A rehab clinic in Southwark

A guide to drug and alcohol rehab in Southwark, London

It’s not easy to decide on the best rehab option, and there are many choices for addiction treatment in Southwark. We have created this guide to rehab for drug and alcohol addiction in London to help you decide on your best treatment and detox options.

What is rehab?

Rehabilitation is a system in which those who have suffered from an addiction (such as drug addiction, alcoholism or gambling) draw from their experience and medical training in order to support others in their recovery. Rehab provides a safe space in which you can withdraw from an addictive substance with caution through detox, using medication if necessary. Attendees also explore the underlying causes of their addiction through holistic group and private therapy.

A man and woman talking to a counsellor

Access to an aftercare programme helps those who have sought treatment to remain free from addiction. All UKAT patients also have access to our Alumni network, helping them to maintain a supportive network after they have completed treatment.

Is rehab free?

Free addiction services are provided by the NHS as an alternative to private treatment. Free services include outpatient care, group counselling and detox programmes. They are all accessed through self-referral. Additionally, charities such as Turning Point have a limited number of beds available for residential care.

Free addiction treatment services in Southwark

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


Number: 020 8159 8355
Web Address: https://www.lambethandsouthwarkmind.org.uk/directory/drug-alcohol-service-southwark-north/


Number: 0203 404 7699
Web Address: https://www.changegrowlive.org/drug-alcohol-service-southwark/info

The downside to free services

Free services can sometimes take weeks to access due to limited government funding and the prevalence of addiction. There are only a small number of residential spaces available, which means that most free treatment takes the form of outpatient programmes. Private treatment is much faster, and offers a choice of inpatient (residential) and outpatient programmes at specialised treatment centres.

Types of addiction treatment and rehab programmes in Southwark

There is a range of different treatments available in Southwark. Outpatient programmes and day rehab services are commonly associated with free treatment programmes, whereas inpatient programmes are readily available at private rehab treatment centres.

It’s important to understand the benefits of each service before you make a decision.

Outpatient addiction treatment (day rehab)

Outpatient programmes require the person suffering from addiction to visit the rehabilitation premises for each scheduled treatment session, which means they live at home for the entirety of the treatment process. There is limited NHS funding from the government, which means free rehabilitation can usually only offer outpatient spaces.

Pros of outpatient treatment
  • Flexible for those that have childcare and work commitments
  • You can remain in control of your home routine
  • Cheaper than private care
Cons of outpatient treatment
  • Not ideal for those with severe addiction
  • People may be referred to a clinic far from home
  • Recovery may be affected by life distractions
  • Take longer to complete
  • Does not guarantee a safe space to stay during detox
  • Does not guarantee a dedicated therapist
  • Not able to share the experience with like-minded residents

Inpatient rehab

Inpatient addiction rehab, or residential rehab, provides patients with a comfortable lodging space so they can live at their chosen centre during treatment. This provides stability and comfort for those going through the transition to sobriety. A key benefit of inpatient programmes is they offer you a break from any environment which may intensify your addiction, so you can concentrate solely on recovery.

How does residential (inpatient) rehab work?

The following will help you to understand what to expect when going to residential rehab, and whether it’s the best treatment option for you.


A trip to your GP is the first step toward being admitted for free treatment. The GP will assess your situation and offer a referral to a specialist. If this is approved, it can take a few weeks before you hear back with an appointment.

Private treatment offers a much faster solution, and you can be admitted to a private on-suite facility within 24 hours of first making the phone call. A licensed psychiatrist will be on-hand for your arrival, explaining your best treatment options and answering any questions.

Each treatment centre will carry its own set of rules, but we can provide a comprehensive guide to what should be packed for your treatment.

We recommend that you bring:

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

You may be limited to how often you can use your laptop and mobile phone during treatment, to increase your chances of recovery.
The following items are usually not permitted:

  • 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 alcohol detox and drug detox, a treatment centre aims to provide a comfortable, safe environment in which your body can rid itself of a harmful substance over time. If a person has high levels of an addictive substance in their bloodstream, then specialised medication can be used to wean them off gradually in order to reduce their discomfort. A sudden decrease in an addictive substance’s volume causes a shock to the body, which can be lethal in severe cases. A medical professional might recommend the use of detox medication in order to safely reduce withdrawal symptoms.

Rehab programme

Many rehab centres offer a range of recovery approaches, because everyone responds to treatment differently. Some of the treatment options available include 12 step programmes, one-to-one therapy and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

Choosing the right programme

Both private and group therapy sessions should be included as part of a competent rehab, and there should be an inclusive atmosphere in each therapeutic approach. It’s important that each person’s religious and personal beliefs are catered for.

A dual diagnosis option demonstrates a clinic’s ability to help those with compound disorders, and is important for anyone entering treatment with a psychological condition.

The Care Quality Commission provides a rating system that can be used to check how safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led each clinic is. All of our centres’ CQC ratings are ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ level, and you can easily check other rehabilitation centres’ ratings by searching on their website.

Family support programmes

Addiction doesn’t just affect the person suffering from it – whether it’s to alcohol, drugs or another substance. Those who are close to an addicted person also suffer, and there are huge consequences for the family unit. A supportive rehabilitation centre will offer family sessions that can help create a safe space for everyone to make positive changes together.

How long does rehab last?

There isn’t an exact length of time that is applicable to every rehabilitation programme, but most last between four and twelve weeks. The longer that a person spends receiving treatment at a centre, the more likely they are to remain in recovery once they have left. It can be difficult to adjust to life in a rehab centre after just a few weeks, and many people who only book a short stay ask to extend their time. This gives them longer to adjust to the detox and form strong friendships. A programme longer than eight weeks is advised to offer the best chance of committing to a life without addictive substances.

The benefits of residential rehab

  • On-hand medical specialists and support staff
  • Schedule and meals set up for you, giving you time to focus on recovery
  • Removes you from any temptation and life distractions
  • Luxurious and comfortable grounds to stay in during detox
  • Opportunity to share the experience with like-minded residents
  • Immersive aftercare programme

What happens after rehab?

Recovery is an ongoing process, even after you have left the rehab clinic. Therefore, aftercare is an important part of the ongoing journey to recovery․

Aftercare programmes

Residential rehab centres will often provide aftercare in the form of group and private therapy and access to support groups.
At UKAT, anyone who completes treatment is provided with one year of free group therapy. They will also be given access to our Alumni community, allowing them to form important connections and friendships at activities and events. Alumni members can continually support each other after treatment is concluded.

Support groups

As part of your aftercare, it is advised to become involved in a support group. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and Cocaine Anonymous (CA) are examples of groups that can be attended both during and after your addiction treatment. SMART recovery is a non-profit that provides assistance to anyone seeking abstinence from addiction. They are free of charge, and provide an environment in which to confide in like-minded people who can support you throughout the recovery process.

Long term recovery from addiction

Those in early recovery are the most vulnerable to the triggers that exist in the world outside their treatment centre. When returning to your regular routine, you will require focus and dedication to the techniques learnt during rehab and therapy. Anyone recovering from addiction should continue to make full use of the aftercare services available to them, and UKAT is here to support you through every step.

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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