Drug and alcohol addiction can be overwhelming; figuring out how to go to rehab shouldn't be. The more you understand your options and what to expect, the better you'll feel about the path ahead. Here are answers to common questions about the rehabilitation process and its outcome:
What is rehab?
Rehab is short for rehabilitation, which is the process of recovering from addiction (aka substance abuse).
Most of the time, the term "rehab" is used to describe structured substance abuse treatment programs. These programs are usually offered at either inpatient or outpatient drug and alcohol rehab facilities.
Inpatient rehab facilities require patients to live on site, and include room and board, substance abuse treatment, medications, and therapy. Medical professionals are available 24/7 at inpatient rehab centers, and most inpatient rehab programs last from 1-3 months.
Outpatient drug and alcohol rehab programs have patients live on their own and come into the outpatient rehab center for treatment. Outpatient rehab programs generally last from 2-4 months, and participants can usually stay in school or at work while they go through them.
Which is better – inpatient or outpatient rehab?
The choice between inpatient rehab and outpatient rehab is a personal one, and should be based on individual circumstances. For example, those struggling with severe alcohol or drug addiction should strongly consider an inpatient rehab program, because they can help you detox safely. If in addition to addiction, you struggle with another physical or mental health condition, it's especially important to go to a dual diagnosis treatment center so you can safely navigate recovery.
Another factor to take into consideration is environment and support systems. Those coming from unsupportive environments (such as places with easy access to other addicts and substances) should consider an inpatient rehab facility, since total separation from the people, places, and circumstances that led to addiction can be vital to addiction recovery.
Conversely, those with a stable living situation and a solid existing support system (like a strong family) may be better off attending an outpatient rehab program. Outpatient rehab allows you to stay in school or at work while undergoing substance abuse treatment. Outpatient rehab often costs less than inpatient rehab options, as well.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that both inpatient and outpatient rehab facilities can help you totally overcome drug and alcohol addiction. Regardless of what you choose, getting help is the main priority. Selecting the right program is the first step toward an addiction-free life of joy, independence, and freedom.
What happens in drug and alcohol addiction rehab?
Those in inpatient drug and alcohol rehab programs generally go through three stages:
Stage 1: Detox
Detox (short for detoxification) means completely removing drugs and alcohol from the body. This can take from 3 days to 2 weeks, depending on how severely the person was addicted.
The important thing to know about drug and alcohol detox is that it can lead to withdrawal symptoms, and under certain circumstances withdrawal can be deadly. It's critical to get the right help when ending addiction, which is one reason to consider going to an inpatient rehab center. Rehab facilities are well equipped to keep people safe and as comfortable as possible as they undergo detox and withdrawal.
Stage 2: Rehab therapy
After the patient has gone through detox and withdrawal, it's time to address the psychological elements of drug and alcohol addiction. Inpatient and outpatient rehab programs frequently offer both individual and group therapy, to help people with the emotional aspects of addiction recovery. Drug and alcohol rehab programs also teach coping skills to prevent relapse, and provide access to recovering drug and alcohol addict support groups.
Stage 3: Extended care
After completing a structured drug or alcohol rehab program, there are a number of options to continue the substance abuse treatment process. Recovering addicts who stay sober frequently receive support even after an official drug or alcohol rehab program ends. This can take the form of an outpatient program, ongoing therapy, living in sober communities such as halfway houses, and attending support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA).
How much does rehab cost?
The first thing to know is that help is available when it comes to paying for rehab. In addition to insurance, there are federally-funded programs as well as charity options to aid with the cost of drug and alcohol rehab.
Rehab centers vary widely when it comes to pricing. A standard 28-day inpatient drug and alcohol rehab program costs anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000 a month. Lower-cost inpatient rehab facilities can be $2,000-$7,500 a month, while luxury rehab programs can be $50,000 or more a month.
The cost of outpatient drug and alcohol rehab programs differs depending on the specific services the patient requires, as well as how long they stay at the rehab center. The average 8-10 week outpatient substance abuse treatment program is around $2,000. Outpatient rehab programs generally last from 2 to 4 months, with the option to extend.
Do alcohol and drug rehab centers take insurance?
Many inpatient and outpatient drug and alcohol rehab centers do take insurance. However, it's important to check with the rehab facility to determine whether your insurance is accepted. It's also important to note that some rehab centers have patients pay up front, then get reimbursed by their insurance company. Sometimes your insurance plan will only cover a portion of the costs of rehabilitation, so check before enrolling at inpatient or outpatient drug and alcohol rehab facilities.
