Does Everyone Have to Go to Rehab?

“They tried to make me go to rehab and I said, ‘no, no no’” are words famously sung by the recording artist Amy Winehouse, just a few years before she passed away from an overdose. Winehouse struggled publicly with her issues regarding drugs, alcohol, and eating disorders. Though the song was sang in jest it still to this day poses a very serious question: do addicts need to go to rehab?

Does Everyone Have to Go to Rehab?

Does Everyone Have to Go to Rehab?

Addiction is global. From the United States to India to Papua New Guinea, the grips of addiction are taking hundreds of lives around the world, each day. In America alone, an approximated 23 million people suffer from addiction and/ or alcoholism; less than 15% of those people receive the help they need in the form of treatment and/or clinical care. The iconic ‘28 days’ of residential treatment puts a damper on the image of what help can look like for treating the disease of addiction. A military hospital actually coined the 28 day term out of convenience for paperwork processing. Eventually the insurance industry rounded it up to 30 days, and that is how the treatment industry has remained, for the most part

Residential treatment is not the only option, however. Patients who are a danger to themselves or others are recommended to attend residential ‘rehab’. If they are unable to go without drinking or using drugs, pose a suicidal threat to themselves, or may hurt others, they need to be supervised twenty four hours a day.


These are other levels of care and who they might be appropriate for:

Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP): This will be the most similar to a residential ‘rehab’ program. The only difference is that the patients go home at the end of the day, to wherever they are staying, or a sober living. People needing daily structure, but aren’t an immediate threat to themselves are recommended for PHP. Not paying for room, board, food, and extra amenities is also a financially efficient choice.

Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP): Frequency of needing to attend an IOP program varies. Some IOP are only two to three days a week while some are four to five. These programs typically focus on group and individual therapy, with less of the educational component in higher levels of care. Clinical staff will not likely be an included part of the treatment. Patients in need of ongoing accountability and care are recommended for IOP.

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