Inpatient Alcohol Treatment

Last Updated: August 8, 2019

Benefits of Inpatient Rehabs

Sometimes it is hard to convince a loved one with alcohol use disorder that he or she has a problem and needs to be treated. But it is harder to convince the person or believe yourself that getting admitted to an inpatient alcohol addiction treatment center might be the right way to go. The biggest concern of future inpatient rehab patients is whether they can secure a job while treatment. However, several governmental regulations provide protection to alcoholic employees.

What are the benefits of an inpatient alcoholism program?

Benefits of inpatient alcohol treatment include:

  • 24×7 monitoring of withdrawal symptoms
  • Full concentration on alcohol addiction therapy
  • Away from triggers
  • Diagnosis of the cause of alcoholism
  • Treatment of co-occurring disorders
  • More treatment options
  • Customized treatment methods
  • More time to practice sober-living behavior
  • Support networks
  • A variety of support for sobriety
  • Self-esteem boosts after completing the program

Most people prefer to go through a treatment program where they don’t have to stay away from home. The difference in the cost of treatment between inpatient and outpatient treatment facilities tilts choices in favor of the latter.

But there are several profound, far-reaching, and long-term benefits of undergoing treatment for alcohol addiction at an inpatient facility. The court-ordered alcohol treatment program is usually based on the inpatient approach due to the increased efficacy.

Inpatient Alcohol Centers: Treatment and Rehabilitation Programs

Inpatient alcohol treatment centers offer 24-hour services, but the individual has to stay here throughout the length of the program, which might be weeks or months. The religious addicts can choose the faith-based residential treatment in the Christian alcohol rehab center.

Inpatient facilities provide a wide range of intensive treatment programs. The programs offer both treatment and rehabilitation services to ensure a person is not only treated for alcohol use disorder but also stays sober for life. The goal is also to help the person ease into the mainstream of life where he or she can function independently as a responsible member of society.

The following programs are offered by inpatient alcohol treatment centers:

Medically-Assisted Detoxification

Chronic abusers of alcohol often suffer from withdrawal symptoms when they abstain from drinking. Symptoms like nausea, insomnia, and anxiety are downright unpleasant and sometimes impossible to bear. Unable to bear the discomfort of their withdrawal symptoms, many people determined to quit alcohol end up reaching out for a drink. Some symptoms like delirium tremens (DTs) have to be treated immediately to prevent the person from slipping into a coma or worse, dying.

Undergoing the detox from alcohol at an inpatient treatment center provides the following advantages:

  • 24×7 monitoring by doctors ensures withdrawal symptoms are treated promptly before they can aggravate.
  • Prompt management of withdrawal symptoms decreases pain and discomfort and lessens the chance of a relapse.
  • Medically-assisted detox speeds up the healing process so that the person can proceed to the next stage of treatment quickly and safely.

Alcohol Abuse Therapy

Alcohol abuse is a behavioral disorder. Reaching out for a bottle of wine or feel compelled to drink to de-stress are behavioral responses to triggers like stress and negative emotions. Inpatient alcohol treatment centers provide a range of therapy and counseling programs to help a person tweak negative thinking patterns and unlearn destructive behavioral responses.

These programs help a person:

  • Practice positive thinking, so he or she doesn’t feel compelled to escape from problems and take refuge in drinks
  • Identify the root cause of the addictive disorder
  • Learn to believe that alcohol aggravates rather than solving problems
  • Identify drinking triggers in his or her environment
  • Learn to avoid triggers
  • Practice mindfulness in daily life, so he or she can “respond” to drinking triggers appropriately instead of “automatically” reacting by drinking
  • Learn to cope with emotional stress in healthy ways
  • Learn ways to deal with triggers the moment one arises

Therapeutic Community Care

A few inpatient alcohol treatment centers undertake rehabilitation following the highly-structured therapeutic community (TC) care model. This is a comprehensive strategy that aims at “resocialization” of the individual while staying at the facility. This model can be delivered as an extension of substance abuse therapy. A TC care model helps a recovering addict:

  • Recognize and confront negative beliefs about others, so he or she can work on them
  • Adopt new thinking patterns and learn new behavioral responses, so he or she can interact harmoniously with others
  • Learn social skills by interacting with the other residents of the facility and staff members. The specific groups can find the center that is tailored to their needs – for example; the LGBTQ alcoholism treatment provides the friendly services to the representatives of this social group.
  • Take advantage of employment training opportunities to re-build one’s professional life
  • Practice sober-living behavior for longer periods


