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Addiction can impact all areas of a person’s life – from their finances and career to their relationships. Substance abuse and addiction can also have negative consequences on a person’s physical health and mental health.

Over 275,896 people got in contact with alcohol and drug addiction services last year – however, we believe this figure should be higher as many people don’t receive the treatment they need. Rehab can provide you with the support you need to conquer your addiction and get your life back on track.

But what exactly is rehab? What does rehab entail? And how long does rehab last? That’s what we’re going to explore on this page. Read on to learn all about drug and alcohol rehab – and to answer the important question; ‘What is rehab?’.

On this page, we’ll delve into the difference between inpatient rehab treatment and outpatient treatment, as well as the addiction treatment process. We’ll also be discussing how our team here at Help4Addiction can help you along your recovery journey.

Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient rehab treatment, also known as residential treatment, is where you reside in a treatment facility throughout your course of rehab. Your meals will be provided, and you’ll attend regular treatment sessions within the facility.

Depending on the severity of your addiction, you may be given medical treatment during the detox process – this can involve detox medication and medical supervision from a qualified medical professional.

The length of residential rehab can vary – but in many cases, your stay at a residential rehab facility will last around 28 days.

An Inpatient program is a great option if you have tried other forms of treatment before and they haven’t been successful, or if you have a severe drug addiction or alcohol addiction.

This is because you’ll be removed from the environment that you became addicted to substances in. You’ll be in a drug-free and alcohol-free environment and all temptations will be removed.

Because your accommodation and meals are provided, residential rehab is generally more expensive than outpatient treatment.

However, there are options available for NHS patients where you can receive part-funding – or in some cases, complete funding. Read on to learn more about outpatient rehab treatment.

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Outpatient Addiction Treatment

Another form of rehabilitation treatment is outpatient rehab. Although, as an outpatient, you won’t be residing in a facility, you’ll still have access to rehab facilities. Instead of attending rehab in the same place you’re residing, you’ll live at home but travel to rehab for your scheduled sessions.

Outpatient rehab is usually an option for milder addictions – for example, a mild cannabis addiction, or mild alcohol abuse problems. After being assessed, your addiction specialist will determine whether outpatient treatment is the right fit for you.

Throughout your course of outpatient rehab, you’ll attend pre-booked sessions and appointments. You’ll still have access to the right support and tools, just like you would with residential treatment.

Addiction Treatment Process

Rehab is widely considered the best treatment option for addiction – whether it be prescription drug addiction, illicit drug addiction, or alcohol addiction.

Professional treatment tends to boast much more effective results than quitting drugs or alcohol without medical assistance or professional help.

At Help4Addiction, we can find a rehab clinic that will tailor a personalised treatment plan that suits your needs.

Structured treatment plans generally consist of three stages – detoxification, therapy, and secondary treatment. Read on to learn more about these three core stages, as well as the ins and outs of tertiary treatment.


Detoxification – the act of cleaning your body of a substance – often works best as part of an intensive treatment plan.

This is the first stage of the rehab process. Detoxification aims at addressing the physical aspect of addiction but doesn’t deal with the social, behavioural, or psychological aspects of addiction.

During drug or alcohol detox, you may be given physical medicine (detox medication) to ease the withdrawal symptoms. It’s important to note that detox medication is not a cure for addiction – however, it can ease recovery and help to prevent relapse.

Withdrawal symptoms can vary from person to person, ultimately depending on a variety of factors – for example, your height, weight, age, and substance abuse history.

The withdrawal symptoms you experience also depend on the substance you’re addicted to – for example, it can take weeks to successfully detox from heroin, with the heroin withdrawal symptoms peaking within three days. Cannabis detoxification, however, tends to be much quicker – with cannabis withdrawal only lasting around 72 hours.


Primary addiction treatment includes therapy. The aim of therapy in rehab is to not only improve your general well-being and mental health, but to help you gain a stronger understanding of yourself – your thoughts, behaviours, and feelings.

Therapy can also help you to understand any root causes of your addiction, as well as your triggers. Some forms of therapy can also teach you effective coping mechanisms – ways you can deal with negative emotions that don’t involve drug and alcohol use.

Addiction therapy often involves a combination of different therapies – for example, CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy), counselling, family therapy, group therapy, and many more.

CBT is a form of talking therapy that is used to treat a range of mental health conditions – for example, depression and anxiety. It’s effective in treating addiction too and is used in rehab clinics across the UK.

It’s based on the idea that your thoughts, feelings, and behaviours are linked, and that with the right support, you can break the negative cycle.

Some rehab providers provide a wider range of therapy options – for example, holistic therapies such as art therapy or sports therapy, as well as mindfulness and meditation. You can continue receiving therapy after you finish primary care – in the form of secondary care.

Secondary Care

Once you have completed primary treatment, you may benefit from receiving secondary treatment – also known as aftercare.

Leaving rehab and returning to your ‘normal’ life can feel overwhelming and sometimes scary, which is why secondary treatment aims at providing you with ongoing support after the first stages of the rehab process.

Secondary treatment can be in the form of residential care as well as outpatient treatment. For example, you can find secondary residential treatment centres that can ease the move from intensive primary care back to regular living, ultimately slowing the transition back into day-to-day life.

Although secondary care isn’t essential, it can benefit your recovery in numerous ways. Some other forms of secondary treatment include group therapy, leisure facilities, support groups, and mental health support such as counselling.

Tertiary Treatment

Although tertiary treatment isn’t part of the primary treatment process, it provides long-term support and can help to ease you back into your everyday life after rehab.

Also known as sober living houses, tertiary treatment can provide you additional care throughout your recovery. The structure of sober living can vary depending on your personal circumstances – however, all sober living environments offer a safe space for you to undergo your recovery.

There are usually rules for tertiary treatment – for example, complete abstinence, completing chores (e.g sticking to a cleaning rota), or meeting curfews. However, you’ll have a lot more personal responsibility for yourself and your sobriety than in primary care.

Unlike residential rehabilitation, you’ll be able to freely leave the sober living home – you’ll be essentially renting a room within a house of other people in recovery.

Some tertiary living homes conduct regular drug testing – and if you fail, you may be asked to leave the home or be referred back into primary treatment.

Finding The Right Drug And Alcohol Rehab For You

Now we’ve answered the question – ‘What is Rehab?’ – it’s time to learn how we can help you.

Opting for drug or alcohol addiction treatment is essential if you wish to break your addiction for good and live a sober life.

Addiction can not only affect your life but affect your family and other relationships too – and of course, addiction can have a huge impact on your physical health and mental health.

However, knowing where to look for help can be tough – and sometimes even scary. That’s why, at Help4Addiction, we can find the right alcohol and drug rehab for you.

There are many rehab programs to choose from, whether you’re looking for residential rehab or outpatient treatment – and we’re sure to find a treatment plan that suits your circumstances, preferences, and requirements.

Likewise, we can help you to explore both NHS options and private rehab options. Call us today to start your addiction recovery journey.

About Author

Nicholas Conn

Nicholas Conn

Nicholas Conn is a leading industry addiction expert who runs the UK’s largest addiction advisory service and is regularly featured in the national press, radio and TV. He is the founder and CEO of a drug and alcohol rehab center called Help4addiction, which was founded in 2015. He has been clean himself since 2009 and has worked in the Addiction and Rehab Industry for over a decade. Nick is dedicated to helping others recover and get treatment for drug and alcohol abuse. In 2013, he released a book ‘The Thin White’ line that is available on Amazon.

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