Drug and alcohol rehab programs that don't accept your insurance may have other options, as well. Some rehab centers offer slidings scale for payment, or financing options to bring the cost down or space it out so it's more manageable.
Will I be fired for going to rehab?
You may be afraid of getting fired for attending rehab, but the reality is that you could be more likely to lose your job if you don't get the substance abuse treatment you need. It's possible your boss is already aware of your addiction (or at least the problems associated with it). Often, drug and alcohol addiction and everything that comes along with it makes it hard to do a good job at work. In addition, drug or alcohol abuse itself is often grounds for termination.
Some employers will see your choice to attend rehab as commendable – the sign of a proactive and responsible employee. They will want to support you and see you get the help you need. Others may not see it as such, and you'll need to determine what to do in the event that they choose not to be supportive.
Regardless, it's important to understand that the consequences of not getting help for substance abuse can be far worse than losing employment. While staying addicted may not cost you your job, it could cost you your relationships, your financial security, even your life. Getting help is always the right choice.
According to the ADA a person can’t be fired for going to rehab (if someone takes weeks of vacation time, and goes to rehab during that period, for example), chemical dependency is considered a disability.
How do I get time off work to go to rehab?
There are a number of options to help you when it comes to taking time off work to attend a drug and alcohol rehab program:
1. The Family and Medical Leave Act
Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), you have the right to a certain amount of unpaid leave to handle personal issues, including drug and alcohol rehabilitation. In some cases this can be up to 12 weeks. Look into your employer's FMLA coverage to determine eligibility.
2. Employee Assistance Programs
If you choose to enroll yourself in an employee assistance program (EAPs), many times you can actually attend a substance abuse treatment program without your manager even knowing. However, if your substance abuse has led to problems at work, your boss may refer you to an EAP, at which point s/he would have more involvement in your recovery process (including which rehab facility and what kind of addiction treatment you receive).
3. Vacation Time
If you've accrued enough vacation days, you can simply use the time to enroll in a drug and alcohol rehab program that way.
4. Outpatient Programs
If you're unable to take any time away from work or home, you can consider attending an outpatient rehab program, which will often allow you to maintain more regular hours. However, if you struggle with extreme substance abuse or have had issues with frequent relapse, it may be time to seriously consider an inpatient drug and alcohol rehab program. Inpatient residential programs offer more comprehensive support for recovering alcohol and drug addicts.
5. Executive Rehab Centers
If your work is particularly demanding and you feel the need to stay heavily involved in it, an executive rehab center may be a good option for you. Executive rehab facilities offer residential treatment while providing the opportunity to continue working. These rehab centers tend to have upscale facilities and cater to executives and celebrities overcoming alcoholism and drug addiction.
How long does rehab take?
Rehab and recovery is a personal process. Each person has unique circumstances and their path to full addiction recovery is distinct.
Most rehab programs require a minimum of a 28-day treatment period. However, research demonstrates that individuals who spend more time in drug and alcohol rehab programs are more successful when it comes to long-term sobriety. In addition to 28- and 30-day programs, most rehab facilities also offer 60-, 90-day, and even longer programs.
It's important to know that some people also require more than one stay in a rehab facility to reach sobriety. Again, each person's path is different. The important thing isn't how long it takes – it's that you are moving forward towards a life free of drug and alcohol addiction.
Ultimately, rehab and recovery must address more than just substance abuse itself in order to be successful. Addiction doesn't develop out of nowhere – the underlying causes of it are some of the most important things to explore in recovery. The more comprehensively these issues are addressed, the more likely it is that someone will get and stay sober.
Therapy, for example, gives recovering addicts a safe space in which to discuss issues with a mental health professional. Addiction is frequently associated with past pain, trauma, and upset, and examining these underlying issues can help stop addictive patterns at the root.
What happens after rehab?
Rehabilitation is an ongoing process, and one that requires determination and perseverance. The skills learned in rehab can be practiced anywhere, at any time, and the more they are practiced, the more they become second-nature. Fortunately, the recovery process overall often leads to greater awareness, resilience, and self-determination.
The best way to maintain sobriety after rehab is to build a strong support network. This can include therapists, counselors, and other mental health professionals. It can also include peers met in rehab, others who are going through a similar experience.
Support groups like AA and NA are another valuable and lasting way to get ongoing support. AA and NA is available all around the world, and provides access to others who "get" it, and who can be there for you regardless of what's happening. Ultimately, feeling connecting is one of the best ways of staying sober.
Rehab is the foundation on which to build a new life. Many who've been through the addiction and subsequent recovery process report a sense not just feeling more stable and secure in the present, but having a stronger sense of self, better relationships with others, and ultimately a more meaningful life.