What to Expect

Discover more about addiction, detoxification, withdrawal and a typical day in treatment.

Addiction Treatment, Detoxification, Withdrawal

Heavy and sustained alcohol and other drug use takes an enormous physical and emotional toll on a person. A detoxification—or withdrawal—may need to occur before an individual can benefit from rehabilitation.

Medical supervision is necessary for this process because withdrawal from alcohol and other drugs can be life threatening. Various medications may be used to reduce physical discomfort while withdrawal is monitored.

For patients admitted to our residential programs, our care begins with a 24-hour detoxification period, sometimes longer depending on the individual's needs. Our medical staff closely supervises this process.

Outpatient detoxification services are also available for addiction to pain medications and other opiates.

The Assessment Process

The assessment process is designed to identify barriers to recovery from addiction and mental health issues, while recognizing strengths for behavior change, abstinence, and personal growth. To ensure a complete assessment, we focus on a patient's physical, chemical, and mental health.
Physical Health
The physical assessment primarily addresses biomedical conditions and/or complications associated with addiction and preexisting medical problems. Methods include structured diagnostic interviews, laboratory studies, physical examination, and referral to external medical resources, as appropriate.

Chemical Health
The substance-use assessment involves input from a team of professionals whose goal is to evaluate the extent, severity, and impact of substance use, social/vocational functioning, personality, physical health, family system, leisure activities, and spirituality. Methods used by the addiction counselor include establishing a comprehensive history of alcohol and other drug use from the patient and collect information from loved ones and professional referents that help reveal the extent and severity of alcohol and other drug use.

Mental Health
The mental health assessment provides an initial evaluation of each patient's mental health issues. This helps to determine the appropriateness of admission and continued residential stay, to identify treatment needs, and to manage mental health problems and/or complications. Methods frequently used include individual and group therapy, and psychiatric consults.

Orientation Process

The orientation process focuses on helping new patients adjust to the culture and community of inpatient treatment.

Orientation is an introduction to the basic principles of the treatment program. The disease model of addiction is discussed; looking specifically at the impact chemical use has had on the many facets of the patient's life, such as social, physical, emotional, academic, and employment. We explore managing one's recovery through abstinence and the Twelve Steps of AA.

Patient orientation also covers patient rights and responsibilities, as well as confidentiality laws. Daily responsibilities, unit rules, and the consequences of not following the rules are reviewed. Each new patient is also assigned a "buddy." This buddy is a patient (peer) from the unit whose task is to help the new patient become familiar with, and feel a part of, the Hazelden Betty Ford community.

Mental Health Services

Many patients have a co-occurring disorder (that is, they have an addiction diagnosis as well as an emotional or psychiatric issue, such as depression or anxiety). Hazelden's mental health professionals will address the needs of patients with co-occurring disorders and help them understand how the different diagnoses interact. Among the professional services are mental health intake screenings, diagnostic evaluations, individual and group psychotherapy, and continuing care planning, information, and referral.

Fun, Social Sober Activities

We provide opportunities for patients to learn healthy coping skills through exercise and sober leisure activities. Depending on the location, services may include supervised recreational activities, individual consultations, use of, the art room, music room and the on-campus Wellness Center. Other activities include off-campus outings, such as going to the waterpark, sporting events, and movies. Patients are always supervised, and the confidentiality of individuals and the group is closely guarded.

Spiritual Care

Spiritual care services are provided for patients as part of inpatient programming. The spiritual care professionals are members of the patient's interdisciplinary care team. Spiritual care services vary by individual need and may include Step Two and Three group, Step Four and Five presentation, spirituality lectures, grief and loss work, and individual spiritual care consultation.

Medical Services

Nursing staff members manage the health care of patients in inpatient care. They provide education on infectious disease, cravings, and withdrawal.  They work closely with your loved one as the work to stabilize while withdrawing from substances.

Licensed nurses are available 24 hours a day to respond to medical and psychiatric emergencies. When hospital care is indicated, the nurse contacts an on-call physician for medical emergencies or a mental health professional for mental health emergencies to make arrangements for immediate transfer of the patient to a local hospital. Hazelden has provider agreements with a paramedic ambulance service for emergency transportation.


At our Plymouth, MN location for teens and young adults, the Education Program is mandatory for all Minnesota inpatients aged 12-15. It is also available to—and encouraged for—patients aged 16-21. Out-of-state patients are strongly urged to attend. Robbinsdale Independent School District 281 provides a teacher for on-campus education at Hazelden.

During the first week in treatment, the teacher (or other staff as needed) will assess your loved one's educational needs. Formal classroom instruction is given over a two-hour period, Monday through Friday, and follows the yearly academic calendar as set by District 281. Patients can also use this time to complete the requirements for a General Equivalency Diploma (GED).

A Typical Day in Residential Treatment
Patients experience a full day of therapy, education and fellowship. The day typically starts at 7 a.m. and ends at 8:30 p.m. and may include the following activities:

  • Morning meditation followed my mealtime and fellowship
  • Educational lectures followed by a group meeting for processing the lecture
  • Group therapy
  • Individual therapy
  • Twelve Step mutual support groups
  • Relaxation, exercise, recreational and other wellness activities
  • Individual appointments as needed with a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist or other professional from the multidisciplinary team
  • Personal time for reflection, reading and treatment assignments
  • Specialty groups
  • And more

Special group meetings are tailored to the needs of the individual. Groups could include:
  • Leisure skills group
  • Anger group
  • Stress management group
  • Mental health group
  • Grief group
  • Rational Emotive Therapy group

Are you or a loved one struggling with alcohol or other drugs?

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