Drug Rehab Treatment: Admissions Process

The Addict’s Mom is sharing a news series of articles to help guide us through what we might expect when we enter addiction treatment.  The information is so pertinent and non-threatening, we’re proud to share excerpts of it here on Riverbank House.

TAM’s Treatment Center Series: The Admissions Process

The thought of going to rehab or sending a loved one there can be a frightening experience. After making the decision to go to rehab and selecting a treatment center, knowing what to expect can help patients and their families get through the admissions process feeling calm and confident.

Pre-admissions assessment

The pre-admissions assessment ensures a good match between the prospective patient and the treatment provider. Background information regarding the patient’s condition allows the clinical team to determine what level of care will be required and which program would be the most appropriate. The admissions team may give an estimated length of stay and assist with obtaining pre-authorization from the insurance company if necessary.

Patients who have been drinking alcohol or taking benzodiazepines will likely require medical detoxification to prevent life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. Patients with opioid addiction also benefit from medication-assisted detox, which eases discomfort and improves treatment compliance.


During the admissions process, the intake team welcomes the patient and his or her family. The team explains pertinent policies and procedures and answers questions. Patients then sign the treatment consent and other forms. In fact, the admissions process involves quite a bit of paperwork. Patients also sign a form naming the family members or outside parties with whom the treatment team may speak about the patient’s care. The intake team also helps with any remaining insurance paperwork and associated documents.


Patients then say goodbye to their loved ones and begin their healing journey. Belongings are checked to make sure no alcohol or drugs are brought into the treatment center. A staff member shows the patient around the facility and residence, and gives him or her a chance to unpack and settle in. Those requiring detoxification receive medication to ease their withdrawal symptoms and help them sleep. Otherwise, the patient is introduced to everyone and joins the other patients for meals, groups and therapy sessions.


Treatment usually begins right away or after about three to five days of detox. Medications are often prescribed to ease mental and physical withdrawal symptoms. Clinicians provide individual, group and family psychotherapy and most centers include education and group process sessions. Types of experiential therapy vary by institution. The care team emphasizes sleep, nutrition and exercise throughout the treatment process.

Private rooms are uncommon at most treatment centers, so most patients have one or more roommates. Neatness, respect and courtesy go a long way toward avoiding conflict. Roommates offer an additional level of safety and can provide mutual peer support. Sometimes friendships form that last well beyond treatment.

About the author
Dana Connolly, Ph.D., is a senior staff writer for Sovereign Health, where she translates current research into practical information. She earned her Ph.D. in research and theory development from New York University. More importantly, she is a mother of twin boys who will be starting middle school next year and are the joy of her life.

Visit The Addict’s Mom at: http://addictsmom.com