Updated on February 6, 2024
7 min read

Different Types of Alcohol Rehab

Key Takeaways

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a chronic, relapsing brain disease that can be mild, moderate, or severe. Lasting changes in the brain resulting from alcohol addiction can make people vulnerable to relapse.1

AUD encompasses various conditions, including:

  • Alcohol abuse
  • Alcohol dependence
  • Alcohol addiction
  • Alcoholism

AUD can lead to adverse social, occupational, or health-related consequences. Fortunately, evidence-based treatment options can support people with AUD.

People often believe there are only two alcohol rehab options⁠—Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and a residential rehab center. However, there are many other evidence-based drug and alcohol treatment options backed by science.

Types of Alcohol Rehab

Alcohol rehab programs come in many variations. Below are a few common treatment types that may suit your needs.

Inpatient Treatment

​​​​Inpatient alcohol treatment centers provide 24-hour rehab and medical care. They give people access to on-call medical and psychiatric services during their stay, often providing more services than other rehab options.

Amenities and services in residential drug rehab centers vary. All include a variety of recovery programming, such as:

  • Individual and group counseling
  • Coping skills education
  • Relapse prevention

Some inpatient addiction programs even provide support for family members.

Most inpatient alcohol rehab centers offer 30 to 90-day programs to allow people to focus solely on their recovery without distractions. Remaining in treatment for a sufficient amount of time can be critical to recovery.

The amount of time needed in an inpatient rehab facility depends on the severity of the addiction and other personal needs. Research shows at least 90 treatment days optimize recovery outcomes.4

Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHPs)

PHP, or day programming, provides a relatively intensive level of care. However, it’s in a more flexible environment than residential inpatient treatment.

PHPs allow people to attend substance abuse treatment during the day before going back home. During PHP, you’ll check in 5 days a week, receiving 4 hours of group therapy daily.

Day programming suits people with relatively stable living environments and stronger support networks. Eligibility for PHPs is often based on a physician’s assessment of a person’s necessary level of care. This treatment program may not be suitable for people with relatively severe cases of alcoholism or co-occurring disorders.

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient rehab can operate in a variety of settings, including:

  • Hospital clinics
  • Counselor’s offices
  • Community mental health clinics
  • Inpatient rehab facilities

The treatment process may be limited to a few hours during the week, mainly evenings and weekends. Attendance requirements differ by program. More intensive outpatient treatment programs offer daily sessions, while others only meet 1 to 3 times per week.

People can live at home while getting outpatient alcohol addiction treatment, providing the flexibility that many need to meet family or work obligations. People who receive this treatment need a stable home environment that’s alcohol and drug-free.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Medication-assisted treatment involves using medications with counseling and behavioral therapies. This system provides a ‘whole-person’ approach to substance use disorders like alcoholism.

Medicines used in MAT are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). MAT programs are clinically driven and custom-made to meet each person’s needs.5

The combination of medication and therapy can successfully treat disorders like AUD. For some people struggling with addiction, MAT can help maintain recovery.

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Alcohol Rehab: Types, Costs and When to Go
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What Is the Process for Alcohol Rehab Like?

The treatment process for alcohol rehab involves a few steps, including detox and therapy. Its duration may differ depending on the person. Still, the daily activities can be similar regarding the treatment used.


The initial step toward recovery involves a detox. When someone has developed a significant physical dependence on alcohol and decides to quit, alcohol withdrawal symptoms may develop.3

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms are often unpleasant and, in severe cases, life-threatening. Medical detox is a challenging but necessary part of early alcohol recovery.

During alcohol detox, the body rids itself of alcohol while medical staff keep the person as safe and comfortable as possible. 

Every detox center has its own set of specialized plans and protocols and may include:

  • Medications
  • Nutrition plans
  • Emotional support
  • Stress management
  • Other complementary therapeutic approaches


​​Alcohol rehab centers offer a variety of treatment options, including:

  • Psychotherapy
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT)
  • Motivational interviewing
  • 12-step facilitation
  • Yoga and meditation
  • Art and music therapy
  • Family therapy

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What a Day in Rehab Looks Like

​​Most daily rehab programs begin early in the morning with structured events, followed by free time for people to relax. Usually, one to two group classes or meetings occur around this time.

