Rehab programs

FAQs about what’s typically offered in a rehab program, associated costs and outcomes. More here.

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Reviewed by: Dr. Manish Mishra, MBBS


ARTICLE OVERVIEW: Most people who struggle with drink or drugs can benefit from time in a rehab. Learn about who benefits most from inpatient vs. outpatient programs. Plus, more on what to expect during the process. Finally, we answer particular questions related to privacy, cost, and efficacy. Your additional questions are welcomed at the end.


  1. What Is Rehab?
  2. Why Do People Need Rehab?
  3. What to Expect?
  4. Kinds of Programs
  5. Duration
  6. Privacy
  7. Is It Effective?
  8. Average Costs
  9. How Can I Pay?
  10. Luxury Programs
  11. What To Look For?
  12. The Selection Process
  13. What to Expect
  14. Is It for Me?
  15. How Can I Make The Best Of It?
    More Questions?


A: A rehab program is a program based on talk therapy that aims to help people recover from substance use disorder.

The main goal of any program is to help patients stop compulsive substance seeking and use. Rehabs offer different services, happen in many settings, and can last for different periods of time. Most programs offer services for medical detox, medication therapy, counseling, and follow-up programs.
More Addiction Blog articles on programs for substance use disorders here:


A: Anyone diagnosed with a substance abuse disorder!

According to the National Survey on Drug Abuse and Health of 2016, this includes about 22.5 million Americans 12 or older. These American struggle with drinking problems or drug problems, with alcohol use disorders the most prevalent:

  • 15.1 million people 12+ had an alcohol use disorder in 2016.
  • 7.4 million people 12+ had an illicit drug use disorder in 2016.

The same report estimates that around 21 million people could benefit from some type of professional addiction help, including:

  • 1.1 million adolescents aged 12 to 17.
  • 5.3 million young adults aged 18 to 25.
  • 14.5 million adults aged 26 or older.

And if you don’t get help…the road is rough. Not only do you risk health problems, but increased drug/alcohol tolerance leads directly to cases of overdose. In fact, the National Institute on Drug Abuse reported that there were 64, 000 drug overdose deaths in 2016.

So, don’t wait to be a statistic. CHANGE your life. You CAN get BETTER.


A: Most programs include a period of detox followed by psychological treatment. Then, aftercare helps support you transition to a normal home life.

Phase 1: Intake and detox. The detoxification process can last anywhere from 3 days up to a week, or two. Withdrawal symptoms tend to subside within 2-3 weeks, while PAWS (protracted or post-acute withdrawal symptoms) can last for 1 year or more.

Phase 2: Psychological and behavioral treatments. The heart of any reputable rehab is its counseling services. Psychological and behavioral treatments help you identify why you are using drugs or alcohol…and then to find healthy alternatives.

Phase 3: Aftercare. Aftercare can take anywhere from several months or be prolonged depending on need. This can include housing, ongoing medication maintenance, and continued counseling.


A: It depends on your individual needs.

Typically, inpatient programs are recommended for people who may have a hard time staying clean in sober in their everyday environment. Inpatient treatment require patients to basically live at the rehab facility. Constant medical surveillance can also be very helpful in cases of cravings and preventing relapse. What’s more, inpatient rehabs involve mutual support and understanding, so that people feel accepted in the environment, while staying away from their drug-of-choice. Some of the most common services include:

  • Individual therapies.
  • Group therapies.
  • Family themselves.
  • Community support.

If you qualify, you can alternately attend an outpatient program from home. During this type of rehab treatment, a person visits an outpatient facility for at least 5 hours per week (and up to 20) depending on their unique needs. Typically, patients visit the facility couple of times per week for a couple of hours each visit. Outpatient programs are most suitable for people who have a regular working schedule or family obligations and a supportive, drug-free environment.

Suggested reading here:


A: From 28 days up to a year.

