Updated on February 28, 2024
8 min read

Inpatient Alcohol Rehab

Key Takeaways

What is an Inpatient Alcohol Rehab Program?

An inpatient alcohol rehab program is a form of addiction treatment that entails residing at a facility around the clock for a specified duration. It's where people with alcohol or drug addiction receive intensive care and support.

This type of treatment is often best for those with severe or long-term alcohol use disorder (AUD) due to its highly structured and supportive environment to facilitate recovery.

This treatment option comes in two forms:

  • Inpatient rehab: Provides acute medical care and treatments in a hospital-like setting
  • Residential treatment: Provides hotel-like accommodations and basic nursing support; ideal for those with less severe addictions

How Long Does Inpatient Alcohol Rehab Take?

Inpatient alcohol rehab duration varies depending on the severity of the addiction, typically lasting for 30, 60, or 90 days. Some people, especially those who’ve struggled with alcohol abuse for years or who don’t have supportive home environments, may require longer treatment periods.

These people might need more time before transitioning to outpatient treatment programs. Or, they need to establish a safe and stable living environment after detox.


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What Services Do Inpatient Treatment Programs Offer?

Inpatient alcohol rehab programs offer many services to help those struggling with addiction, including:

  • Medical detox: This is the process of safely removing alcohol from the body under medical supervision. It can help manage withdrawal symptoms and prevent complications.
  • Individual therapy: One-on-one therapy sessions with a licensed therapist or counselor to address underlying issues and develop coping strategies.
  • Group therapy: Sessions with people in similar situations to share experiences, learn from one another, and receive support.
  • Medication management: This involves the use of medications to help manage withdrawal symptoms or cravings during treatment. These may include drugs like naltrexone or disulfiram.
  • Behavioral therapies: Techniques such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) may help identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors.
  • Holistic therapies: Some inpatient programs may offer alternative or complementary therapies such as yoga, meditation, or art therapy to promote overall well-being.
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How Much Does Inpatient Treatment Cost?

The cost of treatment depends on the location, features, and duration of treatment. Many inpatient alcohol rehab centers accept certain insurance plans, so it's important to check if your insurance provider covers inpatient treatment.

Here are some approximate average costs for inpatient alcohol rehab per the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics:1

  • Certain rehabilitation centers may require an admission fee of approximately $3,000 to $4,000
  • The cost of a 30-day program at a clinic can vary between $5,000 and $20,000
  • The price for the most affordable medical detoxification programs is $1,750
  • The most affordable option for inpatient rehabilitation programs is $6,000
  • The cost of the 30-day program is approximately $12,500, while the 60 to 90-day programs average around $36,000
  • A private inpatient alcohol rehab center can charge $500 to $650 daily

Alternative Payment Options for Inpatient Rehab

For those who can’t afford private rehab facilities, there are state-funded rehab facilities available for individuals who meet their entry requirements. Additionally, some facilities accept Medicaid, Medicare, and private financing, while others allow non-insurance payment options.

Who Needs Inpatient Treatment?

Not everyone requires inpatient treatment. It’s typically necessary for those with severe addictions or unstable home environments.

Prolonged alcohol use alters body chemistry, impacting the body's appearance and function. While some of these changes are reversible upon quitting drinking, others might only stop progressing without reversing.

Certain changes may continue to progress even after stopping drinking. Heavy alcohol use also affects vital organs like the liver, heart, lungs, and others, necessitating time for the body to return to normal functioning.

Why Do People Require Different Treatments?

No single alcohol addiction treatment fits all people’s needs. While one option may work for one person, it may not work for others.

To determine the most suitable treatment plan, medical professionals will evaluate various factors, including:

  • The quantity and frequency of alcohol use
  • Use of drugs and other addictive substances
  • Any previous treatment and attempts to stop drinking without outside assistance
  • Co-occurring health issues (like diabetes or liver problems) 
  • Co-occurring mental health conditions (like depression or anxiety)7
  • Support from family and friends
  • Financial situation
  • Stability of living situation
  • Access to transportation
  • Legal issues (like arrests and probations) related to alcohol use
  • Special situations (like teens, pregnant women, seniors, and people in safety-sensitive occupations like pilots and law enforcers)

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What to Expect During Inpatient Alcohol Rehab

If you decide to enter inpatient rehab, you will live in the facility until you complete treatment. You’ll undergo these stages:

1. Medical Screening

During the first day, you’ll undergo an initial health assessment. Medical professionals will also check if you have any co-occurring medical or mental health conditions that require urgent attention. A complete, current health history is crucial so they can design a suitable treatment plan for your stay.

2. Detoxification

Your treatment will include detox if you’re at risk of severe alcohol withdrawal. This detox process can be uncomfortable. You’re likely to experience severe withdrawal symptoms as your body flushes out alcohol. 

Rehab facilities have support staff to help you detox safely and comfortably. Sometimes, medical staff administer medications to reduce withdrawal symptoms and prevent seizures. Examples of these medications include benzodiazepines and anticonvulsants.

