What to Expect in Rehab

Are you wondering what’s involved in addiction treatment at Hazelden Betty Ford? Here’s a recap of what happens in rehab, from your admission to an inpatient or outpatient program to your post-treatment plan.
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A Closer Look at What's Involved in Addiction Treatment

Addiction doesn't happen overnight. It's a gradual progression—and so is the treatment and recovery process.

In recognizing addiction as a chronic disease and recovery as a new way of living, treatment at the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is individualized, collaborative and occurs over the long term through a continuum of care and support. Our treatment goals and expectations are designed to ensure you have the best opportunity to learn, change and heal.

Detox and Withdrawal

Because heavy and sustained alcohol or other drug use takes an enormous toll on physical and emotional health, a detox period might be needed before you will be able to benefit from rehab.

If you are admitted to any of our inpatient rehab programs, your care will begin with a 24-hour medically supervised detoxification period, sometimes longer depending on your situation. Learn more about drug and alcohol detox.

In order to be admitted to our outpatient rehab programs, you must be medically stable. Our outpatient programs do not have medical units.

Assessment and Evaluations

When you first arrive at the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, you will meet with a clinician to review and discuss:

  • Your physical and mental health
  • Types of substances used
  • Family history
  • Other variables related to the disease of addiction

Understanding all aspects of your health and wellbeing helps us develop the best possible rehab plan for you.


Addiction rehab has its own culture and community. We'll help you get oriented right from the start by introducing you to basic addiction treatment concepts and goals, including:

  • The disease model of addiction
  • Twelve Step recovery principles
  • The social, physical, emotional, impact of substance use disorder
  • The importance of post-rehab recovery management

Your orientation will also cover patient rights, responsibilities and confidentiality laws.

Addiction Treatment

Drug and alcohol rehab comes in slightly different structures and intensities across Hazelden Betty Ford, but an abstinence-based, Twelve Step approach that incorporates evidence-based practices is core to all of our programs.

Whether a residential or outpatient rehab program is recommended for you, your core treatment activities will include:

  • Individual therapy
  • Educational lectures
  • Group therapy
  • Special-focus groups (e.g., trauma, grief, healthy relationships)

Learn more about Hazelden Betty Ford Inpatient or Outpatient Treatment programs, and if drug rehab is right for you or a loved one.

Length of Addiction Rehab

Throughout treatment, a primary counselor will work with you to identify your goals and guide your care. The length and pace of treatment will be based on your specific situation and clinical milestones.

If you're facing more complex recovery issues, your drug and alcohol treatment team may recommend more time to address:

  • Special issue and concerns
  • Mental health complications
  • Relapse prevention
  • Sober living skills

Your New Normal

Feeling uncomfortable will likely become your "new normal" as treatment begins. As you learn more about the symptoms and impact of addiction, many of those uncomfortable sensations will begin to fade.

Learning about personal authenticity, feeling your feelings, changing negative thought patterns, and practicing stress reduction will provide you tremendous relief.

Over time, however, if you remain uncomfortable—experiencing low moods, a sense of helplessness and/or ongoing anxiety—you should inform a member of your care team. We can offer mental and medical health assessments as well as other resources and services to provide additional relief.


Our drug and alcohol treatment programs are designed to not only help you get well but to stay well and to really thrive in recovery. At discharge, your care team will discuss post-treatment recommendations with you.

We've learned from research that the strength of your recovery from addiction is directly related to your follow-through with continuing care recommendations. Your plan could include participation in: