How does a rehab work?

The slightly stuffy answer is at a rehab is a clinical facility, in the same way that a hospital is a clinical facility, although a rehab is not a hospital it has a number of similarities in terms of a range of clinical staff and therapeutic programmes designed to help people who have an illness.

A rehab will be residential normally, although there are daycare programs that run from rehabs, and much good outreach work that is also done by rehabs and other types of alcohol and drug rehab programs.

However for most people when they think of a rehab, they think of an institution where people go to try out and get clean and then come out again a month or so later and hopefully either don’t drink or do drugs again.

Although this is a somewhat stereotypical understanding of a rehab, it is fundamentally true.

A rehab will normally be residential because there is a belief that treatment can work better if the individual is taken out of their normal environment and put somewhere where they are safe and can be looked after for a period of time outside of their normal work/family life. This approach has two particular aspects.


One is that it creates a bit of a bubble, where the individual can feel safe enough to begin the therapeutic work they need to do to help them deal with their alcohol/drug problem. The other aspect is that this can then create a slight problem when people leave rehab treatment in terms of integrating the effect of this bubble back into their normal family or worklife.

A rehab should fully understand the nature of this dilemma in terms of the bubble effect, and should actively be helping to combine the transition of both these effects in the individual.A rehab will normally be set in a fairly luxurious set of surroundings both physical and environmentally.

There is a belief that the nature of rehab, although often strict in one sense, should be conducted in an environment that is a serene and tranquil setting, as this provides a background for someone who is an alcoholic to feel safe and secure, which can play a part in providing a context in order for them to get sober and stay sober.

In addition, a rehab will have a very structured and disciplined approach to certain areas of an individual’s life when they are in rehab, which many people find difficult to deal with. There is likely to be a very tight timetable that determines the structure of the individual’s life, although some areas of the timetable may be optional or at the discretion of the individual’s own needs.

A rehab is likely to have an incredibly specific list of what people are allowed to take in and use during their time in rehab, and this should be fully explained by the admissions officer of the rehab when processing the applicant.