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Inpatient Drug Rehab

Inpatient drug rehab is one of many options available when seeking treatment for substance use disorder and includes an extended stay at a treatment facility. Taking the step to a better life can seem daunting, but we’re here to help clear up your questions about this kind of recovery center.

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What Is Inpatient Drug Rehab?

Inpatient drug rehab is a residential treatment program where an addict will check in and reside at a facility for a predetermined amount of time. On average, your stay will be 30 days, but other programs offer 60, 90, or more days of residence.

An inpatient rehabilitation program is typically part of an addiction treatment plan for someone who is dealing with a more serious addiction, is considered high-risk, or has a previous history of substance use disorder where lesser programs were not effective.

Inpatient treatment centers provide a high level of structure and support for the addict during their first days and weeks of recovery.

Many times, the addict may enter the rehab facility with drugs still in their system. For these patients, medical detox provides much-needed medical intervention and stabilization during their early days of recovery.

In addition to medical care, the inpatient drug rehab center will provide different types of therapy sessions—from group sessions to individual therapy and even family counseling.

Focusing on mental and behavioral health during the addiction treatment process helps recovering addicts create better habits that will allow them to be successful in their long-term addiction recovery.

What Happens at an Inpatient Rehab Center?

Whether you are considering entering a treatment program yourself or want to understand what a family member will experience during inpatient rehab, it can be comforting to have some understanding of what to expect.

Note that every treatment provider is different, but the following timeline can guide you or your loved one on what it will be like once you enter inpatient treatment.

Inpatient Rehab: Day One

When arriving at the inpatient rehab facility, you will go through the intake process. During intake, the patient will often review and sign a consent for treatment form before admission.

After you are checked in, you will often be allowed to contact loved ones to let them know you’ve arrived safely and will be receiving treatment.

After finalizing check-in, patients often have a one-week “blackout phase,” where they will not have any contact with the outside world—including friends and family members.

Inpatient Rehab: Week One

Week one’s blackout phase is designed to encourage patients’ sobriety in the early days of their treatment by eliminating any outside influences or temptations. Many times, the patient will be able to resume contact with loved ones after the first week.

Many patients experience detoxification during the first week, as their body begins to eliminate the remaining drugs from their system.

While withdrawal symptoms may occur, your treatment team will monitor your vitals and ensure your symptoms are as mild as possible during your medical detox.

Sometimes, you may receive medication to help you during the withdrawal process. Also known as medication-assisted treatment (MAT), these medications can help with:

  • Reducing cravings
  • Alleviating withdrawal discomfort
  • Relapse prevention

Inpatient Rehab: Beyond the First Week

Inpatient rehab is highly structured. While the specifics will vary between treatment facilities, you can expect your facility to maintain its own daily schedule. Once you settle in and, if needed, complete the medical detox process, you can look forward to a regular daily routine.

A general overview of the daily schedule might look like this:

  • Wake up
  • Eat breakfast
  • Individual therapy
  • Personal time
  • Lunch
  • Alternative therapy, activities, fitness
  • Group therapy
  • Dinner
  • Activities or personal time
  • Group discussion
  • Bedtime/lights out

Each rehab facility will have its own unique amenities, from the type of food served to activities available for patients during downtime. When researching inpatient rehab, you may want to consider the amenities offered to help you choose the best inpatient rehab.

How Long Does Inpatient Rehab Last?

The length of stay for an inpatient treatment program will depend on a few factors. On average, a short-term program lasts 28-30 days, while a long-term program (also known as a sober living facility) usually starts at 90 days but can extend longer.

All inpatient programs offer medical detox programs, which can take roughly 1-2 weeks. After detox, the inpatient program will focus on different therapies as well as helping the patient to establish better, healthier habits during their stay.

A long-term program (90+ days) is often recommended over a short-term stay. There are several reasons for the preference for long-term inpatient rehab.

