What Happens in a Drug Rehab Program?

If you or someone you love is considering drug rehab, you know the challenges it presents. It’s an overwhelming prospect to leave your home, family, friends, and lifestyle behind. But on the other side of that hurdle is sobriety, and that’s a goal worth fighting for.

One thing that could decide to enter drug rehab easier is knowing what to expect when you’re inside. That’s why we’ve created this guide to help you determine whether or not drug rehab is right for you.

Inpatient vs. Outpatient Drug Rehab

First, it’s important to mention that there are two kinds of drug rehab: inpatient and outpatient. For this guide, we’re going to be mainly discussing inpatient rehab.

However, outpatient drug rehab is another effective method of combating drug addiction. Instead of checking yourself into a facility for a length of time, outpatient drug rehab allows you to attend a few, intensive therapy sessions a week while you maintain your normal routine.

Many people dealing with addiction have a hard time resisting the temptation to use when they’re in outpatient rehab for the first time. It may be best to attend inpatient treatment and then transition into outpatient drug rehab after you’ve gone through the detox process.


When you first arrive at an inpatient treatment facility, you’ll go through an intake process. A staff member will likely interview you to learn more about you. Right away, they’re able to customize your treatment plan.

Typically, you’ll stay in inpatient rehab for 30 days, 60 days, or 90 days, depending on the program. In general 90 days is considered the length that most patients are recommended to stay.


After your intake is finished, you’ll start the detox process. During this time, the drugs or alcohol will start to leave your body. It can be a difficult and uncomfortable process for most people.

Your body needs to work through the detoxification process to get rid of the addictive substance in your body. This will get you mentally and physically ready for the work you’ll do in rehab.

Depending on what you used and for how long, your detox process could take as long as two weeks.

If you suddenly stop taking heroin, morphine, benzodiazepines, or alcohol, your withdrawal will be more severe. In these cases, there are ways to medically assist you through your detox to alleviate the symptoms.

Starting Your Day

Inpatient rehab facilities expect you to rise early in the morning so you can eat a good breakfast and get prepared for the day. Some facilities offer yoga classes or meditation to help ease you into the day.

A part of inpatient drug rehab is developing new habits that you can take with you when you leave. These habits become one of the coping mechanisms that keep you away from drugs and alcohol.

Once you’ve started your day, you usually move on to various therapies.

Rules and Guidelines

Drug rehab centers have a few rules to help keep the environment safe and conducive to healing. Some of these rules may be:

  • No alcohol, drugs, or drug paraphernalia
  • No inappropriate contact with other patients or staff
  • No threats or acts of violence
  • No leaving the property
  • Must comply with all drug testing procedures
  • Attend all therapy sessions and meetings

When you first arrive at rehab, the staff will go through your belongings to ensure that you haven’t brought any contraband in.


Most of your day in drug rehab will revolve around various therapies. You must treat the medical side of addiction. However, the mental and emotional aspects of addiction must be treated as well to truly get well.

Individual Therapy

During an individual therapy session, you will work with a healthcare professional privately. They will help you take a look at yourself, your addiction, and how your addiction has hurt you mentally and emotionally.

You’ll learn what your addiction triggers are and you’ll learn how to handle them or eliminate them. Your therapist may use cognitive behavioral therapy or motivational interviewing to help you with this.

The length and frequency of individual therapy will change depending on your chosen drug rehab.

Family Counseling

Many rehabs also offer family counseling. Drug addiction hurts more than just the person who is dealing with the addiction. It also hurts the family and loved ones as well.

There is also some research to suggest that including family in the education process helps to improve the outcome of rehab.

During family counseling, your loved ones will learn about the dynamics of addiction and how they can best support you on your journey to sobriety.

Group Therapy

Another popular therapy choice in drug rehab is group therapy. Instead of a one-on-one session, a group of addicts will come together to talk about their addictions. These groups are usually led by some kind of therapist who will guide the discussion and keep the group on track.

It’s helpful to be able to see other people dealing with their addiction. They may have stories you can relate to and support they can offer.

Alternative Therapy

Many drug rehab centers also offer alternative therapy. Some popular therapies are:

  • Art therapy
  • Music therapy
  • Equine therapy
  • Dance therapy
  • Exercise programs
  • Biofeedback
  • Neurofeedback

These are supplemental programs that can help you discover new hobbies, form new habits, and develop new coping mechanisms that can help you stay sober.

What to Expect From Drug Rehab

Every drug rehab operates a little differently. However, they all have one goal in mind: help you get sober and stay sober. If you or a loved one is dealing with an addiction, you must take the step to check in to a drug rehab that can help you get sober for life.

For more information about how our Austin drug rehab can help you, contact us today.