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What Is Inpatient Rehab?

Inpatient rehabilitation facilities are centers that someone seeking help for a drug or alcohol problem lives at full time. This is in comparison to outpatient rehab when someone attends treatment during the day but goes home at night. Inpatient rehab, also called residential treatment, is appropriate for severe addictions and offers care 24 hours a day. This is typically a non-hospital setting and provides a community of support for recovering addicts. The average residential treatment stay is 30 days; however, some treatment programs offer more extended lengths of stay (usually between 60-90 days). Depending on the severity of an individual’s addiction, they may attend long-term residential treatment or short-term residential treatment. While it is not appropriate for everyone, there are many benefits of inpatient rehab.

What Are the Benefits Of Inpatient Rehab?

Compared to outpatient rehab, there are many advantages, including safety and a higher success rate. From the moment an addict decides to seek treatment, they are preparing to go through a drastic change in their life. While this change is for the better, it comes with its own set of challenges to face, starting with detoxification.

Inpatient Detoxification

For someone who has been abusing drugs or alcohol, the process of going through withdrawal and detoxing can be very unpleasant, and many try to avoid it for as long as possible. Alcohol withdrawal is often associated with symptoms like anxiety, irritability, and fatigue. In severe cases, users can also experience psychosis, where they experience hallucinations and delusions. Other withdrawal symptoms include body aches, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, high blood pressure, and shaking. Left unsupervised, withdrawal symptoms can be potentially deadly. For example, delirium tremens can result in reduced blood flow to the brain. Seizures can also occur during the detoxification process, which is another reason why trying to detox on your own is very dangerous and not recommended.

One of the benefits of inpatient rehab is that they provide a safe place to detox where medical professionals can monitor vitals and ease some of the unpleasant symptoms. Depending on the substance and severity of the addiction, withdrawal symptoms usually start a few hours after the last dose of the drug. Alcohol detox is similar, with withdrawal symptoms generally beginning within 6 hours and are the most severe at around 72 hours. Alcohol withdrawal lessens significantly in severity after 72 hours to one week, which is known as the acute withdrawal phase. Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms (PAWS) can last as long as one year, yet it does not have severe medical issues. More common symptoms of PAWS include anxiety, restlessness, poor concentration, and poor sleep. Being in an inpatient rehab facility means patients have constant access to help for their withdrawal symptoms and can be provided with medications to ease their detox.

Success Rate

When someone with an alcohol use disorder (AUD) attends outpatient rehab, they can go straight to the liquor store or bar when they feel like giving up. Returning home each evening places them back in the environment where they abused alcohol, which makes it much more challenging to resist the temptation of relapse. One of the benefits of inpatient rehab is that patients do not have access to alcohol or other substances, and while they have the freedom to leave at any time, they will likely not come back if they exit rehab and relapse.

Studies have shown that more inpatients complete detox compared to people in outpatient treatment. Those who attend and remain in treatment have increased occupational, psychological, and social functioning, as well as decreased criminal activity. Those who overcome a substance use disorder learn the tools to prevent relapse and may be at a decreased risk for developing another substance use disorder, according to a study published in JAMA, which said, “As compared with those who do not recover from an SUD, people who recover have less than half the risk of developing a new SUD. Contrary to clinical lore, achieving remission does not typically lead to drug substitution, but rather is associated with a lower risk of new SUD onset.”


One of the main components of alcohol addiction treatment is the fellowship that is created between staff, counselors, and fellow recovering addicts. That is one of the reasons 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous have success. Having a support system of people who understand the struggles of addiction and can be a shoulder to lean on is extremely beneficial, and it may be impossible for some to ever recover without it. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration states that having social networks and relationships that provide love, hope, friendship, and support are an essential part of recovery.

Living in an inpatient rehab facility surrounds the recovering addict with the social resources they need 24/7. In outpatient rehab, it may be more difficult or take more time to form those bonds. Treatment facilities also provide resources to transition into normal life, such as creating an aftercare plan that may include sober living homes. Those in recovery may also receive guidance on pursuing new employment once they graduate from treatment.

Are The Benefits Of Inpatient Rehab Worth It?

Because of the demand for 24/7 staff, medical care, food, and housing that is required for inpatient rehab, the cost is higher compared to outpatient rehab. Some may believe that alcohol addiction treatment is not worth the price, but in reality, an addiction costs far more than treatment. Substance abuse costs America over $600 billion each year, but treatment has been shown to reduce costs.

Get Help Today

If you or a loved one is struggling with an alcoholism, know that there are treatment options available. Overcoming an addiction can seem daunting, but treatment providers can help to discuss all of the options. Contact a treatment provider today for information on treatment.