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Drug and alcohol rehabilitation

4-minute read

What is drug and alcohol rehabilitation?

Drug and alcohol rehabilitation services can help you, when you have a problem. These services are sometimes called ‘rehab’ services.

They offer a range of therapies, including: treatment, counselling and support. This means you don’t have to do it alone.

Drug and alcohol rehabilitation helps you: stop or reduce your use of drugs and alcohol. Most therapy aims to reduce the harm of drug use. Some therapy will help you develop skills so that you can live without drugs.

Where do rehabilitation programs take place?

Treatment can be given in:

  • a community-based treatment centre
  • a residential rehabilitation service

Residential rehabilitation services allow people to stay in a special clinic for a period of time. This might be days, weeks or months.

How is drug and alcohol addiction treated?

Treatment can cover:

Counselling is the most common treatment. When you go to counselling:

  • you will talk to someone who understands drug and alcohol issues
  • the talk is confidential
  • counselling can be one-to-one or in a group setting
  • the counsellor can help you make changes to your alcohol or drug use
  • your counsellor can help you find out about other therapies

If you have a bad problem with drugs or alcohol, you might need hospital treatment.

You may have withdrawal symptoms while getting rid of drugs or alcohol from your body. You may need medicines or to do a detoxification (detox) program to help control your withdrawal symptoms.

If you have a drug or alcohol problem and a mental illness, you will need help with both at the same time.

Rehabilitation might notthe first time. Many people need to go through the process more than once.

Where can I go for help?

Ask your doctor for details about rehabilitation options and a referral to treatment services.

Counselling Online offers 24-hour free drug and alcohol counselling. Family Drug Support Australia offers 24-hour support to families and friends of drug and alcohol users. Call 1300 368 186.

To find a drug and alcohol service you can search: healthdirect’s services directory, or the Alcohol and Drug Foundation website.

If you need help with alcohol addiction, call Alcoholics Anonymous on 1300 222 222

SMART Recovery Australia offers evidence-based tools to help you manage addictive behaviours.

The National Alcohol and Other Drug Hotline (1800 250 015) will direct you to your state service. The helpline is available 24/7. All calls are confidential and anonymous.

The helpline also has confidential online web chat — for use Monday to Friday 8:30am to 5pm.

The Royal Flying Doctor Service provides prevention and rehabilitation services related to alcohol and other drugs to people who live in remote areas of New South Wales.

What does drug and alcohol rehabilitation cost?

Most services are government funded. Non-government organisations and charities also run a lot of services.

There are also private drug and alcohol treatment services.

Costs vary. Some treatments are free. Some government-funded community-based and residential rehabilitation centres ask for a co-payment.

Talk to your doctor about Medicare rebates.

Depending on your cover, some private health insurance companies offer rebates.

More information

For more information on drug and alcohol rehabilitation you can contact: Lifeline and the Alcohol and Drug Foundation.

Young people who need support can contact: Reach Out and headspace.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: August 2022

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