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Frequently asked questions about rehab

Seeking help with addiction, let alone committing rehabilitation is a daunting prospect that always comes at a difficult and stressful time. Port of Call has the answers to many of the questions you might have about alcohol or drug rehab and what the process entails. The rehab guide below can help you understand what to expect throughout the entire process – from how to research rehab clinics through to how long to stay in treatment and how to pay for rehab.


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What is rehab?
Rehab is a course of treatment for drug or alcohol dependency or other addictive behaviour at a residential facility. Rehabs are abstinence based and provide an intensive programme of support and care for people who have difficulty becoming drug or alcohol free. Many treatment centres will have detox facilities to ensure you become abstinent in safe, comfortable and medically supervised environment. Find out more about what rehab is and when you need it…
What happen's in rehab?

1. Detox

If you have become physically dependent on alcohol or drugs, the first phase of your treatment will be a clinical detox to help you become safely abstinent. Experienced staff are on hand to support you throughout, day and night.

2. Rehab

All rehabs are different, yet the objective is always the same – helping you get to a point where you don’t need or want to drink or use or act out. This phase of treatment is about helping you stay stopped and acquiring the tools you will need to stay stopped in the long term.

Group therapy, one to one counselling, psychotherapy, educational seminars all help address the underlying causes of addiction. The process is very much about learning how to cope once the residential programme has come to an end.

3. Aftercare

Aftercare is key and various aftercare services are offered by different clinics. Aftercare often includes support group meetings, ongoing therapy and sober housing, online programmes and recovery mentorship schemes.

What long does rehab take?

This is a difficult question to answer outright as everyone is different. Most rehab clinics in the UK offer 28-day primary programmes as a minimum treatment length. Some individuals benefit from longer stays in treatment to help maintain their recovery. A decision on exactly how long each individual needs should really be made by a clinician at the point where they are already in treatment.

The optimal length of rehab varies according to:

  • The addiction in question.
  • The individual’s history.
  • The severity of the addiction.
  • The presence of co-existing mental or behavioural health conditions.
  • The individual’s physical, mental and emotional needs.

It is proven that those who spend longer in rehabilitation centres achieve better rates of long abstinence.

What happens in treatment?

Clinic programmes vary considerably yet tend to offer a deliberately intensive programme of group therapy and one-to-one sessions.

You’ll have time for rest and relaxation too as well as light exercise and more holistic activities.

What should I bring with me?

Comfortable clothing, any medication you are currently prescribed, cigarettes or tobacco if you are a smoker.

Bring a small amount of cash with you.

Don’t bring valuables or expensive jewellery. 

Who will be looking after me?

Typically rehab clinics employ trained and qualified therapists, support workers and healthcare assistants as well as a hospitality team who manage the catering and accommodation.

Some clinics also offer medical detoxification and have doctors, nursing teams and psychiatrists too.

You’ll likely find that many of the people who work in treatment are themselves in recovery and they’ll be happy to talk about their own experience, which can be really helpful.

How do I access rehab?

There are essentially two ways to access residential treatment.

One route is via the NHS where there are a very limited number of funded places available.

The other route is to self refer to private rehab which means you can choose where you go and treatment can be accessed immediately.

Where is my nearest rehab?

This is something we’re asked a lot.

It doesn’t necessarily follow, however, that the closest clinic is the most suitable.

There can be benefits to having treatment close to home and likewise travelling out of your local area can also be sensible, depending on what’s happening for you.

How long does rehab last?

Most clinics advocate a 28 day stay in treatment.

Longer and shorter stays can be organised too.

Financials and funding rehab

What does rehab cost?

Residential treatment often costs less than most people imagine and there are programmes and providers to suit lots of budgets.

Low-cost clinics charge in the region of £5,500 – £7,500 for 28 days.

More luxurious clinics or those with more resource and expertise charge between £10,000 and £20,000.

Keep in mind that residential treatment is an investment in your health and future.

When we consider all that goes into providing detox or rehab, the ratio of qualified staff to clients, the provision of medical and therapeutic expertise as well as accommodation, food and medication, it’s little wonder the costs are significant.

When considering this investment, it can also be helpful to offset it against the financial cost of your addiction – both in terms of your spending or the impact it is having or may have in the future on your ability to work and earn.

