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Inpatient treatment for alcoholism is most necessary in severe cases, or in cases where the patient has significant physical, emotional, or social problems in addition to alcoholism. It usually takes place in an alcohol treatment center or medical facility, and can last anywhere from a few days (detox only) to several months, with 30 days being a typical stay.
These programs provide a structured environment, healthy food, intensive therapy, access to self-help meetings (usually AA), and medication monitoring. They can also provide access to family therapy, healthy recreational activities, and spiritual counseling. Such programs are more likely to be initially effective than outpatient programs because they help the recovering alcoholic replace old patterns with new ones.
Because inpatient treatment is expensive, many insurers limit the types of patients who can access it and the length of time they can stay and be covered.