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24 hours rehab
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24 hours rehab

Call Now for Immediate Confidential Help and Advice 02038 115 619

24 hours rehab
Immediate Access for help and advice

Residential Alcohol Rehab Treatment Explained

Residential Alcohol Addiction Treatment

There are many different ways to treat alcohol addiction; however, in the most challenging – and dangerous – cases, residential treatment is typically the best option.

What is Residential Alcohol Addiction Rehab Treatment?

As the name suggests, residential alcohol addiction rehab treatment is the treatment of alcohol addiction in a residential rehabilitation (rehab) facility. it is usually only the inpatient treatment option, during which a person will reside in the facility itself, which would be described as “residential” treatment.

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Residential rehab stays usually last for between one and three months (though shorter and more intensive, or longer, treatment programmes may be given as and when appropriate) and comprise the provision of a comprehensive addiction treatment plan within a confidential, secure, pleasant and friendly environment. Treatment will typically include a detoxification phase, during which withdrawal will be managed and monitored by experienced doctors followed by therapy, with other elements, including fitness and dietary planning, being provided throughout the programme.

People suffering from alcoholism in residential treatment will enjoy the 24/7 on-site presence of medical professionals working to ensure their safety and comfort, and potentially from the provision of medicine if required. They will also be able to benefit from the presence of other individuals in treatment who can offer support and companionship.

It is important to remember that recovery is not complete when we leave the residential alcohol addiction treatment facility. Instead, it is a lifelong process. Residential alcohol addiction treatment is designed to overcome the immediate pressures of dependence and to prepare those suffering from addiction for a sober life outside the facility, including providing them with psychological defence mechanisms against relapse, maintaining recovery and sobriety requires constant dedication and diligence. People in recovery may wish to obtain ongoing support from counselling, self-help groups and the like to address the structures they have developed during residential treatment.

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What Happens in Residential Addiction Rehab?

Every journey through addiction and recovery is unique. Treatment needs to be highly personalised to reflect the very personal nature of addiction and the circumstances and events which lead up to it. However, some commonalities may be found across the majority of residential alcohol addiction treatment programmes.


No addiction treatment can hope to be successful if the abuse of the substance/s of choice continues, and alcohol addiction treatment is certainly no different. Detox is considered a vital early stage of treatment, as cleansing the system of alcohol (and any other substances of abuse) tackles the immediate pressures of alcohol dependence and ensures a state of sobriety within which the person can engage fully with therapy and other components of the treatment plan.

During detox, alcohol withdrawal syndrome may manifest. This is an especially complicated condition which may be dangerous if not handled properly. In rehab withdrawal is constantly monitored and managed by trained experts who will be able to intervene if troubling symptoms manifest. They are able to prescribe various medications to counter the worst effects of some of those symptoms.

If you are an alcoholic and are contemplating an independent detox, it is vital to bear in mind that alcohol withdrawal can be very dangerous and you mustn’t attempt to go through detox without at least a general medical assistance.

Group therapy to address chemical health

Chemical health is an understanding of the health impact of substance abuse, including alcohol abuse, and how to limit that impact to exist healthily and without uncontrollable risks. Group therapy allows a number of people in recovery to come together to share their experiences and advice. Thus, they can work collectively to bolster their awareness of the effects and consequences of substance abuse and how to live without it.

Mental health therapy groups

Addiction is fundamentally a mental health disorder, and also commonly occurs alongside various other mental health issues. Mental health therapy groups can enable group members to share their thoughts and experiences and to bring new perspectives to bear on challenges with which their peers may be struggling, as well as to offer companionship and support.

Individual mental health assessments and therapy

Depending on the facility in question, most of the therapy provided in residential alcohol addiction treatment is carried out on a one-to-one basis over a series of appointments. A broad range of different therapy approaches may be available, as some may need to experiment with various methodologies before they can settle on that which is most suitable and effective.

Individual chemical health assessments and therapy

As well as group sessions, chemical health can be addressed in one-to-one settings, with therapists working alongsiude the people going through treatment within a range of models and methodologies to remediate the problematic thought processes and behaviours which have led to substance abuse and thence to addiction.