Can I use private medical insurance to fund addiction treatment?

Many private medical insurance policies will cater for addiction treatment. It’s best to check your policy and then contact Port of Call, who can advise which clinics work with which insurers.

Can I pay for rehab overtime?

Loans for treatment tend not to be provided by clinics themselves, who often insist on full payment on admission. 

Will my insurance company pay?

Certain private medical insurance policies will cover a residential stay in treatment.

It’s best to check with your provider first and look at whether you are covered.

Private rehab

How do I go about choosing the best private rehab?

There are more than 40 private clinics in the UK and choosing the right clinic often falls at a confusing and stressful time.

When you call Port of Call we will take the time to understand what’s happening for you and if residential treatment is the most appropriate recourse, we’re pleased to help you make an informed decision about which clinic is most suitable.

We will consider the resource and expertise that you will need whilst in treatment, talk with you about what’s available in terms of treatment and length of stay and help you get a sense of the different environments that are available.

Once you are happy with your chosen clinic we can help expedite admission and organise logistics if needs be.

Having helped thousands of people access treatment and having been through the process ourselves, our role is to help callers navigate the options and make an informed decision.

Do I need a referral from my GP to access private rehab?

In order to access private rehab, you do not need to see your own GP first.

At many private clinics, you will be seen by a private doctor on arrival.

How quickly can I get into rehab?

Private residential addiction treatment can be accessed immediately, without lengthy admissions processes or waiting times.

Same day admissions are possible and often necessary.


Do I need a detox?

This very much depends on what is happening for you.

If you have become physically dependent on alcohol or substances, you may need a detox in order to stop safely.

Many private clinics offer detox and are able to help manage a safe and comfortable withdrawal.

What is the difference between detox and rehab?

Detoxification addresses the physical aspects of alcohol or drug dependency.

Rehab or rehabilitation helps clients work through the psychological aspects of what they are struggling with and crucially acquire the tools they will need to stay free of their dependency.

We like to talk in terms of stopping and then learning how to stay stopped.

Keep in mind that addiction always comes from somewhere and that successful, long term treatment is about helping the individual with what is causing the addictive behaviour, which may be a mental health issue, trauma, lack of confidence or something else.

Good to knows

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Does addiction go on my medical records?

At a private clinic, clients are seen by a private doctor so no referral from their own GP is necessary.

Can I take my phone with me?

Most residential addiction treatment providers allow mobile phones these days, often with some guidelines around when access is allowed.

Can I have visitors?

Yes, absolutely. Most clinics have no issue with visits and many will encourage your loved ones to take part in family therapy sessions too.

If you’re coming into treatment, we’d recommend not having visits for the first 7-10 days to allow you to settle in and focus on your recovery without distraction.

What clothing should I bring with me?

Comfortable, casual clothing is best and remember to bring a coat too for off-site visits as you may attend meetings or outings whilst you’re in treatment.

Many clinics offer holistic therapies too (like yoga) and some clinics have a gym or organise visits to health clubs, so pack sports kit and swimwear.

All clinics have laundry facilities.

Can I smoke in rehab?

Yes, smoking is allowed in designated areas.

Can I bring my car with me and drive?

We’d recommend against this as you won’t be using your car whilst in treatment.

If you’re concerned about how you might get to and from the facility, keep in mind that many clinics offer a transport service.

What aftercare services are available to me after I finish rehab?

During treatment, you will be introduced to tools and resources that can help you protect and maintain your recovery once you have left treatment.

In fact, the whole process is ultimately about helping you prepare to leave and live life without addiction.

Aftercare might take the form of ongoing group or one-to-one therapy, regular support group meetings and opportunities for you to stay connected with your therapy team and peer group.

Most private clinics offer aftercare programmes within their fee.

About the author: Martin Preston

Martin is our Founder and Chief Executive. Martin is himself in long term recovery and started Port of Call to help families navigate treatment options. In 2020 Martin will open Delamere Health Ltd, the UK’s first purpose built addiction treatment clinic.

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We’re specialists in UK rehab options and can advise you on alcohol rehab in the North West, drug rehab in the North West and other addiction support services in the area.