A rehab clinic in Kensington and Chelsea

A guide to drug and alcohol rehab in Kensington and Chelsea, London

Addiction describes problem behaviour with various substances such as drugs or alcohol but can also include activity such as sex or gambling. Deciding to seek help is commendable, albeit a difficult and emotional time for most. If you are looking for addiction treatment in Kensington and Chelsea, there are quite a few options to consider. UKAT have produced a guide to rehab treatment in your area to help you make the best decision for you in regards to detox in London.

What is rehab?

The term rehab describes the process of supervised detox and recovery from addictive behaviours through holistic therapy. Professionals are on hand to support you to safely withdraw from substances and work towards managing cravings, so you can maintain long-term sobriety. When being admitted to rehab, some people require medical detox, whereas others will just need the programme of therapy and peer support.

Professionals may include medical specialists but also people with lived experience to give you the best possible advice for your recovery journey. You will be invited to engage in various activities which may include one-to-one therapy, groups or recreational activities and learning to help you plan the changes you would like to make in your life. Many people find that the people they meet through rehab treatment become lifelong friends, and the lessons they learn help them to make lifelong changes.

A man and woman talking to a counsellor

Once rehab treatment has been completed, there will be aftercare options available to keep you engaged in your recovery journey. One of the great benefits of completing rehab through UKAT, is the Alumni community: an online network of people who have completed the programme and support each other with long-term sobriety.

Is rehab free?

We understand that some people do not have the money or insurance to privately fund their treatment; there are free services available to those who need it. You will need to visit your GP to be referred to NHS services, which are most often outpatient (day rehab) clinics where you can access groups and other professional support. Most inpatient (residential) service beds are privately funded, however, there may be funding available through charities such as Turning Point if you really need it.

Free addiction treatment services in Kensington and Chelsea

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

The Alcohol Service at Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster

Web Address: https://www.changegrowlive.org/the-alcohol-service/westminster

Turning point

Web Address: https://www.turning-point.co.uk/wellbeing-cloud

The downside to free services

Regrettably, the current mandate for addiction rehab services is overwhelmingly high and many people end up waiting a long time before getting admitted. There may also be restrictions to the availability of services as government funding has been reduced.

Private treatment allows you to overcome these barriers and find a service which works for you. You can choose your treatment centre, when you would like to be admitted and even discuss your programme options with a specialist on arrival. You will also get a private room to give you a break from your normal life and optimise your chances of breaking habits or routines which are unhealthy.

Types of addiction treatment and rehab programmes in Kensington and Chelsea

There are lots of inpatient and outpatient services available (NHS and privately funded), it is important to just have a look through the information available and find what works best for you.

Outpatient addiction treatment (day rehab)

Outpatient addiction treatment or day rehab means that you attend your clinic for allocated sessions or appointments, rather than staying full-time for the duration of your programme. You will have access to ongoing information and support from the comfort of your own home.

Pros of outpatient treatment
  • Limited restriction to childcare
  • Keep your daily routine
  • Easy access for those needing free treatment
Cons of outpatient treatment
  • Low intensity of treatment
  • Limited availability means less choice
  • Harmful habits or routines may be harder to break
  • You may not be able to access one-on-one support

Inpatient rehab

If you choose to attend a residential rehab (or ‘inpatient’) rehab, you will be invited to stay at your chosen clinic whilst you work through and complete your rehab programme. Residential treatment is recommended to get the most out of the rehab experience, as you can take a break from your normal routines which may perpetuate addictive behaviours and meet new people in a safe and supportive environment.

Many people prefer the intensity of a residential programme as it is an opportunity to focus on your recovery; thinking about the past, present and future helps to reflect and make plans to maintain sobriety going forward. The people you are likely to meet may also become key to your ongoing success, as you can encourage each other to stay sober, after you have left.

How does residential (inpatient) rehab work?

Every rehab treatment centre is different. You can find more information by accessing the individual centre website or contacting an adviser. The following guidance gives general advice for choosing a rehab programme.


