A rehab clinic in Wandsworth

A guide to drug and alcohol rehab in Wandsworth

Deciding to get help for addiction is a big step and sorting through your options may seem overwhelming. In Wandsworth, there are a few different approaches to choose from, so it is important you have enough information to make an informed decision. UKAT have found out everything you need to know about drug and alcohol addiction services in the local area to simplify the process and help you consider your options when looking to detox in London.

What is rehab?

‘Rehab’ is short for rehabilitation and involves working alongside experienced professionals to free yourself from addictive behaviours, including drug addiction, alcohol addiction (alcoholism) and gambling. The first step usually involves detox from a substance and professionals may offer you are carefully controlled medical detox if necessary. You will also attend holistic therapy sessions and be able to get involved in various activities aimed at helping you learn how to manage you addictive behaviours in a safe and supported environment.

The professionals working in rehab are specialists who draw on qualifications and training as well as their own experiences. This may include doctors, nurses and therapists who run groups or offer individual support to help you understand your addictive behaviours and share your experiences with others.

A man and woman talking to a counsellor

Once you leave rehab, the help does not stop there. Getting involved in an aftercare programme means that you have ongoing access to information and support with professionals and others you may have met during your treatment programme. If you complete rehab with UKAT, you will gain instant access to our online Alumni community, to help you stay connected after your stay with us.

Is rehab free?

Some services are funded by the NHS; however, others can only be privately funded. If you are looking to access free treatment, you should visit your GP to discuss your options. NHS services are mainly outpatient meaning that you can access group therapy and other activities whilst living at home. If you are in need of residential (inpatient) services, you may be able to seek support through charities such as Turning Point. However, most residential beds are privately funded.

Free addiction treatment services in Wandsworth

Please see below a list of free services available in the Wandsworth area.

Wandsworth Community Drug and Alcohol Service

Address: St John’s Therapy Centre, 162 St. John’s Hill, Battersea, London, SW11 1SW
Contact number: 020 8812 4120
Web Address: https://slam.nhs.uk/services

Community Drug and Alcohol Recovery Services

Address: 117 Cedars Road, London, SW4 0PW
Contact number: 0207 498 6149
Web Address: https://www.cdssl.org/

The downside to free services

As many of you will likely be aware, there are lots of people currently in need of drug and alcohol rehabilitation, therefore it is likely you will be put on a waiting list if you are looking to access free services. NHS programmes have limited government funding, so services may be run less often or be harder to access, which some people find frustrating. Residential services are a much more popular option. Yet, supported places are minimal, so for most, an outpatient programme is the only option.

If you have access to private funding or insurance, however, residential programmes enable a lot more choice as services can be tailored for you. You will choose which clinic you would like to stay in, have full board and lodging for the length of the programme, and get to discuss your needs and treatment options with a licensed professional.

Types of addiction treatment and rehab programmes in Wandsworth

It is important to weigh up your options when considering rehab. You will need to choose between inpatient (residential) or outpatient (day rehab) programmes, NHS or privately funded.

Outpatient addiction treatment (day rehab)

If you choose an outpatient treatment programme, you will live at home for the duration of your treatment, required only to attend regular sessions at a clinic near you.


Pros of outpatient treatment

  • Better for those who have dependants
  • Enables you to keep your normal routine
  • Funding options available

Cons of outpatient treatment

  • Some evidence that outpatient may be less effective for severe dependence
  • Less choice meaning you may be referred to a clinic outside your area
  • Without breaking routine there may be more distractions making it harder to stay abstinent
  • Much harder to access individual counselling

Inpatient addiction treatment

Alternatively, a residential rehab programme (inpatient) allows you to stay in a safe and supported environment at the treatment centre. This will help you through the detox and recovery process and support you in starting to think about the future.

For some people things get a bit too much and taking a break can help to break some unhelpful routines which are driving their addiction. Taking time out in this way also gives you lots of space to reflect on the changes you would like to make.

