Answers to Your Questions About Residential Treatment for Addiction

Rear view of a person wearing jeans and coat walking down road with suitcaseIf you or a loved one are experiencing addiction, you may be wondering if it’s time to look at a residential treatment center. These facilities, commonly known as “rehab,” are designed to stabilize and treat people working to overcome severe substance issues.

A person who chooses to enter rehab may live at the facility for up to several weeks. When thinking of rehab, people often visualize a hospital-like environment. While the detoxification process often takes place in a hospital-like setting, ongoing care typically takes place in a more comfortable setting, with dormitory-like arrangements for sleeping, casual group rooms for therapy, and cafeteria-style settings for eating. Some higher-end programs may even have a spa-like feel to them.

Below are some of the most common questions people ask me regarding residential treatment centers:

1. Will I be able to take medication in rehab?

Yes. Many people receive medication in rehab. Upon arrival, a nurse will complete an intake that includes the medications a person is already taking, in addition to vitals and current medical needs. Those who are in need of detox from drugs or alcohol will be monitored by medical professionals, who can provide medication to assist with withdrawals.

People entering rehab may also meet with a psychiatrist, who can help determine if current medications are appropriate and whether new ones, if any, may be beneficial. Some facilities offer a holistic approach and vitamin support. Other programs use medication-assisted therapies to assist with abstinence. Some programs expect participants to be free of all substances.

Medication can be an excellent resource in your care, but it should not be the only part of your plan. Each facility will make all participants aware of protocols. People in rehab who work with their treatment team, reporting symptoms and side effects as well as goals, may be more likely to see success.

2. What should I bring to rehab?

Most facilities suggest bringing comfortable day clothes and pajamas for sleeping. Rehab participants will be sitting in a group setting for large parts of the day, so it’s important to be comfortable and relaxed. There may be exercise facilities, so bringing workout clothes may be a good idea. Toiletries and makeup are generally allowed, but staff members are likely to search all bags. Items of concern include razors, mouthwash, perfumes, and shoes with laces. The nursing staff will hold on to and dispense any prescribed medications.

Books and journals for downtime and pictures from home are also allowed in most cases. Some facilities allow smoking, while some do not. You can ask this question upfront.

Many programs have a “blackout” period where technology is not allowed, though there will likely be days and times when it is possible to contact friends and family. In fact, family and friends will likely be included in your recovery plan.

3. Can my family visit?

Yes. A person’s family can generally visit them in rehab. Each facility will provide information on the days and times this is allowed. Loved ones are often encouraged to be involved in the treatment process. Many programs have a family weekend and include family therapy, both in person and/or via telephone.

4. Are there rehabilitation centers for depression?

There are many different types of rehab, including dual diagnosis facilities (meaning they treat both substance abuse issues and mental health issues concurrently). These facilities may use a variety of approaches, including:

There are also centers that exist to primarily address mental health concerns, such as:

An intake person will generally do a phone screening to assess your specific needs.

5. How long will I be at the facility?

A common length of stay is about 30 days. Some people may only stay for 21 days, while others may stay for as many as 90 days.

Rehab can be very expensive, sometimes costing around $1,000 a day. Insurance companies often determine how long a person can remain in treatment. Further, because living away from home can be disruptive to school, work, and family, this form of treatment is often a last resort. It may be warranted when a person is unsafe, unable to remain chemical-free, or needs to be medically stabilized.

6. I’m getting released. Now what?

A residential stay is only the beginning of treatment. A discharge planner should provide local resources and offer help connecting with services the week you or your loved one is scheduled to leave rehab.

People who need more support may go to a sober living facility or relocate to another area entirely. Treatment plans depend on each person’s unique needs.

Your rehab plan may include:

  • Outpatient individual, or family therapy
  • Mutual support meetings
  • Medication, drug, and alcohol screening
  • Job training
  • Sobriety coaching
  • Relapse prevention

This list is not exhaustive. Your personal recovery plan will be based on your needs and incorporate tools to help restore balance and stability in your life. If you are ready to seek help, you can begin by using’s residential treatment directory to find the program that is the best fit for you.

© Copyright 2018 All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Cyndi Turner, LCSW, LSATP, MAC, Topic Expert

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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