Menu Close

Understanding Residential Rehab

Providing Trusted, Evidence-Based
Treatment for Three Decades and Counting

If you or a loved one is experiencing addiction, we’re here to help.

One of the first decisions to make regarding a drug addiction treatment program is whether to opt for outpatient treatment or inpatient treatment. An outpatient facility allows patients to sleep at home every night and gives them a lot of freedom. An inpatient treatment program gives patients comprehensive care around the clock.

This decision is an important investment of time, money, and emotional resources. For this reason, some families fear making the wrong choice, and they do not make any choice at all. But the fact remains that there is no single right way to treat addiction. Each individual is different. However, for many, the comprehensive and intensive nature of residential treatment is ideal for patients attempting to rebuild their lives after addiction.

Research indicates that more intensive treatment is by far the better choice for those patients who have had a long history of severe alcohol addiction issues. This is especially true for individuals that have been unable to stop drinking on their own or through other treatment means.1 If your loved one has continually attempted to stop drinking or has tried 12-Step meetings or an outpatient treatment program without success, then a residential program is recommended.

If alcohol abuse has had an overwhelming impact on a patient’s family life, career or health, immediate submersion into a 24-hour program is likely the best option. Research shows an estimated 15.1 million Americans struggle with an alcohol use disorder.2 So if your loved one needs help, contact us at Michael’s House today to learn more about how we can help.

Spectrum of Services

Group therapy session

There are some alcohol rehab programs that provide a basic course of treatment and therapeutic services for patients. Then there are other luxury alcohol addiction treatment programs that provide uniquely tailored treatment plans for each patient, treat fewer patients in residence at a time, and offer a wide range of medical, holistic, alternative, and traditional therapeutic and interventions.

Addiction is complicated. So addiction treatment needs to be comprehensive enough to address those complexities. Over the last three decades, combined biological, epidemiological, and social science discoveries have given us a detailed understanding of the risks, mechanisms, and consequences of drug abuse and addiction.3

Each patient’s treatment plan should address their individual experience with drugs or alcohol.

Each of the following should be addressed:

  • Health problems related or unrelated to alcohol use
  • Family issues
  • Underlying trauma or abuse

Obstructions to recovery can come in many forms. Patients often experience relapse triggers when they encounter and need to manage stressful or difficult life situations. With inpatient care, the individual has the time to step away from a stressful situation and make a plan for how he will re-enter society.

Inpatient care should include:

  • Pharmacological assistance and monitoring
  • Medical care and monitoring
  • Extensive mental health diagnostic and support services
  • Job skills training

The defining difference between intensive outpatient care and inpatient treatment is the 24-hour supervision and assistance that is offered by a residential program. This round-the-clock protection against relapse is a primary benefit of inpatient rehab, and it’s the reason that many families choose this option over outpatient care. During those difficult days in detox and when the work gets hard in therapy, many patients are tempted to use. Cravings are a part of the disease and almost impossible to overcome alone — the most common reason for relapse. When in residence at an alcohol treatment program, patients have the constant support of counselors and peers and can put the coping skills that they are learning into practice, with the positive guidance and encouragement of those around them rather than winging it on their own.

What Effective Care Looks Like

With so many options in residential treatment, how can you best determine which one will provide effective treatment for your loved one?

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) offers a list of principles to expect (and require) of a drug treatment program.

These specific principles include:

  • A program that speaks to the fact that addiction is a multi-faceted disease that requires multi-faceted treatment.
  • Each patient requires an individual treatment plan that is created after extensive evaluation and a thorough diagnosis to identify all obstacles to recovery.
  • The provision of a wide range of therapeutic and treatment options to ensure everyone has access to what they need to heal.
  • A thorough physical and mental health evaluation that identifies any previously unknown issues such as HIV and hepatitis C or mental health disorders.
  • Help for issues outside of addiction that may negatively impact their ability to stay clean and sober such as learning disabilities, behavioral disorders, mental health disorders, or abuse.
  • Pharmacological treatment if necessary for the treatment of addiction, mental health symptoms or physical ailments.
  • Incremental check-ins and evaluations to ensure that patients are making progress.
  • Inclusion of the family as appropriate through family therapy, visiting opportunities, parenting classes, couples counseling, and educational workshops.
  • The ability to provide long-term care as needed.
  • The provision of aftercare services and ongoing support in recovery

