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Alcohol & Drug Rehab FAQ

Published on April 19, 2021
AlcoholAlcohol & Drug Rehab FAQ& Drug Rehab FAQ

When you’re addicted to alcohol or other drugs, it’s not easy to recover on your own. That’s why most people seek treatment at rehab centers. If you’ve never attended rehab before, you probably have questions about it. 

General Questions About Rehab

How Do I Know If I Need Rehab? 

If you’re not sure whether you have an addiction and need rehab, watch for these signs:

  • needing increasingly higher doses of a substance to feel the desired effects (also called tolerance)
  • experiencing withdrawal symptoms, such as cravings or anxiety, when you don’t use a substance (also called physical dependence) 
  • feeling unable to go about your day without using a substance
  • feeling unable to stop using a substance despite wanting to
  • losing interest in activities once enjoyed
  • experiencing relationship issues with family and friends
  • avoiding responsibilities at work, school, or home

To learn more, read How Do You Know When You Need Alcohol/Drug Rehab?

What Types Of Addictions Does Drug & Alcohol Rehab Treat?

Most drug and alcohol rehab centers treat addictions to all types of substances, including illicit drugs and prescription drugs

Can Rehab Treat Other Mental Health Conditions Alongside Addiction?

Yes, but you’ll need to find a rehab center that offers dual diagnosis treatment. A dual diagnosis means you live with addiction alongside another mental health condition or conditions. 

When choosing a dual diagnosis program, make sure the treatment team has experience treating your specific condition(s).

How Long Does Rehab Last? 

Most rehab centers offer programs of varying lengths. Common lengths include 30, 45, 60 days, and 90 days. However, some people need treatment even longer. 

To determine your ideal treatment length, your treatment specialists will consider factors such as:

  • the severity of your addiction
  • how long you’ve lived with addiction
  • which substances you’re addicted to
  • whether you have other mental health conditions

Learn more about Rehab Length Of Stay

What’s The Difference Between Inpatient & Outpatient Treatment Programs?

At an inpatient program (IP), you’ll live at a rehab center and receive 24/7 care and monitoring from a team of medical professionals. 

At an outpatient program (OP), you’ll regularly attend a rehab center for treatment sessions while still living at home. Depending on the OP, you may attend the center anywhere from once a week to daily. 

Learn more about Inpatient Vs. Outpatient Rehab

Can Pregnant Women Go To Rehab?

Pregnant Women can go to rehab. In fact, there are designated treatment centers available for women who need prenatal care as well as those needing postpartum support. Addiction treatment for pregnant women is out there and should be utilized as soon as possible. 

If you’re taking illicit drugs and find out that you’re pregnant, it’s crucial to speak with professionals immediately to undergo medical detox and reduce the harm that can be caused to both you and your unborn child.

To learn more, read Are There Drug Rehab Programs For Pregnant Women?

Can Couples Go To Rehab Together?

Couples can go to rehab together. They just have to find a program that accepts both of them and they both have to be committed to the recovery process. However, there are some risks of going to rehab together, and the best choice depends on the couple and their history of substance use.

Learn more about Couples Rehab

Preparing For Rehab

Can I Keep My Job While In Rehab?

In most cases, yes. Talk to your employer about your options for keeping your job while in rehab. These options may include:

  • Paid Time Off 
  • The Family and Medical Leave Act, which provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off so you can seek treatment for a medical condition (such as addiction) that hinders your ability to work
  • outpatient programs, which allow you to receive treatment while still living at home and regularly going to work 

To learn more, read Can I Keep My Job While I Go To Rehab?

Should I Choose Inpatient Or Outpatient Rehab?

Generally, you should choose inpatient rehab if you:

  • have a moderate-to-severe addiction
  • have a dual diagnosis
  • lack a strong support system at home

You can consider outpatient rehab if you:

  • have a mild addiction and reliable support at home 
  • have already attended inpatient rehab
  • don’t have time for inpatient rehab due to work or family obligations

For more help deciding, contact an addiction treatment specialist. 

