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What is ‘Dayhab’?

There are several alternate terms to “Dayhab” including: Day Hab, Day Habilitation, Day Rehab, and Day Rehabilitation.

Unfortunately recovery misinformation abounds on the web and in many rehabilitation programs.

For example, certain so-called substance abuse treatment “experts” say a new network of “dayhab” centers will offer functioning alcoholics and drug addicts the chance to treat their problems by day, while living at home,” while one of our colleagues invented dayhab in 1985 (Cocores).

The original dayhab drug and alcohol recovery program came in two basic individualized tracks:

  1. Intensive day drug and alcohol rehabilitation treatment for adults that:
    • Work evenings
    • Are only available during the day such as adults with children in school
  2. Day drug and alcohol rehabilitation for adolescents that:
    • Includes “bedside” tutoring so that class time is not jeopardized
    • Were unable to remain abstinent during the adolescent early intervention     program

Recently, medical specialties outside of addictions neuropsychiatry have morphed the aforementioned original substance abuse dayhab model to include no substance abuse venue medical programs such as day habilitation for developmental disabilities. Despite time-of-day restrictions, all rehabilitation should follow an addiction treatment model that works.

It is sad, if not discriminatory, that some dayhab programs focusing on developmental disabilities are funded by government agencies while the opioid epidemic rages forward.

Regardless, day intensive outpatient program is a more convenient and cost-effective approach to the management of alcohol and drug dependence.

How it Works

The length of individualized day substance abuse treatment programs vary and usually last four weeks while aftercare programs may last up to two years.

Most credible dayhabs offer a one-year program, divided into three phases:

Phase I

  • Initial intense period consisting of four to five sessions per week (same for evening programs or evehabs)
  • Usually lasts 8 weeks
  • Designed to help people through the early stages of abstinence and withdrawal
  • Designed to propel patients toward a lifetime of recovery
  • Individual and group counseling in all areas of recovery including:
  • Substance abuse education
  • Physical effects of substance abuse
  • Neuropsychiatric effects of substance abuse
  • Family therapy
  • Electro-chemically-balanced nutrition
  • Employment counseling
  • Cognitive therapy
  • Behavioral therapy

Phase II

  • Twice weekly sessions over a four-week period
  • Patients are assisted in their return to normal life
  • Prepared for the obstacles they will face

Phase III

  • Begin the aftercare section of dayhab and lasts for the remainder of the first year
  • Patients meet in once-a-week sessions and are counseled in coping with specific situations (weddings, funerals, etc.) that inevitably arise
  • Ongoing participation in regular self-help meetings is encouraged strongly—in fact, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) groups meet on our premises


Donnelly L, ‘Dayhab’ clinics to offer new way to treat alcohol and drug addictions, The Telegraph, June 22, 2019.

Cocores JA, THE 800-COCAINE Book of Drug and Alcohol Recovery, Villard Books a Division of Random House (1990), Fireside Books a Division of Simon & Schuster (1991).

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