Rehab Frequently Asked Questions
Entering rehab for the first time can be daunting, and it is understandable to want to know as much as possible before you move in. Some specifics vary from place to place, but we have provided a list of the most frequently asked questions people have before they move into residential rehab.
General Questions about Rehab
1. Is rehab right for me?
Overcoming addiction is a difficult process, and rehab has helped to put – and keep – millions of people on the path to recovery. Entering rehab is not a decision to take lightly, but if you have an addiction and are determined to beat it, rehab is a great option.
Not only does it give you easy access to counselling and therapy, it surrounds you with people who are going through the same difficulties so that you can support each other along the way.
Residential rehab is almost always recommended for those with severe addictions, but even those with new or milder addictions can reap all the benefits that rehab offers.
If you are struggling to decide on a treatment option, there are a number of online services and helplines that can help, including the Government-funded FRANK website, which can search for treatment centres near you.
2. How long does a stay in rehab last?
Most residential rehabs run 28-day programmes as standard, but some offer extended programmes up to 90 days in length. The length of stay that is right for you will be determined by the severity of your addiction, and how other treatments have worked for you in the past.
3. How much does rehab cost?
Cost varies greatly depending on the length of treatment, and outpatient treatment tends to be much more affordable than inpatient treatment. A 28-day inpatient programme at a private facility typically costs between £7000 and £12,000.
The NHS does not always cover residential (or inpatient) rehab, and the free treatments often have long waiting lists. If you do need to pay out of pocket, most facilities will arrange a payment plan with you so that you do not have to pay in a big lump sum.
At the end of the day, accessing treatment is important regardless of cost. If the price of private rehab is going to prevent you from being able to go, then your GP may be able to refer you to an NHS-funded centre.
4. Does treatment end when I leave?
No, aftercare is just as important as the treatment you receive while in rehab. When you’re nearing the end of your stay, your counsellor will discuss your aftercare with you so that you can raise any concerns you have before you leave. Aftercare treatment usually involves regular therapy sessions and attending group therapy, such as 12-step meetings.
5. Can under-18s go to rehab?
Yes, given the large number of children who struggle with addiction1, there are now rehab centres that can admit under-18s. There are different safeguarding considerations for children aged under-18, and so only specialist rehab centres are equipped to admit them for treatment, but there are options out there if you know of someone under-18 who needs help with an addiction.
Life in Rehab
Now that we’ve gone over some general queries people often have about the nature of rehab, let’s have a look at some more specific questions people regularly ask about what life in rehab can be like.
1. Who needs to know that I’m going to rehab?
Going to rehab is deeply personal and many people don’t feel comfortable disclosing it to everyone they know. You will most likely have already discussed it with your GP, who might have helped you in choosing rehab as a treatment option.
If you haven’t, it’s a good idea to let them know, particularly if you have an appointment scheduled at the time you’re away, as you will probably have to rearrange it.
It’s a good idea to also tell people you trust, like your partner, close family, and friends, so that they can provide support, and even come visit you.
You should give your employer notice that you are going to be taking some time off work, but how much information you divulge to them is up to you.
You may be able to take the time as holiday leave if you have enough saved up, but more likely you will need to take the time off as sick leave, and this will require a letter from your GP.
You should have the option of presenting this to the HR department rather than directly to your manager if you prefer.
2. What do I need to do before entering rehab?
Leading on from the previous question, there are some essential preparations to make before you enter rehab. You will need to make sure that you have organised your time off work, or have confirmed with the counsellors at the centre that you are okay to do some work from rehab.
Please note that this is typically only permitted in exceptional circumstances, as your time in rehab should be spent focusing on your treatment.
Provide the centre with the details of your next of kin, so that they can be contacted in an emergency. Arrange to have someone look after any pets you may be leaving behind. If you’re renting, let your landlord know that the property will be temporarily empty.
3. Can I bring my dog/cat?
This varies depending on the treatment centre, but many are now equipped to house your pets. In particular, those with guide dogs or support animals will usually be accommodated, as the stress of leaving these important friends behind can be detrimental to your recovery.
