Drug and alcohol rehab in London

Finding yourself reliant on certain drugs or alcohol can make you feel lost and alone. However, you will always find help and guidance available in order for you to recover. Every person’s crisis point is different; however, the process of understanding and accessing drug and alcohol rehab should be the same for everybody. 

There are multiple treatment options available within the London area for both alcohol rehab or drug rehab. London rehabs have various treatment programmes, such as inpatient and outpatient services, that can accommodate your recovery journey. The following guide will tell you everything you need to know about drug and alcohol rehab within London.

Types of addiction treatment and rehab programmes in London

Being able to understand the various addiction treatment options available can be daunting, but it will enable you to choose the best programme for your treatment and aftercare needs.

There are various types of addiction services available, ranging from inpatient treatment or outpatient treatment, and they can either be free of privately funded. Being admitted as an inpatient involves staying at a facility for the duration of your treatment, whereas being an outpatient means visiting the clinic daily. The benefits of each programme can vary depending on what you choose and the funding options available.  

Despite NHS services being on offer within London, private rehab can offer you a much wider range of therapy options and the quality of each treatment is objectively of a higher calibre. 

Although each treatment centre may vary in their activity model, the premise of any privately funded programme will fundamentally stay the same. You will be offered a combination of both group or individual therapy, detox and the opportunity to meet others on a similar journey to recovery. You will be supported on your journey by experienced medical professionals, such as doctors and therapists, as they help you on your path to recovery. Most clinics will also offer you aftercare programmes to encourage your long-term sobriety after you leave. 

Outpatient addiction treatment (day rehab)

Outpatient addiction treatment, also known as ‘day rehab’ means attending planned treatment sessions at your chosen clinic. Outpatient services do not require you to stay overnight at the centre but can involve a form of detoxification if deemed appropriate. 

Detoxing via the outpatient clinic is not recommended, as leaving the centre during the middle of detox without medical attention can leave you vulnerable. Outpatient treatment also leaves you without safe accommodation in order to help you escape from addictive substances. However, you will be offered the opportunity to detox alongside a schedule of therapeutic groups and with the support of your peers.

You will also have access to a team of staff that include medical professionals and counsellors to support you on your journey to recovery. 

Outpatient services range from being free to privately funded. However, here at UKAT, we do not offer any outpatient services. Our treatments centre around connection and team growth, enabling a strong foundation of support networks even after the programme is complete, which, unfortunately, is not possible to achieve on an outpatient plan. 

Outpatient treatment is usually chosen by people who have responsibilities, such as childcare, rendering residential treatment impractical. 

In this instance, you can access NHS outpatient services through a referral via your GP. If deemed necessary, you will be placed on a waiting list that can currently take up to 8 months long. Another advantage of private clinics is they can have spaces available straight away. There are multiple day rehab options within London you can choose from, enabling you to find the right one for you.

Advantages of choosing outpatient treatment

  • Flexibility around certain responsibilities (e.g. childcare)
  • Free services are available
  • You can begin your recovery journey home

Disadvantages of choosing outpatient treatment

  • Long waiting time (NHS services)
  • Limited availability
  • High chance you will not be admitted to the clinic of your choice 
  • Aftercare package not of a high quality
  • Medical aid not provided 
  • Addictive substances still accessible after your appointment is over
  • You will not live with others going through recovery (less likely to build healthy connections)
  • Higher risk of distraction, making it harder to break problematic behaviours
  • 1:1 therapy is not usually available. 
  • Therapists are more likely to be regular counsellors, rather than specialised in addiction
  • No 24-hour specialist contact to help you through difficult moments
  • Simplified group work to make it relevant to all ages (some may find unaccommodating)

Inpatient addiction treatment (residential rehab)

Inpatient addiction treatment, also known as residential rehab, allows you to stay at the centre for the duration of your treatment programme. You will be able to have the opportunity to escape triggers and break away from bad habits. Residential rehabs are commonly privately funded and offer more choice; this includes being able to choose where you want to be admitted and receiving guidance from our admissions team in determining the best programme length for you. You will be provided with a comfortable room and board, giving you the convenience of meeting others who have had similar experiences. Workers at the facility are also likely to have had their own experiences in overcoming addiction problems. 

Some treatments in private addiction clinics are and can be covered by private insurance.

How does residential (inpatient) rehab work in London?

You do have the option of choosing between private and NHS options when it comes to residential treatment. However, free options are extremely limited and require constant assessments as you are on the waiting list. For NHS options, you should contact your GP who can then refer you for an assessment. 

If you choose private rehab, you can call up and be admitted the next day. You will be allocated a private room at your chosen centre and greeted by an experienced doctor on arrival who will explain your options. All meals are provided in a private rehab, enabling you the time to focus all your attention on recovery. 