Medical appointments

The health and safety of those in treatment are a top priority for any treatment facility. Regular medical appointments are an indispensable aspect of the treatment programme. Frequent check-ups are carried out to assess the physical and mental wellbeing, while any individuals being provided with medication will also have supplementary appointments to check on the progress and to assess whether dosages need to be increased or lowered, if new medication needs to be brought into the treatment plan, or if medication can be stopped altogether.

Wellness and fitness activities

The philosophy of “healthy body, healthy mind” is essential in alcohol addiction treatment, especially as many suffer from a substantial physical health degradation as a result of their alcohol abuse. Other consequences of addiction, such as a lack of exercise, poor diet etc., also influence negatively the overall health. The best rehabs in the UK provide bespoke fitness regimes within their own gyms, in order both to improve overall fitness levels and to provide a self-esteem and confidence boost. Regular achievement of goals and an improvement in appearance, as well as in overall health, will help those in treatment look and feel better.

Family programme participation

Families are often vital elements of the recovery process, providing a loving and supporting environment within which to heal after the end of a treatment plan. They can, themselves, take great benefits from this type of family therapy by learning how to tackle some of the harm and pain which addiction has caused to their relationships. Many facilities now offer family therapy which can enable family members to get involved in their loved one’s treatment and begin themselves to heal after a challenging and distressing time.

Nutritional assessment

Nutrition plans can also be provided to address any damage done as a result of an unhealthy and/or inadequate diet (widespread in alcoholics). Bespoke dietary plans can reintroduce healthy eating into one’s life in a way which doesn’t simply benefit them during treatment but can prepare them to continue to eat sensibly and healthily once they leave the facility. The best UK private rehabs rely on experienced private chefs who use only the highest quality produce to prepare the meals for each of their clients.

Spiritual care

For some who are addicted to alcohol, spiritual care is as essential as any therapy addressing physical and mental health. They may feel spiritually lost or bereft or be experiencing spiritual struggles which have contributed to their alcohol abuse. Some facilities emphasise the spiritual aspects of their treatment programmes while others may provide dedicated onsite spiritual care, including sessions with religious figures and space set aside for spiritual healing.
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Educational and experiential workshops

Reintegrating into normal life can be a daunting challenge for many alcoholics, especially those who have neglected education, training or professional experience. Many facilities provide educational and experiential workshops aimed at developing these core life skills, and potentially to provide new skills and capabilities which can be taken with them beyond the facility.

The learning process itself can be an extremely beneficial force in alcohol addiction treatment, boosting self-esteem, providing simple enjoyment and companionship and fostering a sense of purpose which may hitherto have been absent. Some facilities provide formal experiential therapy within which clients can use experiences to recontextualise prior events and actions and to develop a sounder and healthier footing for life in recovery.

Continuing care planning

Continuing care (known as aftercare) is any programme of care following the completion of a residential alcohol addiction treatment programme.

Most quality addiction treatment facilities offer up to a year’s free aftercare once a client leaves residential treatment. This would include a structured schedule of activities and commitments (such as support groups, private addiction counselling, even marathons and workshops) and regular appointments back at the facility for check-ups. A maintenance of the prescribed medication for post-acute, or protracted, withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) in which symptoms including depression and anxiety may persist for months or even years, would also be included. Aftercare programmes aim to provide the strongest possible foundations for an effective long-term recovery to supplement the techniques and strategies learnt while in residential treatment.

Therapy Types in Residential Addiction Rehab

At the core of all addiction treatment lies therapy. While detox can cleanse the system of substances of abuse and help overcome the initial challenges of dependence, only therapy can reveal and address the underlying psychological causes of substance abuse and addiction and enable the alcoholic to change the behaviours and thinking which led to their struggles.

A wide variety of therapeutic approaches and environments is applied ias part of the residential addiction treatment. Each facility, understandably, will only offer a certain number of different methodologies. If you are considering residential alcohol addiction treatment, it may be that the type of therapy impacts your choice of facility and treatment programme.

