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Inpatient Alcohol Rehab: Definition, Types, and Treatment


Author: Thomas Roth

Last Updated: 5/3/2023

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 facility. 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 and yoga. When someone is checked into an inpatient rehab center for alcoholism, it’s typically a serious case. These programs are designed for people who go through withdrawal and prevent people from relapsing. Inpatient rehab centers also limit contact with the outside world and provide patients with aftercare programs. These programs include groups like Alcoholics Anonymous or outpatient therapy.

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 might have luxurious amenities but what the rehab center offers depends on the cost. Some insurance companies won’t cover rehab centers with premium amenities because they’re not always needed for recovery.

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. 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. These sober living homes help recovering alcoholics learn responsibility and enter society again.

What Are the Signs of Alcoholism?

There are many signs of alcoholism. Alcohol addiction is destructive, so it’s easy to determine if someone has an addiction. 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 and being distant from family.

How Does Inpatient Alcohol Rehab Work?

Inpatient alcohol rehab works in a few ways. Patients are first 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, their day varies based on their treatment program. That said, an average day within a residential rehab center consists of waking up early, eating healthy foods, alcohol detox, 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 longer to treat co-occurring disorders. Additionally, having someone remain in rehab after the detox period will 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 program length.

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 and Medicare will help someone obtain discounted care. 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. Depending on the type of alcohol addiction, 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 30-60 days within inpatient programs. 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, and if they’ve relapsed in the past. 

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 are monitored 24/7. Monitoring someone with alcoholism reduces the risk of relapse.

Another benefit is that people staying at inpatient rehab centers don’t have access to alcohol. Furthermore, they can’t leave and obtain alcohol elsewhere. Isolation from the outside world is one of inpatient rehab’s biggest strengths.

Inpatient alcohol rehab also comes with additional benefits depending on the facility. Some facilities make patients as comfortable as possible during alcohol withdrawals. For example, some facilities 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.

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 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.