Acknowledging an addiction and committing to attending a rehab program can be daunting first steps in the recovery journey. Many individuals worry about how the addiction rehab process will affect their lives — the unknown can be scary. Here are answers to many of the questions you may have about the addiction rehab process.
The more knowledge you have about addiction rehab — including what to expect when entering a treatment program, the length of time you might spend in the program, and costs associated with the program — the easier your journey to recovery can be.
What Is Addiction Rehab?
Rehabs are structured treatment programs aimed at helping those struggling with addiction. Rehab can help addicts work toward a healthy, happy, and sober lifestyle.
What Happens in Addiction Rehab?
Addiction rehab treatment is tailored to the needs of each individual. This generally involves some combination of detoxification (detox), group and individual substance abuse therapy, relapse prevention education, and aftercare planning prior to program completion in order to maintain long-term sobriety.
An important early part of many addiction rehab efforts is detox. During detox, the body rids itself of the toxic influences of drugs or alcohol. While the detox experience will vary greatly based on the specific type and frequency of substance used, many substance withdrawal syndromes can be unpleasant, if not dangerous. Proper treatment in a medically supervised detox program can alleviate the discomfort and risks associated with the detox process.
- Substance Abuse Therapy
Rehab continues with various behavioral therapeutic interventions after detox is complete. Individuals in rehab participate in group and/or individual therapy sessions to recognize and address the underlying causes of their addiction. Treatment programs also educate individuals on how to identify high-risk situations and triggers, and develop relapse prevention skills to maintain sobriety.
As a person progresses with recovery, and nears the end of a rehab treatment program, staff will work with the patient to develop an appropriate aftercare plan. This may include some combination of support groups, ongoing therapy, and sober living arrangements, if needed.
How Long Does Rehab Take?
There isn't a set period of time that applies to everyone when it comes to rehabilitation. Many rehab facilities offer 30-day programs. However, some individuals benefit from longer treatment programs, such as 60-day, 90-day, or even longer-term treatment at residential or inpatient treatment centers to further develop and maintain a steady recovery path. When determining the appropriate length of treatment, treatment professionals will take into consideration the history and severity of the addiction, specific substances used, any co-occurring medical, mental, or behavioral health conditions, and the physical, mental, emotional, social, cultural, and spiritual needs of the individual.
Studies find that those who spend three months or longer in treatment programs have better rates of long-term sobriety. Longer programs afford the opportunity to focus on the root causes and behaviors behind the addiction, and more time to practice sober living behaviors.
Does Rehab Cure Addiction?
There is no cure for addiction, but it can be managed effectively. Regardless of its duration, drug and alcohol addiction recovery doesn't conclude after the patient completes a rehabilitation program. Recovery from substance use is an ongoing, lifelong process. Managing an addiction involves learning how to navigate through daily life without using, and involves hard work and dedication.
Addiction Rehab vs. Recovery
Rehab helps people learn how to cope with drug cravings and get through those tough times when the temptation to relapse is strong. It can also teach people skills to prepare for the day-to-day struggles of recovering from addiction, and how to address the people or situations that may have contributed to or exacerbated the substance problem in the first place.
Long-term recovery, however, may involve ongoing therapy in individual and/or group form, along with attendance at 12-step or support group meetings. Some individuals find additional activities to be key for supporting their ongoing recovery. These activities may include meditation, yoga, exercise, or art, to name a few.
Many good treatment programs offer their own types of aftercare programs, or work with you to develop a solid aftercare plan prior to leaving treatment to help support successful long-term recovery. In fact, studies have demonstrated that ongoing participation in aftercare programs is associated with fewer relapses.
What Happens If I Relapse?
Relapse should not be viewed as a failure but should instead be seen as an obstacle to overcome on one's lifelong journey to sobriety. It provides an opportunity to reassess one's path and get back into a program that offers the support and help needed to maintain sobriety.
Many people who are struggling with addiction complete more than one stay in rehab before they are able to find their footing in their recovery journey. The only person who can manage your addiction is you, and rehab will help you build the skills necessary to maintain sobriety.
