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Alcohol & Health
Helping Alcoholics
Where Does My Call Go?
Updated on July 31, 2023
6 min read

Inpatient Rehabilitation

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

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.5

Inpatient rehab programs also have a schedule that starts with breakfast, followed by therapy, counseling, and 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. It helps manage uncomfortable and potentially life-threatening alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

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.


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 Long Does Inpatient Alcohol Rehab Last?

The length of time for inpatient rehab varies by person. The shortest program at many centers is 30 days. People with less severe forms of AUD may select a shorter program to remove any daily distractions or triggers.

However, many people need more time and stay for several months. Treatment may take longer for people who have suffered from years of alcoholism due to alcohol’s effects on the body.

Regardless of how long it takes, it’s important to understand that sobriety is ongoing. Just because you’ve finished rehab doesn’t mean you won’t face any more challenges regarding alcoholism.

How to Determine the Best Treatment Option for You

When considering treatment options for an AUD, you’ll come across a wide selection of programs and offerings. Various factors will play a role in what type of treatment suits you.

These factors include:

  • Medical history
  • Duration and amount of alcohol use
  • Frequency and patterns of drinking

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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.

Therapies Used in Inpatient Alcohol Rehab

As mentioned, an inpatient alcohol rehab center offers various therapies to help maintain sobriety. These therapies are described as:

  • Individual counseling: A counseling session that helps you discuss underlying issues such as trauma, depression, etc., while offering coping mechanisms to manage cravings
  • Group therapy: Enables you to join in discussions with professional therapists and other people in the treatment center
  • Educational meetings: Allow you to understand how alcohol addiction has affected your life to provide a better understanding of alcohol’s effects and the benefits of recovery

Inpatient vs. Outpatient Rehab 

Alcohol treatment programs usually fall into one of two categories: inpatient or outpatient rehab.

While equally focused on rehab, each type has specific benefits to offer.

Inpatient rehabs are residential, intensive treatment programs that treat severe addictions and provide a safe living environment.4 On the other hand, outpatient rehabs are part-time programs. 

Outpatient rehab provides alcohol addiction treatment while allowing you to stay home and continue working or school.4 People struggling with AUD and their loved ones must understand the differences before choosing a treatment program. Exploring all options before deciding can help you or a loved one to long-term sobriety.


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 July 31, 2023
6 sources cited
Updated on July 31, 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. Finney et al. “The effectiveness of inpatient and outpatient treatment for alcohol abuse: the need to focus on mediators andThe effectiveness of inpatient and outpatient treatment for alcohol abuse: the need to focus on mediators and moderators of setting effects moderators of setting effects.” Addiction (Abingdon, England, 1996.
  4. Cole et al. “Inpatient vs outpatient treatment of alcohol and drug abusers.” The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 1981.
  5. Hayashida, M. “An overview of outpatient and inpatient detoxification.” Alcohol health and research world, 1998.
  6. Zhu, H., and Wu, LT. “National trends and characteristics of inpatient detoxification for drug use disorders in the United States.” BMC Public Health, 2018.
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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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