What Is Inpatient Drug Rehab?

inpatient vs outpatient rehab
Inpatient vs Outpatient Rehab: What to Consider
September 4, 2020
outpatient rehab
What Is Outpatient Rehab?
September 8, 2020

Thanks in part to the ongoing opioid crisis which has devastated the lives of so many Americans, the rate of drug overdose deaths in this country has skyrocketed in recent decades. In fact, that rate has tripled since 1990. There is good news, however — there is more help available for people who are addicted to drugs and alcohol than there ever has been before. Today’s rehabilitation centers cater to specific cohorts, offer multiple recovery modalities, and provide a plethora of activities to help recovering addicts achieve and manage sobriety.

Today, we’re taking a closer look at inpatient drug rehab. What is it, how does it stack up to other types of facilities, and what is its track record of success? Read on for answers to those questions and more.

Outpatient vs. Inpatient Drug Rehab

If you have ever watched the popular A&E show Intervention, you know that after they have agreed to pursue treatment, the addict travels to a rehab facility, suitcases in tow. That’s because inpatient drug rehab programs require patients to live on premises for a period of time. There are a number of reasons why this is a successful model, but most of them boil down to the fact that a period of isolation from one’s ordinary life — and the triggers that cause them to use — is extremely helpful for beginning the long journey of getting clean.

For some people, however, outpatient rehab is a better choice. It’s not always feasible for someone to arrange for child care, take a leave of absence from work, or leave their pets behind in order to live elsewhere for weeks or months. If the individual is highly motivated to stop using and can devote the majority of their free time to their recovery, outpatient treatment is a valid option. 

Detox and the Duration of Rehab

Given how difficult it is to get through withdrawal on one’s own, medically supervised detox is an essential step in the recovery process. During this period, the patient will likely experience unpleasant or even debilitating physical symptoms. Inpatient facilities have doctors and nurses on staff to evaluate their physical state, prescribe medications to mitigate their discomfort and cravings (which they will taper off of after a few days’ time), and otherwise monitor them 24/7 until their bodies have flushed all of the chemicals.

At that point, the patient will transition to rehab. Most programs last for 30, 60, or 90 days. Many facilities will allow a patient to start out with a commitment to just 30 days, but to stay and continue treatment if everyone involved feels this will be beneficial. Patients who check themselves out of rehab before the 30-day mark are rarely successful in maintaining sobriety.

Speaking of checking out, it’s important for anyone considering rehab to understand that there are no locks on the doors, and patients are free to leave. They may face consequences, including legal ones if the rehab was court-ordered, but they do have the choice to walk away from the help being offered. It’s a truism that the alcoholic or drug addict has to want to change him- or herself; if they are being “forced” into rehab, their chances of successfully staying sober after they leave are greatly diminished.

An Incredible Opportunity

In some ways, patients in rehab are very lucky. Not everyone has the opportunity to take time off from their ordinary existence to look inward. Rehab offers newly sober people the chance to:

  • Examine their life’s trajectory and the decisions that led to where they are now
  • Resolve any deep-seated trauma that might have influenced those decisions
  • Rediscover who they are when the drugs or drinks are stripped away
  • Learn new coping skills to replace the unhealthy ones, like using their drug of choice
  • Understand how their addiction has affected other people in their life
  • Make some plans for a brighter, more fruitful future

Of course, you’re not just navel-gazing all alone. In addition to the counselors and other staff members at the treatment facility, you’ll also be surrounded by people who understand what you are going through and who will offer you a shoulder to lean on or to cry on. 

A Typical Day in Rehab

What do people in rehab do all day? Each day in rehab will be fairly structured, as adhering to a schedule helps everyone to achieve more during the day. The day will start with breakfast and possibly some free time to work out, meditate, or just relax. Then it’s on to different forms of treatment.

Most rehab patients will participate in one-on-one therapy with a counselor or psychologist as well as group therapy that brings everyone together to share and explore their emotions. There will be auxiliary therapy sessions that focus on anger management, mindfulness, dialectical behavior therapy, and healthy coping skills. 

The facility may also offer classes or workshops that help patients get their life back on track in practical ways: how to budget and handle finances, how to prepare meals, how to job search and prepare for interviews, and so on.

Family therapy is another standard aspect of rehab. Just as the addict must re-learn how to live without their chemical crutches, so too do their spouses, parents, children, and other loved ones need to adapt to a new interpersonal relationship with them. Whether they acknowledge it or not, those who are close to an addict have been swept up in the addiction and are often codependent. They will need help to turn over a new leaf, too.

There’s much more to rehab than therapy, however. The facility will offer structured activities such as crafts, fitness classes or sports, cooking classes, meditation sessions, and outdoor recreation. 

Patients also enjoy free time in which they can read, practice yoga or lift weights, nap, play board games or video games, or just chill with the other residents.

Rehab Is Like Hitting Refresh on Your Life

Rehab helps people overcome their physical addiction to drugs or alcohol and teaches them many strategies and skills to stay sober in the future. It also stacks the deck in a recovering addict’s favor, so that they can hit the refresh button and get a second chance at a successful, happy, and healthy life. Inpatient drug rehab, in particular, offers the opportunity to get help in a safe, supportive environment. 

Want to learn more? Have questions? Or are you ready to take the first step on the path to sobriety? Get in touch, and we’ll be happy to help!