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Alcohol & Health
Helping Alcoholics
Where Does My Call Go?
Updated on September 15, 2023
7 min read

Inpatient Rehabilitation

Ellie Swain
Dr P. E. Pancoast, MD
Written by 
6 Sources Cited
Ellie Swain
Written by 
6 Sources Cited

Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) is a serious condition that requires immediate attention. Delaying treatment can result in severe problems such as health issues, financial ruin, and legal complications.

One of the most common treatment options for AUD is inpatient rehabilitation. 

What is Inpatient Alcohol Rehab?

Inpatient alcohol rehab is a substance abuse treatment for treating alcohol use disorder (AUD). It involves checking yourself into a rehab center and remaining there for the duration of treatment.

Inpatient rehab is commonly recommended for those battling severe alcohol abuse problems. It provides a safe environment where you can focus on recovering from addiction.

You’ll have 24/7 access to medical professionals and other specialists throughout treatment.

Inpatient programs also have a set schedule, which usually consists of:

  • Morning breakfast
  • Therapies
  • Counseling sessions
  • Other activities

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Who is Inpatient Alcohol Rehab For?

Inpatient rehab is considered the best treatment program to help people overcome alcoholism and achieve long-term sobriety. 

Inpatient treatment may be for you if you: 

  • Have severe alcohol addiction
  • Live in an unstable home environment
  • Struggle with homelessness
  • Live around people who frequently drink or use drugs
  • Struggle with drug abuse problems at the same time

What to Expect in Inpatient Alcohol Rehab

When you check into an inpatient treatment center, you can expect various programs to help you detox from alcohol and receive treatment. A medical professional will review your medical history and perform a thorough exam.

A medical professional will also speak with you about the following:

  • Your substance abuse issues
  • Any underlying issues or ailments you may have
  • Any concerns you may have

This will determine your treatment plan. They’ll discuss specific treatment options with you if you’re diagnosed with other conditions. Other options you can expect include:


Inpatient treatment begins with a medical detox, a crucial phase in alcohol or drug addiction treatment. Detox aims to break someone's physical dependence on alcohol by denying access to it.

Depending on when you last drank alcohol, you may have already begun to experience withdrawal symptoms such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Nausea 
  • Shaking or tremors
  • Vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating
  • Racing heart rate
  • High blood pressure

These symptoms require urgent medical care and may lead to long-term health issues. 

Without professional help, detox is often challenging and dangerous. It can even be life-threatening without medical help.


When you’re ready, you’ll receive extra psychological and emotional support. Here you can learn different coping techniques and skills to manage alcohol cravings.

A typical day in inpatient care may include the following: 

  • Individual counseling
  • Group therapy
  • Educational meetings

Depending on the center you attend, other activities might be available. Often, these activities focus on nutrition and physical exercise.

Aftercare Planning

After completing an inpatient program, your care team will likely encourage you to enroll in outpatient treatment services. These services may be provided by the same center or through community services.

Consider going through an outpatient treatment program that offers various therapies and activities that can be helpful after inpatient treatment. Also, they offer treatment without significantly impacting your day-to-day life.

It’ll likely include ongoing individual counseling or group sessions, depending on what you discuss with your counselor. After rehab, you can continue recovery maintenance by joining local support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).


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How Much Does Inpatient Alcohol Rehab Cost?

According to the National Drug Helpline, residential treatment costs can vary between $5,000 to $80,000. This can depend on the length of your stay at a treatment center.

The cost of inpatient treatment also varies between each facility. Some treatment centers offer free programs, while others cost thousands daily.

No matter your budget, there’s a facility available. The opportunity to recover is accessible to anyone if they know what resources can help them.

Does Insurance Cover Alcohol Rehab?

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandated that health insurers provide alcohol addiction coverage. This includes:

  • Private insurance policies
  • Medicaid
  • Medicare
  • State-financed health insurance
  • Military insurance

In some states, such as California, you may qualify for disability insurance for inpatient alcoholism treatment. Different health insurance companies cover alcohol rehab fees based on their own set guidelines.

Many insurance companies will only cover up to 30 days for inpatient alcohol rehab programs. However, this isn’t enough to help someone who’s suffered from alcoholism for many years.

Insurance can also affect the type of treatment you receive. In holistic care, therapies like yoga and massage may benefit someone recovering from alcoholism. However, an insurance company may not provide coverage for these therapies.