How Much Does Rehab Cost?
Addiction rehabilitation programs can vary greatly in price. High-end luxury programs tend to charge more for extra services and special amenities and, in some cases, higher staff to patient ratios.
Several factors can affect the cost of rehab, including:
- Amenities provided. These can include many factors that aid the recovery process, such as gourmet food, private rooms, animal-assisted therapy, acupuncture, massage, and yoga.
- Length of program. The cost associated with a treatment program is primarily determined by the length of the stay. During your intake session, a counselor will discuss the amount of time recommended in treatment for your best shot at long-term recovery.
- Location. Facilities in luxurious surroundings can cost more than traditional treatment centers. Travel to the facility can also be factored into the cost, especially if it is far from home.
- Type of program. Inpatient programs will often cost more than outpatient programs since patients reside at the facility, which is staffed with medical and treatment professionals at all times.
Inpatient treatment varies in cost between $200 and $900 per day, with longer programs generally costing less per day. Outpatient treatment ranges between $100 and $500 per treatment session, with longer treatment plans having lower cost per session. Detox alone can cost between $600 and $1,000 per day depending on the level of care needed, severity of the addiction, and length of time it takes to detox from the particular substance. All of these costs may seem daunting, but they are nothing compared to the cost that an ongoing addiction will incur.
The Cost of Rehab vs. the Cost of Addiction
While the cost of rehab may be a deterrent for some people, it is important to remember the many “costs” of addiction. Addiction can be costly due to:
- The cost of the drugs.
- Loss of productivity at work.
- Legal fines.
- Medical bills for physical or mental health issues associated with addiction.
Addiction “costs” users in other ways too, ranging from the deterioration of relationships to overall unhappiness and poor health.
Is Insurance Accepted?
Insurance is often accepted at drug rehabilitation programs. However, acceptability of insurance will vary according to the particular facility. Your insurance plan may cover only a portion of your rehabilitation stay, so it's important to check your insurance plan prior to enrolling in a drug rehab program.
If your insurance plan does not cover the cost of rehab, you can discuss other payment options with the facility you choose. The program may offer sliding scale payment options or financing plans to make the cost more manageable.
What Should I Know Before Calling a Helpline?
It's important to write down a list of information to provide the admissions consultant with. The more relevant information the admissions consultant has, the easier it will be for them to guide you toward recovery options that may be suitable for you. Below is a list of details you will want to prepare:
- Severity of addiction
- Substance(s) of abuse
- How long you or the user has been abusing substances
- The presence of a co-occurring psychiatric condition, like panic disorder
- The presence of a medical condition, such as diabetes
- Whether you or the individual is pregnant
- Special population considerations, such as desiring a men-only or women-only rehab
- Your insurance plan and policy number
Should I Get Addiction Treatment Locally or Away?
Many individuals seeking rehab travel to a rehab facility away from their home. This is beneficial in some cases because it removes users from their home environment where they abuse drugs or alcohol.
In such a distinctly separate location, those attending rehab are able to fully focus on their addiction issues, free of outside distractions or temptations from work, family, and friends.
If you choose outpatient treatment, you may wish to opt for a facility closer to home so you don't have to travel far each day. If you have family obligations, a nearby rehab facility can alleviate stress as you balance home responsibilities with your recovery treatment.
Recovery Program Considerations
Should I Choose Inpatient or Outpatient Treatment?
Inpatient facilities differ from outpatient facilities in a number of ways — from costs involved and intensity of treatment to the overall environment and support structure throughout the recovery process.
Inpatient Addiction Rehab
Inpatient facilities are rehab centers that offer 24-hour care from staff personnel. Hospital based inpatient services have medical staff members present at all times, while most residential rehabs will provide intermittent services from healthcare professionals, when needed. Both types of inpatient facilities require patients to live at the facility.
Inpatient treatment is the most immersive form of treatment, allowing patients to fully focus on their addiction and recovery with 24-hour care. Since patients are removed from the stress of their daily lives, they are often better able to work through their addiction issues.
