Jul 26

A Comprehensive Guide on Alcohol Rehab | Canada Drug Rehab

alcohol rehab

Drinking is a commonly accepted part of life. Unfortunately, that means alcohol is a substance prone to being abused. While the characteristics of a drug addict are clearly recognizable, the line between casual drinking and alcohol addiction is blurry.

Alcoholism is defined as a strong urge to drink alcohol, to the point where the person has a problem controlling their drinking

Most people know the vomiting and headaches that accompany a night of binge drinking. However, short-term issues are only the tip of the iceberg. In the long run, drinking too much can lead to long-term effects like depression, heart disease, liver damage, anxiety, and even death. Sadly, 3 million deaths a year are attributed to alcohol consumption. 

In this article, we’ll go over:

  • the types of alcohol rehab centres
  • pros and cons of each type of drug and alcohol rehab centres
  • evaluation criteria to consider when choosing the best alcohol addiction treatment centres
  • frequently asked questions on treating alcoholism

The 3 Steps in Alcohol Rehab

3 steps in alcohol rehab

What is alcohol rehab?

It’s a simple question with a complicated answer. Successful alcohol addiction rehab isn’t just about cutting back on drinking in the short term. Taking the proper steps is essential to making sure that the patient doesn’t resume drinking in the long run. In fact, the best rehab for alcohol abuse is done through a combination of treatment and preventative-focused solutions.

There are three main steps a patient will go through when receiving treatment at a drug and alcohol rehab centre:

  1. Detox
  2. Rehab
  3. Maintenance


Medical detox from alcohol is a crucial step for reaching a “clean slate” status from which addicts can recover.

This is the step where the patient stops drinking. But detoxifying an alcoholic is about far more than just surface-level sobriety.

 Professional medical experts must be present to provide care for patients during this step to treat the extreme withdrawal symptoms resulting from being substance-free (shaking, headaches, anxiety, insomnia, heart palpitations, seizures). Over 80% of alcohol use disorder patients experience withdrawal symptoms


During this stage, the patient will need to stay proactive in their own recovery efforts and find the motivation to maintain sobriety.

The actual rehabilitation process usually takes place in addiction rehab centres, where therapies, medical care, and other forms of treatment are employed to help combat the triggers for addiction that might arise during daily life.

 Whether it’s happening at drug and alcohol inpatient rehab centres or outpatient locations, addicts need to receive intensive care to treat the mental and physical side effects of alcoholism. 



At this point, preventing relapse is the name of the game

Eventually, the patient will return to “normal” life and have to navigate the challenges of staying sober during the course of day-to-day activities. Attending alcohol rehab support groups, visiting a counsellor who specializes in addiction, and seeking out emotional support from friends and family are the most beneficial parts of this step. 

Stage of RecoveryRequired Care
DetoxMedication, medical devices, caregiving
RehabCounselling, medication, caregiving
MaintenanceSober living, counselling, medication

Depending on their recovery process, people can spend anywhere from six months to several years in the maintenance stage. The first steps need to lay a solid foundation for the latter stages to build upon so that the patient has a positive attitude, a good support system, and the resources they need to succeed.

Types of Alcohol Treatment Programs

According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, there are four steps of intensity to an alcohol rehab centre and the treatment you might receive as an addict.

  1. Outpatient alcohol rehab centres 
  2. Inpatient addiction rehab centres
  3. 24-hour residential treatment programs
  4. 24-hour intensive inpatient programs

Outpatient Alcohol Rehab Centres

 In outpatient alcohol rehab centres, patients are treated on a part-time basis so that they can continue to live relatively normal, uninterrupted lives. 

This is usually well-suited to patients with a less serious problem or who are late into their recovery period.

Inpatient Addiction Rehab Centres

inpatient treatment

These are full-time, residential treatment centres for alcohol addiction where patients can live and receive comprehensive on-site treatment for addiction

This type of treatment is best for patients who need medical care for withdrawal symptoms, intensive counselling, and close monitoring due to a serious addiction issue.

24 Hour Residential Treatment Programs

Patients are sent to intense 24-hour programs (or other shorter treatments, such as one-week alcohol rehab programs) to receive treatment for the side effects of alcohol addiction.

These programs are not designed for long stays, but rather are to help patients dealing with the short-lived but intense side effects of alcohol withdrawal. 

24 Hour Intensive Inpatient Program 

Medically-focused 24 hour programs, usually treating patients who have gone into shock or suffered other similarly serious side effects due to the symptoms of withdrawal, binge drinking, or simply long-term addiction

Similar to the 24-hour residential treatment program, inpatient programs are not designed for long-term stays.

