A rehab clinic in Merton

A guide to drug and alcohol rehab in Merton, London

Drug and alcohol rehabilitation services can seem hard to navigate, as there are lots of options available and it’s not always easy to know what’s right for you. Deciding to get help for addiction is an emotional enough time as it is and finding out all you need to know about services in the Merton area takes time, so UKAT have done the hard work for you. The following guide is an introduction to choosing the right treatment for addiction in the London area.

What is rehab?

Choosing to go to rehab represents a very brave decision that a person has made to change their life for the better. Rehab might take place at a clinic or day centre, but it can also be residential. Treatment often starts with a detox to help you withdraw from substances safely, before you embark on a programme of activities and holistic therapies alongside peers who can support you to stay sober. A medical detox may be necessary for those with severe addiction.

Whatever programme type you choose, you will likely meet a staff team made up of clinical professionals, such as doctors, nurses and therapists, as well as people with lived experience of addiction to give you advice and support. You will also be encouraged to share your learning with others who are on the same programme, to hear stories you can relate to and support each other to remain in recovery. Many people often find that the people they meet in rehab become lifelong friends.

A man and woman talking to a counsellor

Following your rehab treatment programme, many people get involved in aftercare to help keep them engaged with sobriety long-term. This usually involves access to information and advice, as well as communities to provide support. For example, if you are a client with UKAT, you will receive access to the Alumni community as soon as you are discharged.

Is rehab free?

Some drug and alcohol services are funded by the NHS, but others are not. If you need to access free treatment, you will need to see your GP for a referral. Most NHS services are outpatient, meaning that you will be able to access groups and important resources such as medical support, but you will need to travel to and from your allocated clinic. Most residential treatment requires private funding. However, charities like Turning Point are able to provide limited support for those who need it. You will need to apply to them directly.

Free addiction treatment services in Merton

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

WDP Merton

Address: 7-8 Langdale Parade, Mitcham, CR4 2YS
Number: 0300 303 4610
Web Address: https://www.wdp.org.uk/merton

Alcoholics Anonymous – Merton

Address: Drake House, 44 St George’s Rd, SW19 4ED
Number: 02074 070 700
Web Address: https://www.alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk/AA-Meetings/Find-a-Meeting/merton

The downside to free services

Although we understand that some people do not have private insurance or are not able to privately fund, it should be noted that free drug and alcohol services are currently under immense pressure to perform, with limited government funding. This may mean that you are only able to access services at restricted times or locations and outpatient treatment is your only option. Many people complain about the long waiting lists as you are unlikely to be admitted straight away.

If you can afford it, private treatment gives you freedom to choose the time and location to help rehab treatment fit with your normal life. You will have a consultation with a clinical professional who will outline your treatment options and help you put together a bespoke programme of activities. Many people prefer residential rehab, also known as inpatient rehab, as it gives them a break from the stress of day-to-day life. Private services offer a comfortable stay in remote clinics with meals and therapies included.

Types of addiction treatment and rehab programmes in Merton

Whether you are looking for private or NHS funded, inpatient or outpatient services, it is important to do your research so you understand what options are available.

Outpatient addiction treatment (day rehab)

To be an ‘outpatient’ means that you attend the clinic for pre-planned sessions or appointments but reside at your home as normal. Day rehab includes group therapy and activities where you can meet others on a similar journey, as well as lots of access to information and support to keep you going.

Pros of outpatient treatment
  • You can work around important commitments
  • Can be integrated into your daily routine
  • NHS funded
Cons of outpatient treatment
  • Not suitable for those with severe addiction
  • Availability restrictions
  • Harder to break habits in everyday life

Inpatient rehab

To be an ‘inpatient’ means that you stay at the clinic for the duration of your treatment. You will be supervised by medical professionals and engaged in a programme of therapeutic activities designed to help you think about managing your addiction going forward. Many people prefer residential programmes as they are a break from a world which perhaps was triggering their addiction in the first place. Taking space to reflect on their lives, people are able to gain a new perspective which helps them stay sober in the future.
It should also be noted that as an inpatient, all arrangements are taken care of (including meals), so you will not have to worry about the chores or stresses of everyday life. You will also have the opportunity to meet others on a similar path, which can help you to support each other when your programme is complete.

