Inpatient Drug Rehab

Inpatient drug rehab is one of many options available when seeking treatment for substance use disorder. Taking the step to a better life can seem daunting, but we’re here to help clear up the questions you might have about this kind of recovery center.

What Is Inpatient Drug Rehab?

Inpatient drug rehab is a residential recovery program where an addict will check-in and reside at a facility for a predetermined about of time. On average, your length of stay will be roughly 30 days, but there are also programs that offer 60, 90, or more days of residence.

An inpatient drug rehab program is typically part of a treatment plan for someone who is dealing with a more serious addiction, is considered high-risk, or has a previous history of substance use disorder where lesser programs were not effective.

Inpatient treatment centers are designed to provide a high level of structure and support for the addict during their first days and weeks of recovery. Many times, the addict may enter the rehab facility with drugs still in their system and will need special help during these early days. Additional care such as medical detox can also be available at the residential rehab program.

In addition to medical care, the inpatient drug rehab center will provide different types of therapy—from group sessions to one-on-one counseling and even family therapy. This focus on mental health is intended to help recovering addicts create better habits and behaviors that will allow them to be successful in their long-term addiction recovery.

What Happens in an Inpatient Rehab?

Inpatient Rehab: Day One

When you first arrive at the inpatient rehab facility, you will first go through the intake process. During intake, the patient will often review and sign a consent for treatment form before being admitted to the facility.

After you are checked in, you will often be allowed to contact family or loved ones to let them know you’ve arrived safely and are going to be receiving treatment. After that, patients often have a one-week “blackout phase,” where they will not have any contact with the outside world—including family and friends.

Inpatient Rehab: Week One

Week one’s blackout phase is designed to encourage patients’ sobriety in the early days of their treatment by eliminating any outside influences or temptations. Many times, the patient will be able to resume contact with loved ones after the first week.

Many patients also experience detoxification during the first week, as their body begins to eliminate the remaining drugs from their system. While withdrawal symptoms may occur, facility staff will monitor your vitals and ensure your symptoms are as mild as possible through medical detox. Sometimes, medication will be prescribed to help the patient taper off the drugs they had been taking.

Overall Inpatient Rehab Experience

Inpatient rehab is highly structured. While the specifics will vary between treatment facilities, you can expect your facility to maintain its own daily schedule.

A general overview of the daily schedule might look like this:

  • Wake up
  • Eat breakfast
  • One-on-one counseling
  • Personal time
  • Lunch
  • Alternative therapy, activities, fitness
  • Group therapy
  • Dinner
  • Activities or personal time
  • Group discussion
  • Bedtime/lights out

Each rehab facility will have its own unique amenities, from the type of food served to activities available for patients during downtime. When researching inpatient rehab, you may want to consider the types of amenities that are offered to help you choose the best inpatient rehab for you.

Inpatient vs Outpatient Rehab

Addiction treatment can be provided through both inpatient and outpatient programs. However, there are very distinct differences between the two, namely in the level of care provided.

The treatment option that is best for you can be determined through speaking with your doctor or another healthcare professional to assess your drug abuse and other health factors.

Inpatient Rehab

Inpatient treatment programs provide a more structured environment in a residential setting. Inpatient programs require the addict to check-in (hence the name “inpatient”) to a treatment facility to receive ongoing treatment and support.

There are some variations between inpatient program types. All inpatient facilities will provide medical care, but some inpatient centers will have a heavier focus on physical healthcare because of how drug abuse has impacted the patient’s body. Other inpatient rehab programs will provide more of a residential experience alongside therapy and medical treatment.

  • Residential or live-in situation
  • Approximately 30 to 90-day commitment
  • Medical care provided (including detox)
  • Therapies provided
  • Highly structured
  • Ideal for more serious addictions or those with previous addiction history

Outpatient Rehab

As mentioned earlier, an inpatient program is usually reserved for addicts with a severe addiction or previous history of substance abuse. Inpatient rehab provides the highest level of structure and support which can be crucial for those who have more serious cases of addiction.

Alternatively, outpatient rehab programs such as Partial Hospitalization or Intensive Outpatient still provide beneficial addiction recovery care but at a much less intense level. Outpatient drug rehab may also be offered after a patient complete’s inpatient care to help them transition to regular daily life.

  • An offsite treatment center that patient visits regularly
  • Roughly 10-30 hours weekly commitment
  • Medical care provided (including detox)
  • Therapies provided
  • Less structure; varying levels of intensity
  • Ideal for less severe addiction
  • Also great for patients who have completed an inpatient program

Inpatient Rehab Duration and Length of Stay

The length of stay for an inpatient treatment program will depend on a few factors. On average, a short-term program will last 28-30 days, while a long-term program (also known as a sober living facility) will usually start at 90 days but can extend longer.

All inpatient programs offer the medical detox program, which can take roughly 1-2 weeks. After detox, the inpatient program will focus on different therapies as well as helping the patient to establish better, healthier habits during their stay.

