What You can Expect to Get Out of Residential Treatment Facilities for...

What You can Expect to Get Out of Residential Treatment Facilities for Your Addiction Recovery


What can you expect to get out of the typical residential treatment facility in terms of addiction recovery?

Some people have never been to a drug rehab before and they have no idea what to expect out of treatment.  They may be scared, worried, or nervous regarding what to expect from a trip to a drug rehab center.  So here is a quick breakdown of what is fairly typical in the addiction treatment industry.  I have been to 3 different rehabs myself, and I also work full time in a rehab as well, so I have a decent idea and overview of what is out there.  Plus, I coordinate with other rehabs in my area in order to move clients around, so I also have an idea of services that are offered in dozens of different facilities.

So here is what you can probably expect:

* Getting in to rehab – most are by appointment over the phone.  You call them up and get it set up ahead of time.  A lot of people assume that you can just take a drunk or an addict up to a rehab center and drop them off, without any previous communication with the rehab.  This is possible in some places but most do not take walk-ins.  You generally have to set things up in advance.

* Checking in – Typical would be that you have to fill out a lot of paperwork when you arrive, and most places will have you provide a urine sample in order to get a baseline for what drugs are in your system.  They would typically have you sign a bunch of forms, work out any insurance or money agreements, and then have the medical staff or nurses check you out.  This process will generally take at least an hour or two, possibly 3 or 4.

* Detox – Most addiction centers have a detox area that is medically supervised and is separate from the residential area.  You would generally spend about 3 to 5 days in detox before going to the residential part of treatment and attending all the groups and lectures and such.  Most detox units are set up for you to sleep and rest, and not much else.  Expect to be given medications to help you get through the withdrawal process.  Expect to have your vitals monitored and taken at least 3 times per day.

* Residential treatment – Expect to attend groups and lectures all day, every day, with short breaks in between all of the classes and meetings.  Also expect most treatment centers to be 12 step based and have an AA or NA meeting at least once per day for you to attend.  Most rehabs have mandatory groups, such that you cannot just relax or sleep all day, but must participate in the programming.  Also, expect a number of therapists to run the different sessions, and for you to be paired up one on one to work with an individual therapist while you are in rehab.

* Discharge – Expect to be given an aftercare recommendation.  This would be a suggestion for what treatment you should attend as follow up care after your stay in residential.  So they might suggest long term rehab, or outpatient groups, or 12 step meetings, or counseling, and so on.

So that is pretty much what you can expect to get out of treatment.  It might not sound like much, but recognize too that you will meet a group of peers while you are in treatment, and the bonds that you form with these people could be a big part of your recovery as well.  Remember that recovery is ultimately about relationships and people, not about rehab centers.

You go to treatment to learn how to live sober.  But you learn those lessons from real people.  That is what makes treatment work.