The length of any rehab depends on a person’s individual needs. But, in general, most rehab programs last from few months to a year. Keep in mind here that staying clean and sober is a lifelong process and many people continue undergoing occasional therapies even after getting out of rehab.

Short-term treatment usually take 30, 60 or 90 days. Long-term treatment can last anywhere from 9-12 months, or more if needed. Read more Addiction Blog articles on this topic here:


A: Yes, privacy in a rehab program is guaranteed. Medical files remain private unless they are court ordered to be evidence for legal issues.

Your privacy is guaranteed and protected under the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) and Alcohol and Drug Abuse Patient Records Privacy Law.

The laws protect:

  • Billing information.
  • Conversations between doctors about your condition.
  • Health electronic records.
  • Health information.
  • Information in your medical files.

Moreover, the medical staff who are employed by rehab clinics are usually contracted under confidentiality law. But, if you are afraid about your privacy and anonymity, you may enroll into a private rehab. Read more about anonymity and confidentiality during treatment here:


A: Yes, rehabs are effective.

The main goal of any rehab is to put patients on track to a productive life. The National Institute on Drug Abuse has stated that people who enroll and finish a treatment program for addiction and who successfully stop using drugs, improve their:

  • Physical health.
  • Psychological health.
  • Social functioning.

Furthermore, evidence-based treatment for addiction include medications…that work! Methadone and buprenorphine therapies, for example, have proven to be successful. NIDA’s Clinical Trials Network conducted the Prescription Opioid Addiction Treatment Study in 2011 whose results showed that approximately 49% of participants reduced Rx painkiller abuse during extended Suboxone treatment.

Still, addiction is a chronic illness. It has a 40-60% relapse rate. To illustrate this, NIDA has reported that relapse rates of addiction are similar to other chronic diseases such as asthma, hypertension, and diabetes.

Keep in mind that relapse is not a failure. It is a chance to start over and modify your program to your personal needs. After all, addiction is a chronic disease, and in order to be cured, the treatments should be constantly evaluated and modified. The brain is a neuroplastic organ…the damage caused by substances can take months or years to reverse. In fact, people who beat addiction, and those who are willing to change and start over.


A: The final cost of depends on the services you receive.

Even though addiction treatment can be costly, the long-term benefits truly outweigh these costs. So, what are some of the average costs of services provide during a good treatment program? In general, rehab costs anywhere from:

  • $350-$3K a day for detox.
  • $5K-$90K a month for inpatient rehab.
  • $1.5-$12K a month for outpatient rehab.
  • $500-$12,500 for sober living recovery afterwards.
  • $50- $150+ per hour for counseling therapy.

The final expenses depend upon many choices you make about rehab: inpatient or outpatient programs vary in pricing, fo rexample, as do the services they provide. Low-cost programs average a few thousand dollars, while luxury rehabs can cost up to tens of thousands of dollars or more. The four main factors that affect the costs of any program include:

1. Length of the program.

The duration of the program affects the last outcome of the cost. On one hand, a short program is cheaper since it can last for two weeks or a month. On the other, 90-day programs increase expenses but may be more effective. Program length will be recommended after you complete a full assessment once you seek medical help.

2. Services.

Rehab services can include anything from food and drink to spa therapy…or educational sessions to art therapy. Some high-end rehabs provide personal chefs and a possibility to create your own eating menu, as well as private rooms. The bottom line is that most programs offer many alternative therapies to help you manage your recovery. Because some of the rehabs charge extra for alternative therapies, you should always ask the facility what services are included in your program.

3. Location.

Another factor that affects the bottom line is the location of the rehab. Beachfront, out-of- state, island, and wilderness rehabs are always more expensive than locate clinics. Don’t forget to include your transportation costs if you are traveling to the rehab.

4. Type of program. 

Generally speaking, inpatient rehabs are more expenses than the outpatient once. This is because they offer 24/7 medical care and accommodate their patients in a residential setting.


