Information on Inpatient Drug Rehabilitation

Last updated: Tuesday, 09, November 2021


This is a picture of a house where residential drug treatment could take placeDrug and alcohol rehabilitation are often divided into various stages, which is often detox, rehabilitation therapy, and aftercare support. There are different approaches to treatment that are offered through a residential drug rehabilitation center. Inpatient treatment centers offer long-term and short-term drug rehabilitation options. Typically, the severity of addiction and the length of time an addict has been abusing drugs determine what length of treatment is required. An addiction assessment is a good place to begin, and the assessment could help the family or addict locate a suitable inpatient drug rehabilitation center.

There are many benefits to attending residential drug rehabilitation. Most drug users and alcoholics attempt to quit unsuccessfully on their own and may attempt detox in their homes. Unfortunately, the success rate for home detox and attempting to remain sober is not great. Residential drug treatment programs provide extensive benefits and resources to help addicts and their families. Someone should not have to struggle with addiction their entire life, and there are always motivating factors and the stress of life, which contributes to why people abuse drugs or alcohol.

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Residential drug rehab centers take the person out of the environment where they are using drugs or alcohol. Inpatient centers offer the individual an opportunity to leave the environment and focus on recovery. There are numerous distractions when you attempt treatment at home or on an outpatient basis. A residential drug rehab program offers a peaceful and secluded environment when the individual can let go of the stresses of life and focus on recovery. Also, there is less temptation to use while attending a residential drug rehab center. When you are attempting to maintain your life and abuse drugs or alcohol, it becomes impossible to stay clean without professional help.

Inpatient drug treatment centers provide 24-hour support seven days per week, which ensures you always have someone to reach out to. Along with this, inpatient centers provide daily counseling and offer a wide range of therapies. The therapy and counseling are designed to empower the person with knowledge and skills about why they began to abuse drugs or alcohol. The therapy process also helps the person transition back to society again and remain connected with aftercare support. The daily counseling would include individual or group therapy sessions to help the person work through to the root cause of the addiction.

Inpatient treatment centers are also excellent in helping a person deal with withdrawal symptoms. Drugs and alcohol create physical and psychological dependence, which requires detox. Being enrolled in a residential treatment center provides support physically, mentally, and even spiritually. Physical rehabilitation often involves fitness therapy and a daily exercise routine. Exercise has been proven to reduce cravings and help individuals with long term abstinence. Someone who is enrolled in a long-term drug rehab program has access to daily exercise ranging from cardio fitness to yoga, for example.

Deciding on the Best Time for Inpatient Rehab and the Therapy Methods Used

The treatment approaches used in a residential drug rehab center vary, but the first process is always detox. Typically, the severity of addiction and accompanying withdrawal symptoms determines what method of detox is needed. Most residential drug and alcohol treatment centers have detox programs as part of the center. Detox is only the first stage of treatment, and without additional substance abuse treatment efforts, successful completion of rarely guarantees lasting recovery. When deciding on when to attend an inpatient treatment center, an addiction assessment is a good place to begin. The assessment process would help the family and addict narrow down treatment options and locate the best possible residential treatment solution.

Most people who are abusing drugs or alcohol are not always willing to admit they have a problem or ask for help. Family intervention is often done to help an unwilling drug user admit they need help. Most families that begin to organize inpatient drug rehab would also organize a family intervention. Hiring a professional interventionist is the best way to help a drug user become convinced they need treatment. People struggling with addiction have numerous excuses as to why they would not want to attend a program. However, a successful intervention does convince a drug user they need help, while also providing the family with counseling and support.

Some of the common therapy methods used at an inpatient drug rehab center include cognitive behavioral therapy, multidimensional family therapy, contingency management, and motivational interviewing. There are also 12-step therapy models, group and family counseling, and individual therapy. Some residential drug rehabilitation centers offer adventure or wilderness therapy and other non-traditional therapies. Deciding on the type of therapy is important, and an addiction assessment is a good place to begin. The therapy should meet the needs of the patient attending the program. Overall, residential rehabilitation should provide detox, therapy, counseling, relapse prevention, and aftercare support.

Long-Term versus Short-Term Drug Rehabilitation

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, long term drug rehabilitation provides care 24 hours a day and is usually a non-hospital setting. The best-known model within residential drug rehab programs is a therapeutic community. These communities are planned lengths of stay between 6 and 12 months. The entire community is used and takes part in the rehabilitation, and therapeutic communities focus on the resocialization of the individual. Most treatment is also focussed on developing personal accountability and responsibility and helping the drug user create a healthy, productive life.

The treatment process is highly structured, and the activities are designed to help residents examine many things. For example, this includes damaging beliefs, self-concepts, and destructive patterns of behavior, while showing the drug user how to adopt new ones. Short-term residential drug rehabilitation provides intensive but relatively brief treatment. Most of the rehabilitation is based on a modified 12-step approach. Originally, short-term drug rehabilitation programs were designed to treat alcoholics, but as addiction and drug abuse changes, they treat all substance use issues.

