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What happens when you first go to rehab?

A group of people supporting a man with his head in his hands at a group addiction therapy session - Which Rehab


If you’re considering rehab, or have a loved one preparing to enter treatment, you may be wondering what happens when you first go to rehab. While the thought may be daunting, after the first week you’ll have become used to the structure that rehab provides and will find yourself fitting in well.

Different types of rehabs

There are two main types of rehab. Inpatient and outpatient rehab.

Inpatient rehab – also referred to as private rehabilitation – means you stay at the clinic for the duration of your programme. Outpatient rehab describes any treatment which allows you to return home at the end of the session. The one you choose will depend entirely on your circumstances. While your programme content will be similar, there are some differences in the level of care you receive.

At a private inpatient rehab, your detox and therapy essentially take place under one roof. Your meals are provided, and you are not permitted to return home during treatment. In contrast, outpatient rehab only requires you to come in for therapy sessions and allows you to return home once you finish.


Whether attending drug rehab, alcohol rehab or behavioural rehab program, the admission process is fairly standard.

The admissions process may feel overwhelming at first, but staff do their utmost to put you at ease. Upon arrival, you will undergo an initial assessment, where you’ll be asked more about your addiction. You should be open and honest when answering these questions, as this allows medical staff to decide whether you require a detox and which medication they should prescribe. Therapists will also use this information to create the best recovery plan for you.

During your stay, you’ll also be assigned a key worker who will meet with you once a week to discuss your progress and set new goals for the week ahead. Following your assessment, you will be shown around and given time to settle in.


Addiction is almost always accompanied by feelings of guilt and shame. It’s completely normal to feel overwhelmed, scared and anxious upon entering rehab. However, it’s important to remember that each resident there has been through similar experiences. No one is there to judge you for your past behaviours. Each member of staff is dedicated to helping you find recovery.

If you’re looking for drug and alcohol rehab in London but are unsure about what you can expect, contact our team today. We’ll be happy to talk you through the process and answer any questions you might have. At Which Rehab, we understand that rehab can feel intimidating, especially during such a vulnerable time. We’re here to help make the process as easy as possible.

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The first week in rehab

Your first week in a private rehab might feel strange. You have been removed from your familiar surroundings and placed in an unfamiliar structured routine.

If you require a medical detox, then your first week will focus on getting you through the withdrawal phase. You’ll also start getting to know the other residents, familiarising yourself with the rehab facilities and possibly spending time reflecting on your behaviour and those you care about.

A typical day in rehab


People sat on a park bench journaling as part of a rehab therapy - Which Rehab


Start of the day

A typical day in rehab begins with an early wake-up call followed by breakfast. If you’re someone who requires detox, you’ll be given your medication by one of the nurses.

Some facilities like to begin the day with a group meditation session, while others encourage you to use group time to check in and let them know how you’re feeling.

Depending on the number of residents, you may be split into groups to take part in different therapies throughout the day. Some of these include music therapy, art therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and one-to-one therapy. Most rehabs follow the 12-Step rehab model, with some sessions dedicated to taking you through steps 1-4.


Once morning therapy is over, you can expect a lunch break. You’ll be free to eat and socialise with other residents during this time.

It’s a good idea to take advantage of these breaks and get to know your peers. Addiction is a very isolating and lonely disease, so having the opportunity to get to know others who have suffered like you is invaluable for your recovery.


Therapy continues into the afternoon and sessions are usually back-to-back. One of the main benefits of residential rehab is the intensity of therapy you receive. Once your sessions have ended, there are opportunities to take part in other activities such as exercise, fellowship meetings or take time for yourself.  

Drug and alcohol detox


A close up of hands handing detox medication and a glass of water to a patient - Which Rehab


Depending on the nature of your addiction, you may require an alcohol detox or drug detox. For many people, complete cessation of substances leads to unpleasant withdrawal symptoms which results in further use to ease discomfort.

At a residential rehab, you are offered a medically supervised detox, which means the doctor will prescribe you medication to help ease the symptoms of withdrawal. Detox typically lasts between 7-10 days, but this will vary for each person.

Addiction therapy

Most rehabs follow the 12-Step recovery programme, also known as the Minnesota model. You can also expect to participate in a range of different talking therapies and addiction counselling sessions, some as part of a group and others on a one-to-one basis.

Other common therapies include:

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
  • Dialectical Behavioural Therapy
  • Music therapy
  • Art therapy
  • Music therapy
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness
  • One-to-one therapy

Addiction aftercare

Almost all rehabs offer a complimentary aftercare package designed to provide you with important tools you’ll need to avoid relapse when returning home.

Aftercare is an optional part of treatment, but it is always recommended for the best chance at maintaining your sobriety. It includes addiction counselling sessions as well as group therapy and workshops.

Finding Rehab in London and the rest of the UK

Our team at Which Rehab are dedicated to finding you the right treatment. If you’re considering rehab in London but don’t know where to start, call us now. Whether you’re looking for a drug rehab centre or an alcohol detox in London, we can talk you through all the options available to you and help you make a decision.