Here’s a rundown of the costs, emphasis, and suitability of each program:

PricingInvasivenessMedical EmphasisBest For
Outpatient Alcohol Rehab centres$2,000 – $5,500 per monthLess invasiveMixedRecovering or less serious alcoholics
Inpatient Addiction Rehab centres$10,000 – $25,000 per monthInvasive, but can be personalizedYesSerious alcoholics who need on-site, personalized  care
24 Hour Residential Treatment ProgramsAround $330 per dayInvasiveMixedPatients who have experienced a relapse or overdose and need short-term treatment
24 Hour Intensive Inpatient Program$300 – $600 per dayHighly invasiveYesPatients who have experienced relapse or overdose and need short-term treatment

Each alcoholism treatment program varies, and pricing or invasiveness may end up differing greatly among the type of program you go with at the end of the day. 

Understanding addiction and addiction treatment in hand, it’s time to take a look at what exactly alcohol addiction treatment itself entails.

Categories of Alcohol Addiction Treatment

sober living

What happens in alcohol rehab? Drug and alcohol rehabilitation centres employ a few main steps in their treatment process:

  • Detoxification
  • Counselling
  • Sober living


Detoxification is the process by which medical experts eliminate all traces of alcohol within the addict’s body while controlling for withdrawal. 

This is usually done with medication or medical devices and takes place over the course of 7-10 days in a setting such as a hospital where immediate care can be summoned in moments of need. 

Symptoms peak after 72 hours, but the whole process can last up to two weeks. 


Alcohol addiction can either cause or stem from serious psychological issues such as depression, anxiety, trauma, or any other disorder responsible for changes in mood or attitude. 

With the help of a therapist or counsellor, the addicted person may identify the root cause of their addiction (e.g. mental health issues, stress, trauma, genetics, etc.) and learn healthier coping mechanisms to prevent relapse down the road. 

Sometimes alcohol addiction treatment programs include counselling for family members, both to create a healthy environment for the patient to receive emotional support as well as help families cope with the trauma of addiction and learn how to talk to someone with an addiction.

Sober Living 

This step is less common but can be useful for patients who need a safe space for recovery after the initial residential drug and alcohol rehab program.

Sober living is when a group of recovering alcoholics live together in a house where drugs and alcohol are completely prohibited.

The strict guidelines promote a sober lifestyle with a low risk of relapse, removing potential outside temptation with a supportive environment. 

Oftentimes this step is followed by the patient moving out to live a “normal life” with their family once again, although some do choose to stay within sober living environments for good.

These are just a few examples of alcohol rehab methods that solve a variety of issues in the recovery process. 

Evaluation Criteria for Choosing the Right Alcohol Rehab Centre

Whether you are an addicted person or a loved one thinking through treatment options, the sheer volume of treatment options may be enough to make your head spin.

If you are struggling to pick the right rehab centre for alcohol use disorder for you or a loved one, here are a few evaluation criteria for you to consider to help you make the right choice for you:

  • Price
  • Wait times
  • Length of stay
  • Inpatient vs. outpatient
  • Financial aid



Cost is the top concern for most families looking into rehab clinics for alcohol.

The price may vary greatly depending on what type of program you are looking into. For example, a 30-day detox may cost $250 – $800 per day, while the price of residential treatment will vary widely depending on how long you stay and the type of treatment you receive. 

Private programs tend to be costlier than public programs, and full-time residential programs are more expensive than part-time programs. Meanwhile, luxury programs can cost between $20,000 – $50,000 per month, which just goes to show how wildly costs can vary for treatment.

Wait Times

When it comes to treating addiction, time is of the essence. 

The sooner you can get treatment, the sooner you can begin the road to recovery and possibly avoid a life-threatening situation. 

While public programs definitely cost less than private programs, they lag behind when it comes to waiting times due to overcrowding and funding concerns. 

On average, most patients have to wait 3 weeks to access a public rehab centre (with longer waits in some metro areas), while they wait for private programs usually only takes a few days. 

Length of Stay

How long is alcohol rehab in inpatient programs? 

Aside from the short-term rehab programs for alcohol that run 24 hours or a week, serious alcohol addiction treatment usually comes in 30, 60, and 90-day increments. 

Outpatient programs are flexible, although this will hinge on the seriousness of the addiction and the need for treatment. 

It’s important to do your research on the length offered by each different drug and alcohol addiction treatment centre so you can make the optimal choice.

Inpatient vs. Outpatient

Inpatient programs are immersive and tend to work better for patients with a serious addiction

They provide on-site medical care, counselling, and monitoring suited for someone in the beginning stages of their recovery. Be sure to check what services each inpatient alcohol drug rehab centre provides, as they may have specializations or amenities specific to that treatment location.

Outpatient programs are flexible and more suitable for patients who have already been through a round of initial treatment and may be preparing to return to the outside world. 