A: You can pay for rehab via medical insurance plan, out of pocket, sliding scale arrangements, or federal vouchers.

Since the costs are high, it is understandable why many people believe they cannot access rehab. BUT, there are financing options that can help you pay for addiction treatment. Here are some main options for paying for a rehab program.

1. Your own money. Personal savings may not have been intended for addiction treatment and rehab costs, but using the money to eliminate a health problem is a great investment in your future. Keep in mind that in the long-run, an active addiction can cost you far more than attending a rehab.

2. Private and state insurance. Health insurance and Medicaid are accepted in many drug and alcohol treatment programs and can significantly lower your treatment costs. Call your insurance company to verify that your health insurance plan covers addiction treatment, and also contact the rehab center to make sure they accept your type of insurance. Keep in mind that certain types therapies may not be covered by insurance companies and you have to pay cash.

3. Sliding scale offers. Financing options may also be arranged directly with a clinic by lending affordable packages for clients. You can contact the rehab facility of your choice before starting treatment directly to speak with someone at the financing department and explore this option.

4. Federal funding. Government grants may be available to you based on your living location and age. There are federal funding and grants to help pay for substance abuse treatment. So, check with your State’s Department of Health for more information. Note that the funds from grants must be used for the purposes specified in the document and you may need to provide audits and proof of how and where the money was spent.

5. A personal loan. Family and friends can help by giving you a loan. They may be reluctant to give you money, but may be willing support you financially throughout your rehab process. Instead of giving cash directly to you, they can give the money directly to the treatment facility. If your loved ones help you out at this time, you will have the obligation to slowly pay the money back once you have completed your program.


A: If you are expecting a rehab to cater your needs with a high level of customer service and offer amenities such as acupuncture, aromatherapy, spa treatments, golf courts, equine therapy, then you should choose a luxury program.

Luxury inpatient programs provide a retreat where clients can get far from the addiction environment and take a rest from the difficulties they face in daily life.
But, it’s not all vacationing and having fun, since these facilities also have strict schedules that will help recovering clients develop needed coping mechanisms and make positive life changes.


A: A good rehab program will be operated by clinical doctors, psychiatrists and licensed clinical psychologists.

While some staff will help with day-to-day management, the basis of any good treatment for addiction is psychotherapy. Thus, be sure that the clinical staff is licensed to practice addiction based medicine. Features such as an appropriate accreditation and licensing, quality of treatment, effectiveness of treatment options, follow-up and aftercare services, and credentials of the medical staff who administer the program are truly important.

Here is what you should look for from a reputable rehab:

1. Accreditation. Verify and confirm that the rehab facility meets the nationally established standards for high quality. Check with the state’s Department of Health and Social Services and check up on licenses for clinicians and staff. Some rehabs may hold a special accreditation from the Commission of Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities or CARF. While this is not the ultimate condition 100% necessary, it may help you find quality rehab and treatment providers.

2. The quality of the program itself. A quality rehabilitation program will address substance abuse problems, mental health disorders, emotional pain and other underlying issues. Avoid rehabs that promise a “quick fix” or those that claim to practice new therapies that have not been scientifically or clinically proven. A quality program will have AT LEAST elements of group therapy, individual therapy, educational sessions, and/or support group participation.

3. Personal factors. When choosing the best rehabilitation program, there are many options that need to be taken into consideration, and simply picking a center at random is not the answer. The process of choosing may be difficult, but finding a program that fits your individual needs will increase the chances of successful and long-term recovery.

The final program of choice should be made after taking into consideration the following factors:

  • Age and sex of the patient.
  • Cost of treatment.
  • Distance of the facility.
  • Flexibility of the rehabilitation program and therapies.
  • Insurance coverage.
  • Medical history and possible mental health problems.
  • The clinic’s specialty in treating your kind of addiction problem.
  • Social and family support.
  • Best drug rehab programs: 5 MUST HAVES


A: A tailor-made, structured and adequate addiction treatment can help you greatly.