In many cases, a long-term program (90+ days) is often recommended over a short-term stay. There are several reasons for the preference for long-term inpatient rehab.

Those benefits include:

  • Longer time to build and solidify healthy habits
  • More time can be spent on overall recovery; treatment isn’t consumed by detox
  • The brain gets more time to heal
  • Extended time in regular therapy can provide essential tools and skills
  • Amends can be made with family and friends
  • Support can be provided if the patient experiences sudden cravings during their stay

However, long-term drug rehab is not always feasible for the addict. Any level of care is better than no care, and your decision to seek a healthier, drug-free life will help you no matter what inpatient program you might choose.

Is Inpatient Rehab the Best Option?

While coming up with an overall substance abuse treatment plan, you may be wondering if inpatient drug rehab is right for you or your loved one. Here are some questions you should ask yourself (or for your loved one to address).

Consider the following when deciding whether an inpatient drug rehab program is right for you:

  • What are your initial needs? Things like insurance (and cost), time away from work, childcare or family commitments, and even travel can play a role in this decision. Inpatient treatment is a 24/7 commitment for roughly 30 to 90 days, depending on the type of facility you choose. Make sure you have fully considered all aspects of your life and how they will be impacted by your time away.
  • Are you ready to make a life change? Your level of commitment to the program you choose will also greatly impact your success. There is more to inpatient rehab than supervised medical detox. Are you willing to put in the work?
  • Have you reached out for professional medical advice? A substance abuse treatment assessment, provided by a physician or other healthcare provider, can make a huge difference in helping you determine the level of care that would be best for you.

Ultimately, an addict’s goal should be their long-term recovery. If you feel that the structure, time commitment, and overall setup of inpatient rehab would help you or your loved one, then it sounds like you’ve already made your decision. Congratulations!

How to Choose an Inpatient Drug Rehab Clinic

Once you’ve decided that an inpatient drug rehab program is the best choice for your recovery plan, the next step is to choose an actual inpatient rehab facility.

Here are some things to consider when picking the right inpatient facility for yourself or your loved one:

Location of Rehab and Distance

There are two important things to consider when it comes to location. First, how far away is the facility? Do you have a reliable way to get there? For you, a facility that is closer to home and easier to get to might be more convenient.

Alternatively, it may be necessary to travel further away to remove yourself from the temptation of being near people you previously associated with drugs. You may consider choosing something that is NOT in familiar territory to better set yourself or your loved one up for success.

Cost of Rehab

Cost is another important factor when choosing the right inpatient rehab center. More expensive doesn’t necessarily mean higher quality. Different facilities will have different offerings and amenities, so there’s no need to pay extra for something that won’t serve you or your needs.

Additionally, some or all of your stay may be covered by your insurance program or Medicaid. Check with your individual provider to see if they have specific options in your network.

Ratings from Previous Clients

Checking the reviews and ratings of a facility can help you gauge what other people have experienced. You don’t necessarily have to make your choice just based on a center’s ratings, but it can be a valuable guide in assessing how previous residents have (or haven’t) succeeded through a particular treatment program.

Amenities and Additional Offerings

Besides medical care, detox, and therapy, inpatient rehab centers offer a variety of different amenities and special offerings. Some may provide family education and family therapy, while others may provide additional health support such as nutrition coaching and fitness.

If you have specific struggles or issues that are tied to your addiction (such as significant fallout with family), you might want to select an inpatient center that can provide you that extra care and support.

Type of Addiction

Another thing to consider when choosing the right inpatient rehab facility is the type of addiction you are dealing with. There are many facilities available that specialize in the substance abuse they treat, such as centers with a focus on opioids.

Outside of drug addiction rehabs, there are also alcohol rehab facilities that are specifically designed to help those struggling with alcohol abuse or alcohol addiction.

Severity of Addiction

The severity of your addiction may also come into play when determining the right rehab center for your needs. A more severe addiction may require more structure or a longer stay, whereas a less intense addiction may work better in a short-term inpatient setting.

Different clinics will treat different issues, so you need to find one that fits the individual in need of treatment. In addition to choosing a facility that suits your needs for addiction type and severity, you may also need to consider your overall health and medical history.

These considerations might include:

  • Co-occurring disorders
  • Dual-diagnosis treatment
  • Mental health disorders
  • Physical health accommodation requirements

Substance use disorder, in many cases, can be tied to previous mental health conditions, other drug use, or additional health problems—and all of these factors need to be considered when choosing an inpatient rehab. You may look for an inpatient rehab center that provides care for someone with your individual concerns and health needs.

Inpatient Rehab Therapy Options

Not all clinics offer the same set of treatment and therapy options, so if you have a preference for one approach or another, make sure you check to see if that facility offers it.

