Inpatient Drug Rehab
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, once an addiction has developed, willpower and good intentions are rarely enough to end it for the long-term.1 Addiction is a complex disease of the brain that almost always requires professional treatment to overcome, and inpatient drug rehab can help.
Inpatient drug rehab isn’t right for everyone, but for those who need it, it’s highly effective for ending an addiction for the long-haul.
Inpatient Drug Rehab vs. Outpatient Treatment
The two main types of treatment for addiction are inpatient and outpatient rehab. Inpatient rehab involves living at a residential center while undergoing treatment. Outpatient rehab involves living at home while attending daily rehab programming at an outpatient treatment center.
When you first seek treatment, a variety of assessments will inform your treatment plan. A team of providers will help you determine the best setting of treatment for you. In general, inpatient treatment offers the best outcomes, but outpatient treatment can work in some instances.
Outpatient treatment is less expensive than inpatient treatment, and it enables participants to live at home and continue working, going to school or caring for family while in treatment.
In order for outpatient treatment to be effective, participants should have:
- A safe and stable environment at home
- A high level of support at home and in the community
- Good physical and mental health apart from the addiction
- A high level of intrinsic motivation to recover
- Reliable daily transportation to the treatment center
Outpatient treatment typically involves around nine hours of programming each week, while intensive outpatient treatment may require up to 20 hours of attendance each week.
Inpatient treatment provides a high level of structure, supervision and support in the early weeks of recovery. Inpatient treatment enables focus on recovery in a safe, nurturing environment. Inpatient treatment is essential for people who have:
- A unsafe or unstable living environment
- Little support at home or in the community
- Been through rehab before
- A co-occurring mental illness or an under-treated medical illness
- Little intrinsic motivation to stop using drugs
- Severe or numerous problems or stressors in daily life
Two main types of inpatient treatment are short-term and long-term residential rehab. Short-term residential treatment typically lasts between 30 days to six months, while long-term inpatient rehab typically lasts between six and 12 months.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, staying in rehab for an adequate period of time is essential for successful recovery, and anything less than 90 days is considered to be of limited effectiveness.2
Inpatient drug rehab offers a strong sense of belonging, and it provides time away from triggers, including the people, places, and the various circumstances that can trigger cravings.
The First Step of Inpatient Drug Rehab: Medical Detox
Medical detox is the first step of treatment in an inpatient rehab program. Medical detox addresses the physical dependence on drugs, which occurs as a result of changes in chemical brain function as the brain attempts to maintain normal operation despite the frequent presence of drugs. Dependence is characterized by withdrawal symptoms that set in when use suddenly stops.
During medical detox, medications will be administered as needed to reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms, including cravings, anxiety, depression or physical ailments like nausea and body cramps. In the case of opioid dependence, medication-assisted treatment involving methadone or buprenorphine is an option that allows for the bypass of withdrawal altogether.
Medical detox offers a high level of moral support from both staff and peers in recovery. Many high-quality inpatient programs offer complementary treatments during medical detox to improve a sense of wellbeing and promote positive feelings. These often include restorative yoga, massage therapy, acupuncture and meditation.
A range of assessments will be conducted during medical detox. These will help providers determine the severity of the addiction, its underlying causes, the issues in life led to addiction and the damage the addiction has done. The assessments will help providers develop an individualized treatment plan that addresses unique needs, issues and challenges.
Step Two of Inpatient Drug Rehab: Treating the Addiction
Once detox is complete, attention turns to treating the addiction. Addiction is far more complex than dependence, and it requires a holistic approach to treatment for the best outcomes, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.3 A holistic approach involves treating issues of body, mind and spirit for whole-person healing. A variety of both traditional and complementary therapies in both group and individual settings are used to achieve this.
Traditional Therapies in Treatment
Traditional therapies are those that have been shown through research to effectively treat addiction. Traditional therapies include:
Cognitive-behavioral therapy, which is concerned with identifying and changing self-destructive thought and behavior patterns.
Family therapy, which helps restore function to the family system and improve communication among family members.
Motivational enhancement therapy, which helps people who are ambivalent to recovery develop the intrinsic motivation needed for successful abstinence.
12-Step facilitation therapy, which helps to address the biological, spiritual and psychological causes of addiction.
Psychoeducational classes, which help participants understand how addiction develops, how it’s treated, and how long-term recovery occurs.
