What to Expect During Alcohol Rehab

If you are currently debating whether to enter a rehabilitation program to help treat your alcohol addiction, you probably have a lot of fear, apprehension, and questions.

You might wonder: can this really help me? Is this the right rehab for me? Will I be able to afford it? What is rehab like? What exactly is the alcohol rehab process?

All this uncertainty can make it hard to plan, let alone put into action. This is an especially difficult process when you’re already struggling with an alcohol dependency that has likely begun to dramatically affect the quality of your life.

Alcohol rehab is nothing to be afraid of though. The right program can help you to make life-changing breakthroughs that can help you to achieve long-term sobriety and freedom from addiction.

Understanding what happens in alcohol rehab can help to make the treatment process less intimidating. This is what to expect when you enter an alcoholism treatment program.

Checking in to the Alcohol Rehab Center

Your recovery begins the moment you check in to the program. There is a generally codified procedure for patient check-ins, though it may vary slightly depending on your facility.

When you arrive, you will be given an intake interview by staff members to evaluate your unique needs. In order to be successful, your treatment must be tailored to you. You may also fill out a questionnaire to help the staff determine the exact nature of your addiction, underlying causes for your substance abuse, or any co-occurring illnesses that may need to be addressed.

If your interviewer determines during the assessment that it will be medically necessary, you will be transferred to detox to begin the next step in the alcohol rehab process.

Detox and Withdrawal

Detox and withdrawal is the worst and most challenging part of the recovery process. Sometimes detoxing from alcohol can be deadly without proper care, so it’s important that you seek medical help when you plan to stop drinking. Doing so in the care of a rehabilitation center guarantees your safety.

It also guarantees that you will have help and support in weathering the physical and psychological symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. The physical symptoms you can expect during this process are:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Shaking
  • Headache
  • Increased heart rate
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Sweating and clamminess
  • Seizures

Psychologically, you may experience:

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Nightmares
  • Depression
  • Intense cravings
  • Hallucinations

The symptoms of withdrawal may be felt as soon as within a few hours of your last drink. The first two days are generally when these symptoms peak, and you are the most at risk of serious illness or injury. Symptoms generally last about a week (or slightly longer) depending upon the degree of prior use.

Your rehab will help to monitor and manage these symptoms to make them less painful. Depending upon the nature of the program and the severity of the symptoms medical professionals may administer alcohol treatment medications such as naltrexone, benzodiazepines, or acamprosate to help temper the effects of withdrawal.


After you have completed your detox, you may enter the therapy portion of care. Every alcohol rehab center will have a different approach to therapy and patient care and every single patient has unique needs that will need to be accommodated for successful treatment.

You can expect to attend both individual and group therapy in an alcohol rehab center. Usually, you will attend therapy daily. These sessions will be focused around helping you to identify coping mechanisms and to aid you in building the foundation you need in order to maintain long-term sobriety.

In addition to behavioral therapy conducted individually and in groups, you may receive family or marriage therapy. Sometimes, your relationships with those closest to you can contribute to your alcohol addiction.

Professionals in a rehab setting can help you and your loved ones build the skills that you will both need in the future to navigate the recovery process together, as a family.

Education & Alcohol Rehab Aftercare

As you approach the end of your stay in rehab, staff members will begin to prepare you to transition back into “the real world.” This transition can sometimes prove challenging. You may have started to rely on the structure and support you found in your alcohol treatment program.

Going back to your life, where you may face new temptations and old stressors might trigger cravings. In order to prevent relapse, it’s important to work with the team of dedicated healthcare professionals at your rehab center to develop a customized, comprehensive plan for continued care.

The plan you develop for aftercare might include continued therapy, transitional therapy, medication management, referrals to outside programs and help with enrollment, lists of local support groups and 12-step groups you could join to help build community, and more. Your aftercare plan will depend largely upon your long-term goals and immediate needs.

This plan for long-term care is one of the most important parts of the recovery process, as the maintenance of your sobriety is what will allow you to continue to live a happy, full, and peaceful life outside the walls of your alcohol rehab program.

Find an Alcohol Rehab Center Near You

Finding a treatment program that’s right for you can be so overwhelming that you want to quit before you even start. Fortunately, the professionals with Addiction Intervention Services can help you decide.

If you’re still feeling uncertain about what to expect in an alcohol rehab program, or if you don’t know where to start, contact us today to get the help and guidance you deserve.

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