3. Structured Rehab Care

After detox, you’ll continue the remaining parts of rehab. This stage is typically very structured since you’ll follow a strict schedule

Your day typically consists of therapies, counseling sessions, and other activities. Schedule compliance and activity participation are required to complete the program successfully. Continued non-compliance usually results in early termination.

4. After Inpatient Rehab

After inpatient rehab, you’ll continue recovery through outpatient approaches. In outpatient settings, you’ll attend support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and AI-Anon. You will also continue to meet with a counselor. 

How to Find the Right Rehab Program 

If you have insurance, call your provider. They can help you find a covered inpatient alcohol rehab center

If you don’t have insurance, there are other ways to pay for treatment. You can also check the directories of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).

Questions to Ask About Rehab Treatment

When checking out inpatient rehab programs and facilities, NIAAA recommends asking these questions:

  • Availability: How soon can the treatment start? 
  • Costs and insurance: How much is the cost of treatment? Will insurance cover the costs?  
  • Credentials: Does the treatment center have license and accreditation? Are the staff, therapists, and doctors qualified? 
  • Complete evaluation and personalized plan: How does the facility design a treatment plan? Do they start with an evaluation? 
  • Treatment approach: What are the treatment options? 
  • Medication-assisted treatment (MAT): Does the rehab center use medications to treat alcohol use disorder (AUD)?
  • Support for co-occurring conditions: How does the treatment center help people with co-occurring mental health and medical conditions?   
  • Expectations: What are the facility’s expectations of residents and their families during treatment? 
  • Managing relapse: How does the treatment center respond if a resident relapses during treatment?
  • Recovery support: What happens after inpatient alcohol rehab? Does the facility offer support for continuous recovery? 

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Differences Between Inpatient and Outpatient Rehab

Here are some differences between inpatient and outpatient rehab:

Inpatient RehabOutpatient Rehab
People live in the treatment centerPeople go home after treatment
People may need to make complex life choices (like leaving a job or school)People can maintain normal activities (like work, school, or family obligations)
Costs more than outpatient treatmentRequires regular visits to a counselor or support groups
Treatment lasts for 30 to 90 days (longer duration for other people)Costs less than inpatient treatment
Treats severe addiction Treatment sessions typically last up to 9 hours per week
Treats mild-to-moderate addiction

What Determines the Choice Between Outpatient and Inpatient Treatment?

Factors influencing the recommendation of either outpatient or inpatient treatment include the following:

  • Severity of addiction
  • Presence of co-occurring conditions
  • Stability of housing
  • Level of social support

Those with mild-to-moderate addiction, supportive family and friends, a stable living situation, and access to transportation may benefit from outpatient treatment. In contrast, those with severe addiction, co-occurring conditions, unstable housing, or no social support might need inpatient treatment more.

Challenges and Common Misconceptions

Some challenges and common misconceptions surround inpatient treatment, including: 

  • Expense: Inpatient treatment can be expensive, but insurance and other financial options are available to help make it more affordable. 
  • Time away from home: Staying at an inpatient rehab center means time away from home, but this allows for full immersion in the recovery process without distractions or triggers.
  • Stigma: There's sometimes a social stigma surrounding inpatient rehab, but seeking treatment is a courageous step towards recovery.
  • Perceived luxury: Inpatient treatment may seem luxurious or unnecessary, but it provides a safe and supportive environment for you to focus on your recovery.
  • Fear of failure: Some may avoid it out of fear of failing or not completing the program, but most programs help residents succeed and provide support in case of relapse.


Inpatient alcohol rehab provides a safe, structured, and supportive environment to overcome AUD. It often involves detox, therapy, counseling, and other activities.

Afterward, outpatient treatment continues the recovery process. Inpatient and outpatient treatments have differences and benefits, but finding the right program depends on your needs and circumstances. 

Don't let challenges or misconceptions prevent you from seeking the help you need to overcome alcohol addiction. Contact the nearest rehab center or health insurance provider to find a program that suits you.

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Updated on February 28, 2024
11 sources cited
Updated on February 28, 2024
  1. Average Cost of Drug Rehab.” National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics.
  2. What Types of Alcohol Treatment are Available?” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
  3. Overview of Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Care Clinical Guidelines: A Resource for States Developing SUD Delivery System Reforms.” Medicaid Innovation Accelerator Program, 2017. 
  4. Principles of Effective Treatment.” Department of Health and Human Services Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health.
  5. Detoxification and Substance Abuse Treatment [Internet].” Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2006. 
  6. Agyapong et al. “Effectiveness of daily outpatient alcohol detoxification by an Irish public psychiatric hospital – A pilot study.” Cambridge University Press, 2014.
  7. Why Do Different People Need Different Options?” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. 
  8. Comorbidity: Substance Use Disorders and Other Mental Illnesses.” National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2023.
  9. Find Treatment.” Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
  10. Step 1 - Search Trusted Sources to Find Providers.” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
  11. Step 2 - Ask 10 Recommended Questions.” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

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