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Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)

ACT is an approach to counselling and clinical behavioural analysis, which employs several mindfulness and acceptance strategies and commitment and behavioural change techniques to develop psychological flexibility. Rather than attempting to get rid entirely of negative and destructive thoughts and emotions, ACT encourages learning how to be receptive to such feelings and manage them effectively, so that instead of constantly striving to avoid problematic situations we can experience them calmly and with composure.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)

Of all the therapy models typically offered in residential treatment, CBT is probably that with which clients will be most familiar due to its frequent appearance in the mainstream media. CBT seeks to improve general mental health, and to address specific problems (such as alcohol addiction), by identifying and remediating destructive thinking and behaviour, and to assist clients in the development of coping strategies and emotional regulation. Therapists work with the rehab’s clients to create effective and relevant tools to counter the pressures of addiction, especially triggers, and impart new skills in information processing to assist with achieving a fruitful life back in the everyday world.

Contingency management/motivational incentives

Contingency management (CM), frequently also known as motivational incentives, is a type of behavioural therapy in which positive reinforcement and (less frequently) punishment are used to condition behaviour. Engaging in specific positive behaviours (such as passing substance abuse tests or regular attendance at therapy) can win certain rewards, whilst failure to live up to commitments regarding behaviour can result in punishment.

Interpersonal therapy

Interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) focusses on finding a resolution to interpersonal challenges. It is an attachment-focused therapy based on the idea that mood and relationships can affect each other profoundly. IPT teaches clients how to improve communication and other interpersonal skills, and to develop social support structures to help with any challenges that can crop up during a protracted recovery.

Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT)

DBT is a modified approach to cognitive behavioural therapy which combines standard CBT techniques with various concepts derived from eastern Buddhist meditative practices, including mindfulness, distress tolerance and acceptance. The focus of DBT is on enabling the client first to define, and then to go on to achieve, a “life worth living”.

Medication-assisted therapies (MAT)

MAT is the use of therapy alongside medication in the treatment of addiction. Some medicines used in the treatment of alcohol addiction specifically are only considered to be effective when taken in conjunction with therapy.

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT)

MBCT uses traditional CBT techniques in conjunction with mindfulness and certain other meditative practices. MBCT was originally developed as a strategy to reduce rates of relapse, and is viewed as being especially effective in reducing the frequency and severity of cravings.

Motivational enhancement therapy (MET)

MET uses the content of motivational interviewing sessions in order to produce an analysis which can help clients achieve set goals and create a more positive focus for life than substance abuse. Unlike some other approaches, MET does not see to guide clients into and through recovery, but to foster internal change which can then make recovery easier and more desirable.

Motivational interviewing (MI)

Motivational interviewing seeks to foment behavioural change via the investigation and resolution of ambivalence. MI is client-centred, non-judgemental and non-adversarial, with therapists being more assertive in directing the client than is the case in many other therapy methodologies.

Solution-focused brief therapy/solution-focused therapy

Solution-focused brief therapy (SFBT) looks at solutions to problems rather than becoming fixated on problems themselves. People suffering from an addiction in SFBT are asked to examine solutions which they may previously have applied to various life challenges and to explain why they have not been more successful. In this way, new and improved solutions may be developed which are more suitable and effective.

Psychoeducational group

Psychoeducational group therapy applies CBT principles to group discussions within which clients can become more educated and aware about their addictions and the coping strategies they can employ. Typical psychoeducational group topics include skills training, relapse prevention, realistic thinking and trigger recognition and avoidance.

Twelve-step facilitation

Twelve-step facilitation therapy is intended to increase the likelihood that those suffering from an alcohol addiction will engage with 12-step organisations such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Twelve-step facilitation helps those who are addicted to alcohol learn about the famous 12-step methodology initially developed by AA’s founders and seeks to shape behaviours and thinking to make them more aligned with 12-step principles ahead of attending AA (or similar) meetings.

Factors that Play a Role in Treatment Recommendations

Numerous factors can affect the way in which treatment is provided in residential facilities, and which facilities might be most suitable for specific types of addiction.


Age can affect treatment in many ways, including the setting in which treatment can be given, the nature of any medication which might be prescribed, and the age of the other clients in treatment. Various age-specific facilities now operate around the country, including some dedicated to treating young alcoholics specifically.

Medical history

Understandably, our medical history has profound implications for the nature of any treatment we may receive for alcoholism. In particular, our health status may impact upon any decisions regarding the prescription of medication or the rate at which detox needs to be applied so as not to create too great a shock to the system.

