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Alcohol & Health
Helping Alcoholics
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Updated on September 15, 2023
7 min read

Residential Treatment Centers

What is Residential Alcohol Rehab?

A residential treatment program provides 24-hour care and medical supervision for people recovering from substance use disorders.

Residential programs typically provide both individual and group therapy. They also offer activities and programs designed to help residents recover from addiction. 

Some standard features of residential treatment centers include:

  • Focus on individualized care: Each person's recovery plan is tailored to their unique needs.
  • Multidisciplinary approach: Treatment plans may incorporate elements of behavioral therapy, 12-step programs, and other evidence-based practices.
  • Safe and supportive environment: Residential treatment centers provide a drug and alcohol-free setting to recover with around-the-clock supervision and support.
  • Medical care and supervision: Many residential treatment centers have on-site medical staff to monitor residents' physical health and provide necessary medical care.
  • Structured schedule: Daily activities and programs are typically scheduled in advance to help residents stay on track with their recovery.

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Who Should Go to Residential Treatment?

A residential treatment center is appropriate for anyone who:

Struggles with Addiction and is Ready for Change

This type of treatment can be effective for those committed to recovery and willing to put in the work.

Has Tried Other Methods of Treatment

If outpatient care or 12-step programs fail, residential treatment is an option. It provides a higher level of care and supervision than other methods. This is beneficial for those who need extra help recovering from their addiction.

Has Concerns About Safety or the Safety of Others

This treatment can provide a safe and secure environment for those struggling with addiction. It can also provide the support and resources necessary for those building a sober life.

Deals with Mental Illness or Other Mental Health Issues in Addition to Addiction

Residential treatment is best for people with co-occurring disorders. They get access to addiction treatment, mental health services, and mental health professionals.

How Long Does Residential Treatment Take?

Residential treatment can last anywhere from 30 to 90 days, sometimes longer.

Substance use treatment is typically tailored to individual needs and varies depending on the severity of the addiction. Residential treatment aims to help you safely detox from drugs or alcohol and begin recovery.

30 Days

The most common length of stay for residential treatment is 30 days. During this time, you’ll participate in individual and group therapy sessions. You'll also join activities designed to help you build a strong foundation for long-term sobriety.

60 Days

If your addiction is more severe, you may need to stay in residential treatment for 60 days or longer. This will give you more time to focus on your recovery and build the skills necessary for long-term sobriety. 

90 Days

For some people, 90 days of residential treatment is necessary. Although this timeframe may seem intimidating, it can be an invaluable opportunity to focus on your recovery. You'll have enough time to build a strong foundation for sobriety and learn the skills necessary to maintain it.

No matter how long you stay in residential treatment, it’s important to remember that recovery is a lifelong process. You may need to continue attending therapy sessions or support groups after you leave residential treatment.


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Therapies and Treatments Used in Residential Treatment

There are a variety of therapies and treatments used in residential addiction treatment. These include:


Often, detox is the first step in treatment. It occurs in a hospital or medical facility. Detox can be uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous, so it’s best to do it under medical supervision. 

After detox, you can begin therapy and other treatments to help with recovery.

Individualized Treatment Plan

Each person in residential treatment will have an individualized treatment plan. Professionals will tailor this plan to your specific needs and goals. It may include individual and group therapy, medication-assisted treatment, and other evidence-based treatments.

Group Therapy

Group therapy is a key component of residential treatment. In group sessions, you’ll learn from others in recovery and gain support from them. You’ll also learn how to cope with triggers and cravings and develop the skills necessary for long-term sobriety.

Therapy for Family Members

Family therapy sessions can also help family members understand addiction and how they can best support their loved one in recovery. It can also help you reconnect with your family and build a strong support system for recovery.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Individual therapy is a key part of treatment. It helps you understand the underlying causes of your addiction. Therapy can also help you develop healthy coping mechanisms and learn how to avoid triggers and temptation.

12-Step Programs

12-step programs are often used in residential treatment. These programs can help you better understand your addiction and learn how to stay sober.


