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Inpatient Rehab: What to Expect

Addiction to drugs and alcohol is a powerful disease. Without proper treatment, addiction can lead to the complete destruction of one’s health, family, social and work life. In the worst-case scenario, an addict can be seriously injured or die as a result of their disease. 

Everyone who suffers from an addiction to drugs or alcohol needs different care. Some substance use disorders can be treated while the person involved continues to live at home and carry out their daily lives.

But for many, addiction needs to be tackled in an environment that is free of the triggers, stresses, distractions, and temptations of everyday life.

This is where inpatient rehab comes in. In an inpatient treatment center, patients are given care for their condition around the clock. This is a place to get clean and to begin to learn how to live a life free from drugs and alcohol.


Inpatient rehab facilities provide recovering addicts with a controlled environment to detox and get back on their feet. Inpatient care is sometimes called residential care, because patients in this kind of rehabilitation live temporarily at the treatment facility.

The idea is that by completely immersing a patient in an environment that is focused towards helping them get sober, they will be able to make good progress in their recovery.

There are many different models and types of inpatient treatment centers. Substance abuse treatment is not a ‘one size fits all’ type of care, because each person who suffers from addiction has a unique situation with specific needs.

The main factor that defines inpatient treatment is the length of a patient’s stay. Most treatment plans involve either a short-term, 3 to 6-week treatment program or a long-term, 6 to 12-month program.

The length of a patient’s stay in an inpatient facility will depend on the specifics of their addiction and needs. Factors such as how long and heavily a patient has been abusing drugs or alcohol, whether there is a co-occurring mental condition, and the patient’s financial situation all play a role in determining the appropriate length and type of care.


Most inpatient treatment programs begin with detox. Detox can be medically assisted, or drug-free. Detox is a period during which a person who has been admitted to rehab lets their body rid itself of all the remaining drugs and/or alcohol in the system.

This is also known as going through withdrawal. In a treatment center, detox is safer than trying to go through withdrawal at home. Here, medical staff can monitor the patient 24/7 and give them anything they need to get through this difficult period.

Once detox is complete, a patient should have less physical cravings for their substance of choice. The patient is now ready to transition into behavioral therapy and other treatments, which are aimed at building stability and improving mental and physical health. 

The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that behavioral therapies can be helpful in treating addiction. For this reason, this kind of therapy tends to take center stage during inpatient treatment programs. Also helpful are group therapies which may include other addicts in the same stage of treatment, as well as therapeutic activities.

A possible daily schedule for someone in residential treatment might look like this:

  • 7:00 a.m.: Wake-up time
  • 7:30 a.m.: Healthy breakfast
  • 8:15 a.m.: Meditation and yoga
  • 9:30 a.m.: Group check-in meeting
  • 10:30 a.m.: Therapy session
  • 12:00 p.m.: Lunch
  • 1:30 p.m.: Nutrition and self-care course
  • 3:00 p.m.: Recreation and gym time
  • 4:00 p.m.: Rest and reflection time
  • 5:00 p.m.: Dinner
  • 6:00 p.m.: 12-step group meeting
  • 9:00 p.m.: End of day

Of course, different treatment centers and specific plans involve different activities and structuring. However, the main takeaway from this sample schedule is to notice how structured and intensive inpatient care is. The patient is completely immersed in an environment that is geared towards their recovery.


Many people who suffer from addiction avoid seeking proper care because they feel they can’t afford it. However, the cost of rehab is nothing when compared to the potential for losing your own life or hurting others. Getting help immediately can help to avoid these scenarios.

According to a study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, nearly 20 million Americans needed substance abuse treatment in 2015, and only about 10 percent received it. How can this be? A large part of the issue is that people perceive the cost of treatment to be too high.

The cost of inpatient treatment varies a lot. The important thing to understand about paying for rehab is that it is usually more expensive in the long run to avoid treatment.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that the cost of avoiding treatment can be 12 times that of the treatment itself. Between healthcare charges, costs of related criminal charges, etc., avoiding treatment can be far more costly than the treatment itself.


Sometimes. Many people do not realize that health insurance might pay for addiction treatment. Addiction is a disease, and it is often recognized as such by the healthcare system. It is always wise to check to see if your health insurance plan covers substance abuse treatment.

If you do not have insurance that covers treatment, paying out of pocket or financing your treatment is also possible. Since most addicts are not in a financial situation to pay out of pocket, financing might be a good option.

While taking out a loan to pay for rehab might seem like a poor financial decision, consider the fact that many college students do the same in order to invest in their own future.

Other options for paying for rehab include government-funded programs and asking for help from friends and family members. Depending on your location and situation, there may be publicly-funded treatment options available. Additionally, many people have family and other loved ones who are willing to support their recovery financially.


Inpatient treatment is suitable for anyone who suffers from addiction. That said, different levels of care exist within the inpatient model that are geared towards different severities of addiction. In the worst cases, patients might spend a long time in detox and very slowly transition towards restorative care.

As a patient progresses through treatment, they can gain more autonomy within the treatment facility until finally, they are ready to transition to outpatient care.

While every patient enters treatment with different needs, inpatient facilities provide a place for anyone with substance abuse issues to improve their condition.

The answer to the question ‘what is inpatient care?’ is truly different for each patient. The goal, however, is always the same. Addiction treatment has the goal of sustained recovery from drug and alcohol abuse.

If you or a loved one has a substance use disorder, now is the time to seek treatment. Call our treatment specialists today to learn how they can help.

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Recovering Champions Is an accredited drug and alcohol rehabilitation program, that believes addiction treatment should not just address “how to stay sober” but needs to transform the life of the addict and empower him or her to create a more meaningful and positive life. We are dedicated to transforming the despair of addiction into a purposeful life of confidence, self-respect and happiness. We want to give recovering addicts the tools to return to the outside world completely substance-free and successful.

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