What Is Inpatient Rehab?

Inpatient rehabilitation facilities are centers for someone seeking help for a drug or alcohol problem, where they live full time. This is in comparison to outpatient rehab when someone attends treatment during the day but goes home at night. Inpatient rehab, also called residential treatment, is appropriate for severe addictions and offers care 24 hours a day. This is typically a non-hospital setting and provides a community of support for those recovering from substance abuse. The average stay of residential treatment is 30 days, but some treatment programs offer longer lengths of stay (between 60-90 days). Depending on the severity of an individual’s addiction, they may attend long-term residential treatment or short-term residential treatment. While it is not appropriate for everyone, there are many benefits of inpatient rehab.

What Are The Benefits Of Inpatient Rehab?

Compared to outpatient rehab, there are many advantages, including safety and a higher success rate. From the moment an individual decides to seek treatment, they are preparing to go through a drastic change in their life. While this change is for the better, it comes with its own set of challenges to face, starting with detoxification.

Inpatient Detoxification

For someone who has been abusing drugs or alcohol, the process of going through withdrawal and detoxing can be very unpleasant, and many try to avoid it for as long as possible. Most drugs have a unique set of withdrawal symptoms. Some drugs, like Meth, have symptoms like anxiety and fatigue. Users can also experience psychosis, where they experience hallucinations and delusions. The withdrawal symptoms from Opioids like Oxycodone and Codeine include body aches, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, high blood pressure, and shaking. Someone detoxing from alcohol may experience tremors, seizures, and delirium tremens, resulting in reduced blood flow to the brain. Trying to detox on your own is very dangerous and not recommended. Left unsupervised, withdrawal symptoms can be potentially deadly.

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One of the benefits of inpatient rehab is that they provide a safe place to detox where medical professionals can monitor vitals and ease some of the unpleasant symptoms. Depending on the substance and severity of the addiction, withdrawal symptoms usually start a few hours after the last dose of the drug. Alcohol detox generally lasts anywhere from 3 to 10 days, with withdrawal symptoms starting within 6 hours and being their worst at 72 hours. Alcohol withdrawal lessens significantly in severity after 72 hours to one week, which is called the acute withdrawal phase. There have been reports of symptoms lasting for a month, and sometimes feelings of anxiety and depression last for months. Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms (PAWS) can last as long as one year, yet it does not have severe medical issues related to it. More common symptoms of PAWS include anxiety, restlessness, poor concentration, and poor sleep. Being in an inpatient rehab facility means patients have constant access to help for their withdrawal symptoms and can be provided with medications to ease their detox.

Success Rate

When someone attends outpatient rehab, they can go straight to the liquor store or contact their dealer when they feel like giving up. Returning home each evening places them back in the environment where they abused a substance, which makes it much more challenging to resist the temptation of relapse. One of the benefits of inpatient rehab is that patients do not have access to their substance of choice, and while they have the freedom to leave at any time, they will likely not come back if they exit rehab and relapse.

Studies have shown that more inpatients complete detox compared to people in outpatient treatment. Those who attend and remain in treatment have increased occupational, psychological, and social functioning, as well as decreased criminal activity. Those who overcome a substance use disorder (SUD) learn the tools to prevent relapse, and may be at a decreased risk for developing another SUD, according to a study published in JAMA, which said, “As compared with those who do not recover from an SUD, people who recover have less than half the risk of developing a new SUD. Contrary to clinical lore, achieving remission does not typically lead to drug substitution, but rather is associated with a lower risk of new SUD onset.”


One of the main components of substance abuse treatment is the fellowship that is created between staff, counselors, and fellow recovering individuals. That is one of the reasons 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous have success. Having a support system of people who understand the struggles of addiction and can be a shoulder to lean on is extremely beneficial, and it may be impossible for some to ever recover without it. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration states that having social networks and relationships that provide love, hope, friendship, and support are an essential part of recovery.

Living in an inpatient rehab facility surrounds someone in recovery with the social resources they need 24/7. In outpatient rehab, it may be more difficult or take more time to form those bonds. Treatment facilities also provide resources to transition into normal life, such as creating an aftercare plan that may include sober living homes. Recovering individuals may also receive guidance on pursuing new employment once they graduate from treatment.

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Are The Benefits Of Inpatient Rehab Worth it?

Because of the demand for 24/7 staff, medical care, food, and housing that is required for inpatient rehab, the cost is higher compared to outpatient rehab. Some may believe that alcohol addiction treatment is not worth the price, but in reality, an addiction costs far more than treatment. Substance abuse costs America over $600 billion each year but treatment has been shown to reduce costs.

If you or a loved one is struggling with an alcohol addiction, there are options. Overcoming an addiction can seem daunting. You can explore your treatment options by contacting a treatment provider today.

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