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What Is Inpatient Rehab?

Inpatient rehab is a period of time in which an addict lives in a drug treatment facility while focusing almost exclusively on their recovery. This period follows the initial period of detox, where the patient will be at a hospital or treatment facility for a few days to a week as they come down off drug use and get through their powerful initial withdrawal symptoms and cravings.

Inpatient rehab periods can vary greatly, depending on how strong the addiction is, the addictiveness of the substance involved and how long the patient has been using. Underlying mental health complications also play a role in determining how long a patient should be treated on an inpatient basis for. They are generally conducted for at least 30 days, but can range much longer than that.

Who Is A Good Candidate For Inpatient Rehab?

Any drug user with a serious and prolonged addiction is almost certain to need some period of inpatient rehab. Inpatient rehab is also recommended to those who would be returning right back to the environment in which they were using, and to those who do not have strong interpersonal support networks or are socially isolated. If a person at all feels that they will have trouble committing to a rehab program, it is best for them to start out on an inpatient basis.

Why Is Inpatient Rehab Recommended?

Inpatient rehab provides the addict with medical attention and support available around the clock. This is often key in the early stages of rehab, as patients will often still be feeling strong withdrawal symptoms and cravings even after completing their detox period. Mental health screening and counseling is also extremely important in the early stages of recovery, as many substance abusers have an underlying mental disorder that is contributing to their substance use.

Being treated on an inpatient basis also ensures the patient will have a safe environment in which to focus on their recovery, free of potential triggers, temptations and distractions. A patient who detoxes and then returns right back to the situations and people that were previously enabling their drug habit is very likely to relapse in a short amount of time.

Adequate nutrition is also commonly overlooked by addicts, even those in recovery. Cognitive function is usually impaired in addicts because they do not have adequate nutrients. Treatment facilities ensure that patients get balanced and nutritious meals, helping them get back to good health and make decisions with a clear head.

The Goals of Inpatient Rehab

The main goal of inpatient treatment is to prepare addicts for independent life in the world again. This includes tools for managing the symptoms of their addiction, a treatment plan for any mental health issues they may have, and a greater recognizance of the triggers and environments that lead to use so that they can avoid them.

Inpatient rehab does not “cure” addiction, but it has statistically been shown to be the most likely path to long-term recovery by far. It creates the strong foundation that patients need to move forward with independent life on their own.

What Comes After Inpatient Rehab?

Patients usually transition to outpatient treatment at some point. They will either return to their own home, or they may find a place to live in a sober living environment (usually a boarding house that rents individual rooms and enforces a policy of no drugs and alcohol on the premises, along with possible regular drug testing).

Medical treatment often continues in the form of individual counseling meetings with a therapist, and possibly also medication to help discourage substance use (such as treatment with methadone for a heroin or opiate pain pill addiction).

Patients also usually find ongoing peer support by attending group meetings. The 12-step programs such as AA and NA are the most common of these, but some alternatives are available for those who are not comfortable with some of the 12-step requirements. Some alternatives that have been gaining in popularity in recent years include SMART Recovery and Women for Sobriety.