Overcoming addiction: What to expect when you go through inpatient rehab


Posted: October 03, 2022 | Word Count: 700

Addiction is a disease that can be mentally and physically debilitating. If you or a loved one struggle with addiction, you know how dark it can be. Taking the next step and exploring rehab options can bring light into the darkness so you can fight — and ultimately win — the battle against addiction.

Millions of people in the United States have a substance use disorder and are addicted to alcohol and/or drugs. Even though you feel alone in your struggles, it’s important to know many people have walked in your shoes and found hope to overcome addiction.

“After finding the right rehab option, it’s time to prepare for the next steps. When a person first enters an addiction rehab center, they may be at risk of experiencing withdrawal from drugs or alcohol. Withdrawal can be an uncomfortable process, and the person may benefit from medical treatments in order to make the process less difficult,” said Debra Lloyd at California Behavioral Health. “This is why many people start their rehab experience in a detox center where medical treatments are available. Trained medical personnel may treat the individual with medications in order to decrease discomfort and reduce the risk of complications associated with substance withdrawal.”

Inpatient rehab

Inpatient rehab is one of the most effective treatment options for addicts because it separates the person from temptations and home stressors so they can focus 100% on recovery. Those struggling with addiction undergo the rehabilitation process with medical professionals, licensed alcohol and drug counselors, and their peers.

Inpatient rehab is a big step so it’s important to know what to expect. First, learn your options so you can choose the right rehab facility for you. Keep in mind, location, insurance acceptance, facility and personnel credentials, and staff-to-patient ratio are all important things to consider.

Better Addiction Care is a helpful resource when gathering rehab information, offering confidential, no-cost information via private phone calls through one or more of their treatment clients about addiction and rehabilitation treatment. The organization has a nationwide directory of substance abuse treatment facilities which includes some of the country’s top rehab centers.

After finding the right rehab option, it’s time to prepare for the next steps. When a person first enters an addiction rehab center, it’s likely that they have some drugs currently in their system. They must get all substances out of their body, but this can be a difficult and uncomfortable process.

This is why many people start their rehab experience in a detox center so they can go through a medically assisted detox. These centers are often located in the rehab facility and help patients safely through withdrawal, a process that may include prescription medication like anti-nausea medicine or anticonvulsants to treat symptoms.

“Professionals help patients flush addictive substances out of their system and manage withdrawal symptoms,” explained David Levin from Legacy Healing Center. “In particular, substances such as alcohol, benzodiazepines and opioids have life-threatening withdrawal symptoms, so medical monitoring is essential.”

Rehab schedules

After detox is complete you can begin full treatment. Your daily schedule at rehab may vary based on your needs and interests. A day at rehab may include:

  • Group counseling
  • Family therapy
  • Individual therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • 12-step meetings, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous
  • Non-12-step meetings, such as SMART Recovery
  • Scheduled mealtimes
  • Free time to exercise, take walks, read, participate in creative arts therapy

Rehab length

Most people who enter an addiction treatment center for inpatient care stay 90 to 120 days. However, it’s important to remember that addiction is a lifelong struggle. Once you near the end of your inpatient rehab program, your treatment team will work with you to create an aftercare plan to help prevent relapse once you return home.

“Inpatient rehab helps you overcome addiction and provides you the skills needed to live a sober life,” Dr. Christian Small of California Behavioral Health said. “Keep in mind, people who have been free of drugs or alcohol for years still say they are in recovery. Even if they aren’t using they know addiction is a disease that requires them to be aware of temptations and use the skills they’ve learned at rehab and through therapy to maintain sobriety.”

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