Rehab 101: Everything You Need To Know

rehab 101

Rehab 101: Everything You Need To Know

Although you might feel alone, millions of people in the United States struggle with addiction to drugs and alcohol. In fact, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reported that more than 20 million people needed professional treatment for substance abuse and addiction in 2015. This is a staggering number, but only a small number of these people actually sought and received the specialized treatment they needed to overcome their addictions.

Some people might think that they can stop using drugs or alcohol on their own, but most people will require professional assistance in the form of a drug and alcohol treatment program, also known as rehab. Rehab is a carefully designed and managed process that involves multiple steps and techniques to treat men and women who are suffering from substance abuse and addiction. The goal is to help clients stop using alcohol and drugs – and maintain long-term sobriety.

Getting clean and sober is appealing to most people who are struggling with addiction. Even though using alcohol and drugs can produce positive sensations and feelings, substance abuse and addiction can damage a person’s physical and psychological health, relationships, career, and life. Who wouldn’t want to make changes to end their dependency on drugs or alcohol and improve their life?

Professional treatment for drug and alcohol addiction is proven to be the most effective way to overcome substance abuse and addiction in the long-term. However, most people don’t know what to expect when they enter rehab. Many individuals only know about rehab from what they’ve seen on TV and in movies – and the entertainment industry is not always famous for accurate depictions. As a result, people might be reluctant to enter a drug and alcohol treatment program. They are frightened of the unknown or by their limited knowledge of what rehab is actually like.

To help you learn more about rehab, the drug and alcohol treatment professionals from HARP have created a crash course in rehab 101 to tell you everything you need to know about rehab.

Types of Rehab Programs – Inpatient vs. Outpatient

Although most people think of drug rehab programs where clients stay for the entire duration of their treatment, there is actually more than just one type of rehab program. Clients can chose from two different types of drug and alcohol treatment programs.

  • Inpatient or residential rehab is a type of treatment that helps clients overcome their addiction by providing 24-hour care and support under the supervision of licensed treatment professionals. Clients live at the rehab center for the duration of their treatment. Inpatient rehab provides comprehensive care. As a result, physicians and therapists often recommend inpatient rehab for people who are suffering from long-term or severe addictions. They may also recommend inpatient treatment for individuals with coexisting mental disorders that require treatment.
  • Outpatient rehab provides many of the same therapies and treatments that clients can find in an inpatient rehab program. The primary difference with outpatient rehab is that clients return home each day after they complete treatment. Depending on a person’s treatment needs, they might participate in a program that meets once or twice a week. They might also take part in a program that is more intensive and involves up to six hours a day of therapy and treatment.

The best way to select the right rehab program is to speak with your physician about your unique situation and goals. One type of program might seem more appealing to you than the other, but you should choose a rehab program based on how likely it is to help you recover from substance abuse and addiction.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse has recommendations for the length of treatment for a drug or alcohol addiction. For the best results, treatment should last at least 90 days. However, a client does not need to spend the entire 90 days in an inpatient drug rehab center. They might begin by spending a month in an inpatient program and then spend the rest of their time in treatment in an outpatient program. Again, you should speak with your physician and therapist to determine the right schedule and program type for your needs.

Life in an Inpatient Rehab Program

The first thing you will notice about inpatient rehab is that it is very structured. Days are filled with therapies that are designed to help overcome addiction and activities that are meant to prevent boredom during downtime. Having such a schedule serves multiple purposes. It helps prevent clients from returning to old habits that are consistent with substance abuse and also distracts clients from the cravings they might experience throughout the recovery process.

An average day in an inpatient rehab program starts early, usually around 7:00 in the morning. During this time, nurses administer medications and clients are given privacy to get ready for their day. Clients may also have the opportunity to do yoga or meditate. Both of these activities are calming and help men and women center themselves, which can be the perfect start to the day.

About an hour later, all of the clients will come together to eat breakfast. While food varies depending on the type of rehab program, programs like HARP provide delicious meals that are cooked by trained chefs. Clients eat breakfast and all of their meals in a communal dining room or cafeteria. The goal of eating together is to foster a sense of community and help clients build relationships with other people in the program. Support and understanding from other people who are going through the process of recovering from addiction can be a very powerful tool in the recovery process.

After breakfast, clients will go to their first therapy session of the day. These sessions often involve individual counseling, in which a client will meet one-on-one with their designated therapist. To help clients build trust and develop a relationship with their therapist, each client will generally work with the same therapist throughout their stay in rehab.

