Addiction Rehab: What to Expect

Img source:

Going to rehab can be a daunting experience for anyone, especially if it is your first time. Knowing what to expect before you enter rehab can help put your mind at ease and help you feel more prepared.

Drug and alcohol rehab is difficult to define in that in can happen at home with regular visits to a medical professional or key worker, or it can happen within a dedicated residential treatment facility such as this.

However, no matter where you choose to go through rehab, you will go through a range of treatments that will help you understand your addiction and recognise your triggers so you will be better prepared to overcome your addiction long after you have left rehab.

It is important to understand that you will only get out of rehab what you put into it.

The treatments that you will receive during rehab are only part of your overall addiction treatment, and you need to be fully dedicated to getting well in order to gain lifelong sobriety.

Firstly, you need to know about the types of rehab available to you.

Outpatient rehab

Img source:

Outpatient rehab is usually available on the NHS and relies on charitable organisations and community programs to offer group counselling or 12 step programs.

If you choose outpatient rehab, you will begin by visiting your healthcare provider who will complete a comprehensive medical history check.

This way, your rehab and subsequent treatments will be tailored to your specific needs. You will likely be assigned a key worker who can keep in touch with you throughout your treatment and make sure you are coping well.

You will be required to visit a facility regularly – once a day for the first few days in which the withdrawal symptoms will be at their worst. Fewer visits will be required as time passes.

You will be given information for local community groups such as 12 step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.

Whilst you will have a key worker, it is entirely up to you to attend these meetings and you will be in charge of your own progress throughout.

Outpatient rehab can be difficult as you are still around your regular triggers while you are trying to abstain.

Inpatient rehab

Img source:

Inpatient rehab is much more thorough and is not typically offered by the NHS. You will be required to check-in to a residential treatment facility for however long is deemed necessary by a medical professional – usually somewhere between four and twelve weeks.

There, you will be on a rather regimented schedule of therapy and counselling sessions, exercise, and therapeutic classes.

Inpatient rehab has a much higher level of success with 4 times less patients relapsing after treatment. This is likely due to the level of support offered at an inpatient facility being much higher than that of outpatients.

What happens on a typical day in rehab?

A typical day in an inpatient rehab facility usually starts early and is filled with counselling sessions, group therapy and art classes.

Of course, the timetable will differ with each facility, but a typical day will look something similar to the following.

  • 7am – 9am

Wake up, shower, and have a healthy breakfast.

  • 9am – 10pm


  • 10am – 11am

Group therapy

  • 11am – 12pm

Art class

  • 12pm – 12.30pm

Outdoor time

  • 12.30pm – 1.30pm


  • 1.30pm – 2.30pm

One to one counselling

  • 2.30pm – 3.30pm


  • 3.30pm – 5pm

Free time

  • 5pm – 6pm


  • 6pm – 7pm

Peer discussion group

  • 7pm – 10pm

Assorted therapies/Free time

Things you can take away from your time in rehab

Img source:

During your time in rehab, you will learn how to develop better, healthier habits. This might include walking or jogging, or something less physically taxing such as drawing, painting, or journaling.

Learning how to turn these artistic therapies into hobbies is a good way to learn how to combat stress. This can also help you better handle triggering situations in the future.

You will learn how to incorporate techniques such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) into your daily routine which will help break the cycle of negative thoughts leading to negative actions.

Rehab focuses not only on overcoming the addiction, but it also aims to teach you how to be healthier in general.

People who suffer from alcohol and drug addictions are much more likely to have nutritional deficiencies. You will be served healthy options at mealtimes and learn about the importance of a balanced diet and healthy nutrition.

What happens after rehab?

It may feel like you are sent home and left to your own devices after rehab, however, rehab aims to teach you ways to control your addiction, so you are equipped to move forward without round the clock care.

Upon leaving your rehab facility, you will be offered further resources to make your reintroduction to society as easy as possible for you. This includes some care in the community programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, or SMART recovery programs.

However, it is up to you to make sure you implement what you have learned in rehab to your everyday life outside of rehab.

You will be going back home and may even see people who triggered your addiction before, so you will have to work hard every day to continue to overcome your addiction.

Peer support groups are an excellent source of support after you have left a rehab facility and are highly recommended by professionals in the ongoing treatment of addiction.

What do I do if I feel that rehab is right for me?

Img source:

The first thing you need to do is speak to your GP or healthcare provider. They will have a range of information and resources that will be available to you and can give you information on local peer support groups that you can join.

Depending on the severity of your addiction, you may be offered an inpatient detox program through the NHS, however, this will likely only be a 7 – 10 day stay in hospital.

Look online at local residential rehabilitation facilities near you and contact them asking for more information such as price lists, length of stay etc.

They will be more than happy to chat to you about your options. Once you have made a few calls, you will be better equipped to decide what to do next.

Speak to a friend or family member as well. You don’t need to do this alone and you will find recovery easier if you have someone to support you. You can also ask this person to make the calls to the rehab facilities if you don’t feel up to it.