Benefits of inpatient rehab include:

  • Longer time to build and solidify healthy habits
  • More time can be spent on overall recovery; treatment isn’t consumed by detox
  • The brain gets more time to heal
  • Extended time in regular therapy can provide essential tools and skills
  • Amends can be made with family and friends
  • Support can be provided if the patient experiences sudden cravings during their stay

However, long-term drug rehab is not always feasible for the addict. Any level of care is better than no care, and your decision to seek a healthier, drug-free life will help you no matter what type of program you choose.

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What’s the Difference Between Inpatient and Outpatient Treatment Programs?

Addiction treatment can be provided through both inpatient and outpatient programs. However, the two have very distinct differences, namely in the level of care provided.

The type of treatment program you select will depend on your individual needs, taking into account factors such as:

  • Level of addiction
  • Substance(s) of addiction
  • Insurance coverage and/or financial ability
  • Location/distance to the facility
  • Additional commitments (such as employment or childcare)
  • Prior history of substance use disorder
  • Any previous addiction treatment (including prior rehab stays)

You can determine the best treatment option for you can be determined by speaking with your doctor or another healthcare professional to assess your drug abuse and other health factors.

Inpatient Rehab Programs

Inpatient treatment programs provide a more structured environment in a residential setting. Inpatient programs require the addict to check in (hence the name “inpatient”) to a treatment facility to receive ongoing treatment and support.

Key inpatient rehab characteristics include:

  • Residential or live-in situation
  • Approximately 30 to 90-day commitment
  • Medical care provided (including detox)
  • Therapies provided
  • Highly structured
  • Ideal for more serious addictions or those with a previous addiction history

There are some variations between inpatient program types.

All inpatient facilities will provide medical care, but some inpatient centers will have a heavier focus on physical healthcare because of how drug abuse has impacted the patient’s body.

Other inpatient rehab programs will provide more of a residential experience alongside therapy and medical treatment.

Outpatient Rehab Programs

Outpatient rehab programs still provide beneficial addiction recovery care but at a much less intense level. When people picture “addiction rehab,” they often imagine an inpatient setting, but outpatient treatment tends to be more common—and is still quite effective.

Key outpatient rehab characteristics include:

  • Offsite treatment center that the patient visits regularly
  • Roughly 10-30 hours weekly commitment
  • Medical care provided (including detox)
  • Therapies provided
  • Less structure; varying levels of intensity
  • Ideal for less severe addiction
  • Also great for patients who have completed an inpatient program

Outpatient rehab can be divided into two main categories: Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP) and Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP). As mentioned, outpatient care is still highly effective in treating substance use disorder and should NOT be considered inferior to inpatient rehab.

Is Inpatient Rehab Right for Me or My Loved One?

While coming up with an overall substance abuse treatment plan, you may be wondering if inpatient drug rehab is right for you or your loved one.

Consider the following when deciding whether an inpatient drug rehab program is right for you: 

  • What are your initial needs? Individuals with a previous history of rehab or drug use, people needing to remove themselves from unhealthy environments, and those who thrive with a set structure are all fantastic candidates for inpatient rehab. Consider the key benefits you want to receive from an inpatient rehab program.
  • What is your commitment capability? Inpatient treatment is a 24/7 commitment for roughly 30 to 90 days, depending on the type of facility you choose. Make sure you have fully considered all aspects of your life and how they will be impacted by your time away.
  • Are you ready to make a life change? Your level of commitment to the program you choose will also greatly impact your success. There is more to inpatient rehab than supervised medical detox.
  • Have you reached out for professional medical advice? A substance abuse treatment assessment provided by a physician or other healthcare provider can make a huge difference in helping you determine the level of care that would be best for you.

Ultimately, an addict’s goal should be their long-term recovery. If you feel that the structure, time commitment, and overall setup of inpatient rehab would help you or your loved one, then it sounds like you’ve already made your decision. Congratulations!

