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How Does Inpatient Treatment Work for Addiction? 

Various drugs, alcohol and cigarettes are on the wooden table.

Drug and alcohol addiction is extremely common in the US. One in 10 adults have a substance use disorder (SUD) at some point in their lives. Yet most people don’t get the help they need to address substance issues.

According to National Institutes of Health, a 2015 survey found that:

  • Fewer than 25% of people who had drug use disorder received treatment.
  • Nearly one-third of adults in the United States have alcohol use disorder at some time in their lives, but only about 20% receive treatment.
  • People with drug use disorder were significantly more likely to have a psychiatric disorder (1.3 times as likely to experience clinical depression, 1.6 times as likely to have post-traumatic stress disorder, and 1.8 times as likely to have borderline personality disorder).

These statistics are a sobering reminder of how SUDs and co-occurring mental health disorders often go untreated.

The reasons for this are varied. Some people are skeptical about whether treatment is effective. Others are afraid of the stigma surrounding addiction and mental health disorders. And since health care providers often lack the training to address SUDs and addiction, they can miss key opportunities to help patients.

One thing that’s certain is that proper treatment—including inpatient rehab programs—can save lives. Keep reading to learn about inpatient addiction treatment, how it works, and who can benefit from residential rehab.

What is inpatient rehab?

Inpatient rehab, also known as residential rehab, is addiction treatment where you live at a treatment center and receive intensive therapy and support.

Unlike outpatient treatment, in which patients continue living at home, residential treatment removes the distractions and triggers of everyday life, allowing you to focus on recovery.

Most inpatient programs offer a range of medical services and complementary therapies to address the physical, emotional, and psychological aspects of addiction.

The length of an inpatient rehab program varies depending on your needs and progress, but most people stay between 30 and 90 days. Some people move into sober living after inpatient treatment, which helps create a safe transition to life back at home. 

Who needs inpatient treatment?

Inpatient rehab is usually recommended for people with serious substance use disorders and those who have co-occurring mental health disorders. It may be a good option if:

  • You have not had success with an outpatient program
  • You have a co-occurring mental health disorder, like depression, anxiety, or PTSD
  • Your home life makes it hard to stay away from substances
  • You experience severe withdrawal symptoms when you quit drugs or alcohol

If you are unsure whether an inpatient rehab facility is right for you, it’s a good idea to check with a medical professional or counselor. If you are uncomfortable seeing your family doctor, telehealth providers offer discreet private screenings that are usually covered by insurance.

How does inpatient treatment work?

People participating in group therapy

Treatment usually starts with medically assisted detoxification. This helps rid your body of drugs or alcohol, so you can focus on recovery with a clear head.

Substance withdrawals can be dangerous for some people, so getting the right care is critical. For example, heavy drinking can lead to alcohol withdrawal syndrome, which causes a range of symptoms, from tremors to disorientation.

If you are a heavy drinker or drug user, seek care from a provider that offers medically assisted detox overseen by a trained physician.

The detox process is typically followed by a structured daily schedule that may include group therapy, one-on-one counseling, drug and alcohol education, and medical care. Some inpatient rehabs also offer family therapy or couples therapy.

Therapists and addiction counselors typically use a range of psychotherapeutic techniques during counseling sessions, such as:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT)
  • Motivational interviewing
  • Trauma-focused therapy

Holistic therapies like yoga, meditation, art therapy, gardening, and equine therapy can also be helpful in recovery.

Each treatment center has its own rules and protocols to ensure that people in treatment can focus on recovery without distractions or outside temptations.

Many inpatient rehabs limit your contact with family, friends, coworkers, and others during treatment. While visitors may be welcome during certain hours, you may not have access to your cell phone, especially in the early days of treatment.

How do I decide on a rehab facility?

Finding the right rehab facility for yourself or a loved one can feel daunting, but by asking the right questions, you can quickly narrow your search. Here are some questions to ask providers:

  • Are there any medical doctors on staff or associated with your program? If so, are they trained to treat people with substance use problems? Is the doctor(s) certified by the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM)?
  • Are your addiction counselors certified substance use disorder counselors (CDC)?
  • Do you treat co-occurring mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD?
  • What is your treatment philosophy? Do you subscribe to the disease model of addiction, or something else?
  • What therapies are used in your program? Is it a 12-step program alone or does the program contain cognitive therapy and/or medication-assisted treatment, etc.?
  • How much time do residents spend in therapy sessions and other program-related activities each day?
  • Does your facility provide aftercare or an alumni program? What resources will be available to me or my loved one after treatment?
  • Are family members involved in your programs? How are they involved?
  • What is the success rate for people going through your program?
  • What amenities do you offer? Where will I sleep, and will I have a roommate?
  • What is the cost of treatment, and do you accept insurance?

These and other questions can help you decide which treatment provider may best meet your needs.

Psychotherapist working with drug addicted man indoors

Get Help Today

If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, Del Arroyo Recovery Center can help. Our luxury inpatient rehab in Southern California is staffed by an expert team offering evidence-based addiction treatment and mental health care services.

We maintain a low patient-to-staff ratio, which allows us to provide each resident in our program with the individualized attention they deserve. Contact us at 877-535-0636 to learn more about our inpatient residential treatment program in Agoura Hills, CA.


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