Inpatient Drug Rehab: Rehabilitation Treatment & Cost

Last Updated: June 10, 2020

When most people think about drug rehab, they picture inpatient rehabilitation facilities. However, there are a lot of misconceptions about what inpatient rehab is and how it differs from other rehab facilities. It is imperative that patients fully understand inpatient rehab centers before they select a facility for treatment.

What Is Inpatient Rehab?

Inpatient rehab treatment is considered the most intensive form of rehab. Inpatient rehabilitation facilities allow the patients to live on-site while receiving concentrated therapy targeted to their needs. They are often inpatient dual diagnosis treatment centers, which means they treat both the disease of addiction and co-occurring disorders that might fuel that condition. These dual diagnosis rehab centers tend to offer set programs defined by length and are somewhat clinical in their setting.

Inpatient vs. Residential Rehab

It is common for people to use inpatient rehab and residential rehab interchangeably. This is understandable as the two types of rehab are, in fact quite similar. However, there are characteristics that set them apart.

Inpatient Rehab Residential Rehab
Length of stay is set by program (60 days, 90 days, etc) Length of stay is open-ended and can be determined by the patient
Medical services are wide-ranging Medical services are more limited
The facilities are more clinical in nature The facilities are more home-like
More traditional therapies are used A holistic approach is taken
Supervision is intense, with patients monitored 24 hours a day Patients are not closely monitored and may even be allowed to leave the facilities during the day
Places the greatest emphasis on stabilizing the patient Places the greatest emphasis on the mindset of the patient
Less likely to offer luxury accommodations Often offers luxury accommodations

Many patients will start with one and then step down to the other. For example, a female patient might need women’s inpatient rehab for getting physically stabilized. Once physically well after women-only drug facility, she could transition to a residential facility, leaving once she feels mentally prepared to stay sober in the outside world.

Inpatient Rehabilitation Program

With this understanding of the differences in mind, potential patients will most likely want to know what inpatient rehab looks like. As is the case with all forms of rehab, this varies between facilities. For example, VA inpatient rehab will not be like inpatient rehab from a private clinic. However, VA drug rehabilitation has some commonalities, too.

Course Of Treatment

The course of treatment at an inpatient drug rehab center begins with the patient assessment, also commonly referred to as intake. At this time, the staff will go over the medical history of the patient, learn about the substances they are abusing, and work to determine if there are any co-occurring disorders present. This step can include surveys, blood and urine testing, psychological interviewing, and any other diagnostics the facility feels is needed.

Once the assessment is complete, the rehab staff will create a treatment plan. This plan will start with detox and withdrawal management if the patient requires it, move on to the therapies needed to stabilize them and get them into a better headspace for recovery, and finish with what the next steps will be after inpatient treatment is completed — this could be stepping down into another form of rehab or it could be transitioning into aftercare.

inpatient rehabilitation therapy

Because inpatient rehabilitation facilities tend to focus on more traditional approaches, their therapy offerings are generally more limited than residential centers. Common approaches include:

  • Evidence-Based Psychotherapy: This is the type of therapy most people picture when thinking about psychologists. It is commonly called talk therapy.
  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy: This is individual therapy where the therapist focuses on challenging cognitive distortions that fuel substance abuse.
  • Motivational Interviewing: The therapist guides the patient in their exploration of why they feel motivated to change their behaviors.
  • Motivational Enhancement Therapy: This builds on motivational interviewing by giving direct feedback to the patient on how to enhance or strengthen their motivations to remain clean.
  • Medication Management: Pharmaceuticals are used to either replace the drug of addiction or to curb cravings. In some cases, multiple medications are used to both replace the substance abuse and curb cravings simultaneously.

