A rehab clinic in Islington

A guide to drug and alcohol rehab in Islington

Deciding to get help for addiction, whether it be problems with drugs, alcohol or gambling, is a brave first step, and the rest of the process should be simple. Working out services and understanding your options is an important part of finding what works best for you. In Islington, there are plenty of treatment services to choose from, so UKAT have put together this guide to help you make an informed decision in the London area.

What is rehab?

Many know ‘rehab’ as the place to get help, but lots of people are unsure about what this really means. The term ‘rehab’ is short for rehabilitation and describes a programme of detox and holistic treatment services to help you break from free addiction and learn how to keep clean and sober in the future.

When you are admitted to rehab, you will meet lots of different types of specialist who will have professional qualifications and lived experience to help guide you through. You may be asked to complete a medical detox supervised by doctors and nurses, before you start on group and individual therapy groups and activities to learn about remaining in recovery.

A man and woman talking to a counsellor

Many people find rehab is an opportunity to take a break and reflect on their lives, so they can think about the changes they would like to make going forward. There is also the opportunity to meet others on a similar journey and share experiences which can help you remain in control of your addiction once your programme ends.

When you come out of rehab, you will need ongoing support to maintain abstinence. Aftercare includes opportunities to connect with others, access information and gain ongoing support. UKAT services give you access to an online Alumni community after discharge, where you can talk to others and support each other.

Is rehab free?

There are free rehab services offered by the NHS which are available to most people, but it is also possible to privately fund. NHS drug and alcohol services should be accessed via your GP, who will likely refer you to an outpatient service in your local area. Here, you will be able to access groups and activities as well as peer support. Many people prefer residential rehab. However, it can be difficult to access NHS funds for residential beds. Charities such as Turning Point can offer a limited number of beds to support to those who need it most.

Free addiction treatment services in Islington

The following are free drug and alcohol services available in the Islington area.

Better Lives – Islington’s Drug and Alcohol Service

Web Address: https://www.candi.nhs.uk/our-services/better-lives-islingtons-drug-and-alcohol-service

AA meeting Islington

Web Address: https://www.alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk/AA-Meetings/Find-a-Meeting/islington

The downside to free services

Although free services provide help and support for those who need it most, reduced government funding may mean that programmes are restricted in time, frequency, and location. The number of people needing support is extremely high, therefore you may find yourself waiting weeks to be admitted. It is also difficult to access free residential services, meaning day rehab may be your only option, which doesn’t work for some.

Although not available to all, private treatment allows freedom of choice to attend a clinic close to home, at a time when support is most needed, as well as being able to select a programme which fits your needs. Many people prefer residential stays which give you a break from your stressful life and give you the opportunity to get away from triggers or distractions.

Types of addiction treatment and rehab programmes in Islington

The following page outlines outpatient (‘day rehab’) and residential services, both NHS and privately funded, to help you weigh up your options.

Outpatient addiction treatment (day rehab)

As an outpatient, you will not be required to stay at the rehab centre. Instead, you will attend a series of group and individual appointments scheduled by the programme coordinator. This may include group or individual therapy, support groups and helpful activities. You will also be able to access advice and support from qualified professionals.

Pros of outpatient treatment
  • Works well for those who have care responsibilities
  • Able to fit around your daily routine
  • Free options available
Cons of outpatient treatment
  • Day rehab may be less effective for chronic addiction
  • Limited availability
  • Distractions of day to day life may be problematic
  • You may not have access to one-to-one therapy

Inpatient addiction treatment

Inpatient services are also known as residential rehab and they require you to reside at the rehab facility until you have completed your programme. Most people prefer residential rehab as it allows them get the most out of their treatment by receiving on-hand professional care and living in a peaceful setting with others going through similar experiences.

How does residential (inpatient) rehab work?

It is important to do your research as not every treatment programme is the same. There may be differences in style or approach. If you have any questions it may be helpful to contact your chosen centre directly before you are admitted.


If you are looking to access NHS drug and alcohol services, you will first need to visit your local GP. They will be able to ask you some questions about your current circumstances and refer you on to see a specialist. The specialist will suggest the best treatment options for you, such as day rehab (outpatient care). It is important to remember that there may be a delay of at least a couple of weeks before you can get an appointment, due to very high demand.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for private treatment, admission can be arranged for whenever you are ready. This may be from 24-hours after your first phone call but can also be later if required. You will be allocated a private room and greeted on arrival by a consultant psychiatrist who will talk to you about your difficulties and help plan the programme right for you.

Many people are unsure of what to bring with them and to make sure you do not bring anything which is not allowed, it is advisable to check with the centre. These are some of our suggestions.

Advisory items to bring with you include:

  • Toiletries
  • Nightwear
  • Exercise gear
  • Comfortable clothes
  • Outdoor clothes
  • Medication
  • Umbrella
  • Pictures
  • Mobile phone
  • iPod or radio
  • Laptop

Some treatment centres do not allow or restrict the use of laptops and mobile phones.

The following items are customarily not permitted:

  • Illicit alcohol/ drugs
  • Any form of weapon or dangerous object
  • Sharp objects such as knives, scissors, needles, and razor blades
  • Non-prescribed medication
  • Aerosols or perfume
  • Mouthwash with alcohol contents
Medical detox

For some, a medical detox may be recommended on arrival. This will be because your body has become physically dependant on a substance, and you need medication to come off it gradually to diminish withdrawal symptoms. Medical detox involves careful monitoring by medical staff to make sure you are always safe and as comfortable as possible. Once it is deemed that you have safely withdrawn, or when you feel ready, you will be invited to move on to the programme of therapy and other activities.

