Pros and Cons of Inpatient Drug Rehabilitation Programs

October 1, 2012 Karl Shallowhorn, MS, CASAC

“I won’t go to rehab. I said no, no, no!”

Amy Winehouse

This refrain has been spoken by many an addict for years. What is it about inpatient drug and alcohol rehabilitation that is so bad anyway? I mean, you’ve got three meals, a roof over your head, and the companionship of other addicts, all of whom are dealing with similar (but not the same) issues that you have. Who could want more?

Entering Drug Rehab Can be a Difficult Decision

Yes, this may all be true, but entering rehab is sometimes a difficult decision to make. There may be tangential issues that complicate this move. Work and family responsibilities are often cited as reasons not to go in. Underneath the surface, there may be a fear of change - letting go of the drug that has served as a (in)security blanket for so many years.

There may also be a fear of failure. What if I don’t make it? What if I finish but end up getting high once I get out? What if all my old friends disown me? What if? What if? What if?

Reasons to Enter a Drug Rehab Program

Yes, there may be 1001 reasons not to go to rehab. But there are even more TO go. I will never forget an alcoholism counseling professor who always said that one of the primary benefits of inpatient rehab is to get time and distance away from the drug. In other words, being able to be drug-free for 28 days and not have it around as a temptation can help “kick-start” one’s recovery.

Another benefit of inpatient drug rehab is education. By participating in an inpatient you will receive a wealth of information about alcohol and drugs, their effects, and a variety of treatment methods that will serve to help you stay clean once you get out.

Many inpatient programs also promote 12-Step recovery and will even take patients to outside meetings. This tool can prove to be useful in helping those early in recovery to see first-hand how recovery can work in the lives of others.

Finally, the ability to identify and not compare with others is a central tenet of recovery from active addiction. Knowing that you are not the only one who has gone through what you have can serve to open the door to a better understanding of your disease.

There are certainly other benefits to inpatient addiction treatment programs. The key is to remain open-minded and allow this opportunity to grow from the seed of contemplation to the fruit of action.

Have you had success by entering into an inpatient drug/alcohol program?

APA Reference
Shallowhorn, K. (2012, October 1). Pros and Cons of Inpatient Drug Rehabilitation Programs, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 24 from

Author: Karl Shallowhorn, MS, CASAC

October, 2 2012 at 7:06 pm

I'm currently studying as an intern in an inpatient treatment center. From what I've seen (so far), inpatient treatment is a great start to recovery. Many go into treatment thinking that once they finish treatment they become recovered and cured; however, treatment is just the beginning.
Like you said, inpatient treatment has the advantage of a stable, structured environment away from the temptations faced by those in outpatient treatment. It can be very helpful for those who just cannot seem to stop using in their current environment.
I'm wondering if you have any advice for an aspiring clinician. I'm just starting in this field, and I could use all the help I can get. Your blogs have shown you to be very knowledgeable both as a former addict and a counsellor, so I just thought I'd ask. :)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

October, 3 2012 at 1:28 pm

Hello Ash - You're absolutely right. Inpatient treatment is just the beginning. The best advice I can give you is to get as much experience as you can, volunteer or paid. Also, it would be a good idea to get an internship in an outpatient facility to give you a broader scope on the field. It's hard work, but you CAN make a difference.

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