What Are the Pros and Cons of Alcohol Rehab?

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The pros and cons of alcohol rehab are very different. The pros are: safe, professional, experienced help that delivers results. The cons are: rehab takes time, costs money, you are away from family for a period of time.  The benefit you get is that help is available, but there are disadvantages as well as advantages associated with an inpatient alcohol rehab. 

Alcoholic rehabilitation centres like Abbeycare help people cope with alcohol abuse. They also teach them how to get through the day-to-day struggles of recovery.

Long-term recovery, however, involves plenty of therapy and counselling for the individual, and they are usually required to attend a 12-step program.

In most cases, people wonder whether rehab works; one would think that they need to join an AA meeting and get better. Rehab has got both benefits and limitations, which we will analyse below.

The Pros and Cons of Rehab

Pros of Alcohol Rehab

Safe and Supportive Environment

This is one of the benefits of rehabilitation. The patient is in a safe and supportive environment around people who understand them and their struggles.

When you are an addict, access to peer support is necessary to maintain your sobriety in the long term.

Stability, Structure, and Routine

When you develop an addiction, you need to establish some structure and routine in your life to start dealing with it.

This is one of the keys to replacing the self-destructiveness of alcohol abuse and dependency.

The structure protects the patients and prevents them from falling back into negative and old habits. Days filled with a routine including chores, regular meals, and a regulated mealtime will provide the structure with the addict needs.

Multiple Therapies and Treatments

When one is recovering from an addiction, one needs to have both physical and psychological therapy.

Different people need different treatments, and it is essential to know the different therapy options available out there.

This helps the individual know what is best for them.

Round the Clock Support

Clinics offering in-patient rehab provide 24/7 clinical and medical support. This is vital in preventing the patient from relapsing at any time.

Withdrawal from alcohol is sometimes painful, uncomfortable, and dangerous, and this patient certainly needs a lot of care.

Monitored Treatment and Enforced Abstinence

When one enters a rehab clinic, they are looking for help to overcome their alcohol addiction. As such, the rehab centres have professionals who enforce abstinence and ensure monitoring of the treatment.

You cannot leave the rehab to find alcohol.

New Habits and Goal Setting

Drug addiction goes hand-in-hand with poor decision-making about your health and a lack of discipline.

Rehab programs offer the addict an opportunity to build new habits and develop new goals they can work towards.

The building of new habits seems almost impossible initially, but according to researchers, it takes around 66 days for one to learn a new habit and stick to it.

This is the reason why rehab clinics are crucial for recovering addicts. They enable them to find time and space for instituting new ways of living their lives.

Physical Health Programs

Most addicts tend to be malnourished as they do not take care of their physical health. Rehab clinics are aware of this, and they tend to have in-patient health providers to help the addicts with nutrition and exercise programs.

Alcohol abuse is one of the leading causes of physical and mental disorders, and this is why rehab centres need to have this kind of program.

Continued Support

The rehab benefits stretch beyond the treatment period. When the patients are released from rehab, they are not just thrown into the world to take care of themselves.

Instead, they are provided with ongoing aftercare comprising support groups and programs that help them integrate back into society and implement what they learned in the rehab centre.


Cons of Alcohol Rehab

Loss of Income

When you are in an in-patient rehab clinic, you cannot go to work or your business. This means that you will miss out on any money you would have made within the treatment period.

Luckily, some intensive outpatient programs you can attend, although their success levels are not as high as for the in-patient rehab centres.

Leaving Family and Friends

This is one of the hardest things – leaving your family and friends. As a patient at the rehab clinic, you cannot see them, neither are you allowed to have the same contact you had before with them.

Sometimes families are allowed to visit patients at the rehab clinic, but it is never quite the same as being home together each day.

Inpatient Care is Expensive

Yes, in-patient care is quite expensive, and most people may not afford it and would instead attend the NHS free clinics.

This is why most people do not go to rehab, as they cannot afford them.

There Is Limited Contact with The Outside

Nowadays, people are all about contact with each other through social media, emails, talking on the phone, and even meeting up.