If you are looking for an NHS free treatment service, you will need to request an assessment through your GP. They will then refer you to a drug and alcohol specialist, who is the gatekeeper for your local outpatient service. It is important to bear in mind that due to extremely high demand, there may be waiting lists to either appointment, so you will need to manage in the short term before you can get help.

Private treatment is advisable if you have the funds or insurance available, as you can be admitted within 24 hours of your first phone call. A comfortable private room will be prepared for your arrival and once you have settled in, you will be invited to sit down with a psychiatrist who will talk through your treatment options.

Many people are often concerned about what they should bring with them, and it is important to note that some facilities may have different restrictions to others. The following items are broadly advisable.

Items you might like to bring:

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

Laptops and mobile phones may be restricted by some rehab facilities whereas they are allowed by others.
The following items are not allowed:

  • Illicit alcohol or 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

Once you have been admitted to rehab, you may be required to complete a physical detox before progressing to the rest of your treatment programme. A detox is needed if you have become physically dependent on a substance such as drugs or alcohol and require medical supervision to withdraw. This may include the prescription of medication to ensure your ongoing safety and wellbeing, also known as a medical detox.

Rehab programme

The rehab programme may differ in style or evidence-based approach depending on which centre you choose. Some treatment facilities offer Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) in group or individual sessions, whereas others focus on psychotherapy such as art or drama. You will likely have heard of a 12-step programme, which some find amazingly effective for its peer support, whereas others prefer a more therapeutic approach to support their recovery journey. There is no difference in quality between these approaches, only personal taste and style. It may be helpful to research the options available before you choose your treatment centre, to see what sounds right for you.

Choosing the right programme

Many people have different needs which they bring to the table, whether it be existing health conditions, religious practice or disability. Equal opportunities will be at the top of any good treatment centres’ agenda, so it should not make finding the programme any more challenging. That being said, it may be helpful to research clinics or centres in your area to see if they take any additional measures, as well as contacting them before admissions to ensure relevant adjustments are made.

Many people are concerned before admission because they have a ‘dual-diagnosis.’ This means that they experience mental illness alongside their addictive behaviours. Dual diagnosis is very common, as the life stresses which cause and perpetuate addiction are also causing mental illness. Mental illness also makes people more likely to perform their addictive behaviours, whilst addiction (especially sustained use of substances) makes people vulnerable to mental illness. All treatment programmes will be prepared to support your mental health alongside your addiction. However, if you are concerned, you should contact your chosen centre directly.

You can check the inspection quality of your chosen treatment facility on their CQC page.

Family support programmes

When you are admitted to rehab, the impact can affect others in your family. It is therefore important to engage partners or family members in your treatment programme, so that they can support your ongoing recovery. This may mean inviting them to attend groups or workshops to learn about addiction and how to support a loved one; however, it may also be a case of providing relevant information and a listening ear.

How long does rehab last?

Rehab programmes may vary; some are only four weeks long, whereas others can be up to twelve. It is advisable to stay in a programme for as long as possible to maintain long-term abstinence. UKAT advises a minimum of eight weeks for the best results.

The benefits of residential rehab

  • Less distractions and more time to focus on recovery
  • Easy access to medical support if you need it
  • Chance to meet others and share experiences
  • A pleasant stay in a comfortable environment
  • Support available once your programme is over

What happens after rehab?

Most people need support after they complete rehab as recovery is an ongoing journey. There are a number of options for this too.

Aftercare programmes

You may choose to get involved with the aftercare programme provided by your treatment facility. This will likely include access to information, support and ongoing groups or therapy. If you are a UKAT client, not only do you get access to the online alumni network, so, you can keep in touch with all those who share a success story, but you also have the option of up to a year of group therapy.

Support groups

Support groups are readily available in most local areas and you do not need a referral to join. There are plenty of options to choose from, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), Cocaine Anonymous (CA) and SMART Recovery.

Long term recovery from addiction

If you have embarked on the road to recovery, you will likely be feeling all sorts of things, but confusion shouldn’t be one of them. Don’t forget that recovery looks different to everyone, so don’t compare yourself to others. Some people may find their perfect programme the first time, whereas others may need to repeat treatment or try something different. 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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