What is a rehab facility?

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What is a rehab facility? 

A rehab facility is a centre devoted to addiction treatment. Rehab facilities provide a variety of therapies, and treatment options for addiction recovery. Rehab facilities offer structured treatment programs that assist those struggling with substance use disorders.

There are different types of rehab programmes that include: 

  • Inpatient alcohol/drug rehab programs  
  • Outpatient alcohol/drug rehab programs 

Substance addiction is complex with most addiction experts defining substance addiction as a mental illness that affects one's mental and physical health.  

Anyone struggling with alcohol or drug abuse will benefit from drug and alcohol rehab. First of all, they get to work with a certified addiction professional and other medical professional.  

These professionals provide them with the knowledge and skills needed to overcome addiction.

Most centres allow addicts who managed to overcome addiction to come back to the facility and encourage those struggling with substance abuse.  

People who have tried to quit from addictive substances can tell you that it's not easy. The drug and alcohol cravings plus the withdrawal symptoms are likely to lead to relapse.

A rehab centre consists of treatment professionals who understand how hard it is to overcome an addiction.  

A drugs or alcohol rehabilitation centre provides you with addiction treatment services that equip you to lead a healthy, happy, and sober life.

Many treatment centres have flexible treatment options. Although each centre may vary in their approach to treatment, most of them offer the basic services that include: 


Detox is a crucial phase in addiction treatment. At this stage, the body gets rid of the toxic effects of drugs or alcohol. Each person has a different experience with detox.

Factors such as the type of drug, frequency of use and other individual factors influence the severity of withdrawal syndromes. Attending rehab provides you with the necessary treatment needed to safely manage the withdrawal symptoms.  

b). Therapy  

Therapeutic interventions are an integral part of the recovery process. A treatment centre will provide you a variety of therapies such as family therapy, group therapy, and one-on-one counselling.

Therapy helps uncover the underlying cause of the alcohol or drug abuse. This treatment program deals with the psychological aspects of addiction which is important if the client is to achieve long-term recovery.  

c). Aftercare  

Most treatment facilities provide aftercare services to their patients. Aftercare is a coordinated effort as the patient works with the staff to create a suitable aftercare plan.

Addiction recovery is a lifelong process that continues after treatment. Aftercare is a type of continuing care that consists of ongoing therapy, support groups, and sober living arrangements where necessary.  

How long is the average drug rehab programme?  

There is no standard timeframe for addiction treatment that applies to everyone. Typically, most treatment centres offer a short-term rehab program that lasts about 28 days.

Most people with severe addictions benefit from longer treatment programs such as 60-day, 90-day programs. There are facilities that can allow the recovering addict to stay in the facility for up to a year.  

Long-term treatment options give the recovering addict time to develop and maintain a more stable recovery path. Treatment professionals play a crucial role in determining the duration of the treatment programs.

Some of the factors they consider are:

a) The history and severity of the drug or alcohol use.  

b) The type of substance abuse.  

c) Presence of co-occurring conditions.  

d) Previous treatment experiences.  

Some treatment providers will consider the social, emotional, cultural, and spiritual aspects of the individual.  

What is an inpatient alcohol rehab? 

An inpatient alcohol rehab centre provides accommodation in the facility. Inpatient treatment is ideal because it provides you with a safe environment free from the triggers and temptations in everyday life. 

There are a variety of inpatient facilities to choose from. For instance, you can choose inpatient facilities based on cost e.g., standard residential treatment or luxury rehab services.

You can also choose inpatient rehab depending on duration (long term or short-term inpatient rehab).  

Most inpatient treatment providers make their residential facility as comfortable as possible. You can find a treatment facility with a home-like setting. Some centres are located outside the city to give you that sense of comfort and safety. Other inpatient care options have a sterile setting like a hospital.  

The main benefit of inpatient addiction treatment is that it provides you with a place to focus on recovery. Everything you do in the treatment facility is related to recovery.

You get to immerse yourself in daily therapy, healthy recreational activities, and sober free time.  