When you are in rehab, all this is cut off, and you may feel isolated and out of this world.

This happens in rehab facilities because some activities or people might trigger your desire to drink, and eliminating these triggers could help you recover faster.

Intensive Outpatient Rehab vs Inpatient Rehab

What are Their Pros and Cons?

One of the first steps in recovery for an addict is to admit that they have a problem. Once they acknowledge this, they will need to seek treatment from a rehabilitation clinic.

Deciding which clinic to choose is never easy, and one needs to understand what each offers to make a decision.

Here are the pros and cons to consider for both in-patient and outpatient rehab clinics.

Inpatient Rehabilitation

This means that the patient will stay in the clinic for the duration of their treatment. If they decide to enrol in the rehab, they could look at between 28 and 90 days of rehabilitation.

This varies depending on what the insurance company is willing to pay for. It is, however, essential that you talk to your provider about this.

Pros of Inpatient Rehabilitation
  • They do not allow alcohol. This provides less chance for relapsing.
  • There is concentrated care and fewer distractions. But, again, this is because you are pretty much cut off from the outside world, and your focus is on the treatment.
  • You have 24/7 care, and no matter what time, the trained professionals are always ready to help in whichever way they can. You are never alone.
  • You are in a community of people in the same boat you are, and they are more than willing to offer support for your journey.
  • The treatment in the in-patient clinic is intense and provides specialised programs such as yoga, therapy, acupuncture, and meditation. As a result, there are high chances of success.
Cons of Inpatient Rehabilitation
  • Your life is on pause, and you are cut off from friends and family. You cannot do what you like, and you have to sit around and wait for the treatment to end.
  • It is more expensive due to the room and board and the 24/7 round-the-clock care provided.
  • There are rules and restraints that you must adhere to. These include visiting hours, curfew, free time, etc.

Outpatient Rehabilitation

With outpatient rehab, you do not have to live at the facility, and the rehab clinic allows you to continue with your life as usual, but you must focus on your sobriety and mental health.

In this way, you will have to attend the weekly AA meetings a couple of times each week, and you must also meet with a therapist as often as is needed while taking the prescribed medication to help you with your treatment.

Pros of Outpatient Treatment
  • It is cheaper. This is one of the most significant benefits of this treatment and why most people prefer it. In addition, your insurance provider most likely covers it.
  • You do not have to put your life on hold as it allows you to continue with your everyday life.
  • They organise meetings are primarily at night, and on the weekends, so you do not miss work at all.
  • Your family plays a part in your recovery, and the sessions can be held with your family members to help you face the reason for your addiction while you all receive help together.
Cons of Outpatient Rehabilitation
  • The treatment is not intense, and the chances of relapse are high. When you are surrounded by the same triggers that influenced your alcohol addiction, it is tough to resist them, and recovery becomes a big problem.
  • When you choose sobriety and outpatient care, it means that your family must also be ready for this. It runs the risk of disrupting their lives and causing them to resent you.
  • Round-the-clock care is not available, and the therapist may not always be available when needed.


Alcohol abuse is a severe disorder that must be handled with a lot of care. However, you also do not want to rush the recovering addict, and you must be fully aware of all the defaults and perks that go with rehabilitation.

Taking the time to understand the benefits and limitations of rehabilitation and the dos and don’ts during the care will go a long way towards helping your loved one recover.

Once you have a handle on things, you can be better positioned to provide help and advise on the proper treatment to seek, either in-patient or outpatient.

If you are currently suffering from alcohol addiction, please find a rehab centre to help you fight this addiction. It will save your life. All the best.

Abbeycare Pricing Bot

About the author

Laura Morris

Laura Morris is an experienced clinical practitioner and CQC Registered Manager with over twenty years experience, over ten of which have been as an Independent Nurse Prescriber.

She has held a number of senior leadership roles in the substance use and mental health sector in the NHS, the prison service and in leading social enterprises in the field.

Last Updated: October 31, 2023