Inpatient Drug Rehab: What to Expect from Addiction Treatment?

More than 20 million people needed substance abuse treatment in 2015, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Rehabilitation is a carefully designed process that offers people struggling with some form of addiction the best chance of long-term recovery.1

What Is Inpatient Rehab?

Inpatient or residential rehabilitation is a type of addiction treatment in which a patient stays in a facility for a period of time and attends individual, group and family therapy. Inpatient treatment may require individuals to take time away from work or school to live at the facility while working on their recovery.2

Residential treatment is often recommended for individuals with serious or long-term addiction, as well as those with co-occurring disorders, due to the intensive nature of the care provided.2

If you or a loved one are considering entering rehab, you can prepare for the alcohol and drug rehabilitation process by learning what to expect at a facility and after treatment.

rehab drug testing & inpatient drug rehab rules

What Is a Typical Day in an Inpatient Drug Rehab Like?

Rehab entails a very organized environment. Each day is filled with various activities and treatment options to encourage participation and help prevent relapse to drug or alcohol usage. Among meals, activities, and counseling sessions, there is typically some personal time available in recovery, but the majority of the day is planned out for clients.

Mornings: A Healthy Breakfast and Early Meeting

The day usually starts early in the morning, with a fixed wake-up time around 7 a.m. Nurses may give medications first thing in the morning, and clients may have some alone time to prepare for the day. Some programs even offer morning classes of meditation or yoga, which helps patients start their day in a calm manner.

Breakfast is served at a certain time every day, usually about 8 a.m. Clients eat together in a group environment, which aids in the development of relationships established in rehab. Following breakfast, there is usually a group session led by a counselor or therapist that covers subjects such as the therapy process, 12-step programs, addiction, and rehabilitation.

Afternoon: Therapy Sessions

The most intensive treatment is given in the middle of the day. Lunch is usually served around noon, and clients eat in a group environment. Following a healthy lunch, a series of therapy sessions is usually started. Usually, there are various therapies, such as:

Group Therapy

When an individual becomes emotionally attached to other members of the group, a group leader, or the group as a whole, the relationship has the power to affect and alter the person. In substance abuse treatment, group therapy teaches patients about substance abuse, hones the skills needed to break free from addictions, rebuilds thinking patterns and behaviors that lead to addiction, and aids the patient’s recovery by helping them form support groups.3

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT is a goal-oriented therapeutic approach that seeks to correct thinking patterns and behaviors in order to enhance feelings and encourage positive change. It incorporates elements of behavioral theory and cognitive theory. It is collaborative in nature, meaning that the therapist collaborates with the patients to help them adopt new skills with therapy plans that are tailored to each individual. This type of individual therapy is one of the most effective methods used in addiction treatment centers.4

Family therapy

Family therapy is a term that refers to a set of therapeutic approaches that all believe in assessing and intervening at the family level. Apart from family members’ drug abuse, these interventions tend to focus on a wide range of issues. They often focus on family communication, as well as other disabilities and attendance issues at school or work. These family-centered recovery programs aim to meet the needs of all family members.5

Specialized Sessions

Specialized therapy sessions are available at some rehab facilities. These may be designed for stress management, anger management, or grief counseling, with coping strategies to help patients better resolve their problems without resorting to drugs or alcohol.

Alternative Therapies for Addiction

Various alternative treatments are available as part of the alcohol and drug rehabilitation process, providing a wider range of options, such as:6

  • Recreational programs
  • Biofeedback
  • Neurofeedback
  • Dance therapy
  • Art therapy
  • Music therapy
  • Reiki
  • Tai chi
  • Horseback riding

Evenings In Inpatient Drug Rehab: 12-Step Meetings

Dinner is usually served around 6 p.m. and there may be another short group session or 12-step meeting after it. The meetings offer a secure, respectful, and anonymous setting in which fellowship can develop, which is an essential component of long-term sobriety.

Healthy habits are important during the rehab experience at an inpatient facility, so bedtime is encouraged to be earlier in the evening. Clients who get enough sleep are more aware and have more energy, which allows them to participate fully in daily treatment.

What Should I Pack For Inpatient Drug Rehab?

Taking the time to learn and plan what you can bring to rehab is important because you need to adhere to certain inpatient drug rehab rules.

Most people pack their clothes first, and it’s important to remember that the outfits you choose should be comfortable and suitable not only for the season, but also for your overall appearance. Clothing should be comfortable and loose fitting. Physical activity may be included in your treatment, so make sure you have appropriate clothes.