Things To Consider When Choosing an Inpatient Drug Rehab Clinic

Once you’ve decided that an inpatient drug rehab program is the best choice for your recovery plan, the next step is to choose an actual inpatient rehab facility.

Here are some things to consider when picking the right inpatient facility for yourself or your loved one:


There are two important things to consider regarding location. First, how far away is the facility? Do you have a reliable way to get there? A facility closer to home and easier to get to might be more convenient for you. Alternatively, it may be necessary to travel further away to remove yourself from the temptation of being near people you previously associated with drugs. You may consider choosing something NOT in familiar territory to better set yourself or your loved one up for success.

Money & Finances

Cost is another important factor when choosing the right inpatient rehab center. More expensive doesn’t necessarily mean higher quality. Different facilities will have different offerings and amenities, so there’s no need to pay extra for something that won’t serve you or your needs. Additionally, your insurance program or Medicaid may cover some or all of your stay. Check with your individual provider to see if they have specific options in your network.

Ratings & Certifications

Checking the reviews and ratings of a facility can help you gauge what other people have experienced. You don’t necessarily have to make your choice just based on a center’s ratings, but it can be a valuable guide in assessing how previous residents have (or haven’t) succeeded through a particular treatment program.

Type of Addiction

Another thing to consider when choosing the right inpatient rehab facility is the type of addiction you are dealing with. There are many facilities available that specialize in the substance abuse they treat, such as centers with a focus on opioids. Outside of drug addiction rehabs, there are also alcohol rehab facilities that are specifically designed to help those struggling with excessive alcohol use or alcohol addiction.

Severity of Addiction

The severity of your addiction may also come into play when determining the right rehab center for your needs. A more severe addiction may require more structure or a longer stay, whereas a less intense addiction may work better in a short-term inpatient setting.

Amenities and Additional Offerings

Besides medical care, detox, and therapy, inpatient rehab centers offer special amenities. Some may provide family education and family therapy, while others may provide additional health support such as nutrition coaching and fitness. If you have specific struggles or issues that are tied to your addiction (such as significant fallout with family), you might want to select an inpatient center that can provide you with that extra care and support.

Co-Occurring Issues

Other considerations might include dual-diagnosis treatment (i.e., mental health support and treatment) and physical health accommodation requirements.

Substance use disorder, in many cases, can be tied to previous mental health conditions, other drug use, or additional health problems—and all of these factors need to be considered when choosing an inpatient rehab.

What Types of Therapy Does Inpatient Rehab Offer?

Not all clinics offer the same set of treatment and therapy options, so if you have a preference for one approach or another, make sure you check to see if that facility offers it.

The types of therapies offered at inpatient rehab can include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): Cognitive-behavioral therapy aims to teach the patient new behavioral patterns. You and your therapist will work on identifying negative thinking so that you can shift your mindset to allow you to make better future choices.
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT): A type of psychotherapy, DBT focuses on high-risk patients to help them both accept their condition and change their behavior. DBT may also give the patient homework after each session to put their new knowledge into practice.
  • Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET): Motivational enhancement therapy centers around a patient’s motivation to change. This therapy empowers patients to change old habits and begin their growth journey.
  • Group therapy: Offered at most inpatient facilities, group therapy provides patients with a support group where people will share and receive guidance from a counselor. This type of therapy helps patients feel less isolated in their own experience and supported by a small group of peers who can relate to each other.
  • 12-Step Programs: 12-step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA), provide a peer environment where personal sharing takes place. In addition, these programs have 12 actionable steps for the recovering addict to perform with the goal of maintaining their sobriety and feeling empowered to make better choices with each new day.
  • Family therapy: Family therapy is sometimes provided at certain inpatient rehab facilities. This may be especially helpful for adolescents or young adults receiving treatment at an inpatient rehab center.

The family dynamic can play an enormous role in an addict’s well-being, and sometimes, working through family issues can contribute to the addict’s healing and overall success.

