Inpatient treatment is a rehab option for people struggling with drug or alcohol addictions. Inpatient treatment centers typically include clinical guidance and supervision and a variety of step-down programs that clients can transition into after completing medical detox.
People receiving inpatient treatment live on-site at a rehab facility in a supportive and supervised environment. After finishing inpatient rehab, they may continue recovering in a partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient or outpatient treatment setting.
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What Is Inpatient Rehab?
Inpatient rehab provides medical supervision and is one of the first phases of addiction treatment. This transition occurs only after a medical professional thoroughly evaluates each client. Those who receive inpatient treatment typically struggle with cravings and should be monitored around the clock to prevent relapse. During inpatient care, clients can build on the skills they learned in detox to progress in recovery.
What is inpatient rehab like? Inpatient rehab involves an extended time period for treatment, regardless of the substance a person was using. Clients are required to stay at the facility for the entirety of the program, including overnight. Although there is no single treatment that’s right for everyone, inpatient rehab is one of the most effective forms of care for drug and alcohol addiction.
Most inpatient rehab programs include:
- Comprehensive evaluation and treatment planning
- 24-hour nursing supervision
- Medication management, if necessary
- Meeting with a psychiatric provider one or more times a week
- A community meeting group
- Ongoing review of treatment goals
- Individual therapy
- Recreational therapy, such as meditation and yoga
- Daily group therapy, including specialty groups and peer groups
- Aftercare and discharge planning (a necessary component in this level of care)
Components of Inpatient Rehab
Inpatient rehab programs consist of medical treatment, withdrawal management and individual and group counseling.
Inpatient treatment involves medical care to further support someone as they take their first steps in recovery.
For example, alcohol can cause seizures during withdrawal, so medical staff needs to be trained to handle seizures. An intravenous (IV) drug user might need to be screened for HIV, and Hepatitis B and C. Medical care in the inpatient rehab setting is sometimes the first treatment people have gotten in years.
Withdrawal symptoms last long after the drug has left the body. The time frame depends on the drug of abuse, the amount used, how long it was abused for and many other personal factors. Clinical care in inpatient helps mitigate negative side effects as a person faces lingering withdrawal symptoms.
Individual and Group Therapy
Individual counseling and group therapy are options included in inpatient rehab services. Topics discussed during therapy may include:
- Substance abuse
- Introduction to the 12-step program
- Grief and loss
- Trauma survival
- Family issues
- Interpersonal relationships
Clients in inpatient care can access recreational amenities as is medically appropriate. Amenities vary by the facility but may include yoga or equine therapy, sports activities and more.
Inpatient vs. Residential Rehab
The terms inpatient rehab and residential rehab are often used interchangeably, but there are differences between these two terms.
The term residential rehab usually refers to the program style of living on-site at a facility during treatment. Any program that requires clients to live on-site during their treatment could be considered a residential-style program.
In residential rehab, people live in a facility with access to medical and psychiatric care. Residential treatment helps remove negative outside influences and structures a client’s daily life.
Inpatient care is typically a residential-style program that can also include detox treatment. Inpatient rehab is usually a client’s first step of addiction treatment, where they attend detox to rid their body of drugs and alcohol and then remain living at the facility afterward to participate in follow-up inpatient rehab programming.
After inpatient, a client may transition to partial hospitalization programming or an intensive outpatient program. In both of these programs, the person may continue living on-site at the rehab facility, or they might live in a sober living house or return home — it depends on how the facility’s programs are designed.
At facilities in The Recovery Village network, many of our programs allow clients to live on-site, including during medical detox, inpatient, partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient care.
Benefits of Inpatient Treatment
Advantages of inpatient rehab include a structured environment with access to many services, amenities, skill-building opportunities and support from medical and clinical staff.
- Medical support: Detox can sometimes be life-threatening. Medical staff members are trained to handle these situations and treat what they can. In rare cases, advanced medical treatment might be needed. Inpatient rehab provides access to 24-hour medical support, in most programs.
- Structured programming: Inpatient rehab is a structured environment. Rehab programs have structured days and weeks to help return people to a healthy way of life.
- Nutritional support: Meals in inpatient rehab are designed for the nutritional needs of the person detoxing. Alcohol detox requires a diet high in thiamine and other vitamins. Detox from stimulants may include smaller meals at first to help the stomach readjust to eating healthy portions.
- Forming new healthy habits: One of the real benefits of inpatient rehab is that it helps build new and healthy habits to replace the ineffective ones. Addiction thrives in environments that encourage it, like a group of friends that binge drinks, for example. Rehab helps people build new and healthy relationships and activities without the involvement of the substance.
- Sense of community: Many people in rehab are going through similar experiences of addiction. Group therapy sessions help build support systems that encourage continued recovery.