Rehab programme

Not every rehab programme is the same; some use therapeutic models such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) or psychotherapy, whereas others follow a 12-step programme. Some rehab centres may have certain styles, specialisms or facilities which work better for people with different needs or requirements. Some people prefer one-to-one counselling while others find they benefit from group therapeutic support. Doing your own research on these approaches is likely to be helpful before you decide on a rehab programme. All these methods have a strong evidence-base; however, it is important you find what works best for you.

Choosing the right programme

Some people may have needs relating to existing health conditions, disability, or religious practice, among others. Rehab is a place which accepts people from all walks of life and appreciating diversity is an important part of any treatment model. If you have any personal needs which require adjustments, it would be helpful if you would let the centre know in advance so they can cater for you.

It is very common for those experiencing addiction to also have mental illness, such as anxiety or depression, at the same time as addiction. The treatment for this is referred to as ‘dual-diagnosis’ by professionals. If you feel this applies to you, there is no need to worry. Mental illness often happens at the same time as addiction because the triggers are the same for both. This will not stop you from getting the most out of your rehab treatment. If you have any concerns, you should talk to the adviser at your chosen rehab centre prior to admission.

CQC delivers oversight of all health services in the UK to ensure they provide high quality care to service users. The inspections lead to ratings in areas such as safety, effectiveness, caring, responsiveness, and leadership. You can check out the quality rating of your local UKAT rehab centre here.

Family support programmes

Most rehab centres will also offer a programme of support to family members to teach them about addiction and get them involved in your treatment. Extra support is needed as family members are often adversely affected by addictive behaviours. Programmes may involve groups and access to resources to ensure optimum support in helping you to stay sober.

How long does rehab last?

Rehab can last from four to twelve weeks but different programmes may very between centres. It is advisable to attend a programme for as long as possible to maintain sobriety; UKAT recommends a minimum of eight weeks if funding or insurance is available.

The benefits of residential rehab

  • Distractions are reduced
  • Medical support available
  • Chance to meet others
  • Accommodation is often highly rated
  • Aftercare programme

What happens after rehab?

After rehab you will need ongoing support to stay sober. There are a number of options available to consider; you will need to find out what works best for you.

Aftercare programmes

If you have stayed at a residential rehab centre, you will be given the option of aftercare once you leave. This may involve ongoing groups and access to information to support you. With UKAT, the aftercare programme includes instant access to the online alumni community, where you can catch up with the people you met during your stay, as well as group therapy for up to a year.

Support Groups

Alternatively, you may prefer to access support groups in the community. These are confidential and privately organised, so you can attend them for as long as you like. Examples of support groups include; Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), Cocaine Anonymous (CA) and SMART Recovery.

Long term recovery from addiction

Recovery from addiction doesn’t just end once you leave rehab, it is an ongoing journey with lots of twists and turns. The path looks different for everyone and some people find it easier than others. It is important to find what works best for you; whether it be groups or individual therapy, CBT or psychotherapy, your journey is individual and shouldn’t be compared to anyone else. UKAT will support you every step of the way.

Frequently asked questions

Are rehabs open in London during the Coronavirus outbreak?
Rehabilitation centres are operating during the Coronavirus outbreak, as healthcare facilities are essential businesses. This includes private rehab clinics in London, provided they follow the safety regulations implemented by the government.

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Does free alcohol rehab in London exist?
There are a number of free clinics in London which can help you with alcohol or drug abuse. However, there are no inpatient options. Rehabilitation centres are not free, so for residential rehab your best option is to opt for private treatment.

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How do I pay for rehab?
A deposit will be accepted at the beginning of the process and full payment taken a few days later, once you have started your programme.

Many private rehabilitation companies, including UKAT, accept BUPA insurance. However, be sure to check with your insurance company that your claim is covered.

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Can I get funding through the NHS?
Although funding through the NHS is available, it can be a lengthy and emotional process and many applications are turned down.

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Can you force someone to go to rehab?
You cannot force someone to go into rehab; it must be their choice. However, you can organise an intervention if you are worried about someone. This involves sitting and talking to your loved one with the help of a professional, in the hope they will listen and follow your advice.

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Which drug addictions can be treated in rehab?
Addictions to any of the following drugs can be treated in a rehabilitation clinic: cocaine rehab, crack cocaine rehab, heroin rehab, cannabis rehab, ecstasy rehab and prescription drugs rehab, including benzodiazepines rehab and opiates rehab.

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How long should I go to rehab for?
The recommended duration of rehab depends on the severity of your addiction and you will be advised by a professional during your admissions process.

The longer the length of stay in rehab the higher the success rate for staying sober, as you spend more quality time in therapy and in a sober environment, away from temptation.

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Is rehab confidential?
If you seek treatment through the NHS, the referral will sit on your medical records. However, employers cannot access these records unless under specific circumstances. So, there is a limited chance of them finding out.

Private rehabilitation is completely confidential and does not sit on your medical records.

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Can I visit a loved one during rehab?
You can visit your loved one for an hour every Sunday at our private centres. However, to prevent the spread of Covid-19 you will not be permitted to visit loved ones during the lockdown.

Family support groups take place every week at each of our centres and anyone who has a close connection to the patient can join. Not all rehabilitation centres offer this option, so this needs to be checked on their website.

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