The time you spend in inpatient rehab is structured. You wake up early to engage in yoga, meditation, or other light exercises. After that, you grab a healthy breakfast and spend most of the day attending therapy sessions.  

Inpatient rehab/residential addiction treatment has numerous benefits. For starters, you get to spend time in a supportive environment consisting of peer support and 24/7 professional support.

The structure of the program is designed to help you cultivate healthier habits that promote long term sobriety.  

What is an outpatient alcohol rehab? 

Outpatient alcohol rehab programs offer you the chance to get treatment without living in the facility. There are treatment providers who offer both inpatient and outpatient addiction treatment. 

An outpatient alcohol or drug rehab centre gives you flexibility as you get to seek treatment at your own schedule. What's more, addiction treatment services at an outpatient treatment centre is cheaper.  

Not everyone can benefit from outpatient rehab. This treatment option is suitable for those struggling with mild to moderate drug or alcohol abuse.

People with chronic substance abuse risk relapse and have a higher chance at successful recovery in an inpatient setting.  

There are some similarities between inpatient and outpatient treatment centres. First, both treatment centres aim to provide specialized services.

The national institute on drug abuse identifies that no single treatment is appropriate for everyone [1].  

Individualised treatment program that matches the critical problems and needs of the individual have a higher chance at helping the person in their recovery journey.

Most treatment centres that offer private outpatient addiction treatment have individualized treatment programs designed to suit the patient's individual needs.

There are different types of outpatient rehab options. They include: 

  • Partial hospitalization programs (PHP).  
  • Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs).  
  • Outpatient treatment programs.  
  • Substance abuse counselling.  

It is possible to get outpatient services free of charge. You can access your free option through the NHS or other community-based organizations.

Alternatively, you can locate a treatment provider who offers private outpatient services at flexible payment options.  

What is a rehabilitation facility like? 

Most people planning to attend rehab wonder how it feels like to be at a rehab facility. No doubt early recovery can be a time for anxiety as you'll be entering an environment that's alcohol and drug free.  

Typically, a day at a rehab centre entail spending your days in a routine. The days are structured, and an ordinary day involves having healthy meetings and attending therapy.

The daily routine you'll find varies depending on the drug rehab centre. However, a typical day in treatment may involve the following: 

A healthy breakfast and morning activities  

A rehab centre understands that part of addiction treatment entails providing patients with healthy meals.

You'll wake to mornings where you enjoy a healthy breakfast. After that, you get to engage in healthy activities such as yoga or meditation.  

One of the goals of treatment is to help you develop habits that lead to a healthy life. As such, you'll get to work with a counsellor or therapist on topics about substance abuse and recovery.

The support group meetings and therapy sessions help you understand the factors in your life that fuelled the drugs or alcohol use.  

Therapy in the afternoon 

Most treatment centres caring for addicts will prioritize on providing extensive therapy sessions. After taking a healthy lunch, you will partake in various forms of therapy that include: 

a). Individual behaviour therapy. There are different approaches to individual behaviour therapy. One of the most common approach is Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).

This individualized option help you develop coping skills that you can leverage to overcome alcohol or drug cravings.  

b).Group therapy. This is one of the first line of treatments utilized in treatment for drugs or alcohol disorder. It benefits participants as they get to share their stories.

The fellowship and sense of compassion that develops during the group meetings is integral for the recovery process.  

C). Family therapy. The involvement of family members in treatment significantly contributes to long term sobriety. Addiction negatively affects the family and can lead to strained relationships, plus other unresolved issues.

Family therapy offers the chance to address the consequences of addiction and promote healing in the family.  

You can find a treatment provider who offers other specialized services e.g., music therapy, art therapy, equine therapy and so on.

These specialized services help you manage stress, grief or other negative emotions that may lead to substance use.  

Get full details of the Abbeycare alcohol programme here.


Evenings at rehab  

Treatment centres provide a brief group session after diner. Most of the time the session includes the 12-step program. Such sessions provide a safe, conducive environment that fosters fellowship.

The group meetings contribute to maintaining sobriety long after treatment.  

