rehabilitation centre

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What Does A Rehab Do?

A rehab facility tries to help individuals who have problems with alcohol and/or drug use manage their addiction.

Most rehab clinics aim to ultimately lead clients to live sober lives.

The activities in a rehab clinic aim to:

Educate clients about alcohol and/or substance abuse

Help enlighten clients about the origins of their addictive behaviour

Remove the stigma of seeking help for addiction

Promote new ways to live without alcohol and/or drugs


A reputable rehab centre in the UK such as Abbeycare Scotland conforms to Care Quality Commission standards (CQC).

CQC Certification guarantees that : [1]

  • The clinic makes sure the clients are safe before they enter rehab.
  • National clinical guidance/rules are followed.
  • Employees of the clinic are professionally trained and up to par with current standards
  • The clinic employs adequate support staff
  • The centre has facilities to support treatments offered


After attending rehab, most rehab centres link with Mutual Support Groups, so clients so that recovery efforts can be sustained.

Examples of Mutual Support Groups are:

  • Alcoholics Anonymous
  • Narcotics Anonymous
  • Cocaine Anonymous
  • Women for Sobriety
  • SMART Recovery
  • Secular Organization for Sobriety/Save Our Selves
  • LifeRing Secular Recovery


In order to ensure success in treatment, a rehab clinic should provide : [2]

  • Professionally supervised detoxification
  • Behavioural counseling (12 Step Programme, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, and so on)
  • Evaluation of other mental health problems
  • Follow-up for long-term recovery


A person seeking treatment for addiction issues would be better serviced by a rehab clinic that aims for long-term recovery rather than quick fixes.

To promote a sober living lifestyle, behavioural therapies in a rehab clinic should emphasise:

  • changing attitudes about alcohol and/or drug use
  • learning new ways to cope with stress and triggers
  • seeking out help through social support
  • improve the ability to cope with the daily demands of life
  • establish a sense of emotional stability and calm


In addition, clients can benefit from rehab clinics like Abbeycare Gloucester that use a holistic approach treatment.

Holistic care can help clients regain physical, social, nutritional and spiritual balance.

Holistically oriented rehab clinics can incorporate exercise, massage, and aromatherapy into their care repertoire.

Ultimately, a rehab clinic should be able to:

  • Influence a client to maximise his/her quality of life
  • Address the individual’s multi-faceted needs
  • Help individuals adjust to living a lifestyle without substance abuse
  • Direct individuals towards wellness and health
  • Assist the individual to return to home and community as a renewed person


What Does Rehab Consist Of?

Rehab consists of detox, behavioural therapies, and aftercare services.

Expect a rehab clinic to provide:

  • Conducive accommodation
  • Professionally Supervised Detox
  • A regular schedule to follow
  • Counseling for emotional support and behavioural change
  • Education about health and addiction issues
  • Recreation (gym facilities and fitness classes for example)
  • Family Participation
  • Relapse prevention strategy planning sessions
  • Continuing Care or rehab aftercare


In the morning, rehab begins with a healthy breakfast, followed by the first group meeting.

Mid-morning, therapy sessions are held (individual or group)

Depending on the clinic, there may be another afternoon therapy session or a group meeting after lunch

Time is usually allotted for breaks in-between sessions.

Some rehab facilities hold sessions in the evening.


The type of programme an individual has can depend on a personalised treatment plan.

For individual therapy sessions utilising Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, sessions last 30 to 60 minutes.

Group therapy sessions can last from 1 to 2 hours.

A private rehab clinic differs from public rehab clinics offered by the NHS.

Reasons why clients choose private rehabs are:[3].

  • Accessibility – no need to wait for weeks for an admission
  • Continuation of care provider – the professional assigned to the client sees through the whole process of treatment
  • In-patient care availability is limited in public rehab
  • Overall, the quality of services by private rehab clinics is seen as superior


However, due to financial constraints, some individuals are limited to using NHS rehab clinics.

Private rehab can be covered by insurance, while public rehab is offered free by the NHS to UK citizens.


What Is The Process Of Rehabilitation?

The process of alcohol or drug rehabilitation involves assessment, detox, rehabilitation (proper) and aftercare [4].

Specifically, alcohol or drug rehabilitation these phases are:

Phase One: Assessment

Interviews and checks are done so that the centre will have an idea of how to formulate a personalised treatment plan.

Questionnaires can be given asking the client about the history of alcohol and/or drug use.