- Establishing healthy boundaries: Living with a substance use disorder means healthy boundaries may never have been established. Rehab helps to build those boundaries and give a person the tools to maintain them after discharge.
Who Can Inpatient Rehab Help?
Inpatient rehab can help anyone that needs help with drug and alcohol addiction. However, it is designed for people who can benefit from a more intensive approach that removes outside influences and distractions. Overall, inpatient drug rehab can help anyone who has successfully completed medical detox, but still needs 24-hour care for substance abuse and any co-occurring mental health conditions.
Ultimately, anyone who wants a greater chance at success and a reduced risk of relapse can benefit from inpatient drug rehab. However, it’s important to keep in mind that inpatient rehab centers require a full-time commitment.
Detox centers are intended to treat drug and alcohol addiction. One of the many benefits of detoxing at a rehab facility is that it’s safer than at-home detox. Medical professionals supervise the detox process and can monitor any withdrawal symptoms, some of which can be very painful.
Some drugs have more dangerous detox periods than others. Inpatient detox is safer than trying to detox cold turkey. For example, alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be deadly without medical care and must be taken very seriously. Detoxing from other drugs is less risky, but each type of withdrawal is unique.
Inpatient detox programs typically include personalized care, clinical support and medication management, if necessary, to aid in recovery. Inpatient detox centers provide the highest level of supervision and medical monitoring of any type of detox center.
Inpatient Alcohol Treatment
Inpatient alcohol rehab treatment is intended for men and women who are struggling with an alcohol use disorder. Many people who struggle with alcoholism find the most success with inpatient rehab treatment. Clients in this program typically begin with inpatient alcohol detox to rid their bodies of alcohol. Withdrawal from alcohol is slow and takes anywhere from weeks to months, depending on how severe the addiction was.
During inpatient alcohol rehab, the treatment provider may prescribe medications to help ease withdrawal symptoms. If necessary, they may also be prescribed medications to help reduce alcohol cravings or reduce withdrawal symptoms. They might prescribe medications to stop seizures, which are common during withdrawal, or they might prescribe drugs to help with nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.
Some facilities specialize as inpatient alcohol treatment centers. Typically, inpatient alcohol treatment centers are specific to alcohol and focus on detox only for alcohol addiction. Someone who struggles with alcohol abuse may prefer this type of facility.
Inpatient Drug Treatment
Inpatient treatment for drug addiction follows the same model as inpatient alcohol rehab, in most cases. People will usually start with detox and then move on to other forms of inpatient care.
An inpatient drug rehab center will usually specialize in many types of drug detox. Examples of drug addictions that might require that a person attend inpatient drug rehab are:
- Adderall (amphetamine)
- Cathinones (bath salts)
- Krokodil (desomorphine)
- MDMA (ecstasy)
If you or a loved one are considering rehab at an inpatient drug treatment center, make sure to contact the facility and make sure they provide services to help you recover from a specific type of drug addiction.
Inpatient Treatment for Co-Occurring Mental Health Issues
A co-occurring disorder is when a mental health disorder occurs at the same time as a substance use disorder. An example is a person with schizophrenia who has a cocaine use disorder or other drug addiction. Co-occurring disorders can be addressed simultaneously through dual-diagnosis treatment.
Rehab is more difficult for people with co-occurring disorders and inpatient mental health treatment might be the best option. Inpatient dual diagnosis treatment centers handle some of the following mental health diagnoses:
- Depression (e.g., moderate to severe depression, dysthymia)
- Anxiety disorders (e.g., post-traumatic stress disorder, phobias, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder)
- Borderline personality disorder (e.g., antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder)
- Eating disorders (e.g., anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating)
- Bipolar disorder
As an outpatient and inpatient facility, The Recovery Village is equipped to treat these disorders simultaneously with substance use disorders on an inpatient basis. Treating these conditions together is often the best way to achieve optimum results.
What to Look for in an Inpatient Treatment Center
Consider how to choose an inpatient treatment center for yourself or a loved one. Start thinking about questions that will help inform what treatment will be like at a specific facility. Some considerations include comfort, credentials and reviews, follow-up support, location and treatment approach.
- Are the accommodations comfortable?
- Is this a single-gender or all-gender facility?
- Is the staff open and welcoming during a first visit?
Credentials and reviews
- Is this an accredited rehab center in my state?
- Do the staff members hold active licenses in their area of practice?
- Is this facility part of a bigger health system that will help with transitions to outpatient treatment?
- If not, do they have partnerships with local treatment clinics in the area?
- Are there case managers to help with the transition?
- Is the facility close to home?
- Is it better for my recovery to be far away from or close to home?
- What is a typical day like in this facility?
- Is medication provided for medical and psychiatric services?
- Do they offer treatment for co-occurring disorders?
- Do they treat addictions to certain drugs or to all?