatments are often the cornerstone of any inpatient rehab program. For instance, recovering alcoholics will usually be required to attend daily individual therapy and group counseling sessions. These sessions are necessary for helping people in recovery understand the hold that alcohol has on them and teaches them ways to cope with it. Groups are helpful because they provide recovering alcoholics with opportunities to develop communication skills and participate in socialization experiences. Groups help members support, and, when necessary, confront one another in healthy ways. Individual therapy is helpful for continuing to address issues related to substance abuse. One-on-one talk therapy sessions are also useful for treating underlying issues including mental illnesses, such as depression or anxiety, that may have contributed to a person’s alcohol problem.

3. Aftercare

How long does inpatient alcohol rehabilitation take? Most inpatient alcohol rehab programs last for 28 days. More intensive inpatient rehab programs may last for several months.

Regardless of the amount of time you spend in rehab, ongoing follow-up care is usually necessary for rehab to be successful. Many recovering alcoholics will continue their treatment on an outpatient basis for several months or years after completing their inpatient treatment.

Are you ready for inpatient alcohol rehab?

Inpatient alcohol rehab requires a number of factors in order to be effective. First of all, a person must recognize that they have a problem with alcohol and willing to change. They must enter into treatment because they want to and be ready to work hard. Options for covering the costs of inpatient alcohol treatment should be carefully considered. Also, a strong support system of family and friends is also important. Your loved ones must be understanding and willing to stand by you when things get rough.

Additional questions about inpatient alcohol rehab can be left in the comments section below. We’ll do our best to answer any questions you may have and offer you support every step of the way.

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


Reference Sources: NIAAA: Exploring Treatment Options for Alcohol Use Disorders
California Department of Alcohol and Drug Problems: FAQ
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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