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Inpatient alcohol treatment begins your recovery with assessment and alcohol detox, both with a doctor.

“Rehab” sounds glamourous. Maybe because we think it’s where celebrities go to stop having public incidents. But what do you actually experience in alcohol rehab?

Inpatient alcohol treatment starts you on your alcohol recovery journey.

Remember, the “alcohol recovery journey” is the larger goal. We’ll explain the day-to-day nuts and bolts of rehab, but the larger picture is always your continuing recovery. That’ll mean a one-day-at-a-time growth throughout your alcohol-free life.

Last week we covered the main options for alcohol addiction treatment, and we only mentioned inpatient alcohol treatment. This article will dive into inpatient treatments but only through the first week: here’s what you could expect from seven days of alcohol rehab.


Your treatment begins, in a way, before it actually begins. Just as you arrive at the alcohol rehab center, you’ll receive a questionnaire to assess your addiction. Or, depending on the alcohol recovery clinic, you may meet a doctor for an interview. Add in a physical exam to record preexisting conditions you have, and you’re done with the intake process. All these options will help design your treatment plan. Doctors need to establish your mental, emotional and physical states to help them choose treatment that serves you well. Personalized care plans are crucial here – the National Institute of Drug Abuse highlights it as a critical addiction-treatment principle.


Detox, which kicks off your inpatient alcohol treatment, will probably last for most of your first week. Why? Your alcohol recovery can only start once the alcohol has left your system. And alcohol won’t leave your system easily, since your body has long-been dependent on alcohol.

Detox is the process where your body purges alcohol still in its system, and it’s also when your body experiences withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can scare people out of the idea of alcohol recovery – they can often become painful (or even fatal in some extreme cases). Because withdrawal symptoms cause so much discomfort, inpatient alcohol treatment provides medical supervision to monitor them.

Here are a few symptoms (both psychological and physical) of alcohol withdrawal:

  • Anxiety
  • Mood swings
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Shaking
  • Sweating
  • Fever
  • Headaches

Withdrawal happens not long after your last drink (sometimes in just a few hours). It tends to intensify through the first three days, but then it might lessen through the rest of the week. After seven days, the worst part of alcohol withdrawal stops. Symptoms might flare up throughout the rest of your stay, depending (again) on your specific addiction history.

Seven days of withdrawal? It certainly sounds miserable. That’s why inpatient medical supervision is so crucial. Doctors who know your history can help you navigate detox safely – and with their help you can reach the next part of inpatient alcohol treatment: therapy.


Your therapy sessions during inpatient rehab begin just as detox subsides. Like detox, they’ll happen with your doctor’s careful planning. Your schedule, peer groups, one-on-one meetings, counselors – they’ll depend on your needs. Medically-supervised detox begins helping your body give up its alcohol dependence. Medically-designed therapy does the same for your mind.

However, we’ve reached the end of your first week in inpatient alcohol treatment. That’s about how long it takes for you to get through detox. We’ll explain therapies and routines next week, in a follow-up article.

So What Now?

Feel free to stick around In The Rooms and answer any more questions you might have. We have a complete guide just for you or anyone else who’s just getting started. And if you’d like to learn more about what to expect in alcohol rehab, tune in next week. A new article will outline what to expect from the first 30 days of inpatient alcohol treatment!

Whatever you do, think about signing up for free at In The Rooms. Our peer recovery meetings and alcohol treatment directory can help you start your recovery journey!


Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide” – National Institute on Drug Abuse

Alcohol Detox” – Alcohol Rehab Guide

What to Expect at an Alcohol Treatment Center” – American Addiction Centers

What is Alcohol Withdrawal?” – WebMD

What Happens During Alcohol Rehab Treatment?” – Addiction Blog

Photo by Naveen Annam from Pexels


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