The length of a therapy session varies from 45 to 90 minutes in length. When many people hear the word “therapy,” they instantly wonder what this mysterious word means. Many therapists use cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) because it is one of the most successful treatments for addiction. CBT is designed to help clients identify and change destructive behaviors and thought patterns that may have contributed to their addiction. This type of therapy is also helpful for identifying potential triggers that could cause a relapse during recovery. For these reasons, CBT is an effective long-term tool for clients even after they leave treatment and return home.

Once clients complete their morning therapy, they will often have time to participate in a specific activity or enjoy some personal time. Some of the activities that are common in inpatient programs are fitness classes, sports, spending time outdoors, reading, and journaling. Lunch comes after this time of relaxation and restoration. Like breakfast, clients eat together in a communal environment, which provides another opportunity to socialize with other people in the inpatient program.

After lunchtime, clients attend another therapy session. Assuming that clients went to an individual counseling session in the morning, they will attend a group therapy session in the afternoon. One or two licensed and trained therapists will lead each group therapy session. The inpatient program will group clients together who have similar issues and who are in similar places in their recovery journey. By organizing group therapy sessions in this way, clients can learn from each other and support one another as they work through their issues.

Inpatient programs like to offer a fun activity or alternative therapy session after group therapy. Some examples include art therapy, dance therapy, music therapy, exercise programs, meditation, equine-assisted therapy, biofeedback, and neurofeedback. Rehab centers tend to vary in what types of activities and programs they offer for alternative therapy sessions, but each program will offer one or more of these options. The goal of these alternative therapies is not just to have fun and relax. They are also designed to help clients try new things and express themselves in order to build self-confidence and self-awareness.

Clients will then go to a communal dinner around 6:00 in the evening, which may be followed by a support group meeting. In a support group, clients will have the opportunity to discuss their experiences, feelings, and struggles with other people who understand their situation. After the support group meeting, clients will have some more free time to journal, read, or relax before going to bed. Most drug and alcohol treatment programs have a set time for “lights out” because clients need sufficient sleep during the recovery process.

Clients will find that most days in an inpatient rehab program will follow a schedule that is similar to this one. However, there may be special events and activities that appear throughout the week. Drug and alcohol treatment centers may host family visitation days or even take clients on an off-site outing to participate in a special activity.

Life in an Outpatient Rehab Program

An average day in an outpatient rehab program will vary based on how intensive the program is. For example, a more intensive outpatient program might follow a similar schedule to an inpatient program. Typically, intensive outpatient rehab programs will meet three to five days a week for four to six hours a day. The average day is as follows. Once the client arrives, they will often start with an individual therapy session, followed by lunch and then group therapy. Finally, the day will end with an alternative therapy or support group before the client goes home for the day.

In contrast to an intensive outpatient drug and alcohol treatment program, a less intensive program will only require clients to come to the treatment center for a few hours each week. This time can occur during one day of the week or it can be spread out over multiple days. Clients in this type of program will also adhere to a set schedule that includes individual and group therapy, support groups, and alternative therapy to complement the more traditional forms of therapy and counseling.

A unique aspect of all inpatient programs is the focus on addressing temptation and triggers in the world outside of treatment. Because clients return home each night, it is important for them to be able to identify and avoid temptation. In order to succeed with outpatient treatment for substance abuse and addiction, it is also important for clients to have a strong support system and a substance-free home environment.

The team at HARP realizes that choosing to go to an inpatient or outpatient rehab program is a big decision. It can even be frightening to make this decision, especially if you don’t know what to expect from rehab. However, rehab is nothing to be afraid of. It is an opportunity to recover from substance abuse and addiction. Drug and alcohol treatment centers strive to make rehab as pleasant an experience as possible for clients.




The ultimate goal is to help clients recover and learn the tools necessary to achieve long-term sobriety while staying in an environment that is comfortable, safe, and relaxing. If you have more questions about what rehab at HARP is like, our compassionate and knowledgeable drug and alcohol treatment professionals can give you the answers you need.
The HARP methodology specializes in treating addiction to alcohol and drugs.

Our team of caring medical professionals and addiction treatment specialists provides individual and group counseling, medical detox, support services, and relapse prevention resources to ensure that each client has a positive and productive stay at our treatment center before they go home – clean and sober. With professional help and support, recovery from addiction is possible. HARP can help clients overcome their drug and alcohol addiction.

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