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Inpatient Alcohol Rehab: Definition, Types, and Treatment


Author: Thomas Roth

Last Updated: 6/01/2022

Inpatient alcohol rehab is a long-term treatment modality where medical professionals monitor the status of patients. These rehabilitation programs are also known as residential rehab programs because patients live at the rehab center. Some inpatient programs have luxury amenities like private bedrooms and bathrooms, while others have shared rooms and common areas. There are even inpatient alcohol treatment centers that have sports, yoga, and more. 

When someone is checked into an inpatient rehab center for alcoholism, it’s a serious case. These programs are designed for people who will go through withdrawal and prevent people from relapsing because there’s no alcohol on the premises. Inpatient rehab centers may also limit contact with the outside world and provide patients with aftercare programs to help them maintain sobriety. These can include groups like Alcoholics Anonymous or outpatient care like counseling.

What is Inpatient Alcohol Rehab?

Inpatient alcohol rehab is a treatment method for alcoholism where people live at a rehabilitation center for a few days, weeks, or months. These programs can have luxurious amenities but what the rehab center offers depends on how expensive the program is. Some insurance companies won’t cover rehab centers with premium amenities because they’re not always needed for recovery, although they’re helpful.

At inpatient rehab centers, patients are monitored 24/7. There’s no alcohol on the premises and contact with the outside world is limited. This helps counselors and medical staff tend to the needs of a patient who is going through intense symptoms of withdrawal. Most inpatient locations also have medical professionals and medical equipment on-hand to care for patients with severe symptoms of withdrawal.

There are also long-term inpatient rehab options and faith-based options. In some cases, sober living homes are also considered inpatient or residential rehabilitation. Sober living homes require people to remain sober, contribute to chores within the home, and pay some form of rent (usually a portion of their paycheck). The purpose of sober living homes is to help recovering alcoholics learn responsibility and enter society again.

What Are the Signs of Alcoholism?

There are many signs of alcoholism. Alcohol addiction can be destructive, so it’s easy to determine if someone has one. That said, evaluating your behavior to see if you have an alcohol addiction is tricky. The three main signs of alcohol addiction are alcohol withdrawal after drinking stops, drinking alcohol daily, and drinking large quantities of alcohol alone. People struggling with alcoholism might also hide their drinking from others and experience mood swings.

People with an alcohol addiction may also exhibit unusual behavior. Some examples include going to bars alone, changing friend groups, being distant from family, and becoming abusive towards their partner. Alcoholism is a serious condition with long-term consequences, so if you or a loved one is struggling with the condition it’s important to seek treatment.

How Does Inpatient Alcohol Rehab Work?

Inpatient alcohol rehab works in a few ways. First and foremost, patients are evaluated for the severity of the alcohol addiction. From there, medical professionals and mental health experts recommend a length of stay. Keep in mind that some inpatient programs have fixed treatment periods and prices, so this can change.

Once a patient is living at the location the day varies based on the type of treatment they need. That said, an average day within a residential rehab center consists of waking up early, eating healthy foods for alcohol detox, afternoon therapy, free time, and sometimes an evening support group meeting. Inpatient rehab centers also include group and family therapy because it helps patients build a sense of camaraderie with their peers and the staff.

As for the length of stay, most inpatient programs last for between 30 and 90 days. While alcohol withdrawal ends after a few weeks, inpatient programs last for longer periods to treat the root cause of addiction. Additionally, having someone remain in rehab after the detox period can help them build healthy habits and reduce the risk of relapse through aftercare and additional therapy. 

How Much Does Inpatient Alcohol Rehab Cost?

Inpatient rehab costs about $6,000 for 30 days. For longer periods, inpatient alcohol rehab can cost more than $12,000. In fact, some of the most luxurious inpatient rehab centers can cost upwards of $75,000 for less than 6 months. Overall, the cost of an inpatient program depends on the location of the rehab facility, its amenities, the quality of care, and the length of time someone is admitted.

The type of insurance someone has and the type of rehab it covers can also impact the price of inpatient rehab. Many government medical programs like Medicaid can help someone obtain inpatient rehab for free. However, these locations lack amenities.

What are the Types of Inpatient Alcohol Rehab Treatment?

There are many types of inpatient alcohol rehab. Some inpatient treatment options offer luxurious amenities for long periods, while other programs help patients learn responsibility and integrate back into society. Depending on the type of alcohol addiction and how severe it is, each rehab option is viable. 

Below are the types of inpatient alcohol rehab treatment.

  • Long-term residential treatment (6-12 months)
  • Short-term residential treatment (3 to 6 weeks)
  • Sober living programs 
  • Faith-based healing programs
  • Inpatient detox 
  • Partial hospitalization (occurs in severe cases of alcohol withdrawal)

These are the most common types of inpatient rehab. However, there are some specific programs designed to treat adolescents and young adults that are addicted to alcohol.

How Long Does it Take to Complete an Inpatient Alcohol Rehab Program?

Inpatient rehab programs vary in length but people spend between 30 and 60 days in residential rehab centers for alcohol abuse. That said, the amount of time someone spends in alcohol rehab depends on several factors. These factors include a person’s mental health, the severity of alcohol withdrawal if they’ve relapsed in the past, and more. 

Therefore, it’s important to consult with a medical professional to determine how long a stay at an inpatient rehab center should be.

What Are the Benefits of Inpatient Alcohol Rehab?

Inpatient rehab has several benefits. Ultimately, the biggest benefit is that people with alcoholism can be monitored 24/7. Monitoring someone with alcoholism reduces the risk of relapse and another benefit is that people staying at inpatient rehab centers don’t have access to alcohol. Furthermore, they can’t simply leave and obtain alcohol at a bar or liquor store. This isolation from the outside world is another benefit of inpatient alcohol rehab.

Inpatient alcohol rehab also comes with additional benefits depending on the facility. Some facilities make patients as comfortable as possible during alcohol withdrawals, while others have amenities like yoga and sports. Patients are also given plenty of time to recover from addiction, which can help people who relapsed in the past manage their frustration. Inpatient alcohol rehab is also one of the safest ways to heal from alcoholism because severe symptoms of withdrawal like delirium tremens can be treated.

How Effective is Inpatient Alcohol Rehabilitation?

According to the National Library of Medicine, inpatient alcohol rehab programs are more effective than some outpatient programs. Based on numerous studies, the average efficiency rating for inpatient rehabilitation is between 40% and 60%. 

It’s also important to note that patients who receive more intensive care have a better chance of recovering from alcoholism without relapsing. For example, someone staying at a luxurious inpatient rehab center with many amenities has a higher chance of making a recovery. On the other hand, the success rate for outpatient rehab and inpatient rehab is closer if inpatient facilities are crowded and understaffed.

Still, inpatient rehab is an effective treatment modality for alcoholism. It gives patients the time they need to recover and keeps them away from the temptations available in everyday life.