What to expect coming into an inpatient treatment facility?

What is Inpatient Treatment?

Inpatient Treatment refers to medical treatment that is provided in a hospital or facility that requires at least one overnight stay. With outpatient treatment, patients receive medical services performed in an office-based setting or clinic. Roughly 21 million Americans have at least one addiction, but only about 10% of them receive treatment. Here’s five things you can expect when checking into an inpatient rehab facility.

  1. First, you will be searched upon entry of the facility, both body and luggage. Before you fill out any paperwork, a male or female staff member is required to do a physical search of your clothes and check to make sure no drugs or paraphernalia are being smuggled in. This is for the safety of both the patient admitting and the current residents of the house. Next, the clothes you packed will be put through the washer and dryer. Any dangerous contraband and personal items including cell phone, keys, wallet etc. will be placed into your personal bin, which is locked inside the staff office.
  2. Then you will begin signing the intake paperwork which includes various consents to treatment, financial agreements, medical assessments, program rules and expectations, and releases of information for any friends or family members. Legally, these documents must be signed during the time of admission in order to participate in the program.
  3. Next, you will be allowed one “safe call” to either a friend or family, to let them know you made it in safely. You will be placed on a 3-day blackout period which means no phone privileges. Most treatment centers do not allow cell phone use, house phone is available during allotted times. This policy is in place, so patients are not distracted by outside issues while they receive treatment.
  4. After you have finished intake, staff will show you to the room you are assigned to. At first, you will usually be put in the detox room so staff can monitor your symptoms more closely. After you complete the detox portion of the program, generally 3-5 days, when you feel more stable you will move to a residential room where you will stay for the duration of your stay.
  5. Within the first 24 hours of admission, you will be seen by the nurse for another medical assessment than to the Doctor’s office for a complete physical and full medical and mental evaluation. The doctor will prescribe standard medications for discomfort along with a 5-7-day medication taper to slowly help you detox. The doctor may order labs and tests based on your health history.

When all is said and done, you will be encouraged to rest, eat, and drink lots of water. In the first couple days you may feel intense withdrawal symptoms like anxiety and discomfort, which is normal for any kind of medical detox. Once your body starts to recover and you finish detoxing, you will meet with your primary therapist and case manager. At residential, you will be expected to attend all group activities including psychotherapy groups, drug and alcohol education, individual therapy, 12 step meetings, yoga/meditation, breathwork, relapse prevention, case management, daily living skills, exercise and chores.

A lot of times people do not stay sober on their first attempt, which is why it is highly recommended to follow the treatment plan your case manager determines based on your needs.

The clinical team will always strongly suggest you enroll in an Outpatient Program and stay in a sober living environment. 30 days in treatment will not cure a life-long battle with drugs or alcohol, it will get you physically sober and mentally stronger. The journey to recovery never ends, you will need to treat this disease every day which in the rooms they say, “it’s a daily reprieve”. By surrounding yourself with people that are positive influences and support your new lifestyle in time, you will begin to feel a sense of safety in the community of 12 step programs. There are many other non 12 step recovery modalities which some people prefer rather than anonymous programs, which are also available.

Let’s get real here, I often hear “relapse is a part of recovery”, which essentially is true however, it doesn’t have to be. Getting sober is easy, most addicts and alcoholics know what it feels like to be sick. Most wake-up every day, sweating, shaking, ready to throw up feeling sick and tired of being sick and tired. It gets to a point where you feel as if your underwater and coming up for air is getting drunk or using, trapped within a prison of your own distorted thinking. There are lots of ways we can “get sober”, whether you do it for family, court system, significant other, kids or yourself which they say “whatever gets you here” but I was always taught, “it’s what keeps you coming back”. When you finally hit that point to where the pain is greater than the fear of changing, you’re ready to take the next step. For many of us this includes checking into detox. Most require the structure, safety and support that Inpatient Treatment offers. We may have used alone, and so the isolation of addiction creates however, we cannot recover alone. Many of us have tried to do this on our own on either a couch, mom’s house, county jail, 51/50, sitting in a car, in a garage, whatever your bottom looks like try and find the similarities rather than the differences. Because pain is the touchstone of spiritual growth.