Pharmacotherapy, or the use of medications, which can help treat various aspects of addiction, including cravings and co-occurring mental or medical illnesses.
Complementary Therapies in Treatment
Complementary therapies are known to be effective for treating addiction when they’re used alongside traditional therapies. Complementary therapies invite you to look at old issues in new ways and develop self-confidence, self-awareness and self-efficacy. Complementary therapies commonly used in treatment include:
Art or music therapy, which help participants express difficult emotions and experiences, reduce ambivalence toward recovery and increase motivation for change.
Yoga, which reduces stress, improves body and self-awareness, increases mindfulness and promotes feelings of wellbeing.
Meditation, which reduces stress, increases self-understanding and promotes mindfulness.
Horticultural therapy, which increases feelings of self-worth and promotes a high level of self-care.
The Goals of Therapy
Addiction has a variety of underlying causes, which often include chronic stress, a history of trauma, family dysfunction or a co-occurring mental illness. Additionally, addiction causes a range of problems in life, including health, financial, legal and relationship problems. Successful recovery depends on addressing all of an individual’s needs, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s Principles of Effective Treatment.4
While individual goals of therapy will vary from person to person, the overarching goal of therapy is to remove barriers to recovery. Through therapy, people in treatment:
- Identify unhealthy thought and behavior patterns and learn to think and behave in new, healthier ways.
- Address and resolve the underlying issues behind the substance abuse that led to the addiction.
- Develop essential coping skills for dealing with stress, negative emotions, cravings and other powerful relapse triggers.
- Repair the damage done by the addiction, including damaged relationships, finances, physical and mental health, and legal problems.
- Develop a healthy lifestyle that includes a high level of self-care.
- Find purpose and meaning in life without drugs.
- Set goals to achieve an ideal life.
- Learn to relax and have fun without drugs.
Mitigating triggers, resolving long-held issues and problems, and developing an enjoyable sober lifestyle are central to successful recovery. The ultimate goal of treatment is to remove the need and desire to use drugs by improving life on every front.
Step Three: What Happens After Inpatient Drug Rehab?
Once an inpatient drug rehab program is complete, an individualized aftercare plan is developed to help navigate the early weeks and months of solo recovery. The aftercare plan will include a range of resources, services and interventions that meet ongoing needs. A typical aftercare plan will include ongoing therapy through an outpatient program, continued management of any medical or mental illnesses and daily participation in a support group. Other components of the aftercare plan may include housing, educational or vocational assistance.
The aftercare plan is monitored by a case manager, who reviews it periodically and makes changes that reflect changing needs.
What to Look for in an Inpatient Drug Rehab Program
Not all inpatient drug rehab programs are created equal. Finding a high-quality treatment program is essential for the best possible outcome of treatment. Here’s what to look for in a high-quality residential treatment program:
If you have insurance, look for a program that accepts it. If you don’t have insurance, many programs will help you find a way to pay for it. Some programs will offer sliding scale fees, financing and other programs to help you get the treatment you need despite financial concerns.
High quality treatment programs will encourage family involvement in treatment through family therapy and other family programming, such as support groups, psychoeducational classes and workshops.
A high-quality treatment program will use only research-based therapies and follow the industry’s best-practices protocol. It will not use any controversial, experimental or unproven treatment modalities.
A holistic approach
A wide range of issues and problems result from addiction, and a holistic approach that includes both traditional and complementary therapies offers the best outcomes for whole-person healing.
There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for addiction. An individualized treatment plan that address the individual’s specific and unique needs is central to successful treatment and ongoing recovery.
Accredited treatment programs are those that have undergone an intensive, months-long evaluation by a third-party accrediting body. The largest and most prestigious accreditations include Joint Commission and CARF International.
Inpatient Drug Rehab Treatment Works
Treatment works for most people who engage fully with their treatment plan and stay in treatment for an adequate amount of time. Just as it takes time to develop the unhealthy lifestyle and thought and behavior patterns that underlie addiction, it takes time to re-learn healthy ways of thinking and behaving and develop a lifestyle that promotes ongoing recovery.
In treatment, strive for complete honesty, and keep an open mind. You’ll be rewarded with astonishing and life-changing revelations about yourself that will drive your recovery and improve your quality of life and sense of wellbeing for a happier, healthier future.