How does residential (inpatient) rehab work?

Some of the details may differ between treatment centres, so asking a staff member can be really helpful if you’re unsure.


If you are looking to be admitted to a free treatment service, you will need to visit your local GP. They will ask you some questions and decide whether to refer you to a specialist. There may be a long waiting list to see the specialist before they are able to refer you to an NHS addiction service.

If you can privately fund, however, there is no need to wait. Admission can be arranged within 24 hours of the first phone call, with a private on-suite ready for your arrival. A psychiatrist will invite you to a chat once you have settled in, to talk through your treatment options.

It is important to bear in mind that different centres may have different rules, however, below are a few basic items you could bring with you.

Items you might like to bring:

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

Most rehab centres ask that patients restrict the use of laptops and mobile phones so they can focus on recovery.

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

If you have become physically dependant on a substance and the medical staff deem it necessary, you may be required to have a medical detox as part of your stay. This involves continued monitoring in a controlled environment alongside the prescription of medication to ensure you withdraw safely from any addictive substance and with as little discomfort as possible.

Rehab programme

When choosing a rehab centre it may be helpful to look at the programme options available. Some people find a 12-step programme works well for them, while others choose more therapy-based options. Some prefer learning in a group setting, whereas others feel they need more individual counselling. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a popular model used in drug and alcohol rehabilitation. However, there are also forms of psychotherapy, like art or drama, which may be available.

Choosing the right programme

If you have concerns about any aspect of diversity, it is important to address your chosen rehab centre. Inclusivity and equal opportunities should be at the top of the agenda for any quality facility, therefore concerns around religious practice, disability, existing health conditions or any other need should be answered with reassurance.

The phrase dual-diagnosis is used by clinicians when patients are showing symptoms of addiction and mental illness at the same time. This is a common occurrence, as the problems which most often trigger addiction are likely to lead to poor mental health. Additional mental health needs shouldn’t make finding a suitable programme more difficult, as ongoing therapy offers a holistic treatment approach for both conditions. If you have any questions or concerns, however, contact you chosen rehab centre.

If you would like to check the quality of a potential programme, you can look at the rating given by the Care Quality Commission on the centre’s website. This organisation gives an outline of safety, effectiveness, caring, responsiveness and leadership for all registered centres.

Family support programmes

Addiction does not just affect one person. Unfortunately, it also affects families and others close to you. Providing support to loved ones is therefore essential as it improves understanding of drug and alcohol addiction problems, as well as encouraging open communication and support for your ongoing sobriety. Most rehab centres will also run workshops, groups and counselling sessions for close family members.

How long does rehab last?

Rehab treatment programmes differ between centres, but they can range between four and twelve weeks. It is strongly advised to book a programme of eight weeks or longer for the best results, as generally the longer a person stays in a programme, the longer they are able to stay in recovery.

The benefits of residential rehab

  • An opportunity to break unhelpful habits or routines
  • 24-hour access to medical professionals
  • Safe environment to reflect and share experiences with others
  • Full board and lodging
  • Pre-arranged schedule giving you more time to focus on your recovery
  • Opportunity to get involved in aftercare

What happens after rehab?

Admission to rehab is a big step but after you leave you will still need support.

Aftercare programmes

Aftercare is an essential part of any rehab programme and involves access to support groups, professional guidance and important information to help you stay sober.

If you complete a treatment programme with UKAT, you will be able to attend a therapy group for up to a year after your discharge, as well as having access to the online Alumni community to help you stay in contact with your peers.

Support groups

It is important to mention support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), Cocaine Anonymous (CA) and SMART Recovery which are available in the community and are free services you can access anytime for support.

Long term recovery from addiction

It is important to recognise that recovery from addiction is a journey which looks different to everyone. Some people may prefer certain treatment models to others; some may need to repeat a programme or try out a different approach to see if it works better.
Finding the right programme that works for you is all part of that journey, and UKAT are here 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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