How do I choose an Addiction Rehab Centre?

CQC inspected addiction clinics and 12 step treatment centres

How do I choose an Addiction Rehab Centre?

In the UK there are two aspects that almost all addiction rehab centres share.

The first is that, in order to open and operate, they will have to have been inspected and registered (approved) by The Care Quality Commission. They are the independent regulator of health and social care in the UK and if the addiction treatment centre does not comply with their minimum standards, then they can be closed down. The individual report by the CQC on any addiction rehab or addiction clinic is published and can be found on the internet or on the rehab’s website.

The second is that over 95% of the treatment will be based on the principles of the 12 Step Programme that was originally conceived almost 90 years ago for Alcoholics Anonymous and has subsequently been adopted by other support groups such as Narcotics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous and even for those with an eating disorder.

What alternatives are there to private addiction rehab clinics?

At The Haynes Clinic we will daily speak with people who are telephoning around to find out what different addiction rehabs offer and the cost of treatment, all of which will vary.   Generally, the people making the phone calls are relatives or loved ones who have been given a glimmer of hope that the individual with the addiction has agreed to accept residential addiction help in an addiction rehab or alcohol clinic. 

These days there are fewer opportunities for those seeking help than in the past. Hospitals will not offer bed space for those requiring a detox or for people who have been using any mind altering chemicals; they will generally re hydrate the individual and discharge them from treatment within 24 hours. 

A GP, who used to offer a home detox, can not any longer as the amount of detox medication that they can prescribe is low. This can result in the person starting to suffer withdrawal symptoms, leading to them drinking whilst taking the medication. It is therefore just about impossible to get a successful NHS home detox. 

There is the option of seeking the services of the local drug and alcohol team, which exists in every county in the UK, but unfortunately their funding is low. It therefore may take months to get any significant help. 

Private addiction treatment can therefore be the only option for someone to be admitted to a rehab clinic and get help on the same day as they need it and make an enquiry. This is all very well for those who can raise the funds. It is a sad and difficult reality to face for those who do not, as anyone requiring a medical detox has a worsening daily condition and once they have decided to get help then it is important to get them this as soon as possible. (It has been known for friends to club together to fund someone, or for several members of a family to jointly contribute if this is the only way to source the help).

Can someone in addiction rehab leave if they want to?

Addiction rehabs are not “lock ins” and, once admitted, if the individual did choose to leave early before completing the agreed treatment period, then they can. It is important that when making an initial enquiry that any refund policy is discussed and fully understood for that clinic as it will vary for them all. It should also be very clear if a deposit is paid if it will be refunded if the individual changes their mind and does not come into treatment. One of the most important points for coming into treatment is actually wanting to, rather than saying they want help just to appease a family member

How long is a residential stay in addiction rehab?

The recognised residential rehab treatment period is 28 days, which usually gives sufficient time for a detox and treatment for the psychological addiction. However if it is a benzodiazepine addiction, then the treatment period could be a minimum of six weeks as it can take that long to be detoxed from that type of drug (for example, a diazepam detox).  In cases where people can not get time off work or there may be financial constraints, then a 14-day treatment period would potentially be another option. Anything less will generally result in an early relapse.  Part of the key to treatment is a structured daily therapy programme to help with changing the addictive thinking and addictive behaviour and it is not just about having a detox but the changes we need to be making with our life when we leave treatment.

Aftercare following residential rehab

Some clinics, such as The Haynes Clinic, will offer ongoing 12 months, one day a week, Aftercare for those who have completed their residential addiction treatment and for those living further afield there are Zoom meetings. So, when making an enquiry it is important to ascertain what sort of daily therapy programme that addiction rehab clinic is offering and if they offer ongoing Aftercare.

Rehabs with access to a gym and swimming pool

You also might like to check if they offer, whilst in treatment, time at a gym or swimming pool.  This in itself will not solve the addiction (if it could then there would be no need for addiction rehab clinics). However, some clinics offer this as a break from the hard work of intensive mental and emotional therapy.

What is an addiction rehab programme like?

A structured daily addiction treatment programme will usually consist of daily group therapy and written work about the understanding of the 12 Steps of AA and specific personal life areas. It will usually also include attendance at 12 Step fellowship support groups, such as AA, NA, CA etc – as these groups will be important to recovery once residential addiction treatment has finished. 

You may also be required to do ‘therapeutic duties’ while in treatment – helping to cook or clean your environment. Some people find this surprising and onerous. Others (re)learn how to take care of themselves – something they have not been doing before coming to treatment. Cooking and eating together can be an enjoyable part of  addiction treatment – and again helps many people remember how good it is to socialise again after a period of isolation at the end of their drinking / using.


Some clinics will have separate male and female houses, and some will have same sex shared bedrooms and not single occupancy. These are all questions that can be asked before committing to any one clinic.

As mentioned above, some offer rehab in the more traditional sense, with residents getting involved in looking after their environment and preparing meals together. Some offer chefs and are more spa like in their approach, offering a retreat from everyday life.

How long will I usually have to wait before getting admitted to an alcohol / drug rehab clinic?

Since Covid most addiction rehabs have been very busy as the virus has exposed people’s dependency or addiction to certain things by them being confined in a home environment. The impact of lockdown and stresses and strains experienced have escalated the addictive problem meaning that sometimes there have been short waiting lists for admissions to rehabs.  

However, when you have chosen a clinic, stay with that choice if you can even if you might have to wait a few days for an admission slot. Generally your research will have led you to the most appropriate rehab in terms of the treatment offered for the price and how you feel it will suit your needs. You should feel a sense of reassurance that the addiction clinic you have chosen feels right for you / your loved one.

Will there be alcoholics and addicts in the addiction treatment centre?

All addiction rehab centres will have people, both male and female, seeking help for a variety of addictions.  This is normal, and it shows that whatever we are addicted to it will still lead us down the same destructive path. For example, it will also show a drug addict they if they were to switch to alcohol, they will become addicted to alcohol and in the end revert back to drugs.  Another example would be a gambler under the influence of alcohol is very likely to start placing bets as his inhibitions are lowered by the alcohol consumption.  Therefore, the mixed group process within treatment can have a very positive effect. It is usually steered by suitable professional therapists, quite often being in Recovery themselves.

In Summary….

Choosing the right addiction rehab for your needs should start at the CQC report and then go further with questions directly to the alcohol rehab or drugs clinic to satisfy any queries that you have about their admission process, accommodation and daily programme. You should ensure that you are happy with what they are offering and the price that they are charging for their services.