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What Happens After Inpatient Drug Rehab?

After a patient completes inpatient rehab, a variety of additional treatment options may be offered. Some people move to an outpatient program, such as IOP or Intensive Outpatient Programs. Others may continue going to 12-step meetings locally to receive continued support in their sobriety.

Inpatient rehab is extremely beneficial in the early days of an addict’s recovery process, but it is not the only answer.

Taking part in external programs such as 12-step programs, outpatient care, mental health treatment, and therapy can greatly reduce the risk of relapse by providing continued structure, support, and accountability.

Find an Inpatient Drug Rehab Near You

If you’re ready to tackle an addiction or aren’t sure where to start your treatment process, you can start by visiting SAMHSA’s online treatment locator or calling their free helpline at 1-866-302-3114.

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FAQs About Inpatient Drug Rehab

Are cell phones allowed at inpatient drug rehab?

Each rehab center will have its own policy, so it’s best to check beforehand to see if cell phones are allowed at any particular rehab.

Many rehab centers require a 7-day “blackout” period where the patient will not be allowed to have contact with friends and family outside of the facility. This blackout is designed to help that person focus on detox and adjust to their new surroundings, as well as to eliminate any immediate threats to their emotional well-being.

Is inpatient rehab different from a residential treatment center?

Residential treatment centers are a type of inpatient rehab. Residential treatment is designed to be less of a sterile environment, with a daily schedule and potentially even required chores over time.

General inpatient treatment focuses more on medical support during the individual’s stay at that facility.

How much does inpatient drug rehab cost?

Each inpatient rehab facility will vary in cost. Factors influencing inpatient rehab costs might include the amenities offered, location, and length of stay.

Additionally, your health insurance may offer partial or full coverage for different types of programs.

Will insurance cover the cost of inpatient drug rehab?

That depends. Different providers offer different types of coverage related to addiction recovery and drug rehab. It is best to speak with your provider to learn more about what is covered under your specific plan.

Are visitations allowed during inpatient rehab?

Are visitations allowed during inpatient drug rehab?

In many cases, visitations ARE allowed during inpatient rehab. These visits are often restricted within the first week so the patient can get acclimated, work through detoxing, and adjust to their new living situation.

Be sure to check with any rehab center you are considering to find out about their individual policies about visitation.

What about aftercare? What can be done to prevent a relapse?

After a patient completes inpatient rehab, there are a variety of additional treatment options that may be offered. Some people move to an outpatient program, such as IOP or Intensive Outpatient Programs. Others may continue going to 12-step meetings locally to receive continued support in their sobriety.

Inpatient rehab is extremely beneficial in the early days of an addict’s recovery process, but it is not the only answer. Taking part in external programs such as 12-step programs, outpatient care, mental health treatment, and therapy can greatly reduce the risk for relapse by providing continued structure, support, and accountability.

Kent S. Hoffman, D.O. is a founder of Addiction HelpReviewed by:Kent S. Hoffman, D.O.

Chief Medical Officer & Co-Founder

  • Fact-Checked
  • Editor

Kent S. Hoffman, D.O. has been an expert in addiction medicine for more than 15 years. In addition to managing a successful family medical practice, Dr. Hoffman is board certified in addiction medicine by the American Osteopathic Academy of Addiction Medicine (AOAAM). Dr. Hoffman has successfully treated hundreds of patients battling addiction. Dr. Hoffman is the Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer of and ensures the website’s medical content and messaging quality.

Jessica Miller is the Content Manager of Addiction HelpWritten by:

Editorial Director

Jessica Miller is the Editorial Director of Addiction Help. Jessica graduated from the University of South Florida (USF) with an English degree and combines her writing expertise and passion for helping others to deliver reliable information to those impacted by addiction. Informed by her personal journey to recovery and support of loved ones in sobriety, Jessica's empathetic and authentic approach resonates deeply with the Addiction Help community.

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