What Happens In Rehab

Many people contact services for help with their addiction, some chose to go to rehab, but what is it, what happens in rehab? We hope to help you through some of the questions that you may have, whether rehab is for you or someone else you know.

Making the decision to get help can feel very overwhelming, jumping in to the unknown, feeling fearful and anxious. These are all ‘normal’ worries.

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What is a Residential Rehab like?

Residential rehabs are a place to help you overcome your addiction, whether it be alcohol, drugs (either illicit or prescribed medication), gambling, love and sex addiction, eating, or any other addiction which you feel has taken over your life. Rehabs offer you a safe and confidential place to start to address the issues in your life which have become unmanageable, maybe destructive, and aid you back on to a road of recovery.

Styles of Treatment offered in Rehab

There are different styles of treatment offered in rehab, such as 12 Step, person centred, holistic and ‘Therapeutic Community’, or a combination. The 12 Step approach to dealing with addiction is offered world- wide, and has shown to be a popular choice for many. It follows a set of principles in guiding people towards achieving abstinence. Depending on whether you are seeking help for alcohol addiction, drug addiction, gambling addiction, there will be a 12 Step meeting for you, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), Cocaine Anonymous (CA), Gamblers Anonymous (GA). Other meetings are also available to support people through sex addiction, eating disorders as well as help for families and children of people in addiction.

If you are physically dependant on drugs or alcohol you will be assessed, most times by a nurse or experienced counsellor and will be seen by a doctor. You will receive a comprehensive assessment and have a treatment plan, which will be tailored to your specific needs. You may need medication which will support you through the detox. Throughout the detox you will have regular support and the aim is to make you feel as comfortable as possible.

Do you have Counselling in Rehab?

Whilst in rehab you will be involved in group work and one to one counselling.  Most rehabs will offer a variety of groups and provide a holistic approach. There is a great sense of community and people soon find that they feel understood, connected and realise that they are not alone in their addiction. The groups you will attend could range from 12 Step groups, health education groups, creative art groups, meditation, mindfulness, and physical exercise groups. These are just a few of the examples of groups that may be provided.

One to one counselling will provide a chance for you to explore issues that may assist you towards recovery and a life without drugs and alcohol, or your specific addiction. Counselling offers a safe and confidential space for you to talk about your thoughts and feelings and to help you to learn new and different ways to manage your issues. Counsellors may be trained in variety of styles and skills to suit your needs, such as, Person Centred, Humanistic, CBT, motivational interviewing, psychoanalytical, solution focused.


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Person Centred counselling or psychotherapy works in a humanistic way to support and guide you to make choices and decisions and works at your pace. It helps you to connect to your self-worth and inner values and is often the core style of a lot of counselling. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is another talking therapy that can help with a wide range of physical and emotional health conditions. It aims to help you address problems by breaking them down in to, situations, emotions, thoughts, physical feelings and actions. With the therapist you will have a chance to understand your thoughts and look at how they affect your behaviours, and find ways to stopping negative cycles. CBT work will often involve some written and practical work.

Facing ourselves and looking in the mirror of our own behaviour can be a difficult and emotional journey, which may be an unfamiliar experience, but, the reward of knowing that you can trust others to listen to you in a non-judgemental way can help to guide you through. Building a rapport and a safe relationship with your counsellor is important to help you in opening up, talking about issues which you may have kept to yourself.

Imagining life beyond addiction may seem scary or exciting, or a mixture of both! Rehab will give you the tools to cope, it will help you understand yourself more and to be more aware of the choices and decisions that you make for the future. Walking through the doors of rehab could be the first step to changing your life.


What do you actually do each day when staying at a rehab centre?

Every rehab centre will have its own structure and schedule of activities. When deciding which rehab centre to choose, this is one of the things you could ask, but typically there will be quite a rigid structure to your day and you will not be left to your own devices. People trying to break an addiction find a structured routine helps to keep them occupied and makes breaking the addiction easier.

Some of the things that are common to many rehabilitation centres are

  1. Sharing a room: you are unlikely to be given a room to yourself as having a roommate will make you less likely to turn to negative behaviours.
  2. Healthy food: you will be given regular healthy meals
  3. Exercise: you will be expected to exercise daily. There may be yoga classes as yoga is good to help you relax and distress.
  4. Daily counselling: this could be on a one to one basis or in group therapy sessions. You may find that you have one of each every day.
  5. Leisure activities: there will be daily leisure activities such as arts and crafts, sports, visiting speakers.
  6. Family sessions: family members may also be invited to participate in group sessions to help them understand how they can help you stay sober and what they may have done in the past to facilitate or encourage you to drink.
  7. Education sessions: you will be expected to participate in education workshops to help you learn about addictions and recovery. Understanding what you are dealing with can make it easier to work through.