Length Of Inpatient Treatment

The duration of inpatient drug rehab is not universal. Every facility will offer different programs, each with its own length. Typical durations are as follows:

  • One week or less short-term inpatient drug rehab for withdrawal management and detoxification before transitioning to another type of facility
  • 30-day inpatient drug rehab for lesser addictions or before transitioning into another type of facility
  • 90-day inpatient rehab for more severe addictions that require significant physical stabilization and medication management, which can then allow the patient to transition to another facility or return home

The schedule of a typical day in one of these rehab facilities depends on the needs of the patient, where they are in their recovery, and the choices of the facility. An example of what a patient might experience is as follows:

8:00 a.m. Wake up and get ready for the day
8:30 a.m. Eat breakfast with other residents
9:30 a.m. Have an individual counseling session
11:00 a.m. Engage in group therapy
12:00 p.m. Eat lunch with other residents
2:00 p.m. Supervised free time
3:00 p.m. Have an individual counseling session or meeting with a medical doctor
4:00 p.m. Focus on fitness
6:00 p.m. Eat dinner with other residents
8:00 p.m. Have a group discussion
9:00 p.m. Supervised free time
10:00 p.m. Lights out

Benefits Of Inpatient Treatment

Whether a patient is considering inpatient drug rehab for teenagers, men, or just a general facility, there are certain benefits that are universal. These include:

  • Medical Support: Getting clean from drugs can cause significant stress on the body that, without medical support, can turn deadly.
  • Structure: When trying to make a significant life change, having a rigid structure can make it much easier.
  • Nutritional Help: When patients arrive at the facility, they tend to have been living in a universally unhealthy manner. Nutritional staff ensures the patient eats detoxifying foods and also learns about healthy eating.
  • Community: Through group therapy sessions and living with fellow recovering people with substance use disorder, patients are able to establish a new community that understands and supports them in their journey.
  • Continuous Support: Patients are able to reach out for help at all hours of the day and night and are fully supervised to ensure they are not making harmful decisions.
  • Controlled Environment: Inside an inpatient center, there is no access to drugs and alcohol and the triggers for use are mostly or fully eliminated, giving the patient a safe place to start their journey.
  • Self-Focus: Because the patient is removed from daily life, their stressors and responsibilities outside of their recovery are gone. This allows them to truly focus on themselves and their needs, making it more likely that they will get to the root of their addiction.

While these benefits are numerous, this does not mean that inpatient treatment is ideal for all patients, nor does it mean that it is the only rehab a person will require. However, it should be considered.

patient after inpatient drug rehabilitation

Inpatient Rehab Statistics

While there are clear benefits, patients will no doubt wonder if those translate into success. Sadly, no facility or addiction treatment has a 100 percent success rate, and there is always the chance that a patient will relapse. However, there are indications that starting with inpatient treatment yields the best results.

The highest success rates for drug addiction recovery are seen by rehabs that combine medical treatment with mental health therapies — which is what inpatient rehabs do. However, statistics indicate that shorter stays result in poorer outcomes, meaning that inpatient treatment needs to either be lengthier than the typical 30 days or it must be followed by a treatment at a residential facility.

Cost Of Inpatient Rehab

The cost of inpatient rehab varies significantly across facilities. For example, many Christian rehabs are free of cost or offer sliding-scale fees. On the other end of the spectrum, private luxury clinics can charge upwards of $10,000 for a month of care. Inpatient drug rehab cost comes down to the facility selected, insurance coverage, and access to grants and other funding.

Inpatient Rehab Without Insurance

Most basic inpatient rehab programs cost about $5,000 for a 30-day program. For someone who is paying without insurance, this might be adjusted by the facility to make it more affordable. It is important that patients who are paying for the full or partial cost of treatment get a detailed explanation of the costs prior to enrollment.

Why this is so important is that it is possible that the rehab facility will quote a price that is strictly for the bed, food, and standard therapies. However, additional fees could be tacked on for things like medication, special diets, private rooms, detoxification, and more. It is vital that patients get a detailed breakdown of inpatient substance abuse treatment costs so they are not caught off guard.

cost of inpatient rehab

Insurance Coverage For Inpatient Rehab

Inpatient drug rehab may or may not be covered by insurance. The Affordable Healthcare Act mandates that insurance companies, both public and private, make drug rehab part of their basic healthcare coverage. However, it does not specify that inpatient care must be covered—just drug rehab in general. With that said, people with private insurance, for the time being, should be covered in part or in full for at least some form of rehab, even if it is not inpatient.