Benefits of Professional Care

Do not underestimate the power of the peer group and alcohol rehab facilities. Many individuals with drinking problems have suffered alone, in silence, for many years. These individuals don’t believe that anyone understands their problem. For the recovering alcoholic, croup counseling and peer-group sessions are an eye-opening experience. As compared to detox-only programs, weekend or evening outpatient care, intensive outpatient programs, and day treatment options, residential alcohol rehab is the most comprehensive and extensive recovery option for patients at every level of addiction.

The benefits of inpatient drug treatment include:

  • 24-hour support
  • High number of therapists, medical providers, and treatment specialists per patient
  • Extensive range of therapy options
  • Round-the-clock monitoring to ensure the safety of the patient, ongoing abstinence, the right dosage of any medications
  • Emotional and physical space from problems at home
  • Physical distance from the temptation to drink
  • The unbroken engagement with recovery 24 hours a day in the first few months
  • The ability to practice new principles of recovery as opportunities arise with the support of others
  • Distance and protection from those who might be angry with the addicted person


When an individual makes the choice to live without alcohol, he will no doubt improve his overall life. However, the following list includes challenges often cited by patients who recognize that they have an alcohol problem that requires treatment but feel that residential care is not the right choice:

  • Family considerations. Many individuals feel that prolonged time away from children or other family members will harm these people more than their addiction. It should be pointed out that parenting and caregiving are important, but that no one can perform these duties effectively while under the influence of alcohol. The best thing for all dependents is that their loved one get treatment or else alcohol abuse may eventually lead to the breakdown of the family.
  • Work requirements. Many employees are afraid to ask for an extended amount of time off of work for fear of their employer knowing about alcohol abuse. However, on many occasions, the employer is already aware of substance abuse issues.
  • Financial constraints. In most cases, professional residential treatment is more expensive than outpatient care. However, investing in a less expensive, less effective program is not the answer. Likewise, staying for a lesser amount of time than is necessary to secure a strong foothold in recovery is also not the answer.
  • Relationship issues. Some patients develop a level of codependency that won’t allow them to leave home and get the help they need. Unfortunately, these relationships often enable addiction. It is important for both parties to enter a treatment program independently so they can get healthy and then come back together and rebuild.

The Length of Treatment

Research indicates that most addicted individuals need at least three months in treatment to significantly reduce or stop their drug use. In addition, the best outcomes occur with longer durations of treatment.4 This amount of time is typically sufficient to allow patients to work through initial detox as well as long-term physical stabilization and then to put a firm foundation for recovery into place. Patients learn important social skills and experience intensive therapeutic healing. When they leave residential treatment, they have the tools they need to be successful in recovery and avoid relapse.

Learn more about our intensive, evidence-based alcohol addiction treatment program at Michael’s House today. Call us now, and one of our admissions coordinators will be glad to answer your questions. We can reserve your loved one’s spot here with us in Southern California today. Don’t wait any longer — call 760.548.4032 now.

Start the Journey Today!



1 Burdon, William M. “Differential Effectiveness of Residential Versus Outpatient Aftercare for Parolees from Prison-based Therapeutic Community Treatment Programs.” National Institutes of Health, 11 October 2017. Accessed 16 October 2017.

2Alcohol Facts and Statistics.” National Institutes of Health, 11 October 2017. Accessed 16 October 2017.

3 “Drug Abuse and Addiction.” National Institutes of Health, 11 October 2017. Accessed 16 October 2017.

4Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide.” National Institute on Drug Abuse, 11 October 2017. Accessed 16 October 2017.