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Dayhab – The Alternative To Residential Drug And Alcohol Rehab. Rehab In The Real World

Help Me Stop Dayhab internal shot of Acton treatment centre

If you are looking for intensive drug or alcohol treatment for yourself or someone you care about, it is well worth considering Dayhab as an alternative to residential rehab. It is important that you opt for an intensive treatment that is most likely to work, so how do you decide?

Private residential rehabs can be affective but are expensive, some costing £12,000 – £25,000 for a 28 day stay, so in many cases they are out of reach for many people. Dayhab tends to be a quarter of the cost, at the very least, and has outcomes that in many cases outperform residential rehab.

What Does Residential Rehab Mean?

This may seem an obvious answer but there are a couple of types of residential rehabs and this can be reflected in their costs and their operation.

Quasi residential refers to a rehab that offers a traditional treatment programme that you would get in a full residential rehab, but the client resides off-site in a house with others accessing the programme. In general, this means when the programme finishes, often around 5pm, clients go back to their shared living space and are left to their own devices.  Weekends are also less structured giving clients more time in their shared house or going to the shops etc. It is usual for clients to purchase and prepare their own meals outside of the programme times and to have reduced supervision when returning to their shared living house. For those on a detox after an initial consultation with a detox specialist doctor, detox medications tend to be administered by staff who are not nurses and there is no 24/7 nurse support.

Fully residential rehabs offer an all-inclusive service under one roof. Clients will live and sleep on the same site that they receive their treatment programme. All meals are prepared on site by a chef and/or catering staff. Fully residential rehab centres will also often have 24-hour nursing staff. Detox medications are usually administered by nursing staff.

Residential Rehab VS. Non-Residential Dayhab

The UK has not seen much development in the field of drug and alcohol treatment for several years and intensive flexible Dayhab, in the form of what has been delivered in the USA for the past decade, has not been seen in the UK until its introduction by Help Me Stop. This being the case it is still not widely known about by GP’s and other professionals who tend to be the first port of call for many people seeking treatment and as such a large percentage of the population seeking treatment are missing out on this effective treatment option.

This is not to say residential rehab does not have a place in drug and alcohol treatment. For those drug and alcohol clients that have complex co-exiting disorders such as severe and enduring mental health issues, suicidal ideation, self-harm, or other life-threatening co-existing disorders like anorexia then residential is the right place. For these types of clients, the need for 24/7 residential mental health nursing care is a must. Residential rehab is also the right place for those whose substance use disorders are too severe for community treatment or for those that have several other social factors going on, such as unsafe housing. Another benefit of residential rehab is the immediate minimization of the chances for the use of alcohol or drugs and I do mean minimization and not eradication as it is still possible to get hold of drugs and alcohol whilst in residential rehab if you really tried.

However, as the Recovery Research Institute found, the evidence in favour of residential treatment effectiveness (compared to other approaches) is not as strong as one might expect. Research has generally shown that residential treatment is helpful, but that there is minimal evidence that it is better than other intensive approaches such as Dayhab. In fact, studies show that in many cases up to 60% of people leaving residential rehab relapse within the first 90 days of leaving. Figures for Dayhab however, indicate that around 67% of people that complete are still abstinent 9 – 12 months after completion.

One of the main benefits for residential rehab is also one of its main downfalls – the protective bubble. While it is great to be taken out of your day-to-day environment, away from the day-to-day pressures of work, home life, e-mails, phone calls etc. they will all still be waiting for you when you leave. Many, many people make great strides in residential rehab only to fall at the first hurdle when they return to the real world.

Outside of the cost of private residential rehab, it is also not easy to just step away from work for a month, whether you are self-employed or work for someone else. It is not easy admitting that your drink or drug use has got out of hand to yourself let alone going to your boss asking for time off to go into rehab.

As I indicated earlier meeting the needs of people that clinically do not need to be in residential rehab has been a daily occurrence in the USA for over a decade via Dayhab and you can understand why.

Dayhab offers virtually the same treatment that is present in a residential setting but at the fraction of the cost and without the inconvenience of disappearing for a month. Dayhab provides:

  • Intensive psychotherapy
  • Group and 1:1 work
  • Internal recovery focused community
  • Addiction specialist psychotherapists
  • Safe and boundaried environment
  • Treatment plans
  • Psychoeducation
  • Mindfulness sessions
  • Introduction to peer led services and approaches such as AA, NA, CA, MA and SMART
  • Personalised assignments
  • Drug and alcohol testing
  • Aftercare
  • Family support

However, one of its real benefits, outside of its cost, is that in Dayhab all the above happens in real time. There is no protective bubble to burst. You attend your sessions then go home or go to work and then go home, putting all that you have learnt into practice in real life, every day. Work is still happening; home life continues as does your e-mails and phone calls and all the challenges of you ceasing your drug or alcohol use, in particular dealing with cravings and access to substances.

And then you come back the next day to your recovery community and trained therapists and off load all the struggles you have come across as well as celebrating the successes you have made.

Dayhab works by building up recovery resilience every day and increasing your knowledge and understanding of how you have got to this place with your relationship with drugs or alcohol in the first place but equally importantly learning what to do about it.

There is no sudden shock of returning to real life with Dayhab as you are living it while you are getting better.

There is no need to tell your boss you must go away for a month, there is no need to stop earning an income, there is no need to stop supporting your family – it is rehab in the real world.

Moreover, Dayhab can be delivered face to face or online so for those that do not have access to a Dayhab centre near them or working patterns precludes attending face to face treatment then an online programme is the answer. With programmes being offered in the evenings as well as the mornings and the afternoons there is plenty to chose from to fit around daily life.

Dayhab Effectiveness

Dayhab works. The research backs this up, the 11,000 plus Dayhabs in the USA backs this up and the many, many clients that have come through Help Me Stops physical or virtual doors are testament to this too. 

Stopping and staying stopped is a about a psychological shift and lifestyle change which best comes about through psychological therapies and peer support. Peer support like SMART or AA, NA, CA or MA is great and is highly recommended, but they are not a replacement for psychotherapy or are psychotherapy. They are not run by trained addiction psychotherapists and neither will get to the fundamental bottom of your use from a psychological perspective. Getting to the psychological reasons why you drink or take drugs and doing something about this is fundamental to long term behaviour change and staying stopped.

There is no magic pill or magic wand to stopping and staying stopped. There is no quick fix, it takes the right levels and types of support, time, motivation, and hard work.

Giving up alcohol or drugs after prolonged use can be extremely difficult because the body is so used to functioning with the substance. Dealing with the come down is one thing but learning to stop and stay stopped is another.

If you are concerned about your relationship with alcohol or drugs, or someone else’s, and are considering residential rehab then give us a ring to explore if Dayhab might be a better option.

Call us now on 0208 191 9191 or jump onto Live Chat/email us directly at

Help Me Stop’s intensive non-residential outpatient Dayhab alcohol and drug treatment programme is an effective psychological solution that also offers 3 months of free accessible aftercare and family support options. Treatment is delivered face to face either in the mornings or afternoons over 6 weeks.

For those adults who can’t get to our centres in London we offer a 6-week online outpatient alcohol and drug treatment programme, run by the same therapists that provide the face-to-face programme.

Chris Cordell is Help Me Stop’s Director of Operations and is a senior associate member of the Royal Society of Medicine, Certified International Recovery Specialist, member of the International Society of Addiction Medicine and a member of the Federation of Drug and Alcohol Professionals.

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