Co-occurring mental and/or substance use disorders

When a substance use disorder such as alcohol addiction occurs alongside another mental health disorder, the condition is known as dual diagnosis. Dual diagnosis can make addiction treatment vastly more complicated as both disorders need to be treated simultaneously, so specialist care is usually recommended.

History of addiction

As a rule of thumb, the longer someone has been abusing alcohol, and the more alcohol they consume, the more challenging their addiction is likely to be and the likelier they are to develop life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. Treatment can also be made much more complicated by the presence of other addictions, each requiring treatment which might interfere with the treatment for alcohol addiction.

Social support networks available

Alcohol-dependent people who are suffering from addiction frequently have insufficient social support networks – possibly because during the course of their addictions they may have moved away from previously close friends and loved ones and into peer groups primarily consisting of other alcoholics, or because their alcohol abuse may have stemmed from loneliness and isolation originally. Individuals with poor social support may struggle in recovery once they leave the secure confines of a facility, and this will impact upon the type of therapy provided and the nature of any aftercare plan given once treatment is concluded.

Types of Residential Alcohol Rehab Programmes

Treatment programmes can differ significantly from one facility to the next, in terms of the duration of treatment, the therapy models provided, the calibre of the accommodation and many other factors. Residential treatment itself can also be divided into two primary types.

Residential rehab

Inpatient residential treatment sees clients residing onsite 24/7, receiving treatment including therapy during the day. This form of treatment takes the rehab’s clients away from the environments in which alcohol abuse has been able to slide into addiction, and removes all distractions without which they are able to focus fully upon their treatment and their recovery journeys.

Partial hospitalisation

In cases where 24/7 treatment is not considered necessary or appropriate, some facilities may offer partial hospitalisation, which is a kind of halfway step between inpatient and outpatient treatment programmes. In partial hospitalisation, those who are addicted to alcohol may attend the facility for much of each day, typically for between five and seven days a week, to participate in treatment and receive some of the other benefits offered by the facility, but can return home or to other accommodation overnight.

Usually, people suffering from addiction are required to demonstrate constant improvement and to abide by certain conditions including sobriety if they are to continue to be able to receive treatment on a partial hospitalisation basis. Failure to observe these conditions may see the client having to return to the facility on an inpatient basis for further treatment.

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How Long Does Residential Alcohol Rehab Take?

How long someone needs to spend in a residential rehab depends on many different factors including the severity of their addiction, any co-occurring mental health disorders, the support structures they may have and others. Some treatment may last only a couple of weeks; others may need to spend several months in a facility. Typical inpatient stays last for between 30 and 90 days.

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Advantages of a Residential Programme

Residential rehab provides an alcohol addict with a secure, confidential, tranquil and friendly environment in which they can focus completely on their recovery, away from the temptations and of the outside world which have led them into addiction. Expert medical support and assistance are onsite 24/7, while all of the components of a holistic addiction treatment plan can be provided onsite. Private rehab clients can also benefit from the support and companionship of peers who understand the nature of addiction and all its many challenges.

How Much Does Residential Addiction Treatment Cost?

Residential alcohol addiction treatment costs can vary hugely from one facility to another.

Very approximately, treatment costs can range from between £4,000 and £15,000 per month, depending on factors including the nature of the facility, the type of treatment and medication provided, and optional extras.

How to Choose an Alcohol Residential Rehab

Choosing the right rehab can be daunting, especially for individuals with no experience of addiction treatment. Firstly, decide for yourself a “wishlist” of the type of treatment you are looking for and what you wish to achieve.

Residential Alcohol Addiction Treatment and Rehab Success Rate

Gauging success rates for alcohol addiction treatment is a thankless task, partly because many people who have gone through addiction treatment do not update their treatment facilities on how successful (or otherwise) their recoveries have been. It is clear, though, that success rates do differ significantly from one facility to the next.

In 2012, a report by the NHS’ National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse put the success rates enjoyed by the best-performing private treatment facilities at between 60% and 80% (of the number of clients completing treatment who were still reporting abstinence five years later). At the other extreme, however, poor performers could only boast success rates of less than 20%.

If you are thinking of engaging in residential alcohol addiction treatment, request evidence of success from any facility you may be considering.