There are many signs and symptoms of addiction. While family and friends can usually see these signs directly, an addict can ignore them for months or years. But once you can no longer ignore the signs, you may realize it is time to seek professional help for addiction. So, what do you do next?

First, you need to trust the process. Addiction recovery programs are needed when a person can no longer control a habit and/or compulsion. These programs are often the best option for people close to the addicted individual; a structured and adequate addiction treatment program can help greatly. Why? Denial is greatly responsible and the main reason why people don’t ask for help themselves.

However, if you always fail to keep your promises to reduce and stop drinking or using, are experiencing health implications due to your habit, and are constantly obsessing over obtaining and using again – it is time to face the fact that you do have a problem and seek professional help from an addiction treatment program.

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



A: Most rehabs are like a cross between self-help counseling and group lectures.

Most programs are based in psychological therapies, because at its heart, addiction is a brain disorder. Additionally, drug and alcohol programs often share similar treatment protocols. For instance, most rehabs offer most – if not all – of the following services to their clients.

Screening and assessment. Used to diagnose drug and alcohol addiction as well as any other underlying mental disorders. Addiction care plans are usually created during this evaluation.

Medical detox. Offered during inpatient stays, detox includes medical supervision as drugs or alcohol leave the body. Because drug dependence can manifest uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms during this period, doctors and specialists may use a combination of prescription medications and symptomatic support to make the process more comfortable.

Psychotherapy. All drug and alcohol treatment programs include psychotherapy at the heart of their treatment practice. Treatments generally include some combination of individual therapy, group therapy, and family therapy and are usually based on behavioral and cognitive therapies.

Pharmacotherapy. Medications used during rehab work in different ways. Some reduce cravings, while others block the pleasure obtained from drinking or doing drugs or even create an extremely unpleasant feeling when a person drinks or does drugs.

Education sessions. Rehabs often teach you the brain science behind drug or alcohol addiction. During both inpatient and outpatient treatment, recovering addicts attend several education sessions designed to help them understand the psycho-neurological basis of how addiction works and how they can overcome it.

Supportive services. Drug and alcohol programs often offer addicts in all stages of recovery a great deal of support. This may range from vocational and educational support to emotional support. Many also even offer financial support to those who are unable to pay for some or all of treatment.

Find more information on what to expect during your stay in rehab in our articles:


A: Rehab is for people who have substance use disorders, and who want to turn their life around.

If you aren’t quite sure if you or a loved one needs professional help, you can first look for signs of drug or alcohol problems. For instance, a physical dependence on a substance can be a first indicator of addiction problems. When accompanied by intentional use to get high, cravings, or negative consequences to home/work/social life…drug dependence can signal a problem.

Other signs that a person needs rehab include:

  • Alcohol or drug cravings
  • Hiding alcohol or drug use
  • Family problems
  • Financial problems
  • Finding excuses to drink or use drugs
  • Inability to quit drinking/ drugs
  • Legal problems
  • Loss of control of substance use
  • Obsessive thinking about the drug-of-choice.

Still not sure? Take a look into NIDA screening tool. It may help you.

Further reading on when should you seek help from a program here:


A: Motivation to change and commitment to a new life will help you to make the best of the rehab.

Substance use disorder is a chronic, brain disease that may be followed by occasional relapses. For many individuals, the program opens a new door to turning over their life, and starting fresh.

Your success depends on your willingness for change, your commitment and personal motivation are the key to your recovery. Actually, readiness for change is the essential element for an effective rehab. Some of the personal factors that may influence your success include:

  • Motivation to change.
  • The support of your family and friends.
  • Your honesty.

The involvement of the family or a loved one can strengthen the recovery program. Family therapy plays a huge part of in rehab. So, consider asking a support from your loved ones.

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More Questions?

If you still have unanswered questions, post them in the comments section at the end. We are here to help!

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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