You will be given a daily timetable of activities when you check in and you will be expected to keep to it and it will start early in the morning and continue throughout the day until bed time. What rehab is not, is a jail. You can walk out of there any time you like. You are there of your own accord because you want to get sober and it is ultimately your choice if you no longer wish to stay.

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One of the things that quite often happens in rehab is that lasting friendships are formed. You are going on a very emotional journey with other people and you learn from each other about their experiences and support each other through the challenges. At the end you may find that you have made some great friends.

There are so many differences between what each rehab centre offers, that choosing the right one for you is an important decision and there are many things that you should consider when making this choice. Getting the right rehab centre for you could help to ensure your lasting success at sobriety.

If you would like to talk to someone about making an informed decision, call us today on 0203 955 7700 for free, confidential advice.


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    Detoxification (detox) is the medical intervention required for someone who is physically dependent to drugs or alcohol. If required, medical detoxification would be the first step taken in residential rehab. Detox is used to prevent uncomfortable and dangerous (even fatal) withdrawals symptoms resulting in suddenly becoming abstinent from alcohol/certain drugs.

    The goal of a medical detox is to aid in the physical healing required following long term addiction and rid the body of all together of substance whilst providing a cushion for unpleasant symptoms of withdrawals. Detox is not considered the whole treatment for drug/alcohol addiction and it is always recommended that a comprehensive rehabilitation program is used along side to help maintain long term abstinence.

    Medication is often required for alcohol detox. If you are dependent on alcohol and experiencing withdrawal symptoms it is vitally important to seek medical advice prior to stopping. There is a long list of medications used when treating alcohol addiction and the exact medication given to an individual will depend on their needs/medical history. Some of these include;

    • Chlordiazepoxide (Librium)
    • Lorazepam (Ativan)
    • Diazapam (vailium)

    Librium and Valium are the most commonly used detox medication in the UK. All medication used to help with alcohol detox have been proven to help reduce the effects of withdrawal symptoms.

    There are also a number of drugs recombined by the NHS to help treat alcohol misuse. Some of these include:

    • Naltrexone
    • Disulfiram (Antabuse)
    • Nalmefene
    • Acamprosate (campral)

    Medication is always required for heroin detox. For someone suffering from heroin addiction, the thought of detoxification (detox) can be exceptionally daunting. Withdrawal symptoms from opiates, such as heroin, can be severe and include pain, vomiting, nausea and shaking.

    There are different ways that heroin detox can be carried out, most usually either ‘maintenance therapy’ or ‘full medical detox’.

    Attempting to switch from heroin to a heroin substitute, usually on a controlled prescription, is known as Maintenance therapy. Subsites used are most often methadone or buprenorphine.

    A full medical detox from heroin will always be carried out in a residential rehab setting and will allow the individual to switch form heroin to a substitute and slowly withdraw completing treatment free of all substances. Someone using a heroin substitute can choose to have a full medical detox at any time, however detoxing substances such a methadone can often add to the length of detox required. Drugs most commonly used to fully detox from heroin are, Subutex, Suboxone and Methadone. Much like alcohol, the exact drugs used will be dependent on the individuals needs/medical history.

    Once detoxed from heroin the risk of overdose is much higher following relapse due to tolerance following withdrawal.

    The length of treatment in a residential rehab depends on a number of elements. Some substances require longer periods of detox than others.

    Private paying patients will also often choose a length of stay that suites their therapeutic and financial needs. As a rule, a full treatment program in a rehab is considered to be 28 days (often referred to as a month), however, treatment is offered in several different ways and lengths starting at 7 days.

    Treating alcohol addiction will always require a minimum of 7-10 days, this would be considered the detoxification (detox) faze. The length required for treating drug addiction can vary drastically depending on the substance being used. Detox for Heroin addiction is generally around 14 days minimum, with more time required if substances such a methadone are being used. Treating prescription drug addiction can often take the longest. The time required for treating gambling addiction, eating disorders and sex addiction will be based on the individuals needs.

    Rehab programs can be as long as an individual requires but primary treatment is normally caped at 12 weeks, with the offering for further secondary and tertiary treatment thereafter.

    *based on average rehab stays, everyone will vary dependant on needs and medical requirement/history.

    There is no need for your employer to know that you are seeking help for trauma and addiction unless you choose to involve them with the process. All employers should have a policy that explains what you do if you cannot come to work due to illness – illness to include treating alcohol addiction/treating drug addiction.

    If your work absence extends over 7 days your employer is likely to require an official statement of fitness to work which would be obtained from your GP. This would need to supply evidence of your illness as well as any adjustments required for returning to work, fazed return or reduced hours, but does not need to specify in detail the reason why you have been absent.

    If you are absent from work for 7 days of less, for example entering rehab for a detoxification (detox) on a Saturday for 7-10 days taking a full week away from work, you can self-certify your illness by letting your employer work you will not be attending work for that period of time. Exactly how an individual would do this would be dependent on a specific companies’ policies on taking sick leave.

