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Inpatient rehab is an effective treatment method for substance use disorders (SUD). It is available for people with drug use disorders or alcohol use disorder (AUD). Some facilities treat both types of addiction, while some specialize in one or the other.
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SUDs occur in a spectrum of severities — meaning that the condition can be classified as mild, moderate, or severe. Inpatient rehab is especially useful for people suffering from “severe” cases. It is also advisable for people suffering from co-occurring disorders. A person with co-occurring disorders suffers from a SUD as well as a mental health disorder, such as alcohol addiction and depression or opioid addiction and anxiety.
Inpatient rehab happens at licensed residential treatment centers. They offer 24-hour comprehensive, structured care including schedules, a substance-free environment, safe housing, and medical attention.
Detoxification is usually the first step in an inpatient rehab treatment program. Programs typically last from 30 to 90 days. However, if further treatment is necessary, additional options are available.
Inpatient treatment centers may use several different therapeutic approaches, but all focus on helping the patient overcome their addiction and go on to live a sober and successful life after treatment.
There are many different types of inpatient treatment centers. Some are focused on treating specific types of substance abuse, some focus on particular treatment approaches, while others utilize different methods or have specific patient requirements.
What’s best for one patient may not be the best for another, so it’s important to consider which type of inpatient treatment facility will be best for the individual. This will depend on several factors, including:
There are several different treatment techniques used in inpatient rehabilitation. Some of the most effective methods include:
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a psychotherapy (talk therapy) treatment aimed at changing patterns of thinking and behavior. It is a short term, goal-oriented, evidence-based therapy. The goal is to change people’s behavior by focusing on the thoughts, images, attitudes, and beliefs that cause their problematic behavior.
Dialectic behavioral therapy (DBT) is another type of evidence-based psychotherapy treatment. It utilizes cognitive behavioral therapy techniques while focusing on the social aspects of the recovery process. It is designed for people who experience mood swings and other highly emotional reactions in social situations. Patients are encouraged to work through problems with their therapist and support staff, while they do the same with the patient. DBT often involves homework, role-play, and practice.
Contingency management, also called evidence-based therapy, is a type of behavioral therapy that rewards, or “reinforces,” patients for evidence of positive behavioral change. Contingency management is based on behavioral analysis. If someone’s behavior is rewarded shortly after completion, they are more likely to continue practicing that behavior.
Person-centered counseling revolves around the patient. In person-centered counseling, the clinician assists the patient by expressing their acceptance with no judgment. They then engage the patient, elicit change talk, and motivate them to make positive changes based on the patient’s goals and desires.
Facilities may use different types of treatment as well. Because addiction is a disorder that affects your body and mind, many licensed team members may be involved, including:
Inpatient treatment is most effective for people who belong in these four categories:
Inpatient rehab is beneficial because it provides a patient with a highly structured environment and access to many services and amenities, including:
A traditional inpatient drug or alcohol rehab program lasts 30, 60, or 90 days. However, there are long-term options as well.
Inpatient rehabilitation generally involves the following five stages:
Getting ready for inpatient rehab can be scary. However, even just minor preparation can help calm your nerves and give you a better chance of having a positive experience. Here are a few things you can do to help put your mind at ease and prepare for your time in rehab:
Taking care of any family and work obligations will make your transition into rehab much smoother. It may be uncomfortable sharing details, but gaining the support of family, friends, and colleagues can go a long way in building a support system that will help you recover. This may include arranging child care, requesting time off of work, and signing up for automatic bill payments.
Most clinicians advise bringing only the essentials when packing for inpatient rehab. These include:
It is also recommended to bring a few comfort items. These may be reminders of your loved ones, books, or an mp3 player, as many facilities don’t allow cell phones, computers, or tablets.
It’s normal to feel scared, angry, or nervous upon enrolling in inpatient rehabilitation. The best attitude to have is one of resolve. Resolve that you’re not going to quit. Feel confident that you’re making a good decision, and know that you will be working towards better health, more financial stability, and better relationships with your loved ones.
Finding a way to relax and prepare your mind for what’s to come will help you look at this as a positive experience rather than a scary one. Take time to do one of your favorite relaxing activities and try to clear your mind.
Inpatient rehabs average around $6,000 for a 30-day program. More prolific centers may charge up to $20,000 for a 30-day program. The total cost average for 60 or 90-day programs ranges from $12,000 to $60,000.
Most inpatient rehab facilities accept insurance, offer financial aid, or provide financing options
Insurance is one of the most common and effective ways of paying for rehab. The amount covered will depend on the insurer, plan, and healthcare provider. Most facilities accept:
For people who don’t have insurance, or whose plans don’t cover any part of rehab, many treatment facilities (especially nonprofits) offer financial assistance to help offset the cost of treatment. Financing options are also available at most treatment centers.
While many people may be scared of going into debt or spending too much money, it helps to think of rehab as an investment. The costs of addiction are not just financial; they’re physical and mental as well. People who can recover from their substance use disorders (SUD) are in much better shape to take care of themselves and their families financially than those who are still suffering.
Inpatient rehab is an effective and intensive treatment option, but it might not be right for everyone. Outpatient treatment is an alternative option that doesn’t involve the patient living on the premises.
This is recommended for people who have a low chance of relapse, are highly motivated to get better, and have established support systems in their life.
Choosing the right inpatient rehab center is essential to maximize your chances of recovery. Here are some questions to ask in order to make sure that the facility you choose will provide the type of care you need:
If you or someone you love is struggling to quit drugs or alcohol on their own, inpatient rehab can help. You’ll receive medical care, structured support, and a sense of community that only exists in inpatient facilities.
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Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: a Research-Based Guide. 3rd ed., National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2012.
NIDA. "Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction." National Institute on Drug Abuse, 17 Jan. 2019, https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/treatment-approaches-drug-addiction.
NIDA. "Teaching Addiction Science." National Institute on Drug Abuse, 11 Feb. 2019, https://www.drugabuse.gov/teaching-addiction-science.
Petry, Nancy M. “Contingency management: what it is and why psychiatrists should want to use it.” The psychiatrist vol. 35,5 (2011): 161-163. doi:10.1192/pb.bp.110.031831