Time is critical in addiction recovery. People recovering from substance abuse and addiction need time to detox from harmful drugs and alcohol. They need time to understand the reasons for their addiction, and they need time gain the tools so they can successfully navigate learning how to live again—without an addiction.

For most people, inpatient treatment (also called residential treatment) can give them the time and space they need to achieve all of these goals and more. This form of treatment is the highest level of care and the most intensive.

A long-term inpatient treatment program is recommended for people who have severe addictions to alcohol, cocaine, methamphetamines, opiates/opioids (OxyContin, heroin), and alcohol among other drugs. Users who have engaged in polysubstance use, when two more drugs are used at the same time, also may spend more time in this setting as their condition may be more complex and therefore require more time to address.

A quality inpatient treatment program offers:

  • 24-hour personalized care at a live-in facility
  • Comprehensive services that include psychiatric and physical health care, an assessment, and a personalized treatment plan
  • Knowledgeable and compassionate medical and addiction health professionals who understand the complexities of substance use disorders and the unique challenges that come with treatment
  • People to join others who also have started their journey of recovering from substance abuse and addiction

Inpatient programs help people in recovery who:

  • Are far along in their addiction or have severe substance use disorders that require an intensive treatment plan
  • Require medical detoxification services for alcohol, drug abuse
  • Need medical intervention to address any behavioral or psychiatric challenges.
  • Need a structured, monitored living environment as they focus on addressing their addiction
  • Seek therapy in either an individual or group setting or both
  • Benefit from having ongoing progress assessments, treatment adjustments
  • Are interested in ongoing aftercare to ensure sobriety and avoid relapse
  • Have experienced multiple times in rehab without getting the desired results or have experienced; or
  • Have relapsed and would like more support as they work to overcome addiction again

What to Look For in an Inpatient Treatment Program

If you are considering whether inpatient treatment is for you or your loved one, you have a lot to think about and it may be unclear what exactly to look for when considering the highest level of addiction care.

You want an effective program that offers diverse services that focus on all of the needs of the person who needs treatment, not just the person’s drug or alcohol use. This includes mental health needs as well and aligns with NIDA’s principles of effective treatment.

Among the services typically offered in inpatient treatment are:

Medical detoxification

The recovery process starts with this important first step. Clients receive 24/7 care as they receive medical care to remove addictive substances from their bodies and manage withdrawal symptoms that range from mild to severe. It is important to understand that a medically-assisted detoxification is only the first stage of treatment, as the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) explains. “Patients who do not receive any further treatment after detoxification usually resume their drug use,” it writes.

Addiction education classes

It’s important to understand how addiction works as one works to leave it behind. In addiction education classes, clients learn what substance abuse and addiction are, and how different substances affect the body. They also learn about the effects of addiction on mental health and relationships and learn how to recognize the warning signs of relapse.

Medication monitoring or medication management

Medication is a part of addiction recovery for many people, particularly when they are paired with behavioral therapies, NIDA explains. A benefit of inpatient care is that clients can rest easy knowing that they will receive the prescribed medications they are directed by a physician or other medical professional to take as they recover. In many cases, medications are prescribed to help people manage physical withdrawal symptoms or abstain from substance use.

Behavior therapy

Addressing addiction starts with resolve to change one’s behavior and thoughts that are associated with substance abuse. Behavioral therapies help many clients recognize what they need to work on to become healthier and move away from substance abuse. For example, clients can receive cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which is designed to help people address and change their negative thoughts and actions that lead them to use. CBT provides them with tools and practical strategies to replace self-defeating habits with ones that move them closer to their resolve to be sober.

Individual therapy

Personal accountability is also key to addiction recovery. Many emotional and social issues can fuel the desire to abuse drugs and alcohol, so clients need to understand what motivates them personally to use. Individual therapy provides opportunities to engage in self-reflection and gain the clarity needed to make the necessary lifestyle changes.

Family therapy

Addiction is a family disease, as it’s often said. Family therapy allows clients and their loved ones strengthen bonds that addiction broke apart. It has been found to be beneficial that people in recovery have the support of their family behind them as they endure a rough period in their lives. For many families, therapy helps make it easier to figure out how everyone can move forward from addiction.

Group therapy

Clients who have a similar journey and experiences in common can provide invaluable support to each other. Group therapy sessions can ensure clients they don’t have to walk the path to recovery alone. They also provide opportunities for growth and support, including connecting with others and building friendships with people who abstain from drugs and alcohol.

Life skills training

This training can involve teaching clients job skills, social skills, communication skills, anger management, stress management, goal setting, and money management among others needed as clients learn or relearn how to be a part of society.

This is not a comprehensive list, but this is a good place to start to get an idea of what kinds of services are offered at a quality inpatient program. An effective treatment program also reviews treatment plans regularly and modifies them to fit the client’s current needs. This is important because they can do change throughout the recovery process.

You also may want to consider receiving inpatient treatment services from a facility that offers aftercare planning, which focuses on helping clients transition to life after rehab and avoid relapse. Such a service can include help with transition housing, job placement support, or an alumni program that allows recovering users to stay in touch with each other after treatment ends. An inpatient facility may also offer to connect members with recovery-focused groups, such as 12-step groups like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. These organizations allow people to reflect on their past experiences to help themselves and others.

