Understanding Inpatient Addiction Treatment

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An addiction to alcohol and other drugs can be all-consuming, and attempting to put an end to one’s problematic use of substances can seem like an uphill battle. Even if an individual possesses the strong desire to stop using, the onset of withdrawal symptoms that can arise upon the cessation of use can be enough to force even the most determined of people to return to their drug or alcohol consumption. For this reason, it is often imperative for individuals who are caught in the detrimental cycle of ongoing substance abuse to seek out professional treatment.

One of the best ways to jumpstart one’s recovery from drug or alcohol addiction is to receive inpatient addiction treatment services. In doing so, individuals are afforded a safe environment where they are sheltered from having access to their substances of choice, therefore preventing their ability to continue using. Furthermore, by partaking in inpatient treatment, individuals can receive around-the-clock care that is designed to help them begin the process of recovery.

Inpatient treatment programs offer an array of interventions that allow individuals to experience a comprehensive approach to care. While the particular interventions that are offered can vary amongst different treatment centers, the following may be included:


The first step toward achieving sobriety must include having any and all substances removed from a person’s body. Many individuals who enter inpatient treatment do so while drugs and/or alcohol are currently in their systems. These individuals may therefore benefit from receiving detoxification services prior to beginning to participate in various therapeutic interventions.

Most often done in a medically monitored setting, the physiological process of detoxification, or detox, allows substances of abuse to be safely removed from an individual’s body. While receiving detox services, individuals frequently have the benefit of being supervised by a medical team, which can include doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses, medical or mental health technicians, and addiction treatment specialists, all of whom work to ensure the safety, wellbeing, and comfort of each individual in their care.

By receiving detox, individuals also gain the benefit of having the symptoms of withdrawal that typically arise once the chronic use of substances is stopped alleviated or eliminated completely. Some treatment centers may implement the use of certain medications in order to further enhance comfort. Again, all care is monitored to ensure ongoing safety and treatment success.

Medication management

Not every individual will need to have prescription medications included in his or her overall plan of care. Most commonly, such medications are prescribed when an individual is suffering from a co-occurring mental health disorder in conjunction with his or her addiction to drugs or alcohol. If this type of pharmaceutical care is required, the prescribing and monitoring of those medications can take place within an inpatient treatment setting.

Many treatment centers either have a psychiatrist employed within the center or will contract out for psychiatric services. In either case, individuals will benefit from having consistent check-ins with a psychiatrist in order to ensure the effectiveness of any medication that is prescribed, or to make any changes if necessary.

Individual therapy

Individual therapy sessions take place in a private, confidential setting where individuals are able to meet one-on-one with their primary therapist or counselor. The frequency of such sessions will vary depending on the particular treatment center, as well as on the individual’s specific needs. These sessions can be an optimal place for individuals to process through their experiences in treatment, while also obtaining the encouragement and guidance they need to continue on their road to recovery.

Group therapy

Group therapy sessions can be immensely beneficial when individuals are working to overcome an addiction to drugs or alcohol. In inpatient treatment settings, group therapy sessions often occur multiple times per day, though the true frequency of such will be dependent upon the particular program guidelines at each center.

By participating in group therapy sessions, individuals can give and receive support, education, and encouragement to and from one another. This not only assists in the recovery process as a whole, but it also allows individuals to realize that they are not alone in their journeys and struggles. This can serve to remove the sense of isolation that often accompanies the presence of an addition and promote further healing.

Experiential therapy

Experiential therapies are meant to serve as therapeutic interventions that complement more traditional and rigorous treatment options. Examples of experiential therapies can include music therapy, art therapy, and recreational activities. The offerings of such will vary from program to program.

Family therapy

Involving one’s family members is of the utmost importance when an individual is recovering from an addiction to alcohol or drugs. For this reason, many inpatient treatment programs offer the option of holding family therapy sessions. During these sessions, which are most commonly led by a therapist or counselor, the individual in recovery and his or her family members can discuss the ways in which addiction has impacted the family unit as a whole. This can serve to help mend broken or strained relationships, as well as to help family members learn ways that they can best be of support throughout their loved one’s time in treatment and once treatment has come to an end.

Discharge Planning and Continuing Care Options

Inpatient care is typically not meant to last for an extended period of time. It is usually meant to serve the purpose of jumpstarting an individual’s recovery journey. As such, most inpatient treatment programs go to great lengths to ensure that a thorough and appropriate continuing care plan is put into place prior to an individual’s discharge from inpatient treatment.

When developing this plan, an individual’s treatment team will explore options for continuing care that will be of most benefit to him or her. This can include anything from participating in a residential treatment program, engaging in a partial hospitalization program (PHP) or intensive outpatient program (IOP), or committing to traditional outpatient services. More often than not, the continue care plan will also include recommendations for various support groups that the individual may opt to participate in that can encourage continued recovery and prevent future relapse.

If you or someone in your life is struggling with an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol, please consider participating in an inpatient treatment program. Doing so can assist in overcoming crises and serve as a starting point for long-lasting healing.

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