Aftercare programs offered by inpatient alcohol treatment centers focus on helping a person ease into the mainstream of life and re-learn how to live independently and responsibly, without alcohol.
The following are the goals of aftercare programs:

  • Create an environment that supports sobriety
  • Initiate absorption into mainstream life by allowing residents to venture into the outside world during the day to work or study
  • Build a person’s self-esteem by creating opportunities where he or she can function effectively and independently in the outside world without alcohol
  • Process negative emotions by providing access to ongoing behavioral therapy
  • Provide access to support groups

Inpatient Alcohol Treatment Centers: Benefits

Staying at an inpatient alcohol treatment and rehab center provides several benefits:

  • 24×7 Monitoring and Prompt Management of Withdrawal Symptoms: Successfully completing an alcohol detox is a critical requirement of long-lasting sobriety. Constant monitoring and daily rehab schedule ensure the withdrawal period is safe.
  • Absolute Focus on the Healing Process: With no need to worry about personal and professional responsibilities, the person can focus on the healing process.
  • Distance from Drinking Triggers: Being away from an environment—at home or work—that contains drinking triggers, prevents relapse and improves the chances of sobriety.
  • Diagnosis of the Root Cause(s) of Alcohol Abuse: Intensive counseling sessions with in-house psychologists provide opportunities to diagnose the root cause(s) of the alcohol use disorder. This ensures the person can unlearn destructive behavioral responses and learn appropriate coping strategies to deal with drinking triggers without giving in to them.
  • Simultaneous Treatment of Co-Occurring Mental and Physiological Disorder: The presence of in-house psychiatrists, psychologists, and internal medicine specialists ensure prompt diagnosis and treatment of co-occurring mental and/or physiological disorders that might have otherwise hampered the healing process.
  • Comprehensive Range of Treatment Options: From medically-managed detox and substance abuse therapy to aftercare, inpatient alcohol centers provide a range of treatment options to meet the medical, psychological, emotional, and behavioral needs of alcoholics.
  • Intensive, Immersive, and Comprehensive Substance Abuse Therapy: Inpatient treatment centers provide a range of substance abuse therapy options that include medication, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), contingency management through repeated cue exposure, individual and group therapy, 12-step or other similar support programs, family counseling, and rehab based on the TC model. A comprehensive substance abuse therapy ensures all psychiatric, emotional, and behavioral gaps and deficiencies are addressed and resolved so that the person can return to mainstream life mentally empowered, rationally equipped, and socially savvy.
  • Customized Treatment Methodologies: Inpatient alcohol centers customize treatment programs to suit the unique needs of individuals, like adolescents, people with co-occurring mental disorders, homeless persons, and those in the criminal justice system.
  • More Time and Opportunity to Practice Sober-Living Behavior: A stay at an inpatient alcohol treatment facility provides ample opportunities and a distraction-free environment to practice sober-living behavior and relearn socializing skills.
  • Access to Support Networks: Inpatient treatment centers provide access to 12-step or non-12 step support groups where residents can bond over their shared mission, swap hacks, and emotionally support each another through a difficult journey. Often, the friendships forged at inpatient facilities turn into lifelong associations.
  • Diverse Array of Services That Support Sobriety: From art and music therapy to yoga, acupuncture, and outdoor activities, many inpatient alcohol treatment centers provide a wide array of optional services to support sobriety and make the journey to an alcohol-free life a tad comfortable.
  • Enhanced Self-Esteem in Completing the Treatment Program: Residential alcohol treatment programs are highly-structured and demand the utmost discipline and focus from participants. Completing one successfully and seeing yourself going back to living and functioning independently without alcohol is a huge ego boost that spills over to the other currencies of your life.

Cost of Inpatient Alcohol Treatment and Rehab

The cost of inpatient alcohol treatment can vary from zero dollars to tens and thousands of dollars.

Many religious, government and non-profitable organizations provide treatment and rehab services free of cost. Some facilities provide free services to teens, veterans, or people in the low-income bracket. Others provide sliding scale or reduced payment options to help those who cannot afford to bear the expenses.

Many insurance plans cover alcohol rehab costs, either fully or partially.