Some of the other things you should pack for rehab are:

  • A valid driver’s license or other form of identification.
  • Information about insurance coverage and medical records.
  • Hygiene products.
  • Comfortable shoes and shower shoes.
  • Medications that are currently being taken.
  • Photographs of loved ones.
  • List of immediate relatives’ and friends’ names and their contact information.
  • Materials for reading and writing.
  • Musical instruments, magazines, and crosswords.

Every drug rehab will give you a checklist of what you’ll need when you’re there, so make sure you get a copy. Before bringing these products, check with the inpatient drug rehab program if they have any rules on whether their patients can bring electronic devices, cigarettes, razors, nail clippers and mouthwash (which can contain alcohol).

What Items Are Not Allowed In Inpatient Drug Rehab?

When deciding which things to bring to rehab, there are a few items you should leave at home, including:

  • Cash.
  • Jewels.
  • Expensive items, including clothing, or shoes.
  • Certain hygiene products, such as alcohol-based products or aerosol sprays.
  • Pornography or pornographic or sexually explicit items.
  • Drugs.
  • Alcohol.

Since residential rehab focuses on health and wellbeing, patients are asked not to bring something that might distract them from that goal. Every day is typically organized around therapeutic counseling, group sessions, and other activities that encourage recovery.

What to Expect During an Inpatient Drug Rehab Center Intake?

In rehabilitation centers, intake screening or initial screening tests are used to assess a person’s eligibility and ability to participate in treatment for alcohol or drug abuse. Every rehab center employs a different procedure.7

The intake process starts when an individual or a member of their family contacts the recovery center, either by phone or with a personal visit. The first contact provides an opportunity for the recovery center to establish a successful therapeutic relationship with the prospective client and their family.7

This process entails more in-depth evaluations, such as:7

  • Medical and physical examinations.
  • Assessment of medical and mental health records.
  • Assessment of usage of drugs and alcohol in the past.
  • Assessment of treatments in the past.
  • Assessment of social and family life.
  • Insurance verification.

The admission counselor will explain the program and its rules to you, may ask you to sign any legal papers and consent forms, and help you create a treatment plan and objectives. The intake process can take a few hours or even several days, depending on whether you’re going through detox. Some centers may also require rehab drug testing upon admission.

Are Visitors Allowed During Inpatient Drug Rehab?

Visiting a friend or family member in residential rehab may help them on their way to recovery. During visits, most programs also provide the opportunity to engage in a joint therapy session. Family members may share their fears, work through difficult family dynamics and enhance communication during a counseling session.

The visitation policies vary from one center to another:

  • Certain rehabs only permit visits on weekends or at certain times at night.
  • Some treatment facilities only allow visitors after a person has been in treatment for a certain amount of time and has followed all of the inpatient drug rehab rules. To help the client get through recovery and determine their desire for improvement, this black-out period restricts communication with family and friends.
  • Other facilities only let family members and clients visit patients if they agree to engage in family therapy.

If you want to visit your friend or loved one, check with the treatment center about their visitation policies before you visit.

What to Expect After Drug and Alcohol Rehab Programs?

Recovery is a long-term process that necessitates time and effort. Having a successful aftercare plan is one way to improve the chances of staying sober. One of the last steps of recovery is to prepare for aftercare. A counselor will usually work with you to create a strategy for leaving the formal residential rehab program and reentering the real world. It is important to have an aftercare plan in place because it increases the likelihood of long-term recovery and reduces the likelihood of relapse.8

Each person’s aftercare plan is unique, and a counselor will assist you in determining what will be most beneficial to you after treatment. One or more of the following could be part of your aftercare plan:8

Outpatient Addiction Treatment

After completing a residential rehab program, outpatient treatment is also an option. Outpatient treatment, for some clients, is a successful transition from an intensive program because it offers additional support. Outpatient rehabs usually have a few hours of group and individual counseling each week.

Part of the aftercare programs are also relapse prevention and alumni network. Relapse prevention is concerned with educating patients about forming healthy new habits without drugs or alcohol, through picking up new hobbies, trying new exercise routines, volunteering and eating healthy. Alumni networks can be a great way to stay sober, since former patients assist each other, support each other, and celebrate success together.

Sober Living Homes or Halfway Houses

People may live in drug- and alcohol-free environments in sober living homes or halfway houses. Residents are free to leave the house during the day, making them less restrictive than residential rehab centers. Curfews, mandatory drug testing and monitoring, and other guidelines are common in sober living homes to keep occupants safe and avoid relapse.

Recovery Support Meetings

Recovery meetings are self-help groups for people who are addicted to drugs, alcohol, or other substances. In general, 12-step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, are the most common recovery meetings. Members of 12-step programs are encouraged to share their addiction challenges, find a sponsor to help them through the 12 steps, and build a sober support system.

Frequently Asked Questions