Paperwork about insurance and other formal matters can be finalised


During this phase, clients will be interviewed about:

  • What substances are they currently using
  • When was substance use initiated? (How did it begin?)
  • Previous history of joining a rehab programme
  • His or her goals about rehab
  • In addition, the centre may ask about:
  • The client’s overall health
  • Education and/or work history
  • Details about social life
  • Quality of relationships with family/friends/supporting individuals


The last step of Phase One will usually be a Rehab centre orientation


Phase Two: Detoxification

The first two to three days of detox are the most challenging, physically, emotionally and mentally  [5].

But with professional guidance, the hardship can be overcome.

Emotional and physical support is crucial during detox, as individuals who go through relapse alone can be less-equipped to handle the demands of the withdrawal process.

Individuals who are well-supported during detox tend to follow-through with the rehabilitation process, assuring a better chance of life-long recovery. [2]

After one week in detox, a person is better able to handle the regular therapy sessions available in rehab.

Phase Three: Rehabilitation

During this stage, individual and/or group psychotherapy is offered

Clients learn about their motives, feelings, and hopes about addiction.

This part of rehab is where clients do the hard work of learning about themselves in a deeper level, so that they can learn new ways to cope.

Rehab clinics differ in therapy methods chosen.

A private clinic like Abbeycare offers 12 Step facilitation, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Holistic therapy.


Other basic facilities only outpatient programmes or in-patient programmes with limited capacity.

Usually, therapies are composed of:

  • Assessment – determines where the person is in terms of the addiction and recovery process
  • Formulation of goals – what the client wishes to achieve after therapy
  • Treatment – where homework and behavioural monitoring occur


Individual Therapy in particular helps individuals to:

  • learn to monitor and control their thinking
  • discover their thinking patterns and how these lead to addiction
  • maintain a sense of self-control over drug cravings
  • learn coping skills to live alcohol or drug-free
  • break the cycle of substance abuse
  • gain an understanding of how thoughts, behaviours, and emotions relate to each other
  • utilise rational planning skills to cope with life’s daily challenges


Phase Four: Maintenance or Aftercare

In rehab, this phase involves strategic planning to know how to proceed after the client exits rehab.

Outside rehab, this phase can involve

Peer support groups or Mutual Support Groups (Alcohol Anonymous SMART Recovery, etc.)

Peer providers – such as certified peer specialists, peer support specialist, recovery coaches, sponsors or mentors

The rehab clinic usually connects the client to these after-care groups, as it is of utmost importance that the client is supported after rehab.

Evidence shows that clients who have continuing personalised care have better chances at recovery than persons who do not have after-care support.  [4]

How Long Is Rehab For?

The shortest stay will be for seven days, the typical stay will be 28 days, and some clients can stay up to 90 days in rehab.

Most rehab programmes in the UK last 28 to 30 days.

Some clients, however, choose longer treatment programmes.

The longest length of stay can be up to 12 weeks.

The length of stay in rehab depends on the following factors:

  • What substance is used
  • For how long has the person been using the substance
  • How motivated the person is to change
  • The amount of emotional, social, and financial support the client has


The NHS recommends individuals who need more than just detox to continue with a drug rehab programme or an alcohol rehab programme.

In a private rehab clinic, clients are not forced to stay for the duration of the rehab process.

However, leaving before the programme concludes is not recommended.

Usually, rehab facilities employ motivational techniques to keep clients to focus on the end-goal: successful sober living.  [5].

Out-patient programmes are better suited to individuals who have a moderate level of alcohol and/or substance abuse.

Recent developments in research have led experts to conclude that addiction is a treatable disorder [6].


Like some chronic conditions, relapse does occur in treatment.

But relapse does not mean failure, rather, it is a sign that change has happened, treatment is resuming, or there is a need to modify some treatment approaches.

Rehab clinics the best treatment programs address the needs of the person as a whole.

By treating addiction as a lifestyle disease much like diabetes or asthma, clients can approach their problem in a positive manner.

By removing negative self-judgment and treating addiction as a health problem, clients can move away from self-blame towards self-empowerment.




  1.   Care Quality Commission. (2019). Briefing: Substance misuse services. Available at:
  2.   National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2012). Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction. Available at:
  3.   The Conversation. (2018). Drug rehab: what works and what to keep in mind when choosing a private treatment provider. Available at:
  4.   The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health. Available at:
  5.   NHS. (2018). Treatment Alcohol Misuse. Available at:
  6.   National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2013). Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction. Available at:

About the author

Melany Heger

Registered Psychologist and Freelance Writer, Jinjin Melany passionately writes about mental health issues, addiction, eating disorders and parenting since 2015. Read more about Melany on LinkedIn. Content reviewed by Dr Khan.

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