How does residential (inpatient) rehab work?

The following sections give general guidance about what to look out for and what you may like to research. However, all programmes are different and it may be best to ask your chosen rehab centre directly if you have concerns.


A free NHS outpatient clinic requires referral through your GP to accept an admission. This means you will need to be approved by the GP before they refer you to a specialist for a second assessment. Due to high demand, this process may take many weeks.

If you are accessing private treatment, you can be admitted from 24 hours of your initial enquiry. A private room will be ready on your arrival, and once you have settled in you can sit down with a psychiatrist to discuss your treatment programme.

Many often ask what they might need to bring with them so, below is a general list to guide you. Please bear in mind that rules and regulations at different treatment facilities may vary.

Items you might like to bring:

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

Some treatment clinics restrict the use of mobile phones and laptops.

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

For lots of people, prolonged addiction to substances may have led to physical dependence, which means they need to wean off the addictive substance slowly. Sudden drops of toxic materials in the bloodstream, such as drugs or alcohol, can cause a shock to the body with possible side-effects. Medication will be prescribed, alongside careful monitoring, to safely reduce any withdrawal symptoms and keep you as comfortable as possible.

Rehab programme

Different clinics are likely to offer different activities and some may take alternate approaches to treatment. You are likely to have heard of a 12-step programme, which some people find very helpful, but other clinics operate using more therapeutic models. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based treatment for drug and alcohol dependence which many suit, whereas others prefer psychotherapy, such as art or drama therapy. There is no wrong or right answer – only an approach to treatment which works for you. Don’t be afraid to research or ask questions as needed.

Choosing the right programme

If you have any pre-existing health needs, disabilities, needs relating to religious practice or anything else that should be catered for, it is important that you let your chosen clinic know in advance. Making sure all programmes are inclusive for a range of diversity is an important part of treatment planning and should not restrict you from getting help.

Some people have been given a ‘dual-diagnosis’, which means they have symptoms of mental illness alongside their drug or alcohol addiction. This is common as the triggers for both mental illness and addiction are the same, which means one condition exacerbates the other. Most programmes will be fully prepared to support your mental health alongside your addictive behaviours, so don’t worry about how this will affect your treatment. However, it is important to let the clinic know if you are prescribed medication.

If you want to investigate the quality of care provided by your chosen clinic, you can check out their recent inspection results on their CQC page.

Family support programmes

Most drug and alcohol services will also provide family support programmes alongside your treatment. This is to get family involved so that they can support your sobriety, as well as helping them with any struggles they may be going through. Family support programmes might include workshops or educational support to encourage understanding and communication into the future.

How long does rehab last?

Rehab programmes often vary between four and twelve weeks, but the longer you can stay the better. Some people may need to repeat programmes or try something different. It is generally acknowledged that the longer you engage in treatment the greater your chances of long-term sobriety, so a minimum of eight weeks is recommended.

The benefits of residential rehab

  • A chance to break from a triggering environment
  • Professionals on-hand to help you to feel safe
  • Peer support
  • High-quality living arrangements
  • Aftercare programmes

What happens after rehab?

Once you have completed your programme and gone back to your old life, you may still need help and support to stay sober. There are a number of aftercare options you should consider.

Aftercare programmes

Most residential programmes will have aftercare options available. These may include ongoing groups or places to access information and support. With UKAT, you will be offered up to a year of group therapy after discharge, as well as gaining special access to the
Alumni network, which helps you to keep in touch with your rehab peers.

Support groups

Support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), Cocaine Anonymous (CA) and SMART Recovery can be easily accessed by anyone at any time and can provide ongoing emotional support to stay sober.

Long term recovery from addiction

Recovering from drug or alcohol addiction is a long, hard journey. But you don’t have to do it alone. Finding that magic combination of treatment options may seem daunting, but once you’ve got it right, you’ll be leading a new life free from addictive substances, which makes it all worth it. UKAT is able to 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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