Most drug rehab centres encourage their patients to sleep at a reasonable hour. Getting enough sleep is essential in recovery as it helps the body regain the energy it needs to successfully recovery.  

Free time at the rehab centre  

Free time at the rehab centre is spent engaging in healthy recreational activities. You may engage in sports, reading, journaling, social interaction, and others.

The activities you enjoy during your free time give you a taste of the freedom you experience when you live life without drugs or alcohol.  

Choosing an alcohol rehabilitation facility 

There are several factors that you should consider when choosing an alcohol or drug rehab centre. One factor you need to bear in mind is whether you want to get treatment at home, near home, or away from home.

Some people prefer getting treatment away from home, at a facility located away from the city life.  

Other factors to consider when choosing a drug rehab centre are: 

  • Whether they provide personalized treatment programs.  
  • Therapy options available.  
  • Aftercare services provided.  
  • Treatment types available.  
  • Whether the treatment centre offers a comfortable environment.  
  • Your budget.  

The national institute on drug abuse outlines 13 principles that should be met for effective substance abuse treatment [2]. Look for a treatment provider who offers effective rehab treatment based on these principles.

Similarly, organizations such as the substance abuse mental health services administration (SAMHSA), UK rehab and Addiction resource (UK) allow you to search for a quality treatment provider near you on their websites.  

Addiction is a complex relapsing mental health issue. When it comes to seeking the right rehabilitation facility, you need to work with a health care provider so that you can make an informed decision on the best facility depending on your needs.

Most of the treatment providers listed on SAMHSA or UK rehab can provide medical advice when you reach out to them.

Some facilities have paid advertisers online chat options which provides you with quick responses to any question that you may have pertaining to treatment.  

It may seem okay to choose a rehab centre based on cost and location. But it is not advisable to do so as there are many other factors that you should consider e.g., the extensive services provided by the centre.  

A good place to start is getting a formal diagnosis for the addiction. You can do this either by reaching out to a medical provider or a drug rehab centre.

Some drug rehab centres provide formal substance abuse diagnosis which can be helpful when searching for the right treatment facility.  

It would help if you looked for a drug centre that provides aftercare for at least one year. Aftercare is important because most recovering addicts struggle with transitioning out of rehab [3].

Studies show that 40% to 60% of people recovering from substance use disorder relapse at some point in time [4].  

If you want to maintain sobriety, you need to work with a treatment provider who will provide this option early in recovery.

Aftercare services mainly include engaging in support groups and counselling. These services will boost your success after leaving rehab.  

Read our full guide on how to choose the right rehab

Bottom line 

Rehab is designed to help the struggling addict overcome their addictions. Once at the alcohol/drug rehab centre, you get to work with addiction experts to overcome the addiction.

Inpatient or residential rehab is the best treatment option for those with chronic substance disorder. This option has extensive benefits such as 24/7 medical assistance and support.

Inpatient drug rehab provides you with a safe environment where you can get to the root cause of the addiction. You also get the knowledge and tools that you need to overcome the addiction.  

Most rehabilitation centres offer free professional treatment advice when you reach out to them. You can call a specific treatment provider and discuss the treatment options available in their facility.

The addiction website's main phone number is your first place to start. You can call them and provide information about your substance (s) used.

If you or your loved one are seeking treatment, you can begin by reaching out to a specific treatment centre.  

You should provide the following information when you call: 

  • The presence of co-occurring mental health conditions  
  • Any medical conditions present.  
  • Your insurance plan/mode of payment.  
  • Addiction history (length, severity, type of substance addiction).  
  • Whether you or the substance user is pregnant.

Remember that you can search for a specific treatment centre listing on addiction treatment sites such as NIAAA, SAMHSA, and UK Rehab. Take a positive attitude to treatment and keep an open mind.

The rehab centre has the right systems in place to make recovery easy for you. Therefore, you should enter the rehab with hope.

Once you complete your treatment, you'll give yourself a fresh start where you face the rest of your life addiction-free.  

Contact a treatment facility now to get started.  

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