    Any time longer than 7 days it is likely an employer will require a note from the individuals GP certifying their sickness and a fit note on return. Most companies have a clearly outlined policy on sickness and receiving sick pay so the exact requirement can vary. A rehab will always be willing to advise on time off work.

    How much does rehab cost is a very frequently asked question. The cost of treatment can range from £1,000 per week upwards depending on the place, with luxury rehab being the most expensive.

    There are free options available on the NHS but the waitlist of those looking for free treatment is longer than that for privately paying patients. Some private health insurance policies will cover treatment in some rehabs around the country.

    Choosing the right rehab centre will often be based on priced but it is important to follow guidance on the most suitable treatment centre for an individual’s needs which our expert team of advisers are on hand to offer.

    There are certainly pro’s for both treatment near by and traveling for treatment with one of the most asked question being should I get rehab near me? There are rehabs all over the UK and around the world that all offer expert programs, let’s look at how to choose a rehab.

    Local treatment

    Being close to home gives certainly has benefits. Visitors are normally permitted in rehab following the first 7 days stay, therefore if an individual is in treatment for a length of time longer than that being local will make it easier for loved ones to visit.

    Most rehab centres will also provide a full aftercare plan for someone following treatment, this will include ongoing aftercare in the specific treatment centre. Living close by can make it easy to take full advantage of ongoing aftercare. There can also often be the option for ongoing care with an individual therapist, again being close by will allow that treatment to be carried out face to face.

    Some individuals wish to be local but are willing to look broader, for instance the greater city of residence (London, Manchester, Liverpool, etc)

    Treatment Away

    Getting treatment away from home can be very appealing to some. Being out of the local area makes it a lot harder to just walk out of treatment as resources locally are unknown. Some also take comfort in knowing that they are not near home and focus more on treatment.

    As the price for treatment can vary so much from one residential treatment centre to another, private paying patients often would rather travel to keep the cost down. Those using private health insurance may also have to travel to find a treatment centre covered in their policy.

    When opting for treatment away from home this can be anywhere in the UK and also abroad. Aftercare can still be carried out and very successful using tools such as The Online Rehab.

    There is no right or wrong when choosing where to go to residential rehab, but our expert advisors are always on hand to help provide information on all possible options.

    Whilst millions of people in the UK have taken recreational drugs (amphetamine, cannabis, cocaine, crack, crystal meth, GHB, heron, ketamine, methadone, and prescription drugs) and drank alcohol not all become ‘addicted’. Most recent reports show that 279,793 individuals were in contact with drug and alcohol misuse services in the last year with over half of that being from opiate addiction and a quarter for alcohol.

    There are several risk factors invoiced in addiction and those using drugs and alcohol socially, simply take the risk. These risks are as follows;

    Tolerance – basically, if a substance is used repeatedly an individual’s tolerance to it will build. This will result in more of the same substance being required to get the same effect. In the long run this can easily lead to addiction and physical dependencies.

    Environmental risks – these can include influences such a peer pressure and stress as well as physical or mental abuse of an individual (particularly as a child). Overall, those who live with frequent pressures and stress are more likely to reach for a substance to cope and are therefore at higher risk of becoming addicted.

    Drug type – it is very well known that certain drugs are simply more addictive than others. Using substances such as heroin increases the risk of becoming addicted for need to ‘chase’ a high as well as physical dependency.

    Drug administration – how a drug is administered can affect its addictive qualities. A drug injected rather than smoked or snorted will release a quicker and more intense high thus making it psychologically (and in many cases physically) more addictive.

    Biological factors – it is now widely reported that being an addict is not only psychological but also biological. This includes your genetic makeup, mental health, sex and age. It is also reported to be 8 times more likely for the child of an addict to become an addict themselves.

    Its believed that addiction is approximately half genetics and therefore some are 50% more likely to become addicted than others.

    How do you help a loved one trapped in addiction?

    The first step is to help and encourage the individual to become willing to accept help. They do not need to be shouting this off the rooftops, but they do need to be willing to go into treatment. There are ways to help someone become willing to get treatment for alcohol or treatment for drugs.

    Set boundaries – set boundaries and stick to them. Once you have laid them out follow through with whatever consequences you have set however hard it is.

    Stop finances – if you are financially supporting someone stopping these finances can be the quickest way for the addict needing to ask for help. With no money to acquire a substance an addict’s options become very limited.

    Intervention – getting together with other family members/friends/colleagues and staging an intervention is often very successful in the fist stage of acceptance and gaining an admission to residential rehab.

    You can’t make them quit, this can lead to dangerous withdrawal. Boundaries are very important in helping someone become willing to get help. Unfortunately you cannot do someone’s recovery for them and without self-motivation it is very hard to make it work.

    The next step is to call our highly trained advisers 0203 955 7700.

    There is a huge range of rehab options available and where to start can be completely over whelming so let us help.