There are inherent benefits with short-term and long-term drug rehabilitation. The physical benefits are extensive, and programs successfully treat addiction by offering a medically safe environment for detox while providing a supportive environment for rehabilitation. The psychological benefits are also extensive—inpatient drug rehab offers a wide range of psychological therapies designed to address substance use. Psychological therapies are an integral part of inpatient therapy and are useful for treating all sorts of addiction. Typically, the extent and severity of addiction would determine if short-term or long-term rehabilitation is required.

What is the Process with Residential Drug Rehabilitation?

The rehabilitation process is different for each person, and residential drug treatment programs provide extensive resources to treat addiction. There are no locks, and clients are not forced to remain in treatment and are free to go if they choose. However, if an individual has been adjudicated by the criminal justice system, they can still leave, but there are consequences. Treatment is the most effective if the person is willing, but most drug users are not 100% willing to attend drug rehabilitation. Family intervention is often done to convince a drug user they need help and escort them to treatment. While they are in rehabilitation, it is not uncommon for the interventionist to continue to work with the family and help them keep their family member in the treatment program.

The first step with treatment is detox, and most residential drug rehab centers provide detox services on site. Typically, today most patients must go through the withdrawal process at a facility that specializes in dealing with drug and alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Following detox, the next step with treatment is counseling and therapy. Each residential treatment facility is different in its physical facilities. For example, they range from camp-type settings, luxurious facilities, small locations, and everything in between. Residential drug rehabilitation is either a private treatment program or a government-funded facility. When considering the type of facility is important to research the type of treatments offered as well as their success rate.

The purpose of rehabilitation is to get the person to look at their addiction honestly and realistically and change their attitude about drug and alcohol abuse. However, this is not always easy, and during the early stages of recovery, most people are still holding on with some denial about their problem. Residential treatment programs try to break through the denial and get the person to commit to a sober lifestyle. Most residential drug rehab centers include counseling and group therapy. The process is different in each center, and the therapy sessions are designed to teach the person the skills they will need to live a life without drugs and alcohol.

Inpatient treatment centers also provide physical rehabilitation and exercise programs to help the patient gain back their physical health. There is also aftercare support, which is typical with most residential rehabilitation. Aftercare support would include a sober living home or remain in a structured environment where no drugs or alcohol are available. Successful rehab programs have strong aftercare plans designed to meet the individual needs of the patient. Overall, the rehabilitation should be well rounded and address all aspects of addiction.

What are the Alternatives to Inpatient Drug Rehabilitation?

Residential drug rehabilitation is either privately funded non-profit or for-profit organizations, or the services are funded by state and federal government. Private drug rehabilitation costs money, but some most work with health insurance and offer different payment options to help families. Government-subsidized programs are covered by insurance or are low cost or no-cost treatment. However, government-funded programs are not always accessible because there are long waiting lists and beds are not always available.

According to Trends in Substance Use Treatment Admissions, between 2007 and 2017 for publicly funded substance use treatment, the number of all admissions aged 12 and older decreased from over 2.1 million to 2 million. During that same time, five substances accounted for 93 to 97% of the primary substances reported among treatment admissions. These substances were alcohol, opiates, marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamine. In 2017, 9% of all publicly funded treatment admissions were long-term residential, 9% were also short-term residential, while 39% involved outpatient treatment, which is the alternative to inpatient drug rehab.

Outpatient drug rehabilitation is a common approach used because the programs are accessible and affordable. Some outpatient drug rehab centers offer intensive outpatient services, which is the same process but providing more counseling services. Outpatient drug rehabilitation involves the patient attending treatment daily and not living at the facility. These programs are successful but do not offer the level of care and support as a residential treatment center. Other alternatives include 12-step meetings and support groups, but this is often an approach used by recovering addicts when they finish a residential treatment center.

Terminology Surrounding Inpatient Drug Rehabilitation

Term Definition
Short-Term Inpatient Drug Rehab are residential programs that provide intensive but relatively brief treatment. The programs typically last three to six weeks and are usually more affordable than long-term programs.
Long-Term Drug Rehab is a treatment center that provides 24-hour care seven days per week in a non-hospital setting. Typically, long-term drug rehab lasts three to six months or longer and are highly structured programs.
Detox is a process or period of time in which one abstains from or rids the body of toxic substances like drugs or alcohol. Detox programs include medically supervised detox or conventional detox.
Patient Intake is a process whereby an inpatient drug rehab center collects demographic, social, and clinical data, insurance, payments, and other key pieces of information from the patient entering treatment.
Group Counseling is a process where a collection of clients with similar issues or concerns meet as a group with an addiction’s counselor or a facilitator. The process allows each person to discuss the issues associated with their addiction.
Therapeutic Community is a participation group-based approach to long-term drug rehabilitation. The approach is usually residential, where clients and therapists are all participating, working, and living in the same location.
Aftercare Support is the recovery support provided once an inpatient drug rehab program is completed. Aftercare usually involves a sober living home, 12-step groups, or other forms of peer support.
Sober Living Home this living arrangement operates as a bridge between an inpatient facility and the real world. Once leaving an inpatient treatment program, a sober living home operates as an in-between recovery option keeping the individual connected with other sober people.
Treatment Plan is a detailed plan with information about an addict's addiction, the goal of treatment, the treatment options, and the expected length of treatment.
Polysubstance Use is the consumption of more than one drug at once and refers to the abuse of multiple illicit drugs.
Contingency Management is often implemented from a cognitive behavior therapy framework and was derived from the science of applied behavior analysis. The process involves the application of a three-term contingency using stimulus control and consequences to change the behavior of the addict. This type of therapy provides rewards for the desired behaviors, such as clean drug tests.


