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Your First Time At an Inpatient Alcohol Rehab

Home » Your First Time At an Inpatient Alcohol Rehab

What to Expect From an Inpatient Alcohol Rehab Program

Recovering from addiction is extremely difficult to do alone, and research shows that entering a good rehab program is by far the best way to attain sobriety. However, if you've never been to rehab before, you may be anxious or uncertain about what's involved—here's our guide on what to expect.

Living Accommodations

At most inpatient alcohol rehab programs, you will have a private room to yourself (or shared room), either within an accommodation block or in an apartment shared with other inpatients. Typically, there will be communal living areas and a communal kitchen: you will be expected to play your part in household chores, food preparation, and so forth. Communal living also contributes to getting sober by way of group goals.

When You First Arrive

The first thing you will experience is a full evaluation of your mental and physical health. This allows the rehab professionals to work out a treatment plan tailored specifically to your needs.

The Detox Process

Having been evaluated, you will enter the detox period; this may take place in the main facility, or you may spend these crucial first days in a special detox clinic. Detox or the "drying out" period will rid your body completely of all traces of alcohol, so that you can enter rehab clean and ready to stay that way.

The symptoms and severity of alcohol withdrawal varies from patient to patient, and will depend on your own personal history with alcohol. For some, the detoxification period takes only a few days; for others it can take up to two weeks.

Symptoms you might expect during the detox process are anxiousness, irritability, and emotional lability. You may also experience flu-like physical symptoms, including aches and lethargy. If your withdrawal symptoms are severe, you may experience palpitations, tremors, confusion, and hallucinations—this is why spending those first days in the detox area is so important, as expert medical attention will be available to monitor and mitigate those symptoms immediately.

The Rehab Process

Once your body has rid itself of alcohol, you can enter the rehabilitation phase. Although your physical withdrawal symptoms will have gone, this is where the long and vital process of re-education, learning about addiction and developing mechanisms to avoid triggers all begin.

During your weeks in an inpatient alcohol rehab, you will be kept busy on a highly structured schedule. There will be private, confidential consultations with a range of experts and professionals, and you will also take part in group and family therapy sessions.

When not "in therapy", you will have opportunities to socialize with other patients, helping to avoid the use of alcohol as a social crutch. You will also be allocated time for household chores, and there will be free time during which you can relax and enjoy the center's leisure facilities.

Organized Activities

Many rehabs also organize day trips and excursions, either to places of interest, or simply to get you used to be being back in the community at large and coping with your sobriety in that context. You might also have "homework" to complete on a daily basis, which may involve journaling or art therapy.

You Are Free to Leave

The thing that surprises many new rehab patients is that you are free to leave at any time. Even if your rehab attendance has been mandated by a court, the center cannot hold you against your will. Rehab stands no chance of success if you are not a willing participant, so the decision to stay and take part in treatment must be yours and yours alone.

If you have questions or concerns about an inpatient alcohol rehab program that are not covered here, simply contact your chosen facility and ask: they would be more than happy to help set your mind at ease so that your recovery can begin smoothly.

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