Since they are part-time, they work better for someone attending school or who needs to work. 

Generally speaking, they focus less on the medical care aspect of the recovery process and drill into the maintenance stage, providing step-by-step support throughout a patient’s journey toward sobriety.

Financial Aid 

This may factor into the pricing considerations, although only some programs provide a discount based on aid. 

These grants support patients who come from specific backgrounds and may be based on age, race, citizenship, and other categories. 

Looking into grants you could be eligible for may save you a lot of money in the end.

These are a few beginning evaluation criteria to look into when it comes to choosing between alcohol and drug treatment centres. Deciding what you want for each of these categories should help you narrow down the field and find a few of the best choices for receiving alcohol rehab.

Frequently Asked Questions

To summarize, let’s address some frequently asked questions about alcohol and drug rehab centres.

  1. What happens in rehab for alcohol?
  2. How does alcohol rehab work?
  3. How long is alcohol rehab at rehab centres for alcohol?

What Happens in Rehab for Alcohol?

Here are a few of the main things that occur during alcohol rehab:

  • Detox
  • Counselling
  • Sober Living (Optional)

Detox is the process of eliminating alcohol from the body for a “clean slate”. 

This process may result in withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, tremors, anxiety, hallucinations, seizures, restlessness, etc.

Because of how severe the side effects can be, it’s advised to have this process done in a professional medical environment where immediate care can be provided in the form of medication and medical devices.

Addiction-oriented counselling focuses on resolving the psychological issues that either caused or resulted in alcohol addiction in the first place. 

In addition, the therapist or counsellor can support the patient through their recovery, helping process negative thoughts, adjusting their attitude toward addiction, and mending their relationship with their family. This may include alcohol intervention and treatment programs.

Sober living refers to living within a sober house where residents are generally recovering addicts who choose to live substance-free in order to facilitate their recovery.

 This option is not included within some alcohol rehab programs so it is considered more of an optional step, although even if patients don’t opt for a sober house they will often wind up living in a relatively substance-free environment to reduce the possibility of relapse.

How Does Alcohol Rehab Work?

alcohol addiction treatment

Patients receive treatment via alcohol rehab facilities of their choice, which could be an outpatient or inpatient alcohol and drug rehab program. 

During inpatient rehab for alcohol, they will mainly be focusing on the detox and rehabilitation stages, where alcohol medical detox is completed and the patient receives medical, physical, emotional treatment to combat the possibility of them being triggered during day-to-day life.

Once they make it to the outpatient portion of the program they can focus on the maintenance stage, which involves actively preventing relapse by attending support groups, visiting an addiction counsellor, and receiving emotional support from friends and family.

How Long Does Alcohol Rehab Take?

Residential programs usually operate in 30-day increments (30, 60, 90-day programs). 

Outpatient programs are comparatively flexible and can be basically any length. 

That being said, you should check the websites of alcohol and drug rehabilitation centres to ensure they provide flexibility in terms of program length.

Conclusion: How and Where to Get Help for Drug and Alcohol Addiction in Canada

Ultimately, getting treatment is only the first step toward gaining sobriety. Thankfully, there are plenty of great online resources for people looking to find the best alcohol rehab programs in Canada. 

For example, Canada Drug Rehab, which is a directory for addiction resources across all of Canada with treatment options for a wide variety of addictions, locations, price points, and other preferences.

Need a few recommendations for great intervention services to jumpstart a loved one’s recovery? Check these out:

  • Aurora Recovery Centre is a world-class drug and alcohol rehab centre. They believe not just in recovery, but in sustainable sobriety. They offer inpatient/outpatient programs, personalized addiction recovery planning, stabilization support, family support programs, and addiction awareness training for the workplace.
  • Andy Bhatti Intervention Services is led by Andy Bhatti, who himself struggled with addiction issues in his youth. Now he has passion and years of expertise in providing interventions for victims of sexual abuse and addiction of various types to start off the recovery process right. His specialties include providing support to high-risk youth, youth in foster care, Punjabi community addiction recovery, and supporting families in recovery.
  • Sunshine Coast Health Centre specializes in holistic drug and alcohol rehab for working men. Their wide range of treatments caters to every patient’s needs, including 24-hour medical care, psychiatry, psychological, nutritional, and fitness support to support every aspect of recovery in a patient’s life.
  • Cedars at Cobble Hill offers a drug and alcohol rehab program alongside support for other types of addiction. They treat addiction with abstinence-based principles, constructing personalized programs for each patient and providing them with all the resources they will need during recovery.

While recovery can undoubtedly be tough, the right resources can go a long way in helping somebody out. Don’t hesitate to reach out and find the best treatment if you or a loved one is struggling, because the first step toward treatment is the first step toward recovery.

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