How Long Does Inpatient Drug Treatment Last?

Addiction is a chronic and progressive disorder that likely will need to be treated to ensure that it doesn’t take over the lives of people grappling with it. NIDA’s perspective of addiction indicates that the condition can be treated and managed successfully but not cured. And while it can be treated, the agency says, it is not simple to do so.

Addiction treatment, it says, must help people in recovery stop using drugs, remain drug-free, and be productive in the family, at work, and in society. Well, how long should treatment take before a person in recovery can achieve all of these goals? The answer is it just depends.

One frequently asked question about inpatient treatment concerns how long the program is. Inpatient treatment can last anywhere from 28 days to 90 days in a facility, depending on the person in recovery. Addiction does not affect everyone in the same way, so the rate of progress one makes through a treatment program depends very much on that person’s personality, needs, and severity of addiction, among other things.


  •  Substance abuse history
  •  Drug or drugs of choice
  •  Existing comorbid or co-occurring disorders (dual diagnosis, or when a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder are present at the same time)
  •  Family history of substance abuse
  •  Earlier attempts at treatment and sobriety
  •  And other factors

All of these factors are taken into consideration during the facility’s intake process, which also involves meeting with an addiction counselor. Once the addiction specialist has had time to review the information, personalized recommendations will be shared so it can be determined which rehab placement is best. What’s most important is that clients who are in need of addiction care receive the adequate treatment while at a facility.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) says that when it comes to residential (inpatient) or outpatient treatment, any length of time that is less than 90 days, or three months, is of “limited effectiveness” for people who are working toward their recovery from substance abuse or addiction.

If you are looking for a facility that offers inpatient or residential treatment for longer than the standard length of time, you may be interested in one that follows the therapeutic community (TC), which, according to NIDA, is the most widely known long-term residential treatment model. Facilities following this model allow their clients to stay in treatment between six and 12 months. In the therapeutic community model:

  • Addiction is viewed in the context of the person’s social and psychological deficits
  • Treatment for substance abuse focuses on developing personal accountability and responsibility and socially productive lives

Things to Consider Before You Decide to Enter Inpatient Rehab

While inpatient treatment is the best setting for people who are battling severe addictions and substance use disorders, it is not the cheapest option, and that’s something that must be addressed up front. The costs of inpatient treatment are high because of the longer stay at an on-site facility.

Room and board must be provided for people who are staying on site in addition to the costs of medical treatment as well as any amenities provided. Call your insurance provider to find out whether it will cover the costs of an inpatient treatment stay. If it does, ask which costs are covered and whether they are covered fully or partially.


Facility location

The size and location of the treatment center can make a difference in the costs. Larger facilities and private facilities are generally more expensive

Additional therapies offered in addition to standard therapies

These can include any holistic therapies such as acupuncture, massage, or yoga. You also may need additional therapies outside of behavioral ones, such as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy. If you require any of these or just want to add them to your treatment plan, consider how much they add to the bottom line and make your decisions accordingly.

Restrictive environment

The structured and monitored inpatient treatment center is something to seriously consider when choosing a facility. Clients typically are limited in the time spent with family, friends, and colleagues. The goal is to minimize distractions to allow individuals to concentrate on addiction recovery. Establishing a daily routine with a schedule and responsibilities is also a beneficial part of addiction recovery.

Time investment

The treatment process is not quick, and if you’re considering inpatient treatment, it’s important to have a realistic view of how much of a time commitment will be required. Inpatient clients must make arrangements to take time off from work, school, and other personal obligations so they can fully participate in inpatient treatment. Programs typically run for 30 days, but they can run longer if needed.

Do Inpatient Treatment Programs Work?

Research suggests there is a strong correlation between the kind of addiction treatment received and how long it is received. Research suggests that inpatient or residential treatment is the most effective form of addiction treatment. It’s intensive and it offers the longest stay.

When considering an inpatient treatment program, consider your long-term recovery goals and what you want and need to achieve during this important time.

The inpatient treatment setting offers fewer distractions and outside influences.

Both often derail attempts to recover from addiction for people who are outside the walls of a treatment facility.

This is the designated time for you or your loved one to concentrate on your health and healing and doing whatever it takes to leave addiction in the past. What you get out of addiction recovery is what you put into it, so it’s important to put effort into it and make the most of your time.

As NIDA reminds us, the outcome of substance abuse treatment for clients largely depends on the person. NIDA writes on the issue, “…Individual treatment outcomes depend on the extent and nature of the patient’s problems, the appropriateness of treatment and related services used to address those problems, and the quality of interaction between the patient and his or her treatment providers.”

Looking For A Quality Inpatient Treatment Program?

If you or a loved one is considering entering an inpatient treatment program, you want to get the best care you can to ensure your specific needs are met. Treatment programs at Delphi Behavioral Health Group’s facilities provide unique therapy and counseling methods for certain addictions. They are designed to allow you to receive the daily support of the facility’s staff and your loved ones when you return home.

Inpatient treatment also is just one of several alternatives to trying to achieve sobriety alone. Our treatment centers provide an oasis for the community, counseling, and support throughout the day so the lessons being taught can be implemented in the client’s everyday life. Give us a call to discuss you or your loved one’s options today at 844-605-0706.

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