Why inpatient rehab?

Inpatient treatment is the favourable option, as it offers you the chance to take a much-needed break from the stresses and strains life can throw at you. Being able to break away from the harmful habits which have led to addiction can be extremely difficult and deciding how to start can feel overwhelming. Our residential treatment programme takes care of everything for you, giving you plenty of time to focus on your needs and making a successful recovery. 

You will have the amazing opportunity in meeting other people who also have shared experiences with addictive substances and will be given a safe place to reflect on various aspects of your life which you believe may have brought you to this stage in your journey. Therapy groups and activities always take place in a peaceful, remote setting where you can start to make plans for your life going forward.

There are many treatment options available for addiction rehab, so it can be helpful to review the pros and cons between inpatient and outpatient’s treatment, guiding you to a definitive choice.

Inpatient Rehab Outpatient Rehab
Medical detox available Y Y
Qualified staff team  Y Y
Round the clock support Y N
Meals provided  Y N
Flexibility of timing  Y Y
Family support programmes Most  (Available at UKAT) Sometimes
Therapeutic groups  Y Y
1:1 counselling Y N
Option of conjoins  Most (Available at UKAT) N
Peer support  Y N
NHS (free) options  Very limited Y
Privately funded options Y Sometimes
Fast admission Y (Only if Private) N
Choice of clinic Y Not Guaranteed
Aftercare programme Y Y

CQC ratings

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is an external governing body who regularly assess the quality of treatment programmes, scoring on safety, effectiveness, caring, responsiveness, and leadership. When choosing addiction treatment, it is important to make sure you are getting the best quality of service available. Inpatient treatment in a private centre gives you the option to choose the addiction clinic with the best ratings, instead of attending a centre that the NHS allocate, normally by which centre is available first. 

The CQC results offer an in-depth assessment of your chosen clinic, assuring that you’ll be in safe hands, even before you’re admitted for treatment. 

Mixture of therapies

Every treatment centre offers a unique programme with a range of activities, including a combination of individual and group therapy. It is advisable to research your options and consider your options carefully when it comes down to what might work best for you. Group therapy is also becoming just as popular as individual therapy, as group activities and step-work allows for your confidence to increase. You will also have the opportunity to share experiences with your fellow peers, who in turn can offer much longer-term support. 

Most private rehab centres list details of their programme model on their website, but you can also get in touch with an advisor to answer any questions you may have.

Family support programmes

Addiction can have an extremely negative impact on friends and family that have witnessed the increasing dependency of alcohol or drugs of a loved one.

Privately run treatment centres offer additional support for family and friends through groups, workshops and advice for loved ones. This, in turn, will help your loved ones support you by increasing their understanding of addiction and learning about the stages of recovery alongside you, as well as giving the much-needed emotional support and guidance to start their own personal healing.


Conjoints are meetings between a person admitted to rehab and close family members or loved ones, aided by a trained professional. They are normally an option made available when you are part of a longer residential treatment programme. They can, however, be considered for anyone on shorter programmes where it is deemed necessary. 

Conjoints give you the chance to share your feelings and progress with a loved one, which can be extremely beneficial for long-term recovery and your healing. We have received positive feedback in terms of conjoint meetings and it is a decisive factor in maximising the benefits from an addiction treatment programme. 

What does a typical day in rehab look like?

A day in private rehab usually encompasses a series of workshops, activities and process groups, with allocated time for personal 12-step study, reflection and socialising. Detox can also be a part of your journey for the first few days of entering the programme, if necessary. 

If UKAT is your choice for undergoing your recovery journey, then you will be propelled into a schedule of group and individual therapy, as well as various interactive activities, such as yoga, mindfulness, CBT and movement sessions. Sessions are scheduled throughout the day and are broken up by tea breaks, lunch and dinner, where you can socialise within the smoking area, work on your assignments or relax in our communal lounges.  

Being able to participate in different types of therapy gives you the added benefit of being able to decide which treatment works best for you and what you’d like to continue with when you have complete addiction rehab. 

Everyone’s schedule can vary and you may have a conjoint or one-to-one therapy assigned for part of the day. You will also have free time in the evening to strengthen friendships with the other residents and have a chance to reflect on your day and progress.

Rehab admissions

How do I prepare for rehab?

The best first step for you to take is to research a selection of rehab programmes. After that, you can consider the admissions process for your choice of treatment. If free treatment via the NHS is what you are after, then you will need to visit your local GP as your first step. Here, they will ask you various questions about your lifestyle and the difficulties you are currently facing, after which they will refer you to a specialist who will manage your admissions to an outpatient service.

