What Happens At Rehab?


Deciding to check yourself into rehab is a big step in the life of an alcoholic or person with drug dependency. It can be intimidating, especially if you don’t know what to expect.

Join us, today, as we outline the rehabilitation process so you understand how it works and how long it takes.

What It Actually Is

Rehabilitation is a medical service that helps patients overcome an alcohol or drug dependencies. These are typically available in either inpatient or residential varieties, meaning you can opt to “check in” for an extended period of time, or for a shorter medical stay while you detox.

This is a step that’s meant to mark the beginning of a change in your overall lifestyle. But what goes on during a stint in rehab?

What The Process Is Like

A check in at a rehab clinic can seem intimidating, but really the process is quite straightforward:


Staff members will assess your history with whatever substance you’re checking in for, either over the phone or in person. They’ll also look at your medical history, family dynamics, and any previous treatments.

Once you’ve been cleared by hospital staff, you’ll have the facility explained to you, get entered into the system, and brought on board.


Your first step to actually kicking the habit, so to speak, is known as detox. And it’s tough. This is the period where many people feel their worst, as they are kept off of their dependent substances while doctors administer drugs to help them through. You’ll feel low – possibly even sick. It’s part of the process of your body filtering out any toxins it may still be dependent on.

Time Spent

A day at rehab will include:

  • one-on-one and group therapy sessions
  • 12-step recovery meetings (and variations of those)
  • doctor appointments

You can also expect meals three times per day, with short breaks to unwind and reflect. You may also receive time to complete homework assignments, work on your journaling, practice yoga, and exercise.


The last part of a stay in rehab is leaving. This can happen after you’ve outstayed your time, or if you’ve been given a clean bill of health and opt to leave early

How Long It Takes

Of course, the obvious answer to “How long will rehab take?” is “How long is a piece of string?” The length of your stay really will depend on how long you’ve been dependent, how strong your constitution is, and how long you’ve been addicted to.

Still, there are some things we can say for sure, across the board:

  • Detoxes take around four days
  • A hospital residential treatment program clocks in at around 16 days
  • Longterm residential treatments take 90 days
  • Outpatient treatment can take as long as 130 days

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