Should I Travel For Rehab?

Some people travel to inpatient rehab centers far away from their homes. This helps them avoid distractions and stressors associated with their home environments and focus solely on recovery. 

However, if your home environment isn’t stressful, or if you choose an outpatient program, you can save on travel costs by choosing a more local rehab center. 

What Should I Pack For Rehab?

Most inpatient rehab programs recommend that you pack:

  • your driver’s license, state-issued ID, or other identification 
  • your health insurance card
  • your prescription card or pharmacy card
  • a list of emergency contacts
  • clothes
  • basic toiletries and hygiene products, such as a toothbrush, unopened toothpaste, and unopened shampoo
  • a journal or notebook to record your experiences and thoughts as you navigate recovery
  • pictures of family and friends to motivate you
  • stamps and envelopes for writing letters

For more recommendations, contact a treatment specialist at your rehab center. 

Learn more about How To Pack For Rehab

What Should I Not Pack For Rehab? 

Rehab centers usually prohibit the following items:

  • drugs and alcohol
  • weapons
  • products containing alcohol
  • aerosol products
  • opened toiletries or hygiene products
  • opened vitamins or supplements
  • candles or incense

Some centers also forbid certain types of books, games, movies, and other forms of entertainment. Ask a treatment specialist at your rehab center for specific guidelines.

What Kind Of Clothes Should I Bring?

Most rehab centers recommend that you bring the following clothing items:

  • light and heavy clothes that you can layer depending on the weather
  • a sweater or jacket
  • sneakers
  • shower shoes or flip flops
  • modest swimwear
  • modest workout clothes
  • everyday jewelry like watches or wedding rings 

Typically, you should avoid clothes that are too revealing or contain offensive language or references to drug use. You also shouldn’t wear flashy jewelry that might get stolen or lost. 

Can I Bring Medications To Rehab? 

Most rehab centers allow you to bring certain prescription medications. Ask your center for a list of allowed medications.

Can I Bring My Cell Phone To Rehab?

It depends on the rehab center. Many centers forbid cell phone use or restrict it to particular times.

To learn more, read Can I Bring My Phone To Drug Or Alcohol Rehab?

Can I Bring My Laptop To Rehab?

As with cell phones, laptops (and other electronic devices) are usually forbidden or regulated in rehab.

To learn more, read Can I Bring My Laptop To Rehab?

Can I Bring My Pet To Rehab? 

In most cases, no. However, some rehab centers allow service animals, emotional support animals, or are pet friendly.

Learn more about Pet-Friendly Rehab

Will I Need Money In Rehab?

You should bring a small amount of cash (about $80 to $100 in smaller bills) so you can purchase snacks from vending machines and anything you forgot to pack from nearby stores. 

Paying For Rehab

How Much Does Rehab Cost Without Insurance?

In general, inpatient treatment costs between $200 and $900 a day, and outpatient treatment costs between $100 and $500 a day. Usually, the more expensive programs are longer or offer more amenities, such as private rooms, gourmet meals, and massages. 

To make treatment more affordable, some programs offer financing plans or sliding scale payment options.

Learn more about the Cost Of Rehab Without Insurance

Does Insurance Cover Rehab?

Many insurance plans will cover some or all of your rehab treatment. To determine your specific coverage options, contact your health insurance company and the rehab centers you’re interested in.

Does Medicare Cover Drug Rehab?

Medicare likely covers inpatient and outpatient drug rehab programs. Doctors and medical professionals may need to certify that the treatment plan is medically necessary. Depending on the type of Medicare you have, you may still need to cover some expenses out-of-pocket.

Learn more about Medicare Coverage For Drug Rehab

Does Medicaid Cover Drug Rehab?

In accordance with the ACA, Medicaid should cover some addiction treatment services. However, the full extent of coverage varies from state to state and is based on your individual needs and situation.

Learn more about Medicaid Coverage For Drug Rehab

Life In Rehab

What Does An Average Day In Rehab Look Like? 