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How Long is Inpatient Rehab?

The length of time for inpatient rehab differs by person. The shortest program at many facilities is 30 days. However, some people need more time and stay for several months.

People with less severe forms of alcoholism may select a shorter inpatient program to reduce any daily distractions or triggers. After completing treatment, they can continue recovery maintenance. 

Regardless of how long inpatient rehab takes, treatment is an ongoing (some say a lifelong) process. Recovery doesn't guarantee a smooth journey ahead. You must apply the tools and techniques you learn in recovery to your daily situations.

Inpatient vs. Outpatient Rehab

Inpatient and outpatient rehab are forms of alcohol treatment programs. Each type focuses on rehab but offers unique qualities and benefits.

Here are their differences and similarities:

Inpatient Rehab

  • Full-time, intensive residential program
  • Specifically designed to treat serious addictions
  • Provides more resources, especially beneficial for those with poor home environments or coexisting medical conditions
  • Offers a safe and structured living environment

Outpatient Rehab

  • Part-time program, allowing for flexibility.
  • Participants can continue with work or school during treatment.
  • Best suited for those with a strong commitment to treatment.
  • Ideal for individuals with good support resources such as family, job, and stable living conditions.

Understanding the differences between the two is crucial before selecting a treatment program. Exploring all options is essential to ensure the best chance at long-term sobriety.

How to Find the Right Rehab Program

You’ll discover a wide selection of treatment centers when researching inpatient rehab options.

Every rehab has a different approach to measuring success and providing unique paths to get there. Here are some tips to help you find the right rehab program:

Define your Goals

One of the most important parts of recovery is finding a treatment facility to help you reach your goals. Before you do that, you need to define your rehab goals clearly.

With the help of a medical professional, you can determine if you have any other underlying problems. This could include other mental health or medical issues you need treatment for at the same time you’re in rehab.

Finally, decide what success means to you. Ask yourself about how serious you are about sobriety. Share your thoughts with loved ones if you feel comfortable.

Consult a Treatment Provider

Speaking with a healthcare provider is an excellent way to evaluate your treatment options that closely match your goals.

Numerous available options make it challenging to decide on treatment without help. Also, treatment providers are familiar with parts of rehab that most people don’t know about.

Treatment providers also know in-depth information about certain rehab options and can provide helpful information.

Explore Rehab Options

Whether you found rehab options on your own terms or received recommendations from a provider, investigate your options.

Most general facility information will be available online. However, you may have to call and ask for other, more specific details.

High-quality treatment facilities will want you to find success in their program. They will happily answer any questions to ensure you feel comfortable about treatment.


Inpatient rehab is intensive and residential, designed for people with serious alcohol problems. It offers detox programs, various treatment therapies, and an aftercare plan.

Inpatient treatment allows you to focus on recovery in a safe and secure environment. Treatment can last from days to several months or even years.

Depending on various factors, inpatient care typically costs between $5,000 to $80,000. Fortunately, inpatient treatment is covered by medical insurance.

Updated on September 15, 2023
6 sources cited
Updated on September 15, 2023
All Alcoholrehabhelp content is medically reviewed or fact checked to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable media sites, academic research institutions and, whenever possible, medically peer reviewed studies.
  1. Huebner et al. “Advances in alcoholism treatment.” Alcohol Research & Health: the Journal of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 2011.
  2. Gray, C., and Argaez, C. Residential Treatment for Substance Use Disorder: A Review of Clinical Effectiveness Ottawa (ON): Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health, 2019.
  3. Zhu, H., and Wu, LT. “National trends and characteristics of inpatient detoxification for drug use disorders in the United States.” BMC Public Health, 2018.
  4. NIDA. "Types of Treatment Programs." National Institute on Drug Abuse, 3 Jun. 2020.
  5. McCarty et al. "Treatment programs in the National Drug Abuse Treatment Clinical Trials Network." Drug Alcohol Depend, 2008.
  6. Nehring SM, Chen RJ, Freeman AM. "Alcohol Use Disorder." [Updated 2023 Aug 8]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023.
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All content created by Alcohol Rehab Help is sourced from current scientific research and fact-checked by an addiction counseling expert. However, the information provided by Alcohol Rehab Help is not a substitute for professional treatment advice.
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