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What Happens During Inpatient Rehab?



What Happens During Inpatient Rehab?

Inpatient Rehab: Going to treatment is a critical step toward overcoming an addiction, and the right treatment approach can potentially save someone’s life and help them recover.

To treat the complex nature of substance use disorders, levels of care are prescribed based on the severity of addiction and adapted to the individual needs of clients. Inpatient treatment is an intensive level of care that is commonly recommended to patients with moderate to severe addictions, as part of a flexible continuum of care. If you or someone you love are going to rehab, here’s what you can expect.

Medical Detox

Inpatient rehabs often require medical detox as an essential phase of treatment. Drug detox centers are designed to medically stabilize patients coming off of drugs or alcohol.

When people are admitted to rehab, they are often chemically dependent on alcohol or their drug of choice to the point that coming off the substance causes withdrawal. Withdrawals can cause a variety of mental and physical side effects that may be uncomfortable and painful to tolerate. Withdrawal from alcohol in particular can be fatal. In detox, patients’ withdrawal symptoms and vital signs are monitored and treated with medication. Once they are medically cleared, they can transition to inpatient treatment.

Inpatient Admission

Getting admitted to inpatient rehab is a process that entails being clinically assessed to determine specific medical needs, treatment goals, and insurance coverage. A clinician will usually spend time with each patient, learning about their substance use history and what they hope to gain from inpatient treatment.

The patient will be assigned an individual counselor or therapist, and be informed about the program guidelines, rules, expectations, and a detailed program schedule. Then, an individualized treatment plan is created for each patient upon admission and can be modified as treatment progresses.

Treatment plans typically include the following details:

  • Problem definition, or reasons for getting addiction treatment
  • Description of the prescribed treatment approach in rehab
  • Treatment timeline with benchmarks and milestones
  • Identification of treatment goals and long-term objectives
  • Recommendations for a continuum of care after inpatient rehab

The primary purpose of treatment plans is to motivate the patient to work toward specific goals while attending inpatient rehab and to help them focus on treatment. These treatment plans also help patients and clinicians to work collaboratively and productively together, encouraging patients to be proactive in their recovery.

Length of Stay for Inpatient Rehab

The length of stay for inpatient treatment is generally about 30 days, or four weeks. However, there is no predetermined duration of treatment for all patients. The length of stay in rehab is often determined based on the specific needs and clinical recommendations for each patient. Flexibility allows patients to stay longer if needed.

For people who need extended treatment before transitioning to a lower level of care, inpatient rehabs can often accommodate extensions up to 90 days, sometimes more. It is also important to keep people in treatment as long as possible and needed, but not longer than necessary, as this can lead to treatment fatigue and burnout. Studies indicate that longer lengths of stay in inpatient do not necessarily correlate with higher rates of success in sobriety, contrary to other clinical theories.

Inpatient length of stay can also depend on personal health insurance. Some plans will cover more treatment than others. Rehabs often negotiate with providers on coverage.

Continuum of Care

Most drug and alcohol rehabs in the U.S. subscribe to the continuum of care and treatment standards outlined by the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM). The ASAM Criteria of treatment for substance use disorders includes five levels of care, of which inpatient is at the highest end of intensity, along with residential treatment. Levels of care are designed to be flexible and allow patients to transition to a less intensive level when they are ready and stable enough in their recovery.

After inpatient rehab, many patients are recommended to continue treatment in an outpatient setting, with the continuation of individual and group therapies. The inpatient approach is designed to physically and emotionally stabilize patients, introduce them to therapy, and empower them to make healthy decisions in sobriety.



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