Having furry friends nearby has been proven to relieve stress and improve mental health2, which can be instrumental during addiction treatment. Some rehabs have now introduced animal-assisted therapy to their treatment options, but there are only a small handful of these in the UK.
4. Can I have my post sent to the centre?
Given that you may be in rehab for a few weeks, you may be able to temporarily redirect your post to the centre, as well as send and receive personal mail from family and friends.
However, letters and packages may be screened, and even opened, by team members in order to prevent illicit materials from entering the centre.
5. Can I have visitors?
Yes, you can arrange for friends and family to come and visit you. Visiting hours vary depending on location, and you will most likely have to provide a list of anyone who intends to visit so that the centre’s staff know who to expect.
6. Can I bring my mobile phone/tablet/laptop?
The answer to this varies from place to place. During your stay, your focus needs to be on your recovery, and technology often creates distractions. For that reason, some rehab centres will not allow you to have your personal mobile on you during your stay, but there will be a communal phone that you can use to call friends and family.
Many see rehab as a welcome opportunity to disconnect, but if you are running a business and haven’t been able to take time off for your stay, then you might be permitted to use your laptop and mobile for work purposes. This needs to be confirmed with the centre before your arrival.
However, given how integral mobile technology is to our everyday lives, some centres believe it can actually be detrimental to deprive patients of their mobile phones and tablets during their treatment.
7. Can I see my own GP while I’m in rehab?
During your stay you will have access to a GP, who will be overseeing your detox, but you might not be able to see your usual doctor. If you know that you have an appointment booked during the time you’re away, you might be asked to rearrange it. If this is not possible, then you may be permitted to attend the appointment provided that someone goes with you.
8. What essentials do I need to bring?
You will most likely be given a checklist of things you should bring with you to the treatment centre, as well as a list of things you cannot bring. If you are staying for 28 days, you don’t need to worry about bringing 4 weeks’ worth of clothes, as you will have access to laundry services.
Toiletries, including toothpaste, are not commonly provided for you, so it is recommended that you pack enough of these for your stay.
Make sure that you pack any daily medications, in their original packaging, ensuring that you have enough for your entire stay. It’s recommended that you take at least one form of identification and a small amount of cash for emergency purchases.
9. What will be provided for me?
Bedding, towels, and toilet paper will always be provided for you. Your meals will all be prepared and served for you, and there will usually be vending machines available for you to purchase drinks and snacks. Many rehabs have areas with communal computers, and bookshelves typically filled with self-development books.
10. What am I not allowed to take into rehab?
When you arrive at rehab, your luggage will be checked for illicit items such as weapons, alcohol, and drugs. Toiletries containing alcohol, such as mouthwash, might also be removed. Some rehabs allow patients to bring in razors, nail clippers and nail files, but others will confiscate these and allow you to check them out from the office as and when you need them.
11. What is a typical day in rehab like?
Routines are important when undergoing treatment, and so you’ll live to a fairly strict schedule while in rehab. You’ll usually wake up early to have your breakfast and get started on the day’s therapy. Particularly during the detox phase, it’s important that you get plenty of sleep, so early starts to mean early nights.
Your schedule might be a little bit different while you are in the detoxification phase, as you might require more sleep and maybe encouraged to take more physical exercise in place of some of the mental health therapy.
12. Are all of the staff medically trained?
The team members taking care of you during your stay will all be first aid trained, but usually, the only medical professionals you will have regular contact with are the consultants who monitor your detox. Everyone will also have safeguarding training, as well as job-specific training depending on the area in which they work.
If you have any health concerns during your treatment, you will be able to make appointments to see the local GP.
13. Can I still smoke in rehab?
The stress of giving up smoking on top of detoxing from other drugs or alcohol can severely impair your recovery, and so you will typically be allowed to bring cigarettes with you to rehab. There may be a set limit on the number of packs you can bring in with you, but you can pick up more during your stay.
Smoking will not be allowed anywhere indoors, so be sure to ask where the outdoor smoking area is located.