It is important to remember that there is a long waiting time for NHS treatment due to the high demand and the extremely limited inpatient services they have available. Private rehab, however, can allow you to be admitted at any time that suits you, even within 24 hours of getting in touch with us. On arrival, you will be met by a healthcare professional who will discuss your treatment options and assess your needs.

What should I bring with me if being admitted to residential rehab? 

The majority of people choose to bring comfortable clothes and toiletries with them for the duration of their stay, but it is important to check the regulations for individual centres. We have supplied the following list as it often applies to all.


Do bring a personal item or photographs of loved ones, to bring a sense of comfort

Do bring books or music to use during leisure time

Do bring comfortable clothing (jacket would be needed for outside activities)

Do remember to bring any medication you need (this will need to be shared with your physician on arrival)

Do be understanding if your treatment centre asks for your phone or laptop to be handed in. This is to encourage full focus on recovery


Don’t bring any form of weaponry or sharp items, such as razor blades, needles, knives or scissors

Don’t bring anything containing alcohol (including mouthwash, perfume or aerosols)

Don’t bring any form of medication that has not been prescribed, alcohol or illicit drug

What should I expect from detox in London?

Detox is the motion of removing a harmful substance from a person’s daily routine, enabling their body to function without addictive substances. Withdrawal symptoms may be a result of detoxing, which can often be discouraging to some. There must be no lingering harmful substances left within the body, especially as you start your journey to recovery. 

Withdrawal symptoms can be distressing as they include vomiting, shaking, weakness, diarrhoea and confusion. Medical detox is available to anyone who needs it, in our safe and controlled environment. 

It is extremely dangerous to detox without the assistance of a medical professional, as your body could go into shock, giving an increased risk for seizures. People with long-term substance dependency are also more likely to need medical support during detox. Please consult a medical professional if you are thinking of detoxing from any harmful substance.

Medical detox

As previously mentioned, if you require alcohol detox or drug detox, it is important to consult with a medical professional. This is to ensure your wellbeing and to assess any risks before you detox from any harmful substance. 

Once admitted to an inpatient or outpatient programme, you will be assessed on your current usage rate and lifestyle choices in a bid to find the right treatment path for you. Medical detox will only be offered to those who have a higher risk of suffering from severe withdrawal symptoms and will involve ongoing forms of monitoring by our medical professionals, including the prescription of detox medication. It is very easy to feel overwhelmed throughout this process, and the severity of your addiction will determine the length of the programme you choose. One may also initially find it challenging to engage in therapeutic activities until they have overcome their withdrawal symptoms. 

Medical detox is also available through various outpatient programmes; however, monitoring can be less frequent via day rehab services. Residential programmes, however, will give you constant care and provide a distraction and temptation-free environment, which will significantly improve your chances of recovery within the early stages. It is important to understand that for some people, medical detox may not be available through day rehab, due to safety reasons

Drug and alcohol rehab programme

The process of choosing a drug or alcohol rehab programme can be intimidating, but after researching your options, you can deliberate what works best for you. Each treatment centre will have its own recovery approach, so it is beneficial to look into their weekly schedule and the addiction treatments on offer. Whether Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), a 12-step programme or any other type of non-12-step programme, most treatment is likely to have a combination of group and one-to-one therapy. Some people prefer individual therapy, whereas others enjoy the support of a group. Some can find the one-to-one treatment intense, whereas others find it difficult speaking in front of others. UKAT understands that a balance is usually what works best. You can contact your chosen clinic for more information about their programme models before admission. 

How long does a rehab programme last?

Evidence suggests that there is a greater likelihood of successful long-term sobriety when the duration of treatment within a residential rehab is longer. Longer treatment programmes can offer you more opportunity to make substantial changes that will help your recovery journey even after you leave. The majority of clinics use the 12-step model to help clients work through their addiction. However, during a standard 28-day stay, you can only complete the first few steps. This is why it is important to also consider your aftercare options to enable the continuation of your treatment. A minimum of 4 weeks is advisable; however, shorter stays are also available. 

Is rehab free?

Not everyone can afford private residential rehab, nor have access to private insurance and therefore need free addiction treatment services to begin their recovery journey. The NHS provides free treatment services; however, they mostly consist of outpatient treatments. This is due to extremely high demand and will likely require a long wait to be admitted.

Despite most clinics accepting self-referral, you still need to go through your GP, and in turn, flexibility is not guaranteed. The NHS can also refer you for any counselling or admissions to a detox programme in severe cases. If you feel you are in urgent need for treatment when all other services are unavailable to you, then you can contact Turning Point, a charity which funds a limited number of beds if you meet the criteria. 

Free addiction treatment services in London

There are multiple options for free addiction services within the London area, often depending on where you live and how accessible they may be via travel. Here are some examples of various free services available within the city of London, although there are many more local options for you around the city.