It varies depending on your needs and the rehab center. Your first week or so of treatment will likely consist of medical detox. 

After you complete detox, an average day in rehab typically consists of scheduled mealtimes, free time, and activities that help treat the psychological side of addiction. 

These activities may include:

Learn more about a Typical Day In Rehab

What Types Of Therapy Does Rehab Offer?

Most rehab centers offer various types of therapy, such as:

  • cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), where you can explore the reasons for your drug use, identify triggers, and develop healthy coping skills 
  • motivational interviewing (MI), where you can improve your motivation to achieve and maintain sobriety
  • contingency management (CM), where you can receive rewards, such as cash or gift cards, for staying sober and making other positive changes in your life
  • group therapy, where you can share your challenges and triumphs with other people who are recovering from addiction
  • family therapy, where you and your loved ones can learn how to best support your recovery

Are 12-Step Programs Part Of Treatment?

Sometimes. A 12-step program is a support group that helps people acknowledge their addictions and take necessary steps toward recovery. 

Popular 12-step programs include Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), Cocaine Anonymous (CA), and Marijuana Anonymous (MA).

Many rehab centers encourage people to attend these programs during and after treatment. 

Because 12-step programs tend to have a religious or spiritual element, some rehab centers also offer non-religious programs such as Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART) Recovery, Women for Sobriety, and Secular Organizations for Sobriety (S.O.S.).

Learn more about Non-12-Step Rehab Programs

Are Medications Part Of Rehab?

Sometimes. If you’re addicted to alcohol, opioids, or nicotine, your treatment plan may feature medication-assisted treatment (MAT). Common medications used in MAT include:

  • acamprosate, which can decrease cravings for alcohol 
  • methadone, which can decrease cravings for opioids as well as withdrawal symptoms from opioid dependence
  • bupropion, which can decrease cravings for nicotine 

Does Exercise Help With Recovery?

Yes. Exercise can boost your mood and reduce stress, making you less likely to relapse. That’s why many rehab centers offer exercise as a recovery-focused activity. 

Learn more about the Benefits Of Exercise In Recovery

Can Friends & Family Visit Me?

The majority of rehab centers allow you to receive visitors. In addition, many treatment programs let family members get actively involved in your recovery through family therapy.

However, some centers ban visitors during the early phases of treatment, particularly detox. 

To learn more, read Can Friends & Family Visit Me In Drug Rehab?

Can I Smoke In Rehab? 

Some rehab centers ban smoking, but others have designated areas where people can smoke at designated times. 

To learn more, read Can I Smoke Cigarettes In Rehab?

Can I Send & Receive Mail In Rehab?

In most cases, yes.  However, some rehab centers prohibit sending and receiving mail during more intense phases of treatment, such as detox. 

Life After Rehab

What Is Aftercare? 

Before you leave rehab, your treatment team can help you design a personalized aftercare plan. This plan will include services to reduce your risk of relapse, such as:

  • ongoing therapy
  • support groups
  • wellness activities like meditation, exercise, and journaling
  • employment assistance 
  • transitional housing, which lets you temporarily live in a supportive, drug-free environment as you return to a more normal life 

Does Rehab Cure Addiction?

Rehab can help you stop using drugs and live a productive, fulfilling life. However, many people find that addiction recovery is a lifelong process. In other words, you’ll need to keep working on the skills you learned in rehab long after treatment ends. 

In addition, as with many other illnesses, many people with addiction relapse. Relapse rates for addiction are similar to relapse rates for other chronic illnesses including diabetes, hypertension, and asthma.

What Should I Do If I Relapse?

Contact an addiction treatment specialist. Some people view relapse as a failure, but in reality, it’s just a sign that you need additional support or modified treatment.

To learn more about drug and alcohol rehab, reach out to an Ark Behavioral Health specialist today. 

Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
This page does not provide medical advice.

National Institute on Drug Abuse - How effective is drug addiction treatment?
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration - Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

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