The types of therapies offered can include

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): This type of one-on-one therapy aims to teach the patient new behavioral patterns. You and your therapist will work on identifying negative thinking so that you can shift your mindset to allow you to make better future choices.
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT): A type of cognitive-behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy focuses on high-risk patients to help them both accept their condition and change their behavior. DBT may also give the patient homework after each session to put their new knowledge into practice.
  • Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET): Motivational enhancement therapy centers around a patient’s motivation to change. This therapy aims to empower the patient to change old habits and begin their journey of growth.
  • Group therapy: Offered at most inpatient facilities, group therapy provides patients with a support group where people will share and receive guidance from a counselor. This type of therapy helps patients to feel less isolated in their own experience, and feel supported by a small group of peers who can relate to each other.
  • 12-Step Programs: 12-step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA), provide a peer environment where personal sharing takes place. In addition, these programs have 12 actionable steps for the recovering addict to perform with the goal of maintaining their sobriety and feeling empowered to make better choices with each new day.
  • Family therapy: Family therapy is sometimes provided at certain inpatient rehab facilities. This may be especially helpful for adolescents or young adults who are receiving treatment at an inpatient rehab center. The family dynamic can play an enormous role in an addict’s well-being, and sometimes working through family issues can contribute to the addict’s healing and overall success.

Find an Inpatient Drug Rehab Near Me

Does it sound like an inpatient drug rehab program is right for you or a loved one? Take a look at the SAMHSA program locator to discover what facilities are located near you.

Frequently Asked Questions About Inpatient Rehab

Are cellphones allowed in rehab?

Each rehab center will have its own policy, so it’s best to check ahead of time to see if cellphones are allowed at any particular rehab.

Many rehab centers require a 7-day “blackout” period where the patient will not be allowed to have contact with friends and family outside of the facility. This blackout is designed to help that person focus on detox and adjust to their new surroundings, as well as to eliminate any immediate threats to their emotional well-being.

Is inpatient rehab different from a residential treatment center?

Residential treatment centers are a type of inpatient rehab. Residential treatment is designed to be less of a sterile environment, with a daily schedule and potentially even required chores over time.

General inpatient treatment has a stronger focus on medical support during the individual’s stay at that facility.

How much does inpatient drug rehab cost?

Each inpatient rehab facility will vary in cost. Factors that influence inpatient rehab cost might include the types of amenities offered, as well as location and length of stay.

Additionally, your health insurance may offer partial or full coverage for different types of programs.

Will insurance cover the cost of inpatient rehab?

That depends. Different providers offer different types of coverage related to addiction recovery and drug rehab. It is best to speak with your individual provider to learn more about what is covered under your specific plan.

Are visitations allowed during inpatient rehab?

In many cases, visitations ARE allowed during inpatient rehab. These visits are often restricted within the first week so the patient can get acclimated, work through detoxing, and adjust to their new living situation.

Be sure to check with any rehab center that you are considering to find about their individual policies about visitation.

What about aftercare? What can be done to prevent a relapse?

After a patient completes inpatient rehab, there are a variety of additional treatment options that may be offered. Some people move to an outpatient program, such as IOP or Intensive Outpatient Programs. Others may continue going to 12-step meetings locally to receive continued support in their sobriety.

Inpatient rehab is extremely beneficial in the early days of an addict’s recovery process, but it is not the only answer. Taking part in external programs such as 12-step programs, outpatient care, mental health treatment, and therapy can greatly reduce the risk for relapse by providing continued structure, support, and accountability.

Reviewed by:Chris Carberg

Addiction Guide Founder & Mental Health Advocate

  • Fact-Checked
  • Editor

Chris Carberg is a visionary digital entrepreneur, the Founder of Addiction Guide, and a long-time recovering addict from prescription opioids, sedatives, and alcohol.  Over the past 15 years, Chris has worked as a tireless advocate for addicts and their loved ones, while becoming a sought-after digital entrepreneur. Chris is a storyteller and aims to share his story with others in the hopes of helping them achieve their own recovery.

Written by:

Content Manager

Jessica Miller is a USF graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in English. She has written professionally for over a decade, from HR scripts and employee training to business marketing and company branding. In addition to writing, Jessica spent time in the healthcare sector (HR) and as a high school teacher. She has personally experienced the pitfalls of addiction and is delighted to bring her knowledge and writing skills together to support our mission. Jessica lives in St. Petersburg, FL with her husband and two dogs.

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  2. Mericle, A. A., Mahoney, E., Korcha, R., Delucchi, K., & Polcin, D. L. (2019). Sober living house characteristics: A multilevel analyses of factors associated with improved outcomes. Journal of substance abuse treatment, 98, 28–38.
  3. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2015). Treatment Improvement Protocol—TIP 45: Detoxification and Substance Abuse Treatment
  4. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2020, June 3). Types of treatment programs.
  5. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2017, January 19). Treatment approaches for drug addiction drugfacts.
  6. Meyers, R. J., Smith, J. E., & Lash, D. N. (2005). A program for engaging treatment-refusing substance abusers into treatment: CRAFT. International Journal of Behavioral Consultation and Therapy, 1(2), 90-100.
  7. McKay J. R. (2021). Impact of continuing care on recovery from substance use disorder. Alcohol research: current reviews, 41(1), 01.

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