What Is Rehab?

Medically Reviewed by Johnelle Smith, M.D. on

Drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs help clients through all stages of the addiction recovery process. From detox services to aftercare support, addiction treatment provides people with solutions for lasting sobriety.

What Is Rehab?

The word “rehab” is often used when someone is experiencing drug or alcohol addiction and needs help.

Though you or a loved one may have a general idea of what rehab is, you may be unaware of the specifics of addiction healthcare, such as its various levels of care and marks of quality services.

Below we’ll explore in detail what drug rehabilitation centers are, the different treatment options they provide, and how you may go about finding an appropriate treatment provider.

What Exactly Is Rehab?

Rehab, short for rehabilitation, refers to a structured program aimed at helping people overcome drug and alcohol use.

It involves various therapeutic interventions, counseling, and support to address the physical, emotional, and psychological aspects of addiction.

Addiction treatment programs can be offered at various levels of care, including inpatient or outpatient settings.

They offer healthy coping skills, relapse prevention strategies, and other tools to instill long-term recovery.

Different Types Of Rehab

Addiction treatment can be received in various forms and caters to the different needs of clients, including their schedules and the severity of the substance use disorder (SUD).

Keep reading to learn about the common addiction treatment programs, their amenities, and who they may be right for.

Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient and residential treatment facilities provide intensive care and a substance-free living environment for people experiencing drug addiction.

Inpatient facilities offer 24/7 supervision, often including medical support and detox services. Therapy, counseling, peer support, and sober outings may be part of the program.

Residential centers offer a similar structured environment, but clients may have more flexibility in their daily schedules.

Both options aim to provide a focused and supportive setting for people to undergo therapy, detox, and recovery.

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment offers a more flexible approach to addiction recovery that allows clients to receive therapy and other support while living at home.

Outpatient rehab programs include:

  • standard outpatient treatment, the least intensive outpatient programs
  • intensive outpatient programs (IOP), offering more intensive treatment
  • partial hospitalization programs (PHP, or day treatment), the most intensive type

These options cater to different levels of need, enabling people more flexibility while receiving therapy and other treatment to support their recovery journey.

Detox Centers

Detox centers provide a safe and supervised environment for people to undergo detoxification, which is the process where the body rids itself of drugs or alcohol.

Medical detox offers added support to manage withdrawal symptoms.

Detoxification programs are designed to help people safely detox from substances like:

  • alcohol
  • opioids (including fentanyl)
  • opiates (including heroin)
  • stimulants (such as methamphetamines and cocaine)
  • hallucinogens (such as LSD and PCP)
  • prescription drugs (such as benzodiazepines)

The focus is on stabilizing clients’ physical and mental health as they begin their journey toward addiction recovery and rehabilitation.

Detox centers also introduce clients to the next stages of treatment, such as inpatient drug rehab or outpatient programs.

Components Of Effective Addiction Treatment

Addiction treatments goal is to help clients achieve recovery while enhancing their overall wellness and quality of life.

Treatment providers achieve this through various evidence-based approaches, holistic techniques, and life skills education.


Perhaps the most utilized tool of addiction treatment is the various types of therapy clients may engage in. Therapy addresses the psychological and emotional aspects of addiction.

Through individual, group, or family therapy sessions, people can explore the underlying causes of their drug use.

Clients also develop healthy coping strategies for managing individual triggers and everyday stress.

Therapists provide guidance, support, and tools that empower people to confront their challenges, heal from past trauma, and build a strong foundation for sustained recovery.

Types of therapy for addiction include:


Counseling in drug rehab centers involves sessions where clients work with trained professionals to explore their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors related to a specific topic.

This process provides a safe space for addressing personal challenges and receiving the guidance and support needed to make positive changes and maintain lasting sobriety.

Counseling tends to be less intensive and shorter in duration than therapy.

Counseling may come in the form of:

  • individual counseling
  • group counseling
  • family counseling
  • couples counseling
  • trauma counseling
  • grief counseling
  • career counseling
  • nutritional counseling

Medication-Assisted Treatment

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) combines FDA-approved medications with counseling and therapy to treat substance use disorders.

Common medications used in MAT include:

  • methadone
  • buprenorphine
  • naltrexone
  • disulfiram
  • acamprosate

MAT helps manage cravings, reduce withdrawal symptoms, and support long-term recovery by addressing both the physical and psychological aspects of addiction.

Recreational Activities

Recreational activities are often integral to inpatient recovery programs, promoting holistic recovery, enhancing mental and emotional health, and complementing traditional therapies.

Recreational activities to complement addiction treatment may include:

  • yoga
  • hiking
  • sports like basketball and volleyball
  • creative workshops, such as music therapy

Peer Recovery Support

Peer support is a cornerstone of drug rehabilitation, fostering a sense of community and understanding.

Recovery groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) provide a platform for people to share their experiences, struggles, and successes.

Peer support groups help individuals feel less isolated and more motivated to achieve sobriety. Support networks offer encouragement, accountability, and a reminder that recovery is a shared journey toward lasting change.

Aftercare Services

Continuing care following completion of an addiction treatment program is often referred to as aftercare.

Aftercare may include alumni programs, continued therapy, assistance obtaining sober living housing, and help finding local 12-step meetings.

These services support clients’ long-term sobriety and may be adjusted periodically as needs shift.

How to Choose A Drug And Alcohol Rehab Center

Choosing a drug and alcohol rehab center involves considering factors like how effective the rehab center is and your or your loved one’s specific treatment needs.

Addiction treatment centers with accreditations from respected third-parties, such as The Joint Commission, suggest high-quality care.

If you don’t know what level of care is appropriate for you, reach out to your primary care provider or an addiction treatment facility for an assessment.

Lastly, you’ll want to consider how to pay for addiction treatment. Facilities typically accept health insurance, but not all do. Call to ask about payment options.

Common addiction treatment payment options include:

  • Medicaid
  • Medicare
  • TRICARE military insurance
  • private health insurance
  • payment assistance, such as a sliding fee scale
  • government funding
  • self-pay

Find Drug And Alcohol Treatment Today

Explore treatment options for yourself or a loved one by calling or visiting AddictionResource.net today.

This page does not provide medical advice. See more

Addiction Resource aims to provide only the most current, accurate information in regards to addiction and addiction treatment, which means we only reference the most credible sources available.

These include peer-reviewed journals, government entities and academic institutions, and leaders in addiction healthcare and advocacy. Learn more about how we safeguard our content by viewing our editorial policy.

  • Was this Helpful?
  • YesNo
Medically Reviewed by
Johnelle Smith, M.D. on
Let us walk you through the treatment process. We're here to help.
For 24/7 Treatment Help:
100% Free & Confidential. Call (844) 616-3400