The cost of inpatient alcohol treatment and rehab depends on the following factors:

  • Amenities: The greater the number of amenities provided, the more is the cost of treatment. You may choose a facility that provides basic accommodation or a luxury rehab with private rooms and gourmet food.
  • Duration of Treatment: The longer the duration, the more is the cost.
  • Nature of Treatment Program: The more comprehensive the treatment, the most will be the cost. For instance, a person undergoing both detoxing off alcohol and substance abuse therapy will have to pay more than someone who chooses just to detox.
  • Location: Luxury inpatient centers cost more. The cost of treatment increases if the rehab facility is located in an upmarket area where the cost of living is high. Some people choose to seek treatment at a facility in another city to get away from the stressors of his or her place of residence. The cost of traveling adds to the cost of treatment.

How Long is the Typical Inpatient Alcohol Treatment Program?

The length of the treatment depends on the following factors:

  •  Duration of alcohol abuse
  • Presence of other disorders
  • Poly-substance abuse
  • History of severe withdrawal symptoms
  • Client’s age
  • Choice of treatment

Inpatient alcohol treatment programs are typically more intensive and immersive than outpatient drug and alcohol treatment. The programs are rigidly structured, and their success depends on completing every stage before proceeding to the next. As such, inpatient alcohol treatment and rehab programs, consisting of detox, therapy, and aftercare, are lengthier; their durations usually stretch for months.

  • The minimum amount of time a person needs to stay at an inpatient facility is 30 days.
  • The average length of an inpatient program is between 30 and 60 days. Some programs may also run through 90 days.
  • According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, long-term residential treatment based on the therapeutic community (TC) model can run from 6 to 12 months. Research shows that those who take part in long-term inpatient treatment and rehab programs increase their chances of remaining sober for longer periods.

The length of an inpatient program depends entirely on the following factors:

  • Duration and Extent of Alcohol Abuse: The longer the duration of alcohol use disorder or the more serious the problem, the lengthier is the treatment process. Individuals have to usually go through a lengthier detox process and receive extensive counseling support.
  • Presence of Co-Occurring Mental and/or Physiological Disorder: Dual diagnosis usually prolongs the alcohol treatment process because multiple disorders have to be addressed simultaneously and resolved before the person can move on to the next stage of therapy.
  • Poly-Substance Abuse: Poly-substance abuse is common among alcoholics. Abusing sedatives or other drugs along with alcohol complicates the treatment process.
  • History of Severe Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms: People with a history of severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms, like seizures, usually need to go through an intensive detox process. Every failed attempt at sobriety worsens the withdrawal symptoms the next time the person abstains from alcohol.
  • Advanced Age: People who are aged 60 years and above usually find it challenging to bear the pain and discomfort of alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
  • Mental, Emotional, Social, Cultural, and Spiritual Needs of the Individual: The length of the inpatient rehab program depends on how intensive the counseling and therapy sessions are. This, in turn, depends on the peculiar needs of the individual. For instance, someone who is not confident about being able to resist the drinking triggers back home will wish to go through an intensive and long-term substance abuse therapy.
  • Choice of Treatment: Inpatient alcohol rehab centers provide customized treatment to people to optimize their chances of attaining sustained sobriety. For instance, some people with severe behavioral and/or emotional disorders benefit from also undergoing an aftercare program.

What are the benefits of long-term inpatient treatment?

Patients who take part in long-term inpatient treatment programs have higher chances of remaining sober for longer periods, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The minimum amount length of stay in inpatient facility is 30 days, and rehabilitation can last for as long as 90 days.

Recovering from alcohol use disorder or full-blown alcoholism is a lifelong journey. But a strong start off the blocks guarantees success. A stay at an inpatient alcohol treatment center ensures that you receive holistic treatment that not only cures the body but also strengthens the mind and boosts the spirit, so you can rebuild your life, mend broken relationships, and fulfill your career goals without ever resorting to alcohol.


Gregory Okhifun

Dr. Gregory Okhifun

Medical Reviewer

Dr. Okhifun is a passionate medical doctor, with over five years’ experience as a general practitioner. His passion for medical education led to his journey in medical writing. He has a wealth of experience writing for hospitals and medical centers, health organizations, telemedicine platforms, wellness organizations, medical tourism publications, addiction websites, and websites focused on nutrition and nutraceuticals.
He also serves as medical coordinator and content writer for Gerocare Solutions, for which he also volunteers as a health advisor/consultant for the elderly.
Dr. Okhifun enjoys traveling, meditation, and reading.

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