After lunch, there’s usually some free time. However, you’ll be closely monitored during the first few weeks of ongoing recovery because of the detox period.

More group classes or meetings typically take place in the afternoon. There may be an Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) speaker followed by other nightly activities. After these structured events, people can return to their group to relax and watch TV from around 9 pm to 10 pm.

Throughout the day and evening, there will be medication time. Before bedtime, people are given any medications they’re prescribed.

How Long Does Alcohol Rehab Last?

Every form of addiction is unique. It’s essential to realize that how long it takes for you to recover from alcoholism will be different than for other people.

The general length for rehab depends on the program, including:

  • 30-day programs
  • 60-day programs
  • Extended programs, like sober living centers or halfway houses

When choosing a program, focus on what will bring you the highest opportunity for long-term success. Most people need at least 3 months of drug and alcohol addiction treatment to achieve positive outcomes and plan for continued recovery.

Typically, the best outcomes occur with long periods of treatment. Lengthier addiction treatment programs can seem intimidating at first, but they may bring you the best results.

Alcohol Treatment Aftercare

Going to rehab is the first and most crucial step for many battling alcoholism. However, it’s only one step. The 30 to 90 days most people spend in rehab is only a small period compared to the many years that follow in recovery.

For many, adjusting to life following the recovery program is more challenging. This is due to the loss of an addiction treatment routine and the reintroduction of external factors and influences. 

Many programs, organizations, and resources are available to support people recovering from alcoholism and help them stay sober after rehab.

Some aftercare options include:

  • Facility-based programs
  • Sober living homes
  • Therapy and counseling
  • Support groups

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Alcohol Rehab Costs and Insurance Coverage

Some programs from non-profit centers are free, while luxury centers can cost up to $80,000. Most typical addiction treatment centers fall between $2,000 and $25,000 a month.

​​The fees of a rehab program vary widely. It depends on the type of treatment facility and whether you join an inpatient or outpatient setting or a different kind of program.

The price of rehab varies depending on:

  • Location
  • Length
  • Services included

Health Insurance Coverage

The Affordable Care Act requires small group and individual insurance plans to allow individuals suffering from drug and alcohol addiction to receive guidance and treatment at an appropriate rehab center. The act covers ten critical health benefit categories, including a dual diagnosis of mental illness and an alcohol problem.

The health insurance coverage you receive varies depending on your plan. Most insurance plans won’t cover other costs, like if you choose to receive treatment after being discharged from a rehab facility. 

Many health insurers cover at least some treatment expenses, along with additional state services like childcare. Private insurance typically offers the most comprehensive coverage but comes with the highest premiums.

Reach out to your insurance provider to determine if you or a loved one can receive coverage for drug and alcohol addiction treatment.

When to Seek Help

Reach out to a loved one or your primary healthcare provider if you:

  • Feel like you must drink
  • Can’t control how much you drink
  • Feel bad when you can’t drink
  • Deny your drinking habits

It may be time to seek support from medical professionals. Together, you can begin to make a treatment plan. Your doctor can also refer you to a treatment facility or experts who can support you in the recovery process.

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Updated on February 6, 2024
7 sources cited
Updated on February 6, 2024
  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “Understanding Alcohol Use Disorder.” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 2023.
  2. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). “Alcohol use disorder.” Mayo Clinic, 2022.
  3. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “Alcohol withdrawal.” MedlinePlus, 2023.
  4. NIDA. "Principles of Effective Treatment." National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2020.
  5. Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT).” Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 2023
  6. Mason et al. “Alcohol Use Disorder: The Role of Medication in Recovery.” Alcohol Research: Current Reviews, 2021.
  7. Witkiewitz et al. “Advances in the science and treatment of alcohol use disorder.” Science Advances, 2019.

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