Drug and alcohol addictions are difficult to overcome without help. Various rehab centres offer treatment programs for people who are ready to gain control over their addictions. Several also offer educational programs to help family members cope with their loved one’s addiction and treatment.

There are several types of rehabilitation programs and facilities, including inpatient and outpatient programs. Some facilities work with specific demographics, such as young adults, men or women, while others welcome a variety of patients.

What to consider when choosing a drug and alcohol rehab centre

Drug detox services

Many rehab centers offer medical detoxification services for people coming off drugs or alcohol. Patients are under the care of doctors and nurses familiar with physical health issues related to withdrawing from substance use.

  • Hospital environment: Detox often takes place in a hospital or in a hospital-like environment where doctors see patients daily, monitor their vital signs, and administer medical treatment as needed.
  • Prerequisite to treatment: In many cases, patients are required to undergo detox as a first step toward achieving sobriety.
  • Round-the-clock supervision: Patients in detox are constantly monitored to ensure their safety.

24-hour on-site care

People going through rehab need access to mental and physical health experts 24 hours a day.

  • Nursing staff: Nurses are available around the clock to provide care to people experiencing physical withdrawal, general illness or pain.
  • Mental health professionals: Psychiatrists and counselors are on call 24 hours a day to assist patients undergoing crises, experiencing psychosis or who need support to avoid returning to drug use.
  • Support staff: Support staff consists of people who have been in recovery for a substantial period of time and who are at rehab centers to support patients in their quest for sobriety.

Experienced substance use treatment staff

Most staff at a rehab center have both training and experience in treating substance-use disorders.

  • Certification: Most states have a certification program for substance-use treatment; rehab center staff usually must have current certification.
  • Master’s degree or higher: Staff usually must have at least a master’s degree in counseling psychology and substance use treatment.
  • Familiarity with substance-use disorders and their treatment: Staff should be aware of different drugs and their effects, the reasons people use drugs and the best ways to treat substance abuse disorders.

Mental health treatment

Effective rehab requires mental health treatment to assist clients to stay sober when they are under stress.

  • Dual diagnosis programs: Some people who have drug and alcohol problems also have mental illness. They need treatment for both conditions for rehab to be effective.
  • Psychotherapy: Group and individual therapy is often a mandatory part of rehab.
  • Psychiatric assessment: New patients may receive a psychiatric assessment to diagnose issues that may be driving their drug and alcohol use and to determine appropriate treatment.

Relapse prevention education

One of the goals of rehab is to help patients to take responsibility for their lives and their sobriety. Patients need education on how to help themselves stay sober in order to eventually live independently again.

  • Self-help groups: Rehab patients often attend 12-step groups in the rehab center. This helps them incorporate group meetings into their routine so that they rely on them to help prevent relapses.
  • Strategy sessions: Therapy sessions may focus on developing relapse-prevention strategies such as calling a friend, writing about feelings and finding healthier behaviors to substitute for addictive behavior.
  • Trigger lists: Patients in rehab explore and list triggers that motivate them to use so that they can avoid situations which make relapse more likely and develop strategies for dealing with triggers.

Abstinence-only environment

Most rehabilitation centers require patients to remain drug-free and alcohol-free while they are in the program.

  • Zero-tolerance policies: Many alcohol and drug rehabs have strict rules about substance use. Patients who violate these rules may be asked to leave the program.
  • Random drug tests: Patients may have to submit to drug tests on a random basis to ensure they are staying clean.
  • Strict visiting hours: Friends and family can only visit on designated days and patients must stay in the center. This minimizes the risk of relapse while the patient is in rehab.

Photo of Types of Rehab Facilities

What are the different types of alcohol & drug rehab centers?

Residential programs

Patients in residential rehab live at the rehab center and attend individual and group treatment sessions throughout the day. These programs last an average of 30 to 90 days, and in most cases, patients can’t leave the center.

Sober living housing

Patients who have completed rehab often live in a sober-living facility. It is generally a group home where residents have their own living space, contribute to the household by cooking, cleaning and doing other chores and follow strict rules such as being home by a certain hour, refraining from drug and alcohol use and either working or seeking employment.

Outpatient programs

Patients who do not live at a rehab center may visit one to attend group and individual therapy. Outpatient services usually focus on relapse prevention.

Harm reduction centers

Harm reduction rehab centers are not as strict about abstinence. Program requirements include demonstrating a commitment to reducing substance use and attending therapy sessions but allow patients to continue to use while enrolled in the program.

Who are rehab centers for?

Adolescents and young adults

Young people often experiment with alcohol and drugs, but some develop serious legal, financial or health problems or do poorly in school. These people may attend rehab programs meant specifically for them to help get their lives back on track.


Chief executive officers and other executives are at particular risk of developing substance use disorders because of the combination of high stress, access to funds and a culture that encourages alcohol use.

People who want to get sober

People who don’t really fit into any specific age range or community but who want to stop using drugs or alcohol may seek rehab services.

Culled from Consumer Affairs



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