Medicare inpatient rehabilitation coverage does exist; it is covered under Medicare Part A. To be eligible, the patient must meet the Medicare guidelines for inpatient rehabilitation. They are as follows:

  • The provider must deem that the services are medically necessary
  • The patient must receive care at a Medicare-approved facility
  • The provider must set up a plan of care

Medicaid inpatient drug rehab coverage is similar. The provider the patient uses must approve the treatment and the care must be given at an inpatient drug rehab center that accepts Medicaid.

Other Options

For patients unable to pay out of pocket and who do not have insurance coverage, there are free inpatient drug rehabs as well as those who use sliding scale fees. These may be private drug centers or state-funded rehab facilities. Other options include sponsorship by a person, charity, or other organization and applying for grants.

Stopping Substance Abuse Through Rehab

No matter the needs or budget of a patient, there is a rehab facility that will work for them. Whether this is inpatient, outpatient, or something else completely, what matters is getting treated. Those suffering from addiction should seek help before it is too late.

Page Sources

  1. Greenfield L, Burgdorf K, Chen X, Porowski A, Roberts T, Herrell J. Effectiveness of long-term residential substance abuse treatment for women: findings from three national studies. American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse. 2004; 30(3): 537-50.
  2. Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition). National Institute on Drug Abuse. 2018.

Published on: August 31st, 2016

Updated on: June 10th, 2020

About Author

Juliette Siegfried, MPH

Juliette has been working in the health communications field since 1991, when she began working at the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. Her initial campaigns focused on smoking cessation and cancer prevention. Juliette later moved to the corporate side of health communications, including working at Kaiser Permanente, where she designed interactive computer-based training for health education.


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  • Paula Lee
    my husbands insurance has a 13,000 co pay. I need some inpatient treatment for his drinking. who can help?
  • Rosetta King
    Need a recovery program for crack cocain. pludepression
    • Norville Bussey
      I’m looking for a recovery program for a friend sister,could you please Help!
  • Tina
    I’m looking for in patient long term rehabilitation, for long time use of Heroin, along with anxiety and mental issues, that has built up so far I don’t know we’re to begin. I live in Indianapolis Indiana I only have Medicaid for Insurance I need help
  • julia carnat
    my daughter is in jail for drugs she needs to go straght to rehab when she gets out no insurance and no home to go to only what she gets to have when she gets out
    • Alana Bunch
      Desperately looking for Recovery for a family member. (Daughter) She has no funds. Her husband is no help, problems also, and he has a mother problem. She needs to be seperated from them. I am on Disablity. She has Sooner Care but has been through this many times. Nothing has helped. PLEASE HELP! She is Dying before my eyes!
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    I’m desperate to find help for my son. I have his son who is 10 and who’s mother was murdered last year. My son is 30 and has been drinking and I recently found our he’s doing heroin. He was on methadone for pills in the past. He quit his job months ago. I’ve already lost one done, I can’t lose another. I’m so distraught I need help.
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    Am desperate to find in house treatment for 23yr old granddaughter, mother of 4 yr old child. Also has hep c which she refuses to get treatment for.has medicaid
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    I need help finding a place for my son 30 yrs old drinking and cocaine has 10 yr old son no job or ins. living with me and wife he needs help ASAP can,t keep job get money get high I’m disable and can’t help
  • Larry akers
    My son has md medicade who can take him?
  • Natalie
    I’m in Alabama. I have Medicare and Medicaid bc disabled. So I’m an addict on top health problems and bipolar and manic depression. Where is best for me
  • J. Culbertson
    I have been a long time alcoholic and drug addict. I have no insurance. I need rehab.. I’m desperate tired. I live in Ga. I want rehab away from my state and home. Can I please get some help.?
  • Jason
    Id like to better myself,I’m 49,I have 3children and 3grandchildren, and I’d like to be someone they can depend on someday soon,I have to overcome my sadness and fix this for myself and the good of life,I won’t lose my soul and place in this universe to this evil that grows,I need and I’m asking for friends.
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    Hello. My son is 24 years old and will be 25 in May. He needs to be in a drug rehabilitation center ASAP. He is killing himself.