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Cost of Residential Treatment

As of 2022, the average cost of residential treatment is $9,766.1 This cost may vary depending on the type of treatment, length of stay, and other factors. 

Does Insurance Cover Residential Treatment?

Sometimes. Not all insurance companies cover the full cost of residential treatment programs. If you're considering a residential treatment facility, check with your insurance company to see if they offer coverage.

Legally, insurance must cover the cost of treatment for addiction. However, what’s included in that coverage varies from policy to policy. Coverage might only pay for a portion of a residential program.

Pros and Cons of Residential Treatment

There are many pros and cons to consider regarding residential addiction treatment. 


Here are some of the pros of residential treatment:

Provides Around-the-Clock Care and Supervision

In residential treatment, you'll receive 24-hour care and supervision. This can help ensure your safety during detox and provide a safe environment for recovery.

Includes Various Therapies and Services

Residential treatment includes different therapies and other services to help people recover. Professionals will also customize your treatment based on your needs and the addiction's severity.

Supports Long-Term Sobriety

Residential treatment offers support for long-term sobriety even after formal treatment ends. This means you can continue receiving support and guidance as you transition into everyday life.


Here are some cons of residential treatment:

High Cost

Residential treatment is often expensive and may not be covered by insurance. This can make it difficult for some people to access the care they need.

Isolation from Loved Ones and the Outside World

Since residential treatment requires you to stay in a facility, it can be isolating. You may not be able to see your loved ones or participate in activities outside of the facility.

Time Commitment

Residential treatment requires a significant time commitment. This can make it difficult for some people to take time away from work or family obligations.

It’s important to weigh all the pros and cons before choosing a treatment program.

Alternatives to Residential Treatment

If residential treatment isn’t right for you, there are several alternatives. For example:

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment allows people to receive treatment while still living at home and continuing to work or go to school. Treatment typically consists of individual therapy, group therapy, and/or medication-assisted treatment (MAT). 

Outpatient treatment can be a great option for those who: 

  1. Have milder forms of addiction
  2. Have been in treatment before and relapsed
  3. Cannot commit to an inpatient program

Partial Hospitalization Programs

Partial hospitalization programs (PHPs) provide a structured environment for people in early recovery. They also allow participants to live at home while receiving therapeutic care during the day. 

PHPs typically involve group and individual therapy and educational sessions on topics related to addiction and recovery. These programs can be used alone or as an effective step after inpatient treatment. 

PHPs typically last for a few hours each day, several days per week. The length of time someone spends in a PHP depends on their individual needs and progress in treatment.

Support Groups

There are many different types of community-based support groups for addiction, but they all share a few key features. These include:

  • Typically led by a peer facilitator: This helps keep the discussion focused and on track
  • Usually involves some sort of structure: For example, sharing in turn or breaking into small groups for discussion
  • Support groups are confidential: Everything said in the group stays in the group, allowing members to feel safe sharing their personal experiences and thoughts
  • Free of charge: You don’t have to pay for support groups, making them accessible to everyone 

The most well-known addiction support groups include Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA). If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, consider contacting a support group in your area.


Residential treatment is an effective addiction treatment that provides 24-hour care and supervision. 

It includes various therapies and services tailored to your needs and can help support long-term sobriety. However, residential treatment can be expensive and isolating, requiring a significant time commitment.

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. Average Cost of Drug Rehab [2022]: By Type, State & More.” NCDAS.

  2. Cleveland Clinic. “Drug Addiction: Substance Abuse, Substance Use Disorder, Treatment.” Cleveland Clinic, 2020.

  3. National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction DrugFacts.” National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2019.

  4. Laudet AB, Savage R, Mahmood D. "Pathways to long-term recovery: a preliminary investigation." J Psychoactive Drugs, 2002.

  5. National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Drug Addiction Treatment in the United States.” National Institute on Drug Abuse.

  6. Benefits of a 12-Step Based Program for Addiction Recovery.” Ohio Addiction Recovery Center,  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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