Rehab programs can include group therapy, individual therapy, medication-assisted treatment, and even complementary therapies such as meditation, animal therapy, or outdoor activities.
Those with long-standing or severe addictions, addictions to multiple substances, or with coexisting medical and mental health conditions often seek an inpatient rehab facility for treatment. It may also be a good option for those who have made previous rehab efforts (either inpatient or outpatient) and have since relapsed.
Outpatient Addiction Rehab
Outpatient facilities allow patients to come for treatment, therapy, and other services and then return to their homes at the end of the treatment sessions. This structure lets a person continue a largely unimpeded work, school, or home life while seeking treatment. These facilities tend to be a good fit for those with relatively less severe or shorter-term addictions, limited time, or responsibilities at work or home that cannot be neglected.
Outpatient programs can vary. Some involve all-day sessions, whereas others may only treat patients for an hour or two a day. Costs of outpatient care are usually lower than those of inpatient care because there are fewer amenities and fewer staff hours involved in direct care. Because patients can leave, patients do not have to pay for the around-the-clock care. Many insurance plans may cover some or all of the cost.
Can I Lose My Job for Attending Addiction Rehab?
While you may experience some fear of losing your job if you attend rehab, you may, in fact, be more likely to lose your job if you don’t get help. If you are struggling with a substance abuse problem, it is possible that your boss may already suspect it. By avoiding addiction help, your struggle may eventually become apparent since the consequences of your substance abuse may cause your work performance to suffer.
Using substances while on the job is legal grounds for termination, but there are several federal laws protecting your right to obtain treatment. Under these laws, it is illegal to terminate employment as a consequence of an employee seeking treatment.
How Do I Get Time Off of Work to Attend Addiction Rehab?
Many inpatient programs require taking some time off from work. However, there are several options that can help ease this process. These include:
Employee Assistance Programs
An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a voluntary program through your employer, which provides confidential assessments, limited counseling, and referrals to treatment at no cost to the employee.
Family and Medical Leave Act
Many employers offer up to 12 weeks of leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, which allows you to take unpaid time off without affecting your health insurance, in order to seek treatment for a medical condition that interferes with your ability to complete work-related tasks. Addiction falls under this category, so it could be beneficial to understand what your company offers.
Paid Time Off
Another option for taking time away from work to get help with substance abuse is to simply use accrued vacation, sick, or personal time to get rehabilitation help.
Executive Rehab Centers
In the event that you have heavy work demands and need to maintain an active involvement at your place of employment, executive rehab centers may facilitate maintaining a presence or ongoing involvement at work while undergoing residential treatment in a luxurious, 24-hour care setting.
Finally, outpatient programs provide another treatment possibility for anyone who is unable take time away from home or work and who may need a more affordable option than executive rehab. Those struggling with severe addiction or relapse problems, however, would be well served in searching for residential treatment options that can offer more intensive 24-hour care.
Overall, there are many different ways to get help as an employee, and seeking treatment for addiction will always be better for you, your job, your health, and your life in general in the long run.
What is Luxury Treatment?
Luxury rehabilitation offers far more amenities and posh surroundings than standard rehab facilities. They are often located in secluded areas, so patients are afforded maximum privacy during their stays. Luxury rehab centers may offer holistic programs, adventure therapies, gourmet meals prepared by professional chefs, and innovative recovery therapies.
High-level executives, celebrities and other public figures often choose luxury rehab for the exclusive amenities, privacy and the likelihood that they will be among their peers, but anyone may attend these types of programs if the costs can be covered through insurance, out-of-pocket payments, or a combination thereof.
- Moos, R. H. & Moos, B. S. (2003). “Long-term influence of duration and intensity of treatment on previously untreated individuals with alcohol use disorders.” Addiction, 98, 325–337.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2012). Principles of drug addiction treatment: A research based guide (third edition).
- American Addiction Centers. (2017).
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Know your rights.
- U.S. Office of Personnel Management. Frequently asked questions.
- U.S. Department of Labor. Family and medical leave act.