Marcel Gemme, DATS


on November 9, 2021

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Marcel Gemme has been helping people struggling with addiction for over 19 years. He first started as an intake counselor for a drug rehabilitation center in 2000. During his 5 years as an intake counselor, he helped many addicts get the treatment they needed. He also dealt with the families and friends of those people; he saw first-hand how much strain addiction puts on a family and how it can tear relationships apart. With drug and alcohol problems constantly on the rise in the United States and Canada, he decided to use the Internet as a way to educate and help many more people in both those countries. This was 15 years ago. Since then, Marcel has built two of the largest websites in the U.S. and Canada which reach and help millions of people each year. He is an author and a leader in the field of drug and alcohol addiction. His main focus is threefold: education, prevention and rehabilitation. To this day, he still strives to be at the forefront of technology in order to help more and more people. He is a Licensed Drug and Alcohol Treatment Specialist graduate with Honours of Stratford Career Institute. Marcel has also received a certificate from Harvard for completing a course entitled The Opioid Crisis in America and a certificate from The University of Adelaide for completing a course entitled AddictionX: Managing Addiction: A Framework for Succesful Treatment.

Michael Leach, CCMA

Medically Reviewed

on November 9, 2021

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Michael Leach is a Certified Clinical Medical Assistant, who has over 5 years of experience working in the field of addiction. He spent his career working under the board-certified Addictionologist Dr. Rohit Adi. His experience includes working with families during their loved one’s stay in treatment, helping those with substance abuse issues find treatment, and teaching life skills to patients in a recovery atmosphere. Though he has worked in many different areas of rehabilitation, the majority of his time was spent working one on one with patients who were actively withdrawing from drugs. Withdrawal and the fear of going through it is one biggest reason why an addict continues to use and can be the most difficult part of the rehabilitation process. His experience in the withdrawal atmosphere has taught him that regardless of what approach a person takes to get off drugs, there are always mental and emotional obstacles that need to be overcome. He believes having someone there to help a person through these obstacles can make all the difference during the withdrawal process.



« From an early age, I knew I wanted to help people and make a positive change in others’ lives. I made it a point to empathize with a variety of individuals as I was growing and learning more about life in general. I quickly realized that many individuals did not have the loving, supportive upbringing I was blessed enough to have growing up. With that being said, in 2012, I found myself as a receptionist for a drug and alcohol treatment center. To be honest, I was not well informed on substance abuse as I had never been around drugs or alcohol. I was sheltered from many of these things. Soon after taking calls from mothers, fathers, siblings and others attempting to get their loved ones into treatment, it dawned on me that this is a bigger issue than anyone seems to talk about. Not often do you hear about a person’s struggles with drugs and alcohol until someone overdoses in the community. I have learned that many do not want to reach out for help because it’s shameful, embarrassing and they feel like there is no hope for them. Being a receptionist, I have heard stories and met so many people that I found a genuine connection with and I realized that I am not just a receptionist to direct these calls but I am perhaps their last hope for help and I can be the saving grace these individuals need. Many times, by the time a person calls an 800 number for help, it’s their last strand of hope so in a way, I am saving lives because if I didn’t answer that call, that person may have given up, stopped wanting help and perhaps overdosed or done something to harm themselves on purpose because they feel that nobody cares. I have been doing this work of finding treatment for those who need it going on 8 years now. Although many days were difficult, I felt like I was helping. Often times, mothers on the other end of the call would be in tears thanking me for just listening to them and helping their child into a treatment center. I can easily relate to anyone I come across in some way or another. For me, talking to someone and getting to know them is far more important than just getting people in the door. Human connection is vital for sobriety and any type of success in life. These people calling for help feel hopeless and if I can offer them advice or guide them in the right direction to get sober and better their lives, to me that’s enough. I do this work because I care about people and because I feel a person is better than what they have been through. Everyone deserves a chance at a good life; some just need a little extra help. I dedicate myself fully and completely to help others because in my opinion, if I don’t do it, who will? » - Jennifer D., Receptionist/Admission Advisor