AA Meeting Barking

Barking Methodist Church,

41 London Rd.

IG11 8AL

AA Meeting London

Kingsley Hall, Martins Corner,

Junction Wood Lane & Parsloes


AA Meeting Barnet

St Peters Parish Centre,

63 Somerset Rd


Various free services can offer help and support for both you and your loved ones, while others can provide you with a full NHS outpatient treatment programme. Please remember that free services are in extremely high demand, so travelling outside of your borough for availability may have to be considered. 

The downside to free services

Understandably, not everyone has the advantage of seeking help via private rehab; unfortunately, free services are put under enormous pressure due to government funding being cut. This has rendered services being reduced and times being restricted, meaning you might not be able to attend the clinic of your choice.

Free services are mostly made up of outpatient treatment, resulting in no individual therapy or the opportunity to break away from any harmful distractions at home. Furthermore, if you require medical detox, this can prolong your recovery as you will wait for an inpatient detox bed before completing your treatment programme.

Therefore, it is crucial that you are aware of all your options and to understand the severity of your addiction when it comes to deciding on the right rehab treatment for you. 

How do I help get a loved one into rehab?

It is important to know that you cannot force anyone to begin addiction treatment if they are not ready to take that step. However, if you are concerned about a loved one, then it can be a good idea to communicate your concerns and listen to anything they might have to say in return. It can be a highly stressful time and scenario, but the majority of people find it useful to way up the pros and cons of addiction therapy, as well as considering all available options. Helping raise awareness regarding the need for change can be a charged moment, but you must not come across as lecturing and closed-minded, as this can backfire and push your loved one away.

What happens after the rehab programme?

Completing rehab treatment is a remarkable and proud moment; however, it is important to receive ongoing care and support as you manoeuvre your way back into your normal routine. You are not required to complete the rest of your journey alone; remember to communicate with your peers and medical professionals as you adapt to life changes.

Rehabilitation gives you much needed time for personal growth and reflection regarding your substance dependency. However, it is important to remember that your journey to long-term sobriety is ongoing even after completing rehab. 

Aftercare programmes

The majority of residential addiction treatment programmes can offer you aftercare, ensuring ongoing support to maintain your newfound sobriety. Aftercare programmes usually involve group therapy and peer-support, as well as access to various information to help you overcome any difficulties you might face.

After completing an addiction treatment with us at UKAT, you will gain immediate access to our online Alumni network: a wonderful community of like-minded peers who have also completed a treatment programme. This support network consists of various event days, online materials and constant communication, providing you with essential connection with others who are in recovery and support with any hurdles you can face when you leave the clinic. 

Support groups

We highly recommend accessing a local support group to anyone who has completed inpatient or outpatient addiction treatment programmes. This fuels connection with people on the same road to recovery and also enables you to contact people who can offer you advice or provide much-needed support.

Your journey of learning and growth will be constant and so getting the right help along the way is essential for ensuring long-term abstinence. Examples of groups in the community include Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), Cocaine Anonymous (CA) and SMART Recovery.

Long-term recovery from addiction

Following your addiction treatment, returning to your day-to-day routine can give you a combination of nerves and excitement. Recovery will ultimately lead to multiple opportunities for you, but you will likely receive various triggers or circumstances you deem difficult that would have contributed to your problematic behaviours in the first place. Relationship or work stresses will need to be curbed, or else they may set you back. However, even if you are set back, it is important to accept all the support available to you and remember to be kind to yourself. Aftercare, support groups and communication with others on the same journey can help you through the difficult moments and remind you of everything you have learned throughout your time in treatment. 

Remember that each person’s road to recovery is different. Some people succeeded in the first programme they choose, whereas others find it helpful to repeat programmes or try new ones in order to continue their journey to overcome their addiction.

Even when your journey seems impossible, remember UKAT will be here every step of the way giving you constant support and care.

How do I tell my family I’m going to rehab?

If you have decided to take that first all-important step to seek treatment for your addiction, you may be feeling overwhelmed, intimidated and stressed, but it is important to remember the bravery behind taking the initiative to ask for help. Telling your loved ones or your family members can seem daunting and shameful, but it is just another key part of your journey to recovery. Being open and honest with the people you love is a vital hurdle for you to overcome for your long-term healing. 

Being able to acknowledge within yourself that you have a problem and having the desire to complete any rehab treatment programmes available will likely be highly well-received by your loved ones, as they simply want what’s best for you and your health. It will also be helpful for you and your recovery journey to include your loved ones within your treatment programme. This can be going with you to your admission assessment or getting involved in a family programme, such as a conjoin. 

Inviting the people you love on your journey to recovery allows for the opportunity of connection, for not only you but them, mending any broken relationships and building support to encourage long-term abstinence.