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What Happens at Inpatient Alcohol Rehab?


Inpatient rehab, also known as residential treatment, offers people struggling with drug or alcohol addiction with a structured living environment and intensive medical and therapeutic care. As the highest level of care for people suffering from alcohol use disorder, inpatient alcohol rehab programs in Fort Lauderdale provide both medical detox and comprehensive mental health counseling.

If you or a loved one has a drinking problem and is looking into getting help, you may be wondering whether or not residential treatment is right for you. After all, there are a wide variety of programs and therapy approaches available. However, inpatient programs are widely considered the most effective form of addiction treatment available. Let’s take a deeper look into what happens at inpatient alcohol rehab that makes it so effective.

What is the Difference Between Inpatient and Outpatient Treatment?

Residential treatment facilities provide a safe, supportive, and structured environment for people who are starting their journey to sobriety. Patients who enroll in inpatient programs live at the treatment facility among their peers. Under the constant supervision of behavioral health staff, patients are able to receive support at any time of the day while staying separated from drugs and alcohol. Furthermore, patients must follow a strict schedule that consists of waking up at the same time each day, getting ready, going to therapy, participating in group activities, and even going to 12-step meetings.

Outpatient rehab, on the other hand, is a less structured form of treatment where patients live at home and attend therapy sessions several days a week. In many cases, patients will go to outpatient treatment after completing a residential program. However, these programs also serve individuals who don’t have the luxury of attending an inpatient substance abuse program.

What is Inpatient Alcohol Rehab Like?

Whether it is your first time seeking help for your drinking or you are trying to find out details to help a loved one, knowing what happens during inpatient alcohol rehab can help ease some of the fears or worries you may have. Although each alcohol treatment program varies, most residential facilities in Fort Lauderdale provide patients with a full continuum of care consisting of:

  • Alcohol detox
  • Structured living environments
  • Individualized therapies
  • Aftercare

The first step is to clear the body of any and all toxic and harmful substances.

Medical Detox

Alcohol withdrawal is a painful and potentially life-threatening process, so you should never attempt it alone. Upon arriving at detox, you will undergo comprehensive evaluations so doctors and nurses can determine how to best meet your needs. Detoxification is the natural process of clearing substances from the body, but medications may be necessary in order to ensure your safety and comfort during the detox process. Moreover, doctors and nurses are available to patients 24/7 and are ready to intervene in the event of a medical emergency.

In addition to medical assistance, therapy groups and support groups are available to patients staying at an inpatient alcohol detox center. These services can help ease the emotional effects of alcohol withdrawal while keeping individuals busy. Overall, alcohol detox typically lasts between five days and two weeks depending on the individual.[1]

Structured Living

After detox, patients attending inpatient alcohol rehab will be introduced to their temporary living environment. The living environments offered at treatment centers are typically family-style homes or apartment units where peers are encouraged to collaborate with each other when it comes to cooking, cleaning, and general living.

In addition to living among peers, there is also the advantage of living away from people, places, and things that may trigger thoughts of drinking. In fact, many people benefit from changing environments when they go to rehab simply because it physically separates them from their usual drinking environment. On top of that, behavioral technicians monitor the living spaces to ensure that rules are being followed and schedules are being maintained, which helps instill a sense of routine and stability.

Evidence-Based Therapies

One of the most important aspects of inpatient alcohol rehab is that all patients receive an individualized treatment plan. This means that when you arrive at treatment and meet with your primary therapist, he or she will work closely with you to develop a treatment plan that will meet your unique treatment needs and goals. No two people are the same, so no two treatment plans are the same, either. As a result, alcohol rehab may last anywhere from 30 days to several months and consist of various therapies and interventions depending on the person’s needs.

Throughout treatment, you can expect to participate in any or all of the following evidence-based therapies:[2]

  • Group therapy
  • Individual counseling
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT)
  • Motivational interviewing (MI)
  • Family therapy
  • Psychoeducational groups
  • Dual diagnosis (mental health) treatment
  • Medication-assisted treatment
  • Trauma-informed care

These therapies help individuals get to the root causes and conditions of their drinking so they can begin letting go of destructive behaviors and living a healthier life.

A Full Continuum of Care

Although therapy and intensive counseling is an integral part of alcohol treatment, most rehab facilities in Fort Lauderdale provide a full continuum of care through inpatient, outpatient, and alcohol services. As patients progress in their recovery, they move down to lower levels of care. This not only helps ease the transition out of inpatient alcohol rehab, but it also helps provide ongoing support and accountability.

Throughout the continuum of care, additional services that may be offered to you include:

  • Nutritional counseling
  • Spiritual workshops
  • Recreational activities
  • Acupuncture and/or massage
  • Case management
  • 12-step facilitation
  • Alumni groups

By integrating all of these aspects into each person’s treatment plan, patients are given all of the resources they need to build a solid foundation in sobriety.

Get Help for Alcoholism Today

Giving up alcohol isn’t easy, but it is possible. Millions of people are living in recovery today – some of which have come through our doors at Agape Treatment. Our drug and alcohol treatment programs in Fort Lauderdale are based on therapies and techniques that provide our patients with the best possible opportunity for lasting sobriety.

If you or a loved one is ready to get started on the path towards a better life, we’re here to help. Call us today to learn more about our inpatient and outpatient alcohol rehab programs.


  1. Alcohol Detox and Rehab Programs
  2. Treatment for Alcohol Problems

Call the Agape Treatment Center admissions team at 888-614-0077 to learn more about what our addiction and mental health facilities can do for you or your loved one.

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