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What are Rehab Centres?

Rehab centres are institutions that provide care and support to enable a return to a healthy life after a period of illness. In this context we mean establishments, which provide care and support for people suffering from alcoholism. A rehab centre will usually provide both the medical and psychological care needed to treat alcoholism. As such, in the UK, treatment facilities will usually provide both alcohol detox and on-going psychological rehab, both of which are commonly necessary to achieve recovery from alcoholism.

There are various types of rehab – twelve step, therapeutic community, religious and medical model rehabilitation centres. The most common in the UK is the twelve step.

All rehab centres tend to share a number of key features. Residents must be drug and alcohol free (apart from tobacco); they provide a structured programme of psychological, educational and social therapy, which aims at preparing the alcoholic or addict to manage better an alcohol free life back in society; rehab center programme lengths vary between 1 and 9 months. Many addiction treatment facilities will provide detox in-house when this is necessary, in advance of commencement of the rehab programme.

Rehab versus community (home) treatment

Admission to a rehab for a period of residential treatment, appears to present a higher probability of successful outcome than does community based treatment. A 1996 follow-up study, conducted as part of the National Treatment Outcome Research Study (NTORS) indicated the following (Gossop M et al, 1999): When compared to community services, residential treatment is likely to achieve comparable outcomes, but treat clients with more severe patterns of addiction, thus indicating greater effectiveness of residential rehab as compared to community rehab.

Duration of stay

Compared to early leavers from rehab centres those retained at least 28 days in short rehab center programmes, and 90 days in longer rehab center programmes are probably four times less likely to relapse than others, as indicated by some research studies. The issue of retention in rehab is central to effectiveness, and can be seen as a function of how the rehab center relates to its clients, rather than the reverse. Clinics which actively engage with clients, provide supportive environments and well structured programmes, which are clear about their policies and their therapies, and which tailor their activities to individual needs produce better outcomes.