Questions to Ask Residential Alcohol Addiction Treatment Centres

When considering treatment, the more research you can do into individual facilities, the better your choice is likely to be. Some questions to ask facilities you are considering include:

  • Is the programme fully licensed?
  • What certification and accreditation can staff show you that show that the facility is fully approved?
  • How long will treatment last?
  • Does the facility offer programmes of different lengths, and which would be most appropriate for you?
  • What therapy models are available?
  • Can you try different types of therapy if you do not feel that the standard approaches are
  • working for you?
  • What are the success rates for that facility?
  • Can staff provide evidence of success over one year, five years and ten years after treatment, and testimonials from clients who have been through treatment?
  • What maintenance programmes are available after completing treatment?
  • How can your treatment specialist help you transition into those programmes?
  • What success rates have been achieved?
  • What are payment terms?
  • Does the facility accept health insurance, or offer any financial assistance including credit?
  • Will you have contact with loved ones during treatment? How is such contact managed?
  • Are visits allowed and if so what is the framework for them?
  • What medical care is onsite?
  • Is care 24/7?
  • What experience do they have?
  • Can you see evidence of their qualifications?
  • What happens in case of emergency?
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Residential Alcohol Addiction Treatment & Health Insurance

Although alcohol addiction treatment can be expensive, many clients are able to cover the cost with health insurance. It is important to note, however, that not all health insurance covers residential addiction treatment. If you are uncertain about your coverage, contact your insurer and ask them to confirm in writing what your policy will and will not cover.

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Facts and Statistics about Residential Alcohol Rehab

  • A National Drug Treatment Monitoring System (NDTMS) report showed that in 2017/18, 75,787 Britons were receiving treatment for alcohol addiction.
  • Some 589,101 alcohol-dependent British adults were in need of specialist treatment in 2017/18, according to the NDTMS.
  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) puts the number of people suffering from alcoholism worldwide at over 200 million.
  • WHO figures show that some 3.3 million people die each year (just under 6% of all human deaths) as result of alcohol abuse.
  • Alcoholics Anonymous has over 2 million members worldwide.

Get help today

Accepting that you have an alcohol problem can be extremely challenging – but it is a vital step if you are to get the help you need to overcome your addiction.

Alcoholism is a very dangerous condition and the sooner you can take that step, the better your long-term prospects will be. Get in touch with your GP and or an addiction specialist to discuss your situation and to find out what treatment options you may be able to engage in, including any residential rehab facilities which might be appropriate for you.

Take control of your life – get started on the road to recovery

Many alcoholics feel that they have given up control of their lives to alcohol – but with professional help, even those who have been addicted to alcohol for a long period can turn their lives around. Don’t spend any more time struggling under the burden of alcohol addiction: contact your GP and/or an addiction specialist today and set out on the journey to recovery and the life you want and deserve.

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How much does residential alcohol treatment cost?
The cost of residential addiction treatment varies very significantly from one facility to another. As a very rough guide, treatment costs between £4,000 and £15,000 per month; contact an addiction specialist, or specific facilities, for more exact costs.
How do I pay for alcohol rehab treatment?
There are various ways to pay for treatment, including health insurance and possibly credit if you do not have the necessary financial backing immediately. Speak with an addiction specialist about how best to pay for any residential alcohol addiction treatment you may be considering.
Can rehab stop me drinking?
In the short term, residential rehab can keep you far from alcohol and make it impossible for you to rink onsite. Over the longer term, however, nothing can keep you completely isolated from temptation: alcohol is near-ubiquitous in the UK. What rehab can do, however, is give you the psychological defence mechanisms you need to resist that temptation and lead a normal healthy life – though recovery is an ongoing process requiring constant dedication.
How can I make a loved one go to alcohol rehab?
No alcohol addiction treatment can hope to be successful unless the addict truly wants to stop abusing alcohol. Moreover, confronting a loved one about their condition can cause more harm than good. If someone close to you is suffering from an alcohol addiction, contact an addiction specialist to discuss how best to approach the situation – and remember always to prioritise your safety and that of those around you.
How do I know I have an alcohol problem?
A useful rule of thumb is: if you have to ask if you have an alcohol problem, you probably do! Certainly, if you have tried and failed to stop drinking, or if your health and/or life circumstances have begun to suffer as a result of your relationship with alcohol, you should seek help immediately.

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