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What Happens in Rehab?

What Happens in Rehab?

Many people unfamiliar with rehab have questions about what to expect from the rehab experience. Private residential rehabilitation for drug and alcohol abuse, as well as other addictive disorders, is a multi-stage process. The entire course of rehab treatments, from day one all the way through the mandatory and optional phases of rehabilitation, are described below.

Clinical Assessment

Assuming that a client is physically capable, upon arrival they will be risk-assessed and given a standardized medical and psychiatric screening. It is crucial to have a thorough understanding of the client’s state of mind, and physical and emotional health before they undergo the drug or alcohol detox phase of rehabilitation. The following protocols are fairly standard in a typical risk assessment:


  • Confirming the patient is taking drugs (history, examination, drug testing).
  • Assessing the client’s degree of dependence.
  • Treating any emergency problems.
  • Identifying any physical, psychological or mental health problems.
  • Identifying any particular social problems: housing, employment, domestic violence, offending.
  • Assessing and qualifying any risk behaviors.
  • Determining the clients’ expectations of treatment and their inherent desire to change.
  • Determining the need for medications.
  • Dual diagnosis screening.
  • Assessing the competency of young persons to consent to treatment and involving those with parental responsibility as appropriate.



The Detox period for drugs and or alcohol is an intensive period that lasts for about two weeks. In many ways this is the most traumatic and difficult period for clients to get through. There are very real issues relating to withdrawal symptoms and side effects that can be unpleasant to experience. Clients are given round the clock medical support, guidance, assistance and advice by all members of staff. Care support workers often sit up with clients through the night holding their hands during the first few days of often fidgety or restless withdrawal. A short course of medication is made available to clients at their request. This will help to calm the nerves and get them through the worst of their withdrawal symptoms.

A medically supervised detox is the safest method of detox for chronic drug or alcohol users. A client’s vital signs are closely monitored to reduce risk and make the experience as comfortable as possible.

Primary Care

The Primary phase of treatment lasts four weeks. This is where the client is exposed to an intense phase of group and one-to-one therapies. The purpose of Primary is to uncover the root of addiction, process it and then build healthy strategies and coping mechanisms to face life sober. Expect to encounter cognitive and dialectical therapies, transactional analysis and creative psychodrama. Also expect to be exposed to alternative therapies like meditation, acupuncture and psycho-dynamic techniques for clearing emotional and psychological blockages. Expect a lot of hard work and inner pain and even suffering as painful memories and events are brought back into the light of day to be processed and healed. There are no easy short cuts. Nobody can ever do the hard work for anyone else here. The more each client can put into their own recovery, the more they are going to get out of the Primary phase of rehab.

Secondary Care

Secondary Care period is for those who have successfully completed Primary rehab. Programmes are individually tailored to each client’s needs and degree of independence. Lasting a minimum of four weeks, Secondary care is usually a residential programme. Clients spend their mornings in group and one-to-one counselling. Afternoons are devoted to lifestyle enrichment projects like music, volunteer work, college training, sport and group tasks. Clients stay at one of our sober Living residences but there are exceptions to that rule depending on individual circumstances.

The Secondary phase encourages independence but also maintains a daily regimen of rehab related therapy and group work. It is an ideal arrangement for clients who need a little extra time to lay down new habits and test their coping strategies before finally leaving rehab for good. Consider Secondary as a sort of half-way house with sober-living arrangements by night with daily classes, therapies and activities.

Tertiary Care

Tertiary care is conducted as either an inpatient or outpatient programme, depending on each client. Some clients prefer to remain in our sober living accommodations, while others have returned home to their own families at this point. Each programme will be designed to fit the individual needs of each client. Tertiary care usually includes some or all of the following elements:

  1. Group, one-to-one or family counselling sessions. Frequency to be determined.
  2. SMART meetings
  3. Physician appointments
  4. Regular “check-ins”
  5. Outpatient treatments

Re-connection with friends, family, work and other forms of social re-integration are core elements of Tertiary care. The early days of return to society at large can be risky times for the newly sober. Temptations to relapse can be avoided by having a tertiary care system in place to provide a strong support system and guidance at key moments.


All clients who complete a rehab programme at Gladstones are invited to FREE Saturday afternoon Group Aftercare meetings for life! Meetings take place at our Bristol clinic on Berkeley Square. Clients are invited to participate in weekly shares and to benefit from the group experience as part of their lifelong sober living strategy.

Gladstones Clinic offers a residential detox and rehab programme for both alcoholism and drug addiction that applies abstinence-based, integrative treatments and a non 12-step philosophy as part of our treatment model.

We work with alcoholics and addicts and their families on a daily basis in our residential rehab clinic. We have seen the damage done to everyone involved. We apply our years of experience with the latest integrative treatment models and therapies in our highly successful practice.

Gladstones operates two private residential rehab facilities in the South-West of England, and two in London. Our main office and facilities are located in central Bristol.

All Our clinics provide clients with a private room (en-suite) & full board included in the cost of their residential rehabilitation programme.

If you need to speak to someone right now for a confidential chat call us Freephone on 0808 258 2350 or email –


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