What You Should Expect During Admission to Rehab

Posted on June 30, 2022

therapist interviewing young man for rehab

Deciding to seek addiction help from a rehab center is a brave decision that many people struggle to make. It begins by admitting that the individual has a problem with some form of addiction. The next step is determining what kind of rehab will best meet the person’s needs and situation. After those decisions, attending and adhering to the rehab program comes next.

Beginning anything new and venturing into the unknown can be daunting. Knowing what to expect when first entering rehab can help someone manage any anxiety about this unknown process.

Pre-Intake Screening

The pre-intake screening happens before entering rehab. Typically done over the phone, this process provides the treatment facility with a first overview of the individual’s situation and their care needs. During this screening, some or all this information may be discussed:

  • The person’s drug history
  • The types of drugs abused
  • How long a period of time substances were used
  • The person’s treatment history
  • Any possible underlying mental or emotional disorders
  • Employment conditions
  • Family life
  • Legal issues
  • Any medical issues
  • Family history
  • History of trauma or abuse
  • History of psychiatric care
  • List of any current medications

During this same conversation, the financial aspects of rehab may also be discussed. This includes what insurance will cover and what the expected out-of-pocket expense will be for the individual.

Admission to Rehab

The first day someone is in a treatment facility will be different than the days that follow. The person will be asked even more extensively about their addiction during the admission process. These questions need to be answered as honestly as possible. The reality of what entering rehab means can be emotional. Seeking treatment can unleash a lot of feelings. It is normal for the person to experience a range of emotions, from sadness to anger to fear.

The first day in rehab is about getting settled in and learning about the facility’s routine. Details about the facility’s goals and community will be communicated and may include discussions on:

  • The disease model of addiction
  • Twelve Step recovery principles
  • The social, physical, and emotional impact of substance use disorder
  • The importance of post-rehab recovery management

Expectations for patients will be shared, too. Physical assessments will be conducted. Underlying health conditions and any prescribed medications that need to be taken will be discussed so that the rehab professionals can provide the best care possible during the rehab experience.

What Not to Bring to Rehab

Upon rehab admissions, part of the intake process is an inspection of each individual’s belongings. The staff will look for prohibited items, including drugs, alcohol, and weapons. Some facilities do not allow cell phones or other communication devices. What each facility allows will vary, so it is a good idea to check before admission. Some common prohibited items include:

  • Over-the-counter medications that have been opened
  • Alcohol or drugs
  • Pornography
  • Pillows
  • Bed linens
  • Weapons
  • Musical instruments
  • Electronic devices
  • Food or drinks
  • Herbs
  • T-shirts or other clothing items that promote drugs or alcohol
  • Fans
  • Large amounts of cash
  • Radios
  • Mouthwash (most contain some alcohol)

The person is expected to bring clothes, certain hygiene items, an alarm clock, and any current prescriptions.

The Detox Experience

For anyone entering an inpatient rehab program, detox will be the first step in their treatment. Detox will be medically supervised. During this period, all the substances being abused, whether drugs or alcohol, will be removed from the body. Withdrawal during detox can be unpleasant and even dangerous, depending on the individual’s health, the substance they abused, how long they have been dealing with addiction and how much of the substance they were regularly using.

A medically supervised detox aims to help manage any withdrawal symptoms safely without the person returning to drugs or alcohol. Health care professionals may administer medications to help with this. Detoxification typically lasts for one to two weeks.

A Normal Rehab Day

Anyone entering rehab should expect a set, regular schedule for their days. A typical morning will begin at a set time, with all residents expected to be awake by a specific time. The staff will administer prescribed medications. Then residents will have breakfast and attend a group therapy session. Residents may journal or engage in self-reflection during the mornings.

Afternoons at rehab typically begin with lunch and are followed up by individual therapy sessions. Other activities may be scheduled, such as educational courses focused on mental health, nutrition, and addiction. Rehab attendees may exercise during the afternoons to help them improve their overall fitness and well-being. Physical activity can help manage their feelings during the rehab process.

Finally, evenings in rehab are a time to have a final meal and another group therapy session. The day’s last session will reflect on what has been learned throughout the day. This includes assessing any progress made during that day. There may be a period of free time as individuals prepare for bed. Most facilities have an established lights-out time when all residents are expected to go to sleep.

How long someone stays in rehab will depend on the goals they establish and their progress. As the time nears for the person to leave rehab, a discussion about aftercare will begin. Aftercare is essential and has been shown to improve someone’s chances of avoiding relapse significantly. Aftercare components can include counselor-facilitated support groups, attendance at 12-step meetings, and ongoing individual and family therapy. Continuing to take advantage of various social and medical support services can help a person transition back to everyday life successfully while they navigate potential triggers that could cause relapse.

A licensed mental health and substance abuse intensive outpatient program (IOP) in Scottsdale, Arizona, Rising Phoenix was created to offer a safe, welcoming, and nurturing environment where clients are not judged, but embraced, throughout their recovery process.

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