A rehab clinic in Lewisham

A guide to drug and alcohol rehab in Lewisham, London

Making the first move toward recovery from addiction, whether it be drug addiction, alcohol (also known as alcoholism) or gambling, may feel like stepping into the unknown, and you will be faced with all sorts of choices you need to make. There are numerous treatment options in Lewisham, so sourcing information is essential to help you to work out your best choice. UKAT understands this may seem overwhelming, so we have put together the following guide to help you work through your options when choosing detox in London.

What is rehab?

You may have heard of rehab, but lots of people are unsure what this entails. Rehab involves the process of safely withdrawing from a substance and being supported to manage addictive behaviour in the future, through holistic therapy. You may meet lots of different types of people along the way, including medical professionals, therapists and staff with lived experience of addiction, who will run groups and one-to-one sessions to give you the best support.

Some people may need to have a medical detox on arrival and for others this will not be necessary. People often say that rehab is an opportunity to stop and reflect, think about life and the changes they are looking to make and meet others in a similar position on their recovery journey. Many also report making lifelong friends with peers they have met in rehab.

A man and woman talking to a counsellor

After rehab, you will need ongoing support to stay free from addictive behaviour, which is why it is advisable to take part in aftercare activities. UKAT offers an Alumni community which organises events and gatherings to receive free advice and support from peers you met along the way.

Is rehab free?

Rehab services can be NHS or privately funded. However, there are some differences between them. For free treatment you will need to start with a visit to your GP. Most NHS services are outpatient which means you will be referred to a clinic to attend scheduled groups and activities while living at home. Inpatient (residential) services are limited for NHS patients but charities such as Turning Point are able to offer some support to those who need it.

Free addiction treatment services in Lewisham

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

Change Grow Live

Address: 410 Lewisham High Street, London, SE13 6LJ
Number: 020 8314 5566
Web Address: https://www.changegrowlive.org/lewisham/info#contact

Human kind

Number: 01325 731 160
Web Address: https://humankindcharity.org.uk/service/primary-care-recovery-service-pcrs/

The downside to free services

Government funding is limited for drug and alcohol services, so treatment options may be restricted for those looking to access free facilities. Many people find themselves on a waiting list which can be tiresome and frustrating. There may also be limitations to the frequency or times of services available, which could make accessing treatment hard. For many, residential (inpatient) treatment would be ideal. However, more often than not, only day rehab (outpatient) is available to NHS patients.

If you do have private funding available, residential programmes are advisable for long-term sobriety. You will have freedom to choose a clinic which suits you and be admitted whenever it feels right. Included in the price is full room and board which many say helps them to feel like they are having a break from their stressful lives. This gives you the chance to break free from unhelpful habits or routines which are making your addictive behaviours worse.

Types of addiction treatment and rehab programmes in Lewisham

It helps to understand the different types of rehab when choosing from the options available.

Outpatient addiction treatment (day rehab)

Day rehab is just as it sounds; you attend the clinic on a regular basis, but you stay living at home. You will be able to access various groups and activities, meeting peers and qualified professionals. Day rehab provides all the relevant information and support, however, without the convenience of residential convenience.

Pros of outpatient treatment
  • Easier to manage childcare
  • Fits in with your daily routine
  • NHS funded
Cons of outpatient treatment
  • Not as many services available
  • Due to space restrictions, you may not be admitted to your local clinic
  • More distractions, making it harder to focus on recovery

Inpatient rehab

Residential rehab requires you to reside at your chosen rehab centre and stay there until the treatment programme has been completed. Many people prefer this as they can take a break from their normal routine and focus on their recovery. A residential programme is also more intense, as you stay alongside the people you are in recovery with; many find they are able to share experiences and stay sober for longer with this extra encouragement.

How does residential (inpatient) rehab work?

The following is general guidance about what to expect from residential and day rehab. However, each centre is different, so it may be helpful to contact them directly if you have any specific enquiries.


If you are accessing free NHS treatment, you first need to visit your GP for an assessment. They will ask you some questions and may refer you to a specialist who can admit you to the outpatient service. Unfortunately, due to high demand, you may have to wait a few weeks to get an appointment.

Alternatively, if you have private funds available, you can call a residential rehab service and be admitted within 24 hours. A private room will be prepared straight away and on arrival you will be greeted by a friendly clinician who will talk to you about your treatment options.

Some people worry about what to bring with them. If you have any concerns, it may be best to check with the clinic directly. The following is a general list of items to consider.

Items you might like to bring:

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

NOTE: Laptops and mobile phones are restricted by some services.

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

Depending on the severity of your addiction, you may require medical detox on arrival. This will be needed if you have become physically dependent on a substance and need medication to withdraw safely. The health professionals will use medication to gradually reduce any toxic substances in the blood, closely supervising to ensure you are always safe and comfortable. Once you have safely come off the addictive substance, or when you feel ready, you will be invited to continue with the therapeutic programme.

Rehab programme

There is some variation between rehab treatment, so it may be helpful to do some research. Some centres offer a 12-step programme whereas others take a more therapeutic approach. Psychotherapy is a popular therapeutic model whereas other treatments focus on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). There is no right or wrong answer; the important thing is to find what works best for you.

Choosing the right programme

Having needs relating to disability, religious practice or an existing health condition should not stop you from getting the best out of your rehab treatment programme. Equal opportunities are top priority for most treatment centres, so if you require any specific adjustments you should contact the centre before you get admitted to ensure your needs are catered for.

Many people are admitted to rehab with a dual-diagnosis. This means they have addictive behaviours and a diagnosis of mental illness at the same time. This is becoming increasingly common, so your treatment team will be able to cater for you. If you are concerned or have any specific needs, such as medication, you should contact your rehab clinic in advance.

The clinic’s CQC page allows you to check the quality of your chosen treatment clinic before you are admitted. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) ensures a standard of care across all health facilities in the UK.

Family support programmes

Most rehab treatment programmes will offer support to family members or loved ones alongside your inpatient or outpatient treatment. It is important that family members understand what you may be going through and feel supported so that they can help you to maintain sobriety. Support programmes may involve workshops, groups or information access via qualified professionals.

How long does rehab last?

It is advised that for the best results, you are admitted for at least eight weeks. However, programme length may vary between treatment centres. Some programmes last four weeks whereas others can be as long as twelve.

The benefits of residential rehab

  • A break from life which gives you a chance to focus on recovery
  • Continued access to medical care
  • Opportunity to be around others in the same boat
  • Lots of options for support after the programme is over

What happens after rehab?

Most people need ongoing support from peers and professionals to help them stay sober in the long term. There are lots of options available for this too!

Aftercare programmes

Most treatment programmes will offer aftercare, which may involve ongoing groups or crisis support. UKAT provides group therapy for up to a year after programme completion as well as access to the Alumni community, where you can meet supportive people who have been through similar experiences and access useful resources.

Support groups

There are lots of support groups in the community which can be accessed independently without referral. These are confidential services where you can meet others on the same journey. Examples may include Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), Cocaine Anonymous (CA) and SMART Recovery.

Long term recovery from addiction

Overall, it is important to remember that long-term recovery from addiction will take the rest of your life and it is a journey with many ups and downs. Some people sail through the first time and are able to stay sober, whereas others need to repeat programmes or try something new. There are